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    posted by  in Valencia forum 

    I too have just finished working at Iale. I have many years of positive teaching experience behind me and would rate my experience there as the worst I have ever encountered. As the previous teacher wrote, if it were not for the fantastic english coordinator we had, the year would have been almost impossible to endure. She was the only person who genuinly had the interests of the English team at heart and was brave enough to stand up for what was right for the english department and her teachers.Unsurprisingly she has found a more worthy position and many others have also left. In my opinion this support will not be so readily available in the forthcoming year.

    The roots of the problems at that school start with the 'directora' (head mistress). She is an unsympathetic woman who seems to take pleasure in demeaning and intimidating her staff. She makes unfair demands on the teachers (most of which are unneccessary and left to the last moment), is often heard making snide remarks about staff during staff meetings and will belittle teacher's opinions and ideas. For various reasons a large majority of hardworking teachers have been reduced to tears in her office. She is basically a bully. Furthermore, the teachers are simply not supported as proffessionals and the demands (however unreasonable) of the parents and students come first, which can be incredibly frustrating when your genuine priority is the education of the children.

    The negative and highly stressful influence as the head of the school simply feeds down the organisation tree on every level. The entire management team behave in a way which leaves the teachers overwhelmed and edgy. Should you have any objection about your working conditions, demands or hours (often being kept up to 4 hours after the children have left, being TOLD at the last moment to come in at the weekend etc..) you must be prepared to be ignored on EVERY level. Furthermore, all teachers are not treated equally and there are a select few who are exempt from meeting the demands which the other teachers are. They seem to get away with behaving in a way which would see the average teachers fired or, at least, seriously reprimanded. This adds to the awkward working environment and is very frustrating for the average teacher.

    It is true that there are nice members of Spanish staff at the school but the atmosphere does not foster friendships easily.

    On a practical note:

    You will frequently work above and beyond your working hours, including weekends. It was made obligatory that the majority of staff go on the two 1 week residential camps even though they were not needed and the few who were left were overwhelmed with the sub classes back at school.
    All teachers have to do break AND lunch duty EVERY day.
    Teachers have to do bus duty. Going to and/or from school on one of the school coaches to monitor the children.
    You only have 4 free periods a week (45 mins each). However, the school does not employ substitute teachers so, commonly, your free periods are for subbing other teachers.
    You will be expected to produce hefty planning which is given to the parents. All students throughout primary get homework every day and, on average, are tested about 3 times a week. You need to grade your students online for every subject, every week.
    All your photocopies and stationary requests and stringently monitored.
    There is no staffroom to relax in (no kettle/coffee pot/fridge/sofas etc.). Just desks and chairs. You have to buy any refreshments at the school coffee shop (where you can expect every child to be served before you!).
    There are CCTV cameras in the Year 1 & 2 classrooms and lessons are often 'spied' on.
    There are intercoms in every classroom throughout the school which are also used to listen in on your classes.
    The English team produce nearly every extra curricular activity: Halloween, Christmas play, Fallas construction etc. with no compensation made in the timetable (just your breaks and free time).

    Not once during the entire academic year were the staff encouraged or thanked in any way. The family owner of all 3 schools would use the staff meetings she attended as a platform to undermine the members of staff and to basically scream at us how awful she thought we all were, when it it obvious to anyone with any sense that the problems in the school lie with how it is managed. On the last day of the school year there was a staff meeting and the directora couldn't even bring herself to thank her teachers or wish them a good summer.

    I would seriously consider whether you want to pursue a career at this school. There are so many other better options in Valencia, particularly the schools which follow the British curriculum. There are also a lot of academies in Valencia and you can easily earn a good salary, have more sociable hours and a reasonable workload.

    Good luck whatever you choose!

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