Broadcasting, the old and the new


For those that don’t know, Han isn’t joining me until about 5:30pm on 19th October so I have been here alone (with the exception of many new, good friends and that unwavering Falklands hospitality) in the house since arriving. The limited internet (5gb/month = £80 and going over your allowance is COSTLY, the other teachers have warned me of bills of £2-300 being common) means that streaming/downloading is out. I’m an avid reader and, being a teacher, obviously have a lot to do in the evenings but even I have struggled at times with the silence of this place. Beside the odd 4×4 trundling past and the relentless but charming wind blowing by the windows, it is deathly quiet. Nice for a while, sanity-testing after too long. (Insert charming comment here about Han’s imminent arrival testing that). Today I gained a TV aerial! I can get BBC One and Two and the British Forces Broadcasting Service channels from Mount Pleasant military base. Limited but useful nonetheless!
I’ve attempted not to mention the teaching aspects of being here, both for professional reasons and not to alienate those non-teachers reading, but I cannot help but notice a minor link here. Whilst broadcasting in terms of TV is minimal here, Stanley finds other ways to broadcast various things. The weekly Penguin News is a must-buy for opening hours, local news and general feel-good factor, but the good old fashioned networks still operate. I was told that keeping fit here could involve starting a rumour on the West of Stanley and racing it to the East. I’m obviously intending on slipping under the radar here, in a position like mine, but I’ve had two encounters this week with parents who have known exactly what I was teaching in my lessons and one had followed it up by watching a film I’d mentioned with their child. What could be seen as unnerving levels of scrutiny is far from it!
When I was at a certain school not so long ago, I was told that the children weren’t the problem, the parents were. True to form, I encountered more questioning, insulting and undermining behaviour from parents (who expected much and gave little) than I ever expected – though it should be noted that the majority were thankfully supportive! Still, the contrast struck me and it got me to thinking about what explained this. Perhaps it is a combination of things: the majority of people on the islands are employed by the Government (FIG) and there is an agreement that lunchtime, for one hour at Midday, is untouchable! The result is that a mass-exodus of parents and children occurs daily so they see each other throughout the day to sit down and have lunch. Add to that the forced proximity that everyone has to each other (adult and child alike) and you start to see that there is little choice but to build good relationships with everyone, whatever their age. It is little wonder the children here come across as extremely confident, articulate and unusually comfortable talking to or around adults – it’s because they are so used to it. I already feel like returning to Europe will require a fair period of adjustment.

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