First off... I'm now in Hue! I arrived last night; it was about a 2 hour ride from Da Nang. I was exhausted when I fell asleep around midnight, but I woke up at 6am this morning to catch the sight of students going to go take "the most important test of their lives" (as previously mentioned, the SATs that are 10 times more pertinent to their futures, thus 10 times more stressful... more on this once I post student interviews). I'll be doing more updates as I do some work here in Hue, but for now, let me finish updating about Da Nang where I last left off.
Last time I updated, I said wish me luck because I was going to the Office of Education of Da Nang (rough translation) to try to get an interview with one of the officials there.
Got 'em! Albeit with a bit of a struggle. I went to the office and was unsure as to where to go.
I ended up talking to the head of the main office for about 15 minutes trying to explain what I am trying to do. I also asked him for some kind of introduction letter so that when I try to talk to other school officials (like principals, for example) they will feel more comfortable having their voice recorded/face filmed.
Long story short, he tells me 2-3 times to leave a list of questions so he can give them to someone to write out the answers for me. I had to explain to him that, no, I am trying to record the answers to the questions and that, for the purpose of my project, written answers are not exactly what I'm looking for. Persistence pays off, folks. He eventually said, "hmm.. its 10:15. K. Let's talk until 11." We really did talk to 11. Still no introductory, officiating letter though. (He said that if he had no problem having his face filmed, most other people should feel the same way. As proven by my previous attempt with a principal, I am doubtful of this assumption. Oh well.)
The day after, I talked to a high school professor of 35 years. It was an amazing conversation. By the way, in the last entry, I mentioned how the principal had said that my project is unpolitical, so it would be fine. During this interview, however, the hints of politics came out. I actually don't even really feel completely comfortable writing about it here, so I'll need to think through how I intend to work with sensitive topics that come out in interviews and how to, above all, ensure the safety of all my interviewees.
This was not my entry talking about edupolitics. Still need to figure out how exactly to do that...For now, I'm alive and well in Hue. Facebook is still blocked. I need to go eat now. Update later!