Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Knowledge Strike

On the day I visited Victoria, the teachers were on strike and both the middle school and high school were closed. This, I thought, would be a great opportunity to recall the old "school daze."

I first sneaked into the middle school (scoala generala) which I hadn't seen in over 18 years. I walked upstairs to the Romanian language classroom, which served as my homeroom for 4 years between 5th and 8th grade, and sat in the same corner where I sat during those years.

From there I remembered the long hours of Romanian language classes and the teacher who literally pounded the material into our heads.

Next I went to the room where it all began, the 1st grade room. It used to be called "the fairytale room" because it had some beautiful mural paintings of scenes from fairytales. Nowadays it's simply called room #7 (sala 7), although you can still see the words "Fairytale Room" on the door, despite someone's best efforts to paint them over.

To my surprise, the room looked almost the same as it did 30 years ago. The paintings are still there and they still give the room its magical feeling.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed how beautiful the paintings really were. Only a painter who loved children as much as he loved his job could've done this. Sadly, some of the paintings are starting to peel off and given the current state of affairs (with teachers on strike for better wages), it may be a long time before any funds can be allocated to preserving these murals.


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