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Posts by pawian  

Joined: 30 May 2008 / Male ♂
Warnings: 1 - O
Last Post: 11 Jul 2024
Threads: Total: 222 / In This Archive: 6
Posts: Total: 24264 / In This Archive: 632
From: Poe land
Speaks Polish?: Yes, but I prefer English
Interests: Everything funny

Displayed posts: 638 / page 22 of 22
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pawian   
12 Jun 2008
History / Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors? [180]

I would say that Poland was just unfortunate to be in the middle of aggressive neighbors, but then look at Switzerland, it's been around for a while, in the middle of all the tyrannical empires that have come and gone...somehow they managed pretty well, and were left alone for the most part.

Yes, the Swiss were able to defend and then keep their independence. Probably the mountains helped a lot as a natural barrier to aggressors, but beside mountains the Swiss were also indomitable warriors. Though Polish gentry was obliged to answer the king`s call and go to war in times of trouble, they prefered a quiet life in the countryside. That is why, in 18 century, the most militirised country in Europe (10% of the Polish population was gentry - the descendants of medieval knights) was unable to defend itself and fell prey to its more determined neighbours.

What a paradox, really.

Yet despite being one of the most embattled group of people in Europe, The Poles somehow got their act together and reestablished Poland as one of the major economies of Europe. Wow.

Yes, it was impressive. But before it there had been millions of victims and a ruined country. If the Polish elites had been wiser, more patriotic and less corrupted in the past, Poland would come out much better.

Yet I never hear a peep out of the mouths of Poles "we've had to fight everyone to survive,,,blah blah blah." Though I guess that mostly old people would whine about that, but seeing that I don't speak Polish, I never hear of it. I guess the Poles are made of tougher stuff than most of us.

You can`t hear or understand whining because it is in Polish. But it takes place quite frequently. It is true, though, that mostly mature people like discussing Polish past misfortunes, occupations, betrayals by "friends," ingratitude of allies etc etc. Younger generations don`t care.

Yet, Polish schools still infuse this kind of rememberance patriotism into students. We were talking about scythes as the main weapon of Polish insurgents. Look at the school play about Kosciuszko Insurection
pawian   
12 Jun 2008
History / Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors? [180]

the only two armies that were going to Russian in all of history were the French and the Nazis everyone else was after something in PL.

Hey, you are diminishing the Polish contribution in Russia`s history. :)
After all, it was Poles who successfully invaded Russia and occupied Moscow for a year or so. Nobody repeated that stunt afterwards. Germans never got to Moscow, while the French did enter it but had to leave immediately.

The Times of Trouble is a term that Russians invented to describe a period of civil wars and the Polish intervention in the beginning of 17th century. The story was made into a film by Russians: 1612. There are a few nice scenes with Polish winged riders. When a Russian child saw them, she cried out: Mommy, look, angels!

But they weren't angels.

1612
youtube.com/watch?v=1VKkc1CVSAc
pawian   
11 Jun 2008
History / Why has Poland been attacked so often by its neighbors? [180]

Attacking neighbours to grab their land, recources, people has been a common phenomenon until today. Do you remember Yugoslavian wars in 1990s?

That Poland was attacked by its neighbours was nothing unusual. When Poland was strong, she attacked her neighbours too, e.g., Russia in 17th century was almost conquered by the Polish army, and Poles occupied Moscow for over a year.

What was unusual is the fact that a big country in Central Europe allowed its neighbours to dismantle it like a Lego block construction. I am talking about partitions. They took place because over centuries Poland had grown weaker, while her neighbours grew stronger. And the Polish elites did nothing about it. The Polish state was unable to achieve such basic things as a strong regular army paid from the state treasury because it was always empty. The ruling aristocracy and gentry didn`t want to pay taxes in fear of the king`s power becoming too big.

Besides, the industrial development took place in our neighbours` countries, while Poland still remained a rural country. No wonder Poland was unable to produce enough arms to supply the army. Polish soldiers during a few Polish Risings had to use scythes. Against carbines. Later they had to use horse cavalry whereas Germans had tanks in 1939.

1863, the January Uprising, Forging Scythes



History teaches us that a weak country which is unable to defend itself is attacked and devoured by stronger neighbours.

It is good, though, that after being devoured by various predators, Poles refused to be digested by them.
pawian   
2 Jun 2008
News / Polish teachers on Strike. [62]

Michael I think you are wrong, since the gentleman above is in fact a 'Teacher' in higher education in Poland and not some foreigner teaching English as a foreign language for fun.

Yes, I am Polish, of course. How could anyone take me for a native speaker working in Poland? It is a great compliment LOL However, I am fully aware of my faulty artificial language I am producing here but I can`t help it, I am too old to change. Certain consolation is that my language performance still rates high compared to other non-native teachers` in the country. LOL

I can completely see Pawian's point about weeding out the undesireables or at least ensuring that these people get further training so that they can provide the education they are supposed to.

Weeding immortal undesirables or making them boost their motivation is indispensable to make the Polish education professional.

Someone mentioned moral in schools, low moral is often caused when a team member is not doing his or her job properly, the strain and extra work generally falls on other members of staff, complaints are often dealt with by other people whilst the culprit merrily goes his or her way completely oblivious...

Yes, but the most annoying about low moral are trifles. E.g., Polish teachers never start their lessons on time. They wait till the bell rings, then still sit in the staff room for some time, and only then they start taking their books, class registers, keys to classrooms. Thus a few minutes of each lesson are wasted. I know teachers who come 15 minutes late for their lessons and don`t care.

Do Poland not have an equivalient to Ofsted?

Of course there is Polish Ofsted. Central and local ones, e.g., each voivodship has one. But they can`t do much because the Teacher Carta fully protects teachers. They only intervene when a flagrant breach of law takes place e..g, a teacher hits/beats a student, or turns out to be a pedophile, or comes drunk to school, or posts her nude photos on the Internet, or makes indecent propositions to teenage girl students, or abuses students to such an extent that one commits a suicide(all those cases happened in Poland recently).

Thanks for the explanation. Maybe they are not good because they lack motivation and not talent?

Yes, the lack of motivation is a problem. I am the best example LOL- instead of being very good which would be a piece of cake for me, I am just good because I don`t care. Besides, to provide for my family I have to teach in 3 different places, so it is impossible to focus on one place and do better because there is not time for it.

As for talent, it is another problem. Teachers in Poland have been underpaid since time immemorial. It caused a very negative influx to the job - many people who didn`t know what to do in life after finishing their studies or they were unable to do anything useful took up teaching as the easiest solution, purely by accident. Today those accidental teachers stick to their positions and defend the Teacher Carta because without it they will have to seek another job.

I could not teach English in Poland, in fact I could not afford to work in Poland.

Have you ever tried?

Teachers can make a very decent living out of teaching English in Poland. Parents became aware of the importance of English in early 1990s and they have been sending their kids to courses and hiring private teachers ever since. Practically, in Poland nowadays there are no pupils/students from 6 to 20 who don`t learn English. It creates great job opportunities. Besides, there are a lot of adults who neglected their foreign language education while at school and today they have to make up for it quickly because job recruitment requirements change for more demanding evry year.

So, you can bring home a lot of bacon from teaching English in Poland. But there is one condition. Are you a good teacher? I mean the one who is able to lead a student through his/her foreign language acquistion course in an efficient and effective way, not forgetting to introduce humour and nice atmosphere so that your students don`t even notice they are learning (the greatest reward is to hear your student(s) say: What? The lesson is over? How fast time flies...) ????

If so, you will never be jobless in this country. Your phone will be busy with clients calling and begging for lessons. Isn`t it a tempting vision? LOL

That is why Polish teachers would rather stack shelves in Tescos in England than write on the black board in Poland.

I have never thought of emigrating anywhere. I would never be able to earn the same money abroad as I earn in Poland.

But, nothing comes for free. As I said, I work hard in 3 places, from morning till evening, including Saturdays, for 9 long months every year (the remaining 3 months are vacation, national holidays and religious festivals). LOL
pawian   
2 Jun 2008
News / Polish teachers on Strike. [62]

Thanks for taking the time to give a firsthand account of the teachers' strike and the reasons for it - appreciated
Its interesting what you say about the Teachers Carta - you give the impression that teachers are striking to preserve it whilst you appear adamantly against it.Can you provide an explanation why there are so many who appear in favour of keeping it

Teachers defend the Teacher Carta because it grants them incredible privileges, e..g, life employment regardless of the effects of their educational performance at school. Simply speaking, after signing a job contract, a lousy teacher can`t be removed from school.

Besides, 18-lesson-per-week timetable is also a great privilege. Everything above it is treated as overtime and paid seperately.

I am against the Carta because I can see how badly teachers are spoiled by it. They really need some incentive to improve their work. In the market economy negligent idle workers are fired because there is no room for parasites and loafers. Either they correct their ways or they remain jobless for the rest of their lives. I think the same should apply to teachers - why not?

Why do I stand up against the majority? Apart from being a teacher, I am also a father of 3 boys, the oldest of whom goes to second grade in a primary school. There were problems in the first grade already, but recently it has gotten so bad se that the parents are going to demand the removal of the class teacher.

(Do you remember the scandal last year with the teacher who ordered kids to repeat loudly: Columbus was Polish

LOL now why am I not suprised by this !!! ;)

This is a real story, it happened in the primary school in the village of Stopy in northern Poland. The female teacher got angry when some pupils started expressing their doubts about her incredible beliefs, so she ordered them to repeat the infamous sentence loudly several times. Fortunately, one pupil recorded the whole event and later the evening news made a big scandal out of it. The teacher was fired by the local authorities which supervise schools in the area.

To make it funnier, while they were looking into the matter to check teacher`s competence, she withdrew her earlier assertations about Columbus being Polish and claimed he was American or English instead.

What's the education system in Poland like?
Who runs the school system for grades K-12? National government, local school board or ?
Who pays the expenses of running the school? Are there separate taxes for education?
Are there national standards, cirricula and tests?

The school system is run by the Ministry of Education which operates from Warsaw and issues all important regulations concerning country`s education in general.

The expenses are paid by local authorities. I am not sure but those expenses are partly refunded by the Ministry and the amount of the refund depends on the amount of students in local schools - the more students, the higher refund. I promise I will ask in my school about it. I will let you know.

There are no seperate taxes for education.

The education standards, programmes and requirements are set by the Ministry again.
When it comes to exams, there are big ones run on the national level, the same for all students (e.g, written matura exams are prepared by Central Examination Board), and others, which are prepared and applied differently in each voivodship (administrative districts) by local exam boards.
pawian   
30 May 2008
Life / Kashubia, Kashebe and Kashubians. . . [23]

Most of them sided with the Polish in WWII and at lot of them paid a heavy price for it. URL

Yes, we were there too and saw the monument.

Unfortunately, their traditional homeland was slap bang in the middle of the Polish Corridor, and this territory was always historically disputed between Prussia (Germany) and Poland. However, there were a few kashubs, like Gunter Grass who did fight with the Nazi's.

You mean, they fought on Nazis` side. But Gunter Grass seems a true German to me, doesn`t he? Did he ever consider himself Kashub?

Regarding cultural differences, breaking lots of glass the night before a wedding and beating each other with birches at Easter rank as good ones!

I didn`t know about those customs.
pawian   
30 May 2008
Life / Kashubia, Kashebe and Kashubians. . . [23]

My impression is very positive. Last year we went to Kashuby region for summer holidays and it was great. Yes, it`s true they have their different language, but the culture seems more or less the same.

Besides, I remember from the books I have read about WW2 that most Kashubians considered themselves Polish and refused to become Volksdeutsche.
pawian   
30 May 2008
News / Polish teachers on Strike. [62]

I am a teacher of English at a high school near krakow, Poland. Out of about 35 teachers 5 didn`t go on strike, including me. Why?

There were 3 postulates of striking teachers: increase salaries by 50%, keep curent regulations concerning earlier retirement, and preserve the Teacher Carta.

I would like a pay rise, sure, I don`t mind early retirement. But I reject the Teacher Carta which makes it practically impossible for the school principal to fire a lousy teacher.

I have met a few lousy teachers in my life. In my own school I had to write an official complaint and ask our principal to intervene in case of a totally incompetent biology teacher. Such interventions had been made before, but hadn`t helped much because she is incorrigible. And nothing can be done because Teachers Carta protects her.

Another case concerns my oldest son`s primary school. Parents have already written to the principal a few times asking him to replace the incompetent teacher. Already in the first grade!

Sorry, guys, I don`t want to hurt you if you are good teachers, but the truth is there are too many lousy teachers in Polish schools. I am saying it both as a teacher and a parent of 3 children, one of whom goes to a state school.

Pay rise is certainly a nice thing but it won`t improve the quality of teaching and general standard of education in Poland. Bad teachers will grab happily it but will carry on with their incompetence, laziness, lack of education (Do you remember the scandal last year with the teacher who ordered kids to repeat loudly: Columbus was Polish!).

The Teachers Carta must be abolished, in my opinion.