Letters to the director’s opinion

St. Lordship Day

I have a small business and yes it is closed and no I don’t know when it will reopen. I have an income to pay and yes I paid it Thursday night and no my landlord didn’t call to thank me or suggest I pay later when the sun opens again. There is support for landlords disguised as support for tenants, and no, I have already analyzed the matter and am not entitled to it due to the bureaucracy of my landlord’s poor husband.

We are at war and our economy is becoming a war economy. In all wars there are some who are permanently in the rain, others who are always protected, and still others who are under cover for the time being but have to come outside one day to see if it is still raining.

This is the case with landlords who for the time being sit quietly on their leases that were concluded in the sunshine. Many of them are draconian because they were hired with candidates for entrepreneurs with no negotiating skills. And yes, I might close my shop and hand the key over to the landlord and no, I have no hope that he’ll refund the deposit. Because yes, my contract is really one of those draconian ones and contains a clause that obliges me to meet a minimum number of rents and no, that deadline has not yet been met.

And yes, next month we have the Holy Lordship’s Feast again!

José Pombal Restaurant Reviews, Vila Nova de Gaia

Break in classes

While waiting for a decision on how the schools would work, I took the opportunity to work with my students to define work strategies for a future that was expected online. At one point, a 16-year-old boy interrupted me by saying he had just heard the Prime Minister’s press conference and talked about a 15-day break from school so that there would be no online classes. Simple … it doesn’t seem. A class break is a class break that has always been ordered by the Ministry of Education when setting the annual academic calendar and has never been more controversial than in the past few days. Anyone who walks or has gone for a walk in school knows that they will not have a class during this time, which does not mean that students cannot do homework and teachers cannot have training or educational meetings. Basically, it is this time of the academic year that everyone mistakenly calls Christmas, Carnival, or Easter Holidays, perhaps because of the confusion.

I don’t care about the reasons that led the ME to take this action, but the noise made in connection with the decision is only there to destroy the fashionable divide between public and private, which is nothing else as the reflection of a society that insists on dividing itself into “us and others”. I firmly believe that simply cataloging “angels and demons” is too easy for a society as complex as the one we live in. In the midst of it all, the essential aspect was not mentioned: and solidarity between students, where is it? This principle that we are tired of teaching but insist not to use it as a determinant of our actions and thus encourage effective learning by example. Would it make sense that some were in class and others weren’t? Has anyone asked private school students if they would like this privilege over their public school counterparts, with whom many will be on an equal footing within a few months to compete for access to higher education?

We hold on to the immediate and alleged lack of computers, as if this would solve everything, especially in this vast Portugal, which is outside the big urban centers and where there is a shortage of private education, such as access to an internet of sufficient quality that the computer can be used. These will always be “the ones left behind,” and then we put our hands on our heads with election results that we don’t like. More useful than running around having false discussions about the meaning of the word “teaching break”, it would use our energies to discuss what “distance learning” should be is that having a computer is not enough: you need to know how to get it used it for teaching and learning. To show that I don’t play the “good and the bad” game, I would like to compliment the school book publishers who, like last March, made their digital resources available free of charge: Here is an example of solidarity.

Catarina Vasconcelos Cachapuz, Porto

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