2010–2023 Writings
by Michelle Margaret Fajkus

I am not trying to destroy Life School.

Written in


Let’s get the story straight.

I was a good teacher. I loved my job. Then, everything changed.

I was fired. I was gonna let it go. Cut my losses. Move on.

Then, the school filed a denuncio (restraining order) against me. Unprovoked. I then pursued my rights and was told by the Guatemalan government that I was owed a certain amount of severance pay.

The school is willing to pay me zero in severance pay, as I was a “volunteer teacher.”

My argument is that I was only a volunteer in word; in deed I was an employee and my family was dependent on the income from the job. Further, the work environment and lack of community or support at the school this year, in stark contrast from my first two years there, is what led me to the point of such distress that I could not go on working there.

About two weeks ago, after our first meeting with the judge, due to my own desire to let it go and move on, I decided to drop the case.

I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle, and no matter what the judge says, I am not going to continue the legal process. I told a few friends but not the school or the general public.

It has come to my attention that I was brought up and talked about at length at a parent meeting at the school recently. They presented it as, Michelle’s suing the school and if she wins that money is coming out of the scholarship fund. So now I’m the villain. Apparently some indigenous Maya parents want to circulate a letter saying not to hire me or work with me as an English teacher. In fact, I have already lost at least two work opportunities due to what happened with Life School and the rampant gossip in this relatively tiny community.

To set the record straight: it is not my intention to ruin Life School or take money from the scholarship fund. I am dropping the case. I wish the best for the school, and I have a lot of ideas about how it could change for the better. Sadly, the educational center does not seem willing to change or solve any of its systemic problems.

This is my final public statement on this matter.

Fin. firewoman

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