Sunday, October 10, 2010

Service Learning Week 5: Organizational Structure

When thinking about what organizational structure means, I think of the hierarchy within the institution. i.e., who's in charge, who has to report to who, what are the different ranks. In Sao Mai, I would definitely say there is a hierarchy within the organizational structure.Within in my first few weeks of working there, there has already been one teacher who was switch out of the class to teach another one, and 2 new teachers that have come in to take her place with one leaving. Now my classroom consists of 3 teachers, 2 old and 1 new. The new teacher seemed to be as misplaced as I was when I entered. What exactly are we suppose to do, what are we here for, what are we suppose to teach. Us two basically did the same thing in where we sat with the children for a long time and just telling them to be quiet while the other two teachers taught. Just yesterday, she had the classroom all to herself so she was held responsible for the children. However, when I asked her how did she feel about teaching at Sao Mai, such as if it is difficult, she said that it wasn't for her because she had yet to teach any of the kids educational stuff. She wasn't allowed to teach them how to read or identify words yet, but rather just fun things such as playing with toys and putting away blankets or pillows. Nothing too hard. Seeing how the new teacher has developed and the steps that they take in training the teacher shows that there is a hierarchy in the system. The teachers take a long time to learn and new comers are not so easily accepted because they can quit at any minute just like the previous teacher. Therefore, this just reaffirms my belief that Sao Mai is very organized in that every teacher has to go through training and that they are not trusted with handling the educational part of the school until the other older teachers feel necessary. I feel that if that is the case, the hierarchy has a lot to do with how the teachers organize their classroom. As before in my other posts. Teachers do not exactly get to choose what to teach their children, but what the school and program tells them to teach. this is why probably us volunteers are very limited in what we are able to help with, I.e. teaching the children. We are not within their higher hierarchy system where we are trained to teach the children and within the little time we have here, we probably will not be able to reach that level. therefore, we have to come up with a way to put ourselves within that organizational structure so that we are needed and a valued member.

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