Sunday, January 29, 2017


Hiring Committee meeting
It seemed like such a good idea at the start: invite representatives from all the various sectors of San Antonio, involve them in planning the Learning Centre and hiring the coordinator, make this project their own. And we had a great coordinator – Candelaria, who has years of experience in bringing people together, starting up learning centres. What we didn't reckon with was the fractious, cantankerous nature of San Antonio's men – and pretty-well all of these participants were men.

At our first meeting with Candelaria, she announced that she was almost ready to quit. She had hoped to have a coordinator hired before we arrived, but was stopped in her tracks by a group of the COCODE (development council) who insisted that she hire someone from San Antonio, even if there was no one really qualified. Our role from this point on was to combine persuasive one-on-one talks with stern speeches (a challenge to our Spanish), and also to reduce the participation of the COCODE to one, very reasonable, representative. 

In the end we had 4 candidates: 2 from 'outside', one from San Antonio, and one from a nearby village. The process was rigorous and streamlined. We all went through the applications; the 4 applicants (all women) arrived and wrote a written test, and then we interviewed each of them in turn, following a set of questions prepared by Candelaria. It boiled down to 2 candidates: Veronica from San Antonio who had a great personality but a background in social work rather than teaching; and Yesenia from the nearby village, with teaching qualifications, a lovely personality, but not much spoken Kaqchikel, the Mayan language. To our surprise, after all the preceding battles, not only did everyone on the selection team get along, but they unanimously chose Yesenia.

On Thursday we met with Yesenia and Candelaria, and once more we were impressed by Candelaria's skill and experience. She plans a robust training program for Yesenia, to help build skills in teaching through games and puppets, in motivating reading, in participatory learning techniques. And Yesenia, although only 24, seems quick, poised and unflappable. We feel our little 'Centro de Aprendizaje' is in good hands indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment