Every morning, as if she were the maître d’ at a 5-star restaurant, Dr. L, as she likes to be called, plants herself right in the middle of the school’s impressive Romanesque, arched entryway, welcoming all who pass through with a hearty “Bienvenidos!” If you didn’t teach here, you’d get the impression you were entering a school to be proud of.
Dr. L’s office completes the charade. With its over-sized CEO-style mahogany desk and shelf after shelf of classroom textbooks, there’s an air of substance, longevity and high academia. Behind her desk, just far enough away so they can’t be easily read, an array of diplomas from foreign universities proudly grace the meticulously painted wall, each adorned with a shiny gold- or silver-embossed emblem.
In the classrooms it’s a far different story: Students share outdated texts and photocopies of workbooks. There is no curriculum, at all. We do our own thing here. Continuity from one grade level to the next is non-existent. Disciplinary support is an illusion. And, if a parent should ever ask to review the curriculum or the associated textbook, they are met with “The document is currently under revision.”
Looking a bit deeper: Parents have no idea the school’s software is of the glitchy, bootleg version. There is an intranet of sorts, but it’s down more than up. With a sketchy, slow internet, high school students bring laptops to class and use cell phones as hot-spots to connect to the internet through cell towers. The school is literally still in the dial-up age of technology.
If only parents knew the books in Dr. L’s office are promotional samples and that her diplomas come from online universities, as in, “Earn your doctorate in only 2 weeks” type universities.
Not included in the ‘potential client tour‘ of the school is the one old photo copy machine intended for use by the entire teaching staff. I’m allotted only “x” number of photocopies per month. After that, each copy is deducted from my paycheck (which, by the way, rarely arrives on time). Working here is like having one hand tied behind your back. If parents only knew…
At what point does professionalism cross the line into deception? I feel guilty hiding the truth about this place. I feel myself complicit in cheating kids out of a well-deserved education. This is my second year of a two-year contract (there will not be a third year). Colleagues and I have posted seething, yet truthful reviews to ISR but this only warns teachers, not parents. How do I warn parents?
Searching the web, I found sites hosting reviews of schools written by parents, for parents. It came as no surprise to find that from a parent’s point of view my school looks okay, if not pretty good. Parents comment on the professionalism of teachers and how supportive and accessible they find us. They talk about after-school activities and the tasty cafeteria food (an extra cost). They are impressed by the high marks their kids “earn.” If they ever found out they had been inflated by admin they would scream.
How do I get the word out to parents about this “hell hole,” short of telling them to read the reviews on ISR? How do teachers at a school like mine alert parents to the fact that what they think they are paying for and what they are getting are two different things?
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