Thursday, September 13, 2012

My ABC School Experience

After searching for jobs all day long, I just need to take a few moments and rant. I had quite an experience with a "special" school down here on the Cote d'Azur. The school I am referring to is called ABC School, and it has quite the level of professionalism, to say the least.

To start my story, I must provide some background information.

On August 26th, Olivier came across an online posting of a bilingual school looking for elementary and secondary teachers. I had been previously warned about ABC School from a friend that had worked there for a few days and left because it was so horrible. I was hesitant, but decided that if the position was something I was interested in, I could handle it for a year, at least for the experience. I sent an e-mail, explaining that I was an American secondary education teacher with degrees in mathematics and history and that if they were interested, to please e-mail me back, as I was not in France and had my French cell phone turned off until I returned on the 29th.

The next morning I received an e-mail asking if I could come in for an interview on the morning of the 30th. I responded in the affirmative, asking for the interview time and a contact number in case I had flight troubles and was unable to make it. I never received a response, but I did receive a call, despite telling them that I was not using my French phone. It happened to be on, as I was listening to my itunes, so I heard it ring. I called back in a few minutes via skype and set up the interview time, etc. At this time, I still didn't know the details, but I assumed my degrees had something to do with the type of job offered.

On the morning of August 30th, I drove to my interview. Right away, I found out that the only position available was an elementary position. I decided to stick it out and listen to what the job entailed before making a decision. The school needed a teacher to teach two levels of students, ages 9-10 and 10-11, including the following subjects: English, history, geography, science, sport and aid in theatre, all of which to be conducted in solely English. This is not exactly what I had in mind. Anyway, it went pretty well, even though I knew this was not at all for me. I decided right after leaving that to accept this type of job would be irresponsible and a total disaster. A few hours later, I received a call from the school, offering me the job. I turned them down, knowing I would not be a good fit, explaining that I was a secondary teacher, and elementary was not for me.

Yesterday, Olivier sent me a link to a job posting at ABC School. This time they were searching for a secondary math/science teacher. This was definitely more suited to my credentials. I figured I'd send them an e-mail with my resume. In the e-mail, I explained my credentials and that I had been previously offered a job, but did not accept it because I am a secondary teacher and the position was not right for me. I also asked for more information about what the job entailed, in order for me to know if it suited me or not. The worst they could say was no. Boy, was I mistaken.

I received quite an interesting response a few hours later. Apparently they don't like me and took my refusal of the original position very personally. I was just trying to do the right thing. I honestly find their e-mail to me quite humorous. It is something I would expect from immature teenagers rather than a "professional" school. Anyway, here is what they had to say, word for word.

"Mrs Brugger,

This Science teacher position is for a native French speaker, all our Mathematics, Physics and Science are taught in French and require a lot of experience in the preparation of the Brevet des collèges and the French Science Baccalauréat. You do not have the diplomas for this position and the experience required.

You also do not have the right diplomas to teach as an English teacher in a secondary school in an International school where the level is much higher then in a French school. You would have needed to teach Grammar, Oral and Written expression, English litterature, history and geography with different levels of english at a time in one classroom. We do not think you have the necessary skills to apply for this kind of position yet.

Regarding your poor teaching experience you might have been able to teach the primary school children. Even teaching the primary school children Maths, Science, History, Geography and English as a foreign language may have been hard for you.
Since you didn't accept this position please stop sending us your resumé, we won't propose you any other position.


Yikes! I was shocked and humored, being that it was such a personal attack, and quite unprofessional. I've never been turned down in such an insulting manner. I didn't mean them any insult. I decided that I should just write a quick response, letting them know that they would never have to deal with me again.

 "I appreciate your thorough critique. As I'm obviously not at all qualified to teach at such a high-caliber school, I'm surprised I was offered a position in the first place. It makes me wonder why you are always searching for teachers...hmm. I originally sent in my CV for a secondary position and did not take the position because it ended up being only for elementary. I am not one to quit during the school year, although I know others that have after only a few days at your school. Good luck in your continuous teacher search. Don't worry, I'll never send you my CV again. I do not wish to be a part of your school. 


Elizabeth Brugger"

So there you have it, my ABC School experience. Nice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the job hunt after a great summer of fun

About a year ago, I pretty much abandoned my poor excuse for a blog, but due to some encouragement and inspiration from great bloggers (such as Katie), I've decided to get back into it, at least for one entry (I know myself too well to make blog promises).

Anyway, I'm back in France, and for the first time, I have the right to work. In the past, I was allowed to be an au pair and English assistant, but that's about it. Now, the sky's the limit...sort of. Since I got back to Nice, I've been interviewing, searching for jobs on the internet, and sending resumes and cover letters to anything I find the least bit suitable to me. So far, I haven't had much luck, and am looking for something temporary until I find something that I love. After all, a girl's gotta eat. For an interview on Thursday, I have to take a mathematics exam. Math is undeniably my strong suit, but it's been awhile. I've spent hours doing practice calculus problems and looking up tons of rules online. It's coming back, but slowly. I need a cheat sheet for all of the complicated integrals (it's been too long!). I had an interview for an English teaching position at a small business-English company, but I'm not sure if I have enough experience teaching English compared to other candidates. I also interviewed at a private, bilingual elementary school last week and was offered the job. I didn't take it because it was way out of my comfort and interest zones, and I've been warned about this school before. I didn't want to set myself up for a miserable school year. Anyway, my life can presently be describes as "on the job hunt." Yippee.

Now on to more pleasant things...
I had a wonderful summer in Michigan with some of my favorite people. I spent countless days at Lake Michigan, one of the best places on Earth, in my opinion. Clear water, sugary sand, blue skies...yes please.

 I spent almost every day with my mom and many nights were spent around a card table playing euchre (an awesome game loved by Michiganders and a few others). There is never a dull moment at the annual Brugger family reunion, which was in July this year. Lots of laughs, tubing, beaches, campfires, and even Kait's wedding occupied our week together. I had a great time getting to know Frannie, my family's new chocolate lab. She's hilarious and I love her. That's Frannie on the right, next to Ollie.

Then the summer came to an end with a wonderful visit from Olivier. We spent a week in Northern Michigan, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the beaches. Then we headed to Washington, D.C. We went with Julie and Dave, one of my favorite couples.  We even got a White House tour! We had a wonderful time in D.C. and on the road with our travel companions.

I'll leave you with a few of my favorite summer shots.