The last review was rather humorous but I have to disagree with some bits.
First of all, the students are happy as could be.
The park they play in is a few blocks away and clean, safe and empty. They attend gym, music, and swim once a week. The house and walking rules are strict for the children's safety. The food is restaurant quality and very healthy.
The curriculum is challenging for some but is advanced and impressive. I found the teachers excellent and hard working. Students needing assistance are tutored one-on-one and work is sometimes adjusted to their skill level, making it a very caring and personalized school. The children are respected for their individuality and unique personalities.
On the other hand, it is very "British" as advertised and cliquey. There are strange rules I did not understand as far as the pecking order. I made far less than I did in the US sixteen years ago, basically doing the same job. I also have 11 years of experience teaching and can handle any classroom. I was insulted by the fact that I was not "allowed" to do anything being a lowly assistant (this is strange to me). Voicing my opinion on anything got me nothing but dirty looks. Ironically some days three teachers would be out and I would be in charge of 50 kids for lunch and managed it fine without complaining, running up and down stairs and putting kids in charge.
I found it very difficult to get to the location as Swiss love construction and roads and freeways are constantly blocked. Sometimes it took 15 minutes to get to work, other times 40. I had a small window after dropping my own kids off so I was often a few minutes late, but made up the time (and more) staying many hours after school to work.
I was given no feedback and was never observed by the director. Imagine my surprise when the woman on maternity leave (11 months!) wanted to come back in the middle of the school year. I had bonded with many kids and the class at that point. I don't understand why I was not allowed to finish the school year.
I was promised another position and was rudely dismissed by the director in a cold, harsh manner. No new position was offered, and it left quite a scar on my heart. I was told I did nothing wrong but her mannerisms said otherwise.
Yes parents are not allowed past the lobby and have little to do with the school. Most of them had no idea who I was. I was not mentioned in any newsletter and treated like I was invisible.
If you are a good looking young person with a lovely accent you will fit in fine. Unless you are a teacher don't expect anything you do to be recognized...there aren't even meetings for support staff.
Overall I loved working at ELA and was incredibly bruised by being brushed off and dismissed. I am used to an open, warm, parent-friendly work environment where coworkers meet up and are friendly and inclusive.
The pecking order is strange and for the first time in my life I felt used and replaceable. Since my goal is to have children feel important and secure it was rather demoralizing.
I was actually yelled at twice by the secretary in front of the children and teachers for ridiculous reasons. The director purposely avoided me and my questions up until the day she let me go. I was told I would have another position and none was offered. I found the whole situation confusing and lost confidence in my abilities.
I think consistency is important for kids and I felt as if I lost 30 little pals in one moment. I had been working with kids who needed their confidence boosted and then *poof* I was gone. How is this good for kids?
So..overall that's just my personal experience but the kids ARE happy and teachers are super.