Friday, July 29, 2011

Terror Scaffolding! An Adventure In Safety

You see that little door underneath the scaffolding? That's the door to my office. Up on the scaffolding they have stuff like mallets and drills and claw hammers, plus some rather well-worn and rickety-looking uneven planks for the guys to walk around on, precariously balanced across the scaffolding bars. The guy on the ground usually gets a hard hat. The guy up top gets a safety belt that isn't attached to anything.

As if working in the summer weren't bad enough, with all these unwilling and fed-up kids, we now have to walk under the terror scaffolding several times a day. When you're coming in to the office, the guy on the ground sometimes yells at the guy up top to stop doing whatever debris-dropping activity he might be working on. Going out though, there's nothing to do but be quick!

For our safety, there's some old plywood with rusty nails sticking out.

Today they've started drilling the wall. Bits of cement, large and small, drop to the ground and explode. Fortunately, they installed some safety panelling over the door.

There's also that extra scaffolding bar across the door for hitting your head on, in case the falling cement misses you. The other door has some "do not cross" tape across it, so I don't know if the tape or the bar implies more danger. Tell you what, though. I'm having lunch at my desk today. Breadsticks and hazelnuts.

At least the workers are a bit of eye-candy. Otherwise, I don't know what I'd do.

Carry on as usual, I suppose.


Vicky Bursa said...

eye candy?! ours aren't! they have taken down the scaffolding for putting up the insulation - after doing a tenth of the building (luckily my apartment was one of the 5 they did) they've decided to do something else.The scaffolding here was a joke - made out of metal, granted, but they only had a metal plank a foot wide to stand on - I've been very scared to look out of my window and shut all the blinds and didn't use the paddling poo on the balcony as I wouldn't want to distract them in their lethal line of work. when I voiced my concerns to my husband, he said, well, they do have insurance, but somehow you really aren't going to worry about medical expenses if a guy falls 5 floors. shudder.

Hope they finish soon for you - maybe get some sort of super strong umbrella and hard hat combo?

Stranger said...

These fellows are young and fit, though a bit short. They strut around and carry things manfully when one of us goes outside.

I'm not sure if I'm more concerned for our safety or theirs. Like you say, it's hard to watch, though it isn't a 5-floor drop. This scaffolding is a bit better than some others I've seen-- at least there are the crossbars, and they've bolted it to the walls.

Still, I can't imagine the bit of SSK they are or aren't getting would help much with the kinds of accidents they could have...

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

If this is the school I think it is that building should be new. What are they doing it?

Hey, you may end up teaching my niece if that school manages to recruit her. Doesn't seem likely right now since Bogazici has brand value (unfortunately she seems to care) and her older sister & mom & dad & uncle went there. It is a fun thought, though -- the 'net people I talk to and my family never overlapped before.

Stranger said...

Hey, that would be cool! Would she have the misfortune of going to prep? I totally give her uncle permission to help out with writing assignments... :)

I have no idea what they're doing to the building. The school has been in a constant state of construction since I started there, and I do hope the newish materials they're tearing out are being put to good use somewhere. At first I thought they were painting, but I don't know why they're drilling the walls out...

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

I don't know how her English is, she may claim -- like her sister did -- that she's not comfortable enough with it and go to prep. I think the kids who score high enough to have a choice to go to private universities on scholarships are exhausted from all the studying/cramming it takes and may feel they need a breather. They are also smart enough to say the right thing to convince their elders (who'll argue with someone who says she needs additional instruction and intends to get it?).

Maybe things will be different in LE's time if he goes to school here. The present system is nutty. (An Israeli tomato conspiracy to harm our youth is not necessary when the people who run the system can think up and talk about such conspiracies? Note how nothing happened to the guy who self certified himself as fit to be in some research institution of a particular kind rather than heading all of them.)

Perhaps they are putting up additional insulation?

When I was in school, private universities were banned here and tuition for private high schools was capped. After the coup of '80 they allowed private/foundation universities and Ozal lifted (or perhaps initially relaxed?) the cap on school tuition. This coincided with ostentatious displays of wealth, brand mania etc. becoming culturally acceptable (if not desirable) and many private schools went overboard with what they spend on looks/buildings etc. It probably isn't the case in your school but I have seen (in the press) talk about how schools were wasting money on non-functional trivialities that enhanced their looks.

Stranger said...

If she can pass the entrance exam, advise her NOT to go to prep. It's pretty much just like high school (so the students say), and despite our best efforts, all their energy goes towards preparing for another single high-stakes exam. After about December or so, she'll just feel bored and discouraged. My 2 cents. Plus the thousands of cents the parents will save on an extra year of school...

There is definitely a lot of money spent on cosmetics at my school. It's like a shiny, magical hotel. 2 pools (one indoor, one outdoor-- the 2nd of which LE and I are LOVING these days), 2 gyms, an ice-skating rink (I'm not joking) and get this, a helipad! Okay, a helipad isn't particularly expensive, but still.

On the other hand, I think a lot of this is as much about recruiting teachers as students. My colleagues in prep are excellent and I'm not just saying that. From what I've seen of the professors, they're pretty freaking good too. As for the system itself, I can't really say, not having gone through it.

It's really a shame schools are this way though. I've been freaking out about school pretty much since LE was born. I really don't want to go private, at least not for elementary and middle school, but our local public school option isn't looking so hot. There's a slim chance we can get him into a good public school whose district we couldn't possible afford, but if that doesn't work out, I'm not sure what I'll do...

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

We'll see, I am not sure I can even talk her into checking out schools other than BU at this point.

You may be right about faculty recruitment. A friend of mine in academia summarized the situation to me thusly: 'I can go teach in a private school and have a good environment and salary but not-so-select kids, or I can teach in Bogazici and get students out of a fraction of the top one percent.' This was few years ago though and I don't know if it is still true for the better-known private schools (they do offer merit-based tuition waivers for students they want).

As a family attitude, we tend to dislike the subculture that's been developing among some/many of the members of wealthier classes in this country. Intense exposure (even if it is free of charge) to those people's kids doesn't look too attractive to us. I dunno.

Can I put in a request for posting comparing your old and new school? SThings about students, institutional attitudes, colleagues, the treatment you get from Turks (these would be of a different kind, no?) etc. may be interesting to read.

Stranger said...

I think I joined my school in a good year, as it was the first year that 50% of students were full or partial scholarship. Returning teachers really noticed the difference in the dampening of entitlement culture. We rarely feel like babysitters and servants. By December, it was more than evident who had scholarships and who didn't, and the scholarship kids have been a delight. The really rich ones just don't turn up anymore and that's fine.

I totally get the culture your family is talking about. It's probably a lot of the same reason I don't want LE in private school, at least not to start off. I don't want him around "those people's kids" while his baseline notions of reality are still developing. High school maybe. I went to private HS, and I wasn't scarred for life. I just don't like most rich people or their kids unless they merit being liked by me.

I could write a book on comparing the schools. I'll start thinking about the important stuff because it's something I think about a lot.

In return, would you consider letting me interview you for a post? I have nothing in mind. It just struck me as a cool idea. Feel free to respond (and you don't have to say yes) via

A Seasonal Cook in Turkey said...

I really enjoyed your exchange with Bulent and totally agree with what you both say. The years that my kids were in school here were the hardest of my life: it was awful for me as a teacher to see at first hand what the system was all about.And I get the feeling that nothing much has changed.