Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Long Does It Take to Make a Phone Call?

I've spent years assembling a network of multilingual helpers. I speak Spanish well enough to call parents myself, but as far as other languages, I'm pretty much useless. Still, everything was fine, because I knew teachers and paras who spoke every language I'd ever need. I helped them with Spanish speakers, and they helped me with everyone else.

My foreign-born students knew I'd call at the drop of a hat, and they treaded carefully to avoid problems with me. They certainly didn't want any problems to follow them home.

But in one fell swoop, our school has destroyed my support system. Someone in administration got the bright idea to start paying people to make calls. So there are now designated callers for various languages. Only I don't trust just anyone to make calls for me. Even worse, one of the callers told me to fill out a form, and that he'd get to it within 48 hours.

Now I don't know about you, but if I have a problem, I don't want to wait 48 hours. I want to deal with it right now. In fact, as a parent, if my child had a problem, I absolutely wouldn't want to wait 48 hours. I'd find that completely unacceptable, and I'd visit the school to express my displeasure.

But now Miss X., my favorite translator, says go to Mr. Y., because he gets paid to make those phone calls. Sadly, I trust Miss X. much more than Mr. Y. I've been waiting 24 hours for Mr. Y. to make that call, and I guess I'll have to wait 24 more.

It's nice of the school to consider us. But my students and I were far better off when I did things myself. How can I persuade Ms. X. to reconsider?
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