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International School of Macae // Rio de J.

 
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Special Report



Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: International School of Macae // Rio de J. Reply with quote

The International School of Macae indicates it is in a suburb of Rio with about 500 students catering to the oil and gas families of the area.

Anyone familiar with this area and heard about or worked with the school, I'd love to hear about your experience and your perspective of what the school might be about.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Special Report
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CAPIVARA



Joined: 23 Jan 2011
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject: working in Macae- not relevant but may attract some anwers! Reply with quote

I started this thread on gringoes.com about working in Macae.

http://www.gringoes.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11286&PN=1
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though this thread is old, I thought I'd do the right thing and warn people about this school.

This is a woefully poor school, so much so that it is quite hard to believe. It has been a couple of years since I left the school now so I can write from a balanced and impassionate perspective. Around 60% of the school’s staff are Brazilian and from a former cult named “The Family”. This cult is infamous for its pedophilia and one may be forgiven for asking why a school would be so closely linked with such a creepy cult. Though they claim to be ex members of the cult, their cliquish behavior and religiosity can seem odd and often exclusionary.

Macaé is an oil-boom city and consequently quite dangerous. One teacher was raped in her apartment and another robbed in broad daylight and at gunpoint. The city is also very ugly and polluted; open sewers that will make you gag, a destroyed beach promenade, trash left to fester and stink and rats running across your feet. Despite being in Rio de Janeiro state, Macaé is two hours from the city of Rio, a ride that will cost around $25 USD (one way) and an expense that makes trips unfeasible on the teacher’s paltry salary.

Which brings me to cost of living; Macaé is expensive! A shopping cart of basic groceries will cost around $200 USD. It amazed me how the poorer people of the city could eat at all but it also explained the rampant and violent crime. I did not feel safe in this city. Tell Brazilians you live in Macaé and they will remark how dangerous the city is. Eating out in Macaé would cost a minimum of $30 USD per person in a restaurant, a mixed drink will cost $8 - $10 USD. This is an oil boom city, full of young “rough necks” with lots of money, little taste and a penchant for prostitutes and alcohol – consequently, you will find prices to match their budgets, not yours. Travelling around Brazil is also expensive; a hotel room in Rio for example is a minimum of $100 USD per night and a bed in hostel dormitory costs around $50 USD per night. Forget about having weekends in Rio, you just can’t afford it – you’re gonna stay in Macaé. Every teacher, regardless of experience or education, earns $1600 USD a-month BEFORE tax which is about 20%. Salaries are only increased dependent on the years you spend at ISM - nothing, not a Master's, a Ph.D or anything else will raise your salary above this paltry amount.

There are very few resources, teachers are expected to buy there own. There is no photocopier only a printer and teachers are expected to give FIVE days notice to print something out, despite the school being very small. The acreage of the schools is tiny, perhaps 5 or 6 acres and every square yard is built upon. There is NO grass on the school grounds. The owner has found a way to build more and more building to hustle in more and more fee-paying customers. It really is quite sad to see that the kids have no space to run and play. It is a very ugly school.

Being the only international school in an oil-boom city means that ISM can charge whatever it likes to the parents, and they take full advantage of that power. ISM is one of the most expensive schools in Brazil and there are some incredibly impressive international schools in Brasilia and Sao Paulo, world-class in fact. ISM beats almost all of them in terms of tuition fees though, charging a whopping $2000 USD per student, per month. You might imagine that the students at least get a good education – IB or IGCSE for example. But the students do not even get a curriculum and often the teachers do not even have a college degree. The students are taught from The University of Nebraska’s home schooling books; books that cost the school just a couple of hundred dollars to buy, that are written for parents; books that are meant to be used at home not at a school! Even the worst schools you can think of don’t use home schooling books, self-study books! Because these books are made to be self-study the teachers just babysit the students, mess around on the internet and walk around the class. It is disgusting. And if the parents were paying for the tuition instead of the oil companies they work for there would be no way the school could get away with it. The students could get the same education at home for a couple of hundred dollars instead of almost $50,000 a-year. The only difference in being ‘taught’ at ISM instead of being at home, being home-schooled is that the bored kids actually get to socialize. None of us could quite believe that the school was getting away with it. It really is reprehensible.

The entire middle and high school consists of only 15 children. That’s right, 15 children. The children mostly come from the UK and the US and are really quite sweet. They are bored, disaffected and often neglected though and unfortunately often turn to alcohol, wild parties and drugs. The parents don’t seem to disapprove of the wild drinking so much, but then the parents are “rough necks” and alcoholism and machismo is rife in their industry. Students can regularly be heard telling stories of drunkenness and sexual encounters of a frequency and extremity that is rarely encountered by a teacher, even by one such as myself with several years of inner-city experience.

Accommodation is on school grounds, either in one big house or in one of three tiny adjacent apartments with a shared kitchen. There is very little privacy and one can hear all conversations in full. The accommodation however, is right next to a cobblestone road and the noise from the passing cars will drown out your conversations and wake you up startled in the middle of the night. You will be watched and studied by a cleaner who reports back to Leslie da Mota, the reluctant owner of the school. The cleaner will report on the trash you throw away (there was a cigarette butt in there!), your clothes were on the floor; a banana was left in the room! Leslie will freak out. Cleanliness in your apartment is VERY important to Leslie. One morning all teachers were pulled out of our classes and told to run back to the house, Leslie was pulling at her hair because one of the teachers left a couple of chairs outside. All furniture in the accommodation must not be moved, it is sad, but all furniture must be left exactly as her deceased mother left it.

It is the administration which really makes the school unbearable though. Apart from being intensely greedy with regards to the tuition fees, they are utterly inept and unqualified in my opinion. Leslie assumed the helm of the school after the rather tragic death of her mother. Leslie is a trained lawyer and has no interest in education that I have seen and I believe she took control of the school out of a sense of duty after her mother’s death. Leslie is an incredibly neurotic woman who will change her mind at a whim leaving you high and dry. Did she say you’d get a pay rise? Well, she’s changed her mind now. Oh, she said you’d get that promotion? No, no – not anymore. Sometimes I would send Leslie an email and it would not be answered for over a month, when I would finally see her in the school (rare) when she would see me, she would literally sprint away in the other direction. Her lack of professionalism astounded us all; it was staggering. Leslie will brag about weekend trips to LA to buy “a new wardrobe” of clothes while the teachers struggle to save a few hundred dollars a month. She's not a bad person though - just absolutely not qualified or experienced to be running a school.

I am really trying to think of something positive to write. Looking back, it seems like a blackhole in my life, I wonder where it went. I found a beautiful part of Brazil, a little town far away from Macaé which I fell in love with; I guess that’s a positive thing to write, but about Macaé, no. One or two of the teachers were nice, but very inexperienced and apart from a couple, very unqualified.

On the whole, I feel quite sure this is the worst school in Brazil and perhaps a contender for worst school in South America. Even if you’re a newly-qualified teacher, don’t think about it, trust me; YES, it can be that bad. I have no memories from then, I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. I just fantasized about the future all the time. Now I am in the Middle East, in a country generally regarded as an absolute nightmare to live in and I am so, so much happier. So, I guess I found one positive thing to say about the International School of Macaé, if you work here for a year, it will make all the other schools seem happy and satisfying.

The International School of Macaé: not even once. Not even once.
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