By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, January 5, 2012
Thus far, I have had the chance to attend some pedagogical meetings and sessions ranging from MATE (Moroccan Association of Teachers of English) to sessions organized at universities. I must admit that I have learned many things from them and have made some progress in developing my teaching skills because of them. When I was a student, I also learned many things from the meetings held at school. However, to my dismay, I have found out that most of these meetings have one attribute in common. The latter is that birds of the same feather flock together.
To begin with, I remember once attending a conference on translation at the university. Thanks to it, I learned some basics about this field. As soon as the conference came to an end, discussion began. Here, I noticed that most of those who posed questions were simply colleagues and friends of the presenters. And when a colleague of mine raised his hand to pose a question, no one paid attention to him. I believe it was simply because he was not a bird of the same feather.
The fact that when the coffee break came and the presenters and those who posed questions sat around the same table confirmed that they were really among the same birds in question.
Frankly, I do not see any point in sitting with those one already knows. Sitting with others from different universities and places helps us broaden our knowledge. In addition, how can one share and exchange with others if we do not make each-others’ acquaintances and try to share the same table but with different members?
The same problem brings me back to last year when I attended a MATE meeting. I liked everything about it except the fact that birds of the same feather flock together there too. Before the conference started, we were all asked to get membership cards. Afterwards, we were each offered a pen and a notepad to write on. One of my colleagues came late that day and got into the conference room and asked me for a pen. I had to give it to him, and I used a pencil instead.
When the coffee break came, I went to ask for another pen. It was here when the one in charge of pens and notepads became angry at me. I explained everything to him, but he refused to give me another one. Here, I thought that had I been one of the eminent members of this association, I would have received as many as pens as I wanted. I then understood that I was a simple teacher who no one knew at the conference. I also realize that this person might have even mistaken me for a student. For him, students are birds who have a different feather.
Most of those present chose to have lunch with those they knew and with those who have the same tastes. And if you happen to sit with them, no one talked to you or seemed to share with you his teaching experiences. The same situation was the case when the time of taking photos came. Some group photos included only the members and no outsiders. Broaching on this doesn’t mean uttering complaints. It rather means describing them as mere birds that flock together because of the feather they have in common.
As a teacher trainee, I could not stand some of the trainers just because of this. They did not listen to their trainees’ viewpoints. Unfortunately, some of them behave as such, for they think that trainees are merely trainees. The latter’s voice is not something special and is not worth being considered.
At last, I have come to the conclusion that at these meetings where people are expected to make new acquaintances, exchange experiences, and stand together against the problems their field faces, they have turned out to be a melting point only where birds that have the same feather come to the fore.
Omar Bihmidine is high school teacher of English. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and articles, many of which have been published in Sous Pens magazine, in the ALC magazine in Agadir, and in the late Casablanca analyst newspaper .
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
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