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School: Inter American Academy - Guayaquil Ecuador
Director’s name: Rob Gronniger 2006 - 2009
Dr. Maureen O'Shaughnessy 2005 -2006

Dates covered: 2004 - 2009
 
 
Evaluation 2). 2006 - 2009 Rob Gronniger
 
 
Academic integrity of school 10 is top score
10
Effectiveness of administration
9
Academic and disciplinary support provided
7
Director's involvement in academics
-
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
8
School has adequate educational materials on hand
7
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
7
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
6
Satisfaction with housing
10
Community offers a variety of activities
4
Availability and quality of local health care
9
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
10
Extra curricular load is reasonable
10
           

Comments: At the end of the 2005/2006 school year Dr. O'Shaughnessy left the school for personal reasons and to pursue new adventures overseas. Our new director, Rob Gronniger, manages the school in a very different style than did Maureen, but continues the tradition of taking an active interest in the well being of his staff. The school remains a quality place to teach in which your voice is heard and respected. We are currently only in our tenth month of school and it is obvious that the trend is a positive one. The school is, however, always in a money crunch and inexpensive things like DVD players are not in the budget to be replaced as they break. This can be frustrating if you previously taught at a school with deep pockets. The phrase, "it's not in the buddget", is a common expression at the Inter American Academy.

The staff continues to be a cohesive group that works well together. I would not hesitate for a minute to recommend this school. There is a good number of teachers leaving at the end of the school year. This is because many are completing their third year here and Guayaquil just does not hold enough interest to keep too many people here for four or more years. With a number of openings coming up this may be a good opportunity to land a position in a good situation.

Unfortunately, Guayaquil lacks any sense of ethnicity and the people demonstrate a complete lack of any social sense. The students tend to lack motivation and many of the parents support their lack of motivation. The administration does, however, stand behind the teachers and grades are given on a merit basis with no funny business going on. I am happy at school but after school and on weekends the only thing to do is go to the mall.

 
Evaluation 1). 2004 - 2006 Maureen O'Shaughnessy
 
 
Academic integrity of school
10
Effectiveness of administration
10
Academic and disciplinary support provided
10
Director's involvement in academics
8
Fair and equitable treatment by board and director
10
School has adequate educational materials on hand
9
Attitude of local community towards foreigners
9
Cost of living in relation to salary (10= most favorable)
6
Satisfaction with housing
8
Community offers a variety of activities
7
Availability and quality of local health care
8
Assistance with visas, shipping and air travel
10
Extra curricular load is reasonable
10
           

Comments: Comments: The Inter*American Academy is a pre-K through 12th grade international school teaching an American curriculum. The students are easy going and semi-motivated. Overall, the school has a very positive feel to it and you always get the feeling that things are moving forward; which they are. Students like the atmosphere of the school and tend to hang around after school to socialize and enjoy the many after-school activities being offered. Many positive comments are heard from parents.

Dr. Maureen O'Shaughnessy is the executive director. She has the ability to empower her teachers to work to their potential and exercise their creative abilities. She is open to new ideas and is not threatened by teachers that know more about a particular topic than she does. Instead she puts that teachers knowledge to good use. Yes, no micro managing goes on at this school. Instead, you find support, encouragement and a very positive attitude. I also must add that Dr. O'Shaughnessy is one of the moret fair people I have had the pleasure to know. The teachers are a good group to work with. You don’t find little groups here with their own agenda and I would say the faculty is very much a unified group that enjoys each other’s company.

The school owns a building with a number of spacious, and not so spacious, apartments in it. The building is located in the same exclusive housing development as the school. Teachers can make the fifteen-minute walk to school in the morning and enjoy the tranquility. The apartment building has a pool and just down the way, a few hundred feet, is a small yacht club. From the upper floor of the apartment building you can see the water and the sunset. If given the choice to rent your own place and receive a housing allowance, or move into the teacher's condo, you should consider that in Guayaquil utilities are calculated based on the neighborhood you live in, and since the teachers condo is in one of the best areas of town you can end up paying 3 times the cost for utilities as compared to other parts of town. I'll tell you more about this later.

Guayaquil is a large city but it completely lacks anything in the way of ethnicity. There are modern malls and movie theaters and here are plenty of restaurants serving everything from gourmet food to Taco Bell. The malls have food courts and you can find just about everything there at a good price. Supermarkets are modern and some resemble Wall Mart. Guayaquil is a US wannabe. The music scene seems to be practically non existent as do other cultural events. What cultural events there are seem to be lacking in one way or another and never quite right. These events are also expensive to attend. There is also little in the way of interesting architecture, traffic can be very bad and for the most part the roads are not in good shape and full of large busses with rude and aggressive drivers.

The Ecuadorians are not a particularly friendly group. Most are uneducated - including those with money. Line cutting, pushing and refusal to make way as you push your shopping cart down the isle, is common. In general the people lack any sense of manners and this is demonstrated in most aspects of daily life. It seems the more money they have the ruder they are! A trip to Mexico City or Panama will quickly remind you how humans being should act towards each other. It will also point out the complete lack of any culture in Guayaquil. If you like malls you'll love it here.

Not much English is spoken outside of school. But a little Spanish will go a very long way here. If you want to learn and practice Spanish this is the place to do it. There are plenty of taxis and busses and it’s easy to get around any time of the day or night. A ride across town or to the airport is between $6 and $8 dollars. A bicycle would serve you well for getting around the complex where the teachers condo and school are located. The area hosts a gym (free to teachers but very hot to work out in), a few small stores, hair salons and a sidewalk café.

Naturally, the pay is not on par with Asia and if money is a concern you should calculate your financial responsibilities carefully. You will pay social security each month at approximately 5% of your paycheck. Electricity and water are high and you can figure on at least $50 - $60 per month for these two items. Internet is about $56 a month for the bottom of the line DSL connection and cable TV weighs in at about $40 per month. In Guayaquil, food prices in restaurants is on par with the U.S. A couple has a much better saving potential than a single teacher that may end up spending their entire paycheck each month.

Travel within the country is cheap and other cities such as Montenita (at the beach) Cuenca and Quito are much less expensive and offer a far more ethnic flavor. A one or two hour drive from the school will put you at a tropical beach where you can surf, boogie board or book a dive trip. The mountains are also nearby. A one hour flight to Quito only cost $100 round trip. The airport is very modern and a breeze to get through. Customs is very relaxed and it’s easy to bring in electronics and other personal items with out any hassle.

If you are looking for a culturally rich experience and motivated students, Guayaquil is not the place. On the other hand, two years here may be just fine for perfecting your Spanish and getting some international exposure.