Bray’s English School SANTANDER, northern Spain - HEALTH WARNING!
Bray's English School – “For A Better Future !” ----- jjejjejjejejjeje
Santander is decent little town, but rather quiet. The people are noticeably “cold” compared to other parts of Spain. (That's not bad or good, but just don't expect a warm Mediterranean culture in this part of the country). Also, outside the summer months it’s actually quite cold there. Again, that’s not bad or good. It’s just an unavoidable reality owing to the geography & the climate. (Also, you need to be careful when walking on the pavement, because pet owners use it as a public toilet for their fluffy little darlings).
About the job itself:
When you interview for the job they will make everything sound relaxed & perfect. They will crack jokes and appear to be “cool” in order to pull you into their web. After you first speak to them you will be looking forward to arriving and starting the job.
When I did the interview I was told that they needed me to come “urgently”. So, I got a ticket as soon as possible and arrived within a week.
I soon found out all that had gone on prior to my arrival. The official story was that the previous teacher, who I was to replace, was “sacked”, but some of the students told me that he had “walked out” after arguments with the managers. I also quickly found out that the teacher before him had also disappeared under similar circumstances.... and there were others too!
Very quickly I began to realize the reason for the quick turnover of teachers.
Some of the students are quite nice, and friendly – especially the older ones. But, many of the younger ones actually have no interest at all in being in the class and will make life difficult for you. (For example, when you ask them to do an exercise or a task some of them will refuse to do it, and if you insist they will give you a very “dirty” and grimacing look, as if they are snarling at you. But the older students don't have this attitude problem, and are mostly keen to participate and have a laugh whilst learning).
A big problem in the classes are that the ability levels are not organized at all, so you have advanced level students mixed with others who don’t speak any English. So, inevitably, the students who don’t speak any English complain that they don’t understand anything, while the advanced students obviously claim that it was too easy for them. Of course, YOU will be blamed for this mess.
I told the Bray narcissists about this, and they initially told me “not to worry” about it and to try and “target the language at the middle”. However, in reality this was not a practical solution. I told the Bray narcissists that to resolve these problems they need to organize the classes according to ability levels, as is standard procedure. But, I was told that this would not be financially viable as there were not enough students to guarantee a full class at each ability level. So there you have it. It’s all about the money honey. It’s all motivated by greed and everything else is irrelevant.
Equally, you are not allowed to photocopy handouts for the class, as "this would bankrupt the school"!
The school is completely chaotic – run by the Bray Freak Show. It’s a “family affair” and you have several family members who all act like they are the “boss” and each tell you completely contradictory things about how things work, about what needs to be done and what is expected of you. Actually, the father and son who each think they are the “boss” are both psychopaths, and the son, particularly, is clearly a narcissist. He has all the signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
He screamed at me several times in front of the students, which is completely unprofessional and uncalled for. The Narcissist did this on a few occasions for very minor "infractions" which certainly did not merit such childish behaviour. Certainly, my so-called "infractions" were infinitely less serious than his explosive tantrums, which resembled those of a typical two year old child. Also, he will not hesitate to do this in public, even in front of your students as your class is about to start. Have you ever tried to conduct a fun and good humoured class after being verbally abused in front of your students in such an appalling manner?
So be warned: The Bray Narcissist will be furious with you for any minor "infraction", real or imagined, and even if you have a very valid & legitimate reason. (Of course, disobeying the narcissist, even in an apparently minor or insignificant way, will always produce a fit of Narcissistic Rage).
Brays School will mislead and manipulate you in order to get you there, then they will toss you out when they feel they don’t need you anymore. They are frequently advertising for new teachers on ESL Base & other sites. They usually need to replace teachers each new semester, and they also advertise for "urgent" posts, to replace used up cannon fodder. It’s only a small school with maybe 2 or 3 members of staff who are not “part of the family”. So, why are they CONSTANTLY advertising for new staff? Hopefully, now you will understand why.
I should also point out that I had offered to leave earlier, but they insisted that I stay on. (In life, sometimes things simply don't work out, and when that happens both parties need to be honest and mature about it and part on amicable terms. But, unfortunately a Narcissist is incapable of adult behaviour). Then, after I waited for the new term to start they informed me that my contract was terminated with immediate effect. They did this only a couple of days before the new term began, as they managed to bring another naive fool over at short notice. (So, as a result of their deception I was forced to waste the holiday period there instead of moving on and looking for work in another location. I should also warn you that the town is saturated with English schools, but they are all very small operations and are barely surviving. I believe that Brays was one of the first to set up there and seems to be one of the biggest locally, even though it only has two or 3 teachers who are not part of the "Family Narcissist Club"). I feel that I did a reasonably good job, especially given the chaotic circumstances that reign there. And, more importantly, I had acted in good faith, so I knew that I had done nothing wrong. So, I did not hesitate to ask them for a reference accounting for my time there, and they said that it would not be a problem. However, in reality they refused to write any work reference for me and I never received one from them even though I requested it several times.
So, the main point I want to highlight is that they are not straightforward or honest people. They will not play fair and they will lie to you. They will also consistently blame you for their own shortcomings and failures.
Also, if you are ill, even if it is very serious requiring IMMEDIATE MEDICAL INTERVENTION, they will NOT GIVE YOU TIME OFF in order to go and get a doctor’s appointment. So, be warned, if you work for them DO NOT GET ILL! (Obviously I am referring to UNPAID time off, as expecting any “paid” time off from these rascals would just be plain silly).
The other two “non-family” teachers who were there at the same time as me also left a short time after. I also noticed that the school managers tried to prevent the teachers from talking with each other during our breaks. Of course, it is painful for the Narcissist to see other people talking about the obvious nonsense and their own arbitrary and infantile behaviour. (It felt like a reign of terror hung over us, and we felt afraid to be seen “cavorting” with each other in any way. Even minor chit-chat between us was effectively prohibited).
Well, the Narcissist is an expert at generating an atmosphere of fear and will always try to terrorize his “insignificant underlings”. Don’t forget: you are only really there to serve the egotistical needs of the Narcissist. In their eyes you are not a human and don’t deserve to be treated as one.
Just to give you an extra taste of what kind of dodgy and cheap characters you are dealing with here, I should let you know that there is usually a pretty, and very helpful, young girl who does the reception and some of the admin duties. While I was there the girl was replaced for another cute girl. Owing to my obvious naivety I couldn't understand why one girl was replaced by another so quickly, especially as I knew that the other girl was extremely good natured and hard working So, I discreetly asked somebody about this and they informed me that the girls are only taken on as “interns”, which means that legally they are not even entitled to the measly salary that is offered in Spain. I thought that this was a very crude and unfair arrangement, as these young girls are clearly doing a full day’s work and not getting paid for it. The school is taking advantage that people are desperate for work in Spain and they will take literally anything. It is quite disgusting that the Bray Freak Show think that this is acceptable behaviour, but it just demonstrates what kind of people they are.
Spain is a beautiful country, and this is a problem because many teachers are willing to sacrifice their dignity and be mistreated, verbally abused and underpaid simply to be able to experience the “real Spain”. English schools actively take advantage of the willingness of naïve foreigners to come and live in Spain. At the end of the day, it is simply not worth teaching in Spain under such conditions. They don’t want employees. They just want slaves. If you do insist on going to work in Spain, you would be advised to stay away from Brays unless you really enjoy working with psychopaths in what is truly a family Freak Show.
(Please note: Here I am referring to their school in SANTANDER. Please be warned, for your own health and wellbeing).