Thursday, December 8, 2016

Return on investment.



I am unfortunate, my course has a low interest rate, students are quick to calculate returns on investment and place resources elsewhere.

Compared to other classes, learning a language requires considerable effort.  

If you haven't built up socio-cultural capital over the years or generations, you start with a deficit. 

Such deficits demand drastic efforts to compete, relocation even.

This little world.

Oh we have a joyous band of brothers in the English class.

'Tis a sanctuary against the rude elements.

"This happy breed of men, this little world, 
This precious stone set in the silver sea, 
Which serves it in the office of a wall 
Or as a moat defensive to a house, 
Against the envy of less happier lands,-- 
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England."

William Shakespeare Richard II

Mythomanes, and bad actors find it easy to wax lyrical thus.

It is easy to focus one's attention on that little course for which one is responsible.

It easy to lose sight of the big picture.

We would do well do change perspectives.

Should we not see ourselves from the point of view of an administrator?

Of a region
Of a country 
Of a public institution.
Of a multinational corporation within a globalised economy. 

Should we not see ourselves at threat from vicious competition?

Should we not stop overestimating our importance?

Should we not only think of our value in market terms?

"But we're human beings with inherent value," I hear you whine.

"We have an important social and educative role," I hear you pine.

"Grow up! We're not living in Care Bear Land," I retort.

"This is serious business matey!"

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves in a war zone.  
("You do? Oh Sorry...Jolly bad luck.")

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves in a zone for redevelopment.
("Don't be so sure.")

We should be thankful that we don't find ourselves threatened by flooding due to rips in the ozone.
("Just make sure you don't forget the sun-cream")
("That's just quack science.")

Market forces.



Intelligent teachers generally choose the best, brightest, smallest of classes which offer comfort, charming company, the latest in tech, intellectual stimulation, academic accolades.

Stupid, masochistic, naive, idealistic, dumb teachers, (I place myself in all these categories), don't choose the easier classes.

Poor losers, such as these kind haven't understood the business, the education market.

You have to fight for your piece of the glory gateau.

Simple arithmetic.

Those who count don't teach.

Those who count don't listen.

Those who count don't care.

Haggling in the souk.

It was rather a surprise to see him.

He hadn't been anywhere near a class.

He had only taken the unembodied form of intermittent, curt emails.

He was, I suppose, a virtual student.

I suppose I should have counted myself lucky that he had appeared in the flesh.

With the benefit of hindsight I would have counted myself lucky that he had remained absent.

At no time was there a real exchange between people.



This would be purely transactional.

He was a market vendor, I was a market buyer.

He was clearly trying to take me for a mug.

I didn't buy his spiel. I didn't like the tone. I shook my head.

He mumbled some vile about the quality of the course.

He folded his wares, and walked off in a huff.

Overseas, and far away.

I overheard the news on the radio.

French students were coming up short in comparison with the Koreans on PISA.

UK students were protesting against  a  "disastrous direction" taken in higher education.

South African students were protesting against tuition fees.




Return on investment.

I am considering my own personal investments in light of recent market trends.

There are those who stand to lose, there are those who stand to gain.

Some will lose all.

There are those who are shouting wildly:  "Sell, sell, sell."

I am a hopelessly dumb, naive investor.

I tell myself frequently:

"You're a fucking idiot. Stop Caring."

"Sell out while you can."



Image credit.

1960's Riot Police 

Minoru Karamatsu

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pandx1/8637383860