I must admit this post took a long time to write. I had to figure out if I should be brutally honest or sugar coat my experience. In the end I choose honesty because WTF?
At the end of the first year after the official visit by the incoming Director, some of us on the international staff came away puzzled. No one knew what to expect and then there was the email…😣😐
In June right before the end of the year an email was sent to all the staff from her and it was rude and insensitive…she proceeded to tell us that we needed to get our acts together, what would not be tolerated the next year and ended by saying that some of us ladies may need to go shopping over the summer to get in line with the new dress code. Huh?
We were blindsided, bamboozled, led astray…😂😂 I am being dramatic because I sensed the other shoe was about to drop…and it was not pretty y’all; folks be acting up when they have power😂😂.
And drop it did on the first day of orientation. She stood up in front of the entire staff and basically told us a new sheriff was in town; that she knew some of us didn’t want to work for her and were sad that the other Director left but she would not tolerate dissent. We should get in line or give our notice by the November deadline or we wouldn’t get a good recommendation. Talk about mouths dropped open at the audacity; we had a good laugh but truly we were horrified😂😂😣😣.
So without getting into all of the ugliness that occurred that year, she continued to act like a bully…she sent out emails to all staff questioning certain staff’s decisions, she called people down to her office to question their decisions and she sided with parents over the teachers. OMG seriously?
It was a rough year for some of us… but here I only speak for myself to respect their privacy. I could give more examples but you get the idea of the atmosphere that year 😭😭😭 The new principal did not have our backs because she was besties with the Director and her only interest was in making
the rich and influential certain parents happy 🙄🙄. Truthfully most of the time she didn’t seem to know what to do as a new principal.
You may be asking how I remember these details so many years later…well remember how I said I have a low tolerance for mean people? To me this woman was a grown up mean girl and while I may not remember all her words, the way she mistreated and disrespected people stayed with me 😣😣
There were so many instances of her rudeness and insensitivity to certain teachers and staff 😣😣
Like when I told her I was allergic to the the carpet they put in my office over the summer. She refused to pull it up but instead told me they would clean it more often. I spent many days sitting outside on the patio working when it got to be too much and going home with a migraine 🙄.
She treated some of the staff like they were disposable and ended not renewing most of the international staff’s contracts and others just choose to leave, it was a toxic environment. But that’s enuff about the negative.
The good part… 🤗🤗
I loved living in Jamaica just like I loved living in the DMV area and I was sad to be leaving Jamaica. I was happy and comfortable there the first year and I had some good friends, it was close to Barbados so I could go to Crop Over in August and Reggae Fest in the Spring and see my Gran more often. But it turned out to be the best thing that she didn’t renew my contract because I was pushed to reconsider where I wanted to go next. I had always stayed kind of close to my family because it gave me the opportunity to see my family at Christmas and Thanksgiving and the summers.
However having to look for another job pushed me to take a huge leap and pursue a dream I had let go of…living and working somewhere on the African continent. So I narrowed my search and started to apply not really knowing where I would end up
This time the process took a little longer, I wasn’t seeing many only HS counseling openings but in January I came across one and applied and in early Feb I got an offer for a HS Counselor position in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It seemed like the best fit professionally – it was a 11/12 School Counselor position so the case load would be smaller than AISK and for that I was grateful.
What I loved about living in Jamaica although some things took long #sooncome meant nothing lol 😍 :
I ran out of passport pages and had to pay to get additional pages
I went to Calabash Literary festival in Treasure Beach and met Jamaica Kincaid 🤗🤗
I had a monthly masseuse come to my apartment and it was lovely
I saw Beres Hammond (one of my favs), Chaka Khan, Aaron Neville and the O’Jays at the Jazz & Blues Festival in Trelawny
I saw Sizzla perform
I went to Barbados for the Reggae on the hill concert it was that close
I continued to go to soca parties and ate a lot of fish and tried to get to beach as often as I could 😍😍
The cohort of international staff had pool parties and house get togethers and went on mini vacations to the beach
I went to Dunns River Falls
I continued to see so many amazing dance performances
I got invited by NYU Abu Dhabi to visit their campus in Abu Dhabi for my first major international trip which was awesome…winning 🤗🤗
I had bonded with the group of seniors because I knew them from the year before and I was excited and proud of the university acceptances and scholarship offers 😍😍
The school in Ethiopia flew me out to Addis to visit the school for another major international trip…winning 🤗🤗
Overall living in Jamaica was very nice personally.
Professionally the year was a mixed bag and in June I was ready to leave that administration in my rear view. Of course many people choose to stay and had a very different experience and I am happy that they were able to survive the drama. Jamaicans like to say hush when they’re soothing you, we did a lot of that during the year. I left hoping to never lay eyes on those two ladies again 😣😣 and so far I have been lucky #lata #ontothenextone #fakemeanpeoplearetheworst
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Next post…There was so much good times in Jamaica, but the Motherland was up next and I was extremely excited 🤗🤗!!!