This is a final update to my old school acting illegally and getting investigated. If you remember they would coerce me (with lack of information about what I would be doing) into teaching alone, then shouted at me when I finally stood up for myself, then it took over a week after I reported bad goings-on at the school for the government to get back to me. They wanted to allow the illegal behavior to continue so they could catch it in the act. They ended up not doing this, either because I kept good records of what had happened or because they realized that was a bad idea. So we can see they don’t move that quickly.
They took their sweet time looking into the bad things and assigning me to a new school. I was interviewed in Spanish which I think left a lot of things unresolved (my Spanish past tense is shit, plus sentences are tricky like “She had said that I would…” she said he/said, conditionals, and past continuous. Messy even in English. But after the interview it became apparent that they would try to find me a new school to work at.
During their investigation I had a whole week off (deserved, honestly). I spent my free time looking at a map of the city and looking at every school in town. My two favorites were
- the elementary school 2 minutes away from our apartment – I liked it for its stupidly short commute and because they had a cute website.
- a fun little hippy school that had all this stuff on their website about “work of body schematics, relaxation and massages”, “philosophy project” and “teach the whole body.” I liked it because it seemed really chill.
My government person called me one afternoon, very cryptic about the new school. Of the 15+ schools in the city, only 2 did not have an Auxiliar, and wouldn’t you know it I was assigned the “hippy” school. A public school – not any of that hybrid public-private crap like last time. It was 15 minutes away on foot but a much quieter commute through back alleys and a field – not walking through the downtown area and getting jostled by tourists.
I texted the new school and they texted back within an hour. Everyone seemed very excited. They had been told they wouldn’t have an auxiliar teacher this year and now suddenly they would. I arranged to meet them the next day.
It’s an elementary school like last year. Except they aren’t assholes like last year. We actually teach together (not text in the back while I lead every class). They’re not forcing me to teach science, thank god. As a trained English teacher I will be teaching English, go figure. They actually care about each other – in the 2 months I’ve now worked there they’ve asked me almost every other day if things are working out for me. They’ve invited me to a dinner (last year they actively hid the dinner for me and my old school in Manacor never mentioned it). They want me to communicate with them more – asking my opinion (rather than telling it to me haha). No one has ever asked me if my schedule was okay. Everyone else just told me “here’s your schedule deal with it.” But they asked if it was okay before I signed it. The old school said “this is temporary just sign it” (and boy was it temporary, it changed minutes after I signed).
I didn’t particularly like my school that much last year and this past school this year has been a nightmare. Third time’s a charm, I guess.
They wanted me to start the next day which was also nice. I assisted with 2nd grade and they were light years ahead of the 2nd graders from Andalucia. Then I did 6th grade which were on par with kids much older than them in Korea. For a public school they are doing it right.
4th, 5th, 6th graders all have Chromebooks (personal laptops). We’re entering the 21st century rather than using broken computers and chalkboards like last year. The 6th graders were very friendly – more than the past two schools. Maybe all this full body teaching and stretching the website talked about is really working. Everyone’s pretty calm and attentive. The classrooms are much, much bigger with space for play, carpet space (to read) and circles for discussions. Last year’s classrooms were packed full of 28 desks and one table. There was no space to move around. They all have functioning computers (!!!). There are also 2 English-dedicated classrooms which sometimes share the space with music but for the most part are for English. The school has the same population as my elementary school last year but it is physically three times bigger. The playgrounds are huge as well. Kids can actually play sports rather than rotate who is allowed to play soccer each day. *although I’ve been informed soccer is banned this year for overly aggressive play and fights. They still have fun logs and ribbons and hula hoops to play with. Jump rope is very popular as well.
I have since seen every grade enough to confirm they’re all light-years ahead of last year’s students. My 1st graders last year couldn’t even read or write in Spanish so good luck teaching English. Here they can obviously write and they are able to read and spell in English (and Catalan and Spanish). We did a small project of describing their facial features and my 4th graders last year probably couldn’t have done it. But here were 7 year-olds speaking English like it wasn’t a big deal.
In short, I’m impressed and very happy with the new school. I’ve been here long enough to report that they didn’t just start strong like the old school did. There is no bamboozling here. They even gave me a key so I don’t have to stand outside for 10 minutes waiting to be let in (like last year). Pretty much everything is great. After 2 months I’m in a good routine and things make more sense than any other school I’ve taught in.