Red Book - What School Was Like

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(note: this is just an overview. There are a lot of seperate posts on the topics covered here, and I tried my best to include them all under the same tag, for your reference)

See, my school wasn't exactly one of those high end educational institutions that had their own swimming pools, airconditioned classrooms, or covered basketball courts. What we had on campus was our own quadrangle which I've always thought as oddly named because the vacant space in the middle of our campus had more than four sides. It served as our basketball court, playground, and marshalling field. How we made use of the vacant space was up to our imagination. Occasionally, it will rain so hard that the only drain in the middle of our campus gets clogged so our quadrangle turns into a makeshift swimming pool - or rather puddle, which we kids took advantage of by running around getting our shoes and clothes wet, for reasons I still cannot recall, but back then it felt like such a brilliant idea.

So yeah, there wasn't much recreation to go around, which is probably why I have assloads of memories of us playing the usual games of taguan, cops and robbers, agawan base, patintero, and "suntukan hanggang may umiyak". But then again, if you've been keeping tabs, I spent my preschool and first grade in a school fit into a single floor of a particularly rundown building built by people from an alternate dimension where windows don't exist. Any classroom setup that let me see the outside world every now and then, and did not contain refugees from the Gulf War was an upgrade.

One thing worth noting about our school is that while other schools like to claim they were built on top of cemeteries, WW2 concentration camps, and vampire lodgings, ours was the real fucking deal. Everytime somebody tried to dig around, bones would turn up. That kind of explains why we never have gardening class, and why there's always that weird guy from Funeraria Jose gleefully standing by whenever there's construction going on.

Our school looked like a fort, with three buildings and the nearby church forming concentric walls that protect the quadrangle from the prying eyes of the outside world. Each building was a about three floors, with the lower grade classes on the lower floors and the higher grades on the higher floors. This was designed on the basis that younger children have not yet learned to avoid hauling packs of books everyday by finding improvised lockers, since lockers seem to be tools of satan in the view of our teachers, and having to climb three stories everyday with such a load would turn them into vegetables by the time they hit fourth grade.

As for facilities, we had a library which housed materials that haven't been updated since 1982 (this was still the case up until 1999, seven years after the cold war ended). We had a canteen, crewed by the living dea - err - our dear canteeners. We also had a media room, which still had those fancy slide projectors that haven't been in production since the Vietnam war. It wasn't really until two years before I graduated that the school wised up and started upgrading their equipment. By the time I left, we had a library that had data on the last two administrations, working internet, and a science laboratory that no longer looked like it was bought second hand from a mad scientist (although the preserved fetuses were still around. Who the fuck uses those anyway? It's not like we need to see dead babies to study biology.) We also had a music room, which had no music instruments save for a vertical piano which I've always wanted to use but could never do so because we weren't allowed to touch it or even look at it directly.

Interestingly enough, there's only one music teacher for the entire school, teaching 6 gradeschool levels, 4 highschool levels, at 5 sections per level on the average, containing about 45 students per class. You do the math.

The tuition fee was lower than average, but it was still well above public school education. The place was founded and run by Belgian missionaries, which may sound good Chocolate-wise, but trust me, there is no chocolates involved other than what my mom used to bribe my teachers so they won't snap one day and just strangle me to death instead of sending me to the principals office. These bribery cases are more often than one might think, since it's more of something that's bound to happen at least once per school year (yes, I was quite the little tool back then). But I digress.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

andrean nga haha but the school was built on top of a cemetery at least i think so because i remember when they dug up the quadrangle, i was on the third floor and i see a construction worker looking up at me and he showed me this skull that he had just dug up....


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