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Minerva School, Gracias Honduras

 
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brian1972



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 73
Location: Pachuca Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject: Minerva School, Gracias Honduras Reply with quote

MOD EDIT I want to warn other teachers so they will not end up in the same situation we were in.

MOD EDIT Please PM me if you want more info. I would be glad to help you out.

Several teachers have already left this school THIS year. The school is in poor repair, the housing is poor and the owner is absolutly awful to work for. She is in charge of everything, from your passport to your lesson plans. Passports were an issue all year. The lady is on a huge power trip.

I will say, the town of Gracias is plesant, although rustic. Quiet nice, safe place to live and the students of the school are nice kids.

I would never recommend this school to anyone.
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mtmcclellan



Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Minerva School Reply with quote

I am posting this as reminder to all to read every post with a bit of caution and common sense. Every post is an opinion based on both positive and/or negative experiences. I am currently a teacher at Minerva. This is my second year here. There are THREE other teachers also here for their second years. While it is true that two teachers have left us this year, it was not because of the school or of the administration. These two teachers left for personal reasons that are their own and not to be discussed in an open forum.

On the topic of the administration, I have to disagree with the previous post. In my opinion the administration has always gone out of their way to resolve any issues that may have arisen. Of course they are in charge of everything from lesson plans to passports, and want to make sure that every class is properly planned for. Minerva is not a school in the States, but it is still a school. To my knowledge no member of the administration has ever changed or told a teacher to change their lessons for a class.

I do agree with the previous post concerning the town of Gracias and the students. The town is small with mostly cobblestone streets. It is a warm community that looks after its people and guests. The students are really the heart of the school. Like all other students in all other schools they can be challenging at times. However, when it’s all said and done, they will win over your heart if you let them in.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or disagreements.
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brian1972



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 73
Location: Pachuca Mexico

PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed that it is a good idea to read both positive and negative comments. If you are going to teach aborad, getting more than one opinion is very important.

Obviously we (my husband and I) taught with the above teacher last year (hello M!). I have no bad feelings for him or the other teachers that remained a second year. They are good people who have good intentions and are actually really great teachers. However, with the exception of one teacher... I heard negative comments from each returning teacher about the owner of the school during the last school year. I was not under the impression that any of them LIKED the tactics of the owner, just that they wanted to return to the school for the sake of the students. In fact, more than one of the returning teachers expressed interest in leaving Honduras at various times throughout the school year.

If it were not for the school director/owner... this school would be a fairly pleasant place to work. The Honduran staff is nice, principal (although quirky) is a nice lady and as I said previously the kids are good as well.
It is more of a "volunteer" experience vs a "living wage". Peace Corps workers in town make about the same amount, although the school does pay for housing. The school is lacking in even the basic necesities, toliet paper was a constant challenge last year for example.

Your experience as a teacher here will depend entirely on whether or not the owner likes you. If you can keep your opinions to yourself and not question her or her major power trip and stand being walked all over... you should be fine.

Last year one teacher returned at the last minute and this year 4 teachers returned this year. These are the first return teachers to the school. All previous years they had numerous teachers leave.

I think the third grade teacher from last year may beg to differ on if the school asked for lessons to be changed or not. She was *lucky* enought to teach the owners son.

I urge whomever thinks of working at this school in the future to contact teachers from last year and previous years. The school year we were hired, the school only gave us one contact person. This same person wrote a review on the Minerva school website. I recommend you get several more. I currently work with a teacher from last year and am in contact with 4 other non returning teachers. I would be happy to ask them to provide information and or email address to anyone interested in other opinions. Just PM me.

I agree to dissagree with the previous poster Smile
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just_a_mirage



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 157
Location: ecuador

PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be very, very concerned about any school that wanted to keep my passport, and would NEVER hand it over. As an American, Canadian citizen, etc, that is YOUR property and NO ONE else ever has the right to control it. What if you should have a medical or family emergency? Not to mention that if you are not in control of your passport, how can you be sure that it is not being used in a fraudelent manner? Passports can be used for rental contracts, to establish credit, open bank accounts etc. I would never let any one else be in control of my passport.
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juleschristine



Joined: 28 Oct 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am one of the four returning teachers. Obviously I cannot post without bias, but I will post honestly from my personal experiences at the school.

I taught for 3 years in Texas before moving to Honduras. While there are many differences in terms of resources available, I don’t find that my expectations as an employee are very different. Yes, we are required to turn in lesson plans…although not to the owner of the school as stated above. There is a liaison between the English teachers and the administration. The owner does have a strong involvement in the day to day business of the school, which I find refreshing. We work and we work hard, but I find that with any job. We have never been asked to revise lesson plans. Yes there are times when an unexpected band practice might pop up and we have to switch some classes around. Again, this is no different than any school I have taught at. I actually find that we are given a lot more liberties in the classroom. There few obligations after school, minus the occasional staff meeting.

I have never had any problems with the owner and I actually feel that she goes out of her way to resolve any discontent that you have. If you’re not happy with your housing (which is WAY above par for Honduran standards) she will go out of her way to help you find a place where you can be happy. She also does small things to show her appreciation. Just this week she told the teachers she knows that we’re all working so hard…especially with the loss of teachers (which I would like to emphasize again had NOTHING to do with the school) and she treated everyone to a trip to the hot springs to relax. She has done similar gestures on many occasions.

As far as the passports are concerned, we are not REQUIRED to turn them into the school. There is always the option of renewing your own visa by leaving the country, as I did last year. The passports are only handed over for visa extensions if you want the school to pay for it.

I truly care about these kids at this school and feel that they need and deserve GREAT teachers. My above comments reflect my honest opinions, and have nothing to do with the fact that I’m a current teacher at the school. I love this school, the families and this town. They have welcomed me with open arms and I feel at home here. Please feel free to ask any questions. I promise to be honest, even if the truth isn’t pretty.
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vkatzl



Joined: 02 Nov 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello. I am currently teaching at Minerva School. I was stunned to read the negative comments about the owner of the school. In my opinion, the owner of the school is an extremely kind person and tries to accommodate the teachers as much as posssible.

As everyone has said, it is always good to talk to as many teachers as you can before taking a teaching position.
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