Falando de escola…

Here is a follow up on the schooling saga: (here is the last time I spoke about that)

As you might remember, last year my boys were attending a private school in Rondônia. We were living downtown and the school was right next door. Very practical since they were attending the morning shift from 7:30AM to noon.

Since it was a “Lutheran” school which used to belong to (or be affiliated with) (I’m not sure of the technicalities) our church, our kids were offered free tuition. This was great because we couldn’t possibly afford tuition for the three of them (that would sum up to the equivalent of one entire minimum wage salary per month — not gonna happen). But although the tuition was free for us, there were very expensive apostilas (some sort of big exercise books with all the academic program) to buy every semester and you should have seen the school supplies list at the beginning of the year, it was as long as my arm! And that was for each one of my boys! And they are all in pre-school!!!

So, even if the private school was “free”, it wasn’t really.

I was constantly frustrated with the teachers. They would send homework that would be either full of spelling mistakes, hard to understand (I would often go to my husband to see if I had lost something in translation) or clearly way above our children’s comprehension: Once they were asked to complete a crossed word puzzle, but didn’t know yet how to spell!

The list of mind boggling shit that went on in that school goes on and on, but as a result of our experience and circumstances of our move, we decide to enroll them in the public school system this year.

So upon arrival in Goiás, hubby took care of finding out were would our children study. The public system here is either funded by the town (municipal), the state (estadual) or federal.

First surprise is that we were apparently following a new education law back in Rondônia, but now we have to follow an old law here in Goiás regarding standard school age. So the twins (5) who were attending the last year of pre-school last year and were supposed to start first-year, are repeating the last pre-school year again. Not that it make much difference because I can’t say that they are advanced for their age (yes, they are bilingual, but that’s beside the point).

The school is downtown and we live much further from it. So it makes a much earlier rising and a short commute with the car. The morning shift here is from 7:00AM to 11:00AM… Ow. The building itself is clearly under funded (not a surprise), but it looks much cleaner than the private school in Rondônia. The teachers too seem to know what they are doing. My boys’ home works are typically pages and pages of letters and numbers to write, they have learned the vowels and are starting spelling with a B-A BA method that I remember well 😉 , all of which was completely ignored last year!  I am finally starting to see some progress in their alphabetization. I am relieved.

Unfortunately, to illustrate the under-funded problem, the teachers were on strike a couple of weeks ago. They had not been paid their salaries since the beginning of the school year… Can you imagine? The story I’ve heard is that the current mayor had thought that nobody would notice if he took a little bit of money on the side… His lawyer and the teacher’s syndicate lawyer got involved, and as we say, the shit hit the fan!

Anyway, I understand that the teachers needed to go on strike, but on the mean time, I had no idea when would my kids go back to school… The Schmilblick went on for three weeks. There was no sign on the closed door of the school, no official note to the parents, nothing. I asked around and the apology that I would receive was along the lines of “Ah yes, that’s the way things are done here, you have to hear the news through the grapevine“. Well apparently unlike the rest of the moms, I am not plugged to the grapevine because I showed up many days with kids in tow at 7:00AM (I am rarely well awaken at that hour) to a closed door and nobody in sight…

Today the kids are back in school and will be for many Saturday mornings too, to catch up on the missed days.

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