Friday, September 07, 2007

Talking to the organ grinder

I got through to someone at the academie yesterday. It was the number I'd been promised was the right one, which I'd been dialing for days and when I finally got through, the person said I wasn't supposed to be doing a full time placement, but studying at the IUFM (teacher training college). When I pointed out that I had a letter from the Ministry specifically saying that I'd be doing a full time placement, she, true to form, said she wasn't the right person to handle my case, took my number and email and promised to get back to me later that day once she'd found out who the right person was.

24 hours later.... I ring, speak to the same person and get passed onto yet another person. I swear I'll know the names of everyone in that building by the time this is over. However, this new person actually seems to know what he's talking about, asks me to fax the letter over, tells me that there are no full time placements (full time = 18 teaching hours in the French system), but would I be happy with a 12 or 14 hour week? Wahey! More blogging time - you lucky readers, you! I've been told which part of the academie it's likely to be, and expect another phone call on Monday. He also took my mobile number so I can leave the house now. Oh, the joy of feeling the breeze on my face again!

Anyway, the moral of this story seems to be if at first you don't succeed, keep trying until you get to speak to someone with the authority to do something. In France that can take a while, because people are afraid to do anything without permission from their boss, who in turn won't give permission unless his or her boss says it's OK, who in turn...until you reach the President. Sarkozy probably spends most of his time signing forms for trainee teachers and other bottom feeding civil servants.

Think I'll celebrate by going out to watch England vs Israel tomorrow. That should make for an enjoyable evening...




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3 comments:

LostInSpace said...

And I thought Brazil was out and out world leader in bureaucratic obstructionism. It's kind of heartening, (but not for you, obviously!) as everybody here sees "first world" countries as some sleek model to aspire to, whereas your experiences prove this is a whimsical illusion...

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

The thing is that this is the first time in two years I've had this kind of problem with bureaucracy. I registered to vote and signed a civil partnership with Mme le Prof without any hitches whatsoever. People often have problems because they didn't jump through all the hoops, but I did everything I was supposed to and still couldn't get or sorted. Never had that before.

平平 said...

^^Thanks!!

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