Papi! Wake up. We have THE THING at 9:30!!!!
Erggh? The thing?
No, not that thing. THE THING!!!
Now I’m half awake and it dawns on me. THE THING is today at 9:30!!! But wait a minute, I try to explain to mamacita linda that it takes 10 minutes to get ready for the thing and another 15 minutes to actually get over there, so I don’t see the big deal with sleeping in another half hour.
But papi, it’s THE THING! We’ve got to be sure we’re ready!
“The thing” was our interview with the director of the new school where we are planning to send Brianna next year. Getting your child into a good school in Peru is a big deal, it’s hard to convey just how serious parents stress out over getting accepted into a good school. We had our interview with the director this past Wednesday and next Monday we find out if our goose was accepted. Before the interview we also had our psychological evaluation on Tuesday.
Both parents and the child. Think about that for a second. A 4-year old must pass a psychological test to get into pre-school. And then me. I quit a job at a Fortune 500 company to go live on top of a mountain in Peru but some girl with a degree in psychology thinks she can figure me out in a 23-question multiple-guess test and a drawing of a person in the rain? I smiled and went through the motions but the Peruvian faith in these psychological personality tests is just mind boggling to me.
I don’t stress out over getting accepted to a school but most of the other parents do. The psychological test was administered to a group of parents and kids, in the group was one of our friends. Like many parents, our friends were applying to various schools, hoping that their kid would get into first grade at this or that good school. While we were waiting to take the exam, Patricia asked her friend “How did the other interviews go at your-first-choice-school and your-second-choice-school?”
Our friend went SSSSSSSSSSSSSH!!!! “Don’t say that so loud in here!!!”
I laughed out loud and said “I’m telling the director this is our first and only choice but you people are just hedging your bets!!”
Our friend nervously giggled back and responded “I’m telling him at least we actually live in Larapa” (the name of the neighborhood where the school is – we live a bit on the other side of town).
All through the group of waiting parents, parents who overheard us horsing around nervously looked up, in their minds undoubtedly going over the perceived weaknesses in their own case for enrolling their child.
Is my child smart enough?
Will my baby do good on her entrance exam? Will she remember how to spell her daddy’s name?
Is my child cute enough?
Do I make enough money?
Are we Catholic enough?
Will they find out about my brother who drinks too much?
Did I buy a nice enough gift for the administrator?
The director at this school didn’t go anywhere near questions of this nature and insisted the school doesn’t discriminate against anyone. I talked to him about their other schools in both the ritzy part of Lima and another in a poor area of Lima, and I believe they are sincere in that respect or otherwise I wouldn’t send my goose to this school. But I know in other private schools these kinds of questions were/are routinely asked.
Silly me, I thought every child should have the right to a good education.
Getting into a good school is a big deal here in Peru because the public schools are said to be very bad. Class sizes in the public schools are at least 50 kids to a class. Even some of the private schools have large class sizes. The private schools can be expensive and typically fill up fast, there is only a short timeframe during the year where they accept applications. Most of the private schools are Catholic schools. In days past some Catholic schools wouldn’t accept children of single mothers or parents who were not married by the Catholic church but now I believe most accept anyone as long as the person respects the school’s religious vocation.
We’ll find out on Monday but I have faith. Wish us luck!