Yesterday was orientation for Gateway Charter’s middle school, which shares its building with the high school. So we took my daughter who’s entering the sixth grade to check out the school and meet her teachers.

It got off to a rough start as we got her schedule and saw she didn’t get any of the electives she asked for.

Them’s the breaks, kid.

Meeting the teachers was a mixed bag.

One teacher described how he had retired and moved here from a few thousand miles away, and then made it sound as they’d found him off the streets and asked if he wanted to teach a new subject and he said “okay, I guess, why not?”

We’ll see if he lasts the whole year.

Another teacher thought it was open mic night at the comedy club. I get that they were trying to be friendly, so we’ll give an ‘A for effort’.

Then there was the art teacher, poor guy. He’s what they call a “traveling teacher” meaning he doesn’t have his own classroom but rather they send him and his students to whatever room they happen to have available for that period, and naturally he doesn’t want to make a mess anywhere.

So that means no painting this year. In art class.

The math teacher seemed sensible and I was reassured because she sounded competent, although she explained how full marks would always be given on homework as long as you attempted to solve the problem.

Full marks for trying on homework, even if you get the answer wrong. In math class.

One of my daughter’s classes is scheduled for Room 338. Only problem being that “Room 338” is a actually closet inside of Room 339. Fortunately, the teacher in Room 339 explained that the class obviously would not be taught in Room 338, because that’s not really a classroom – but she had no idea where that class would be taught. So my daughter will have to attempt to find where that class is being taught on Monday. I wish her luck.

That was the most interesting experience of the open house.

A close second was when they assigned my daughter to a classroom on the second floor when she’s supposed to be in the room directly above, on the third floor. Another problem was that they got the teacher’s name wrong for that class, too.

“Computers,” explained the teacher on the second floor, “they always mess stuff up.”

Funny. The computers that my high school had over 20 years ago were nowhere near as good as the computers they have today, yet my school got my schedule right. Every single time.

We had over 2,000 students, so it wasn’t like I went to some school in the middle of nowhere with a hundred kids.

And I can’t recall a single case of someone having a class scheduled inside of a closet.

The reality is that when we moved to Fort Myers we signed them up to Lee County Schools and the choices we were offered were unsuitable for various reasons, and it seemed like a blessing when we found Gateway Charter.

I also know people who have pulled their kids out of Gateway Charter and enrolled them in Lee County, only to reverse their decision when they see what schools their kids get assigned to. Gateway Charter is the best of bad options.

It’s got a football team with no football field, and now this year they’ve added a theater program inside of a school with no auditorium.

At a time when the public school board is discussing building a school for $50,000,000 in Bonita Springs, I can’t help but look back on the fact Charter Schools USA bought the building that houses the high school and middle school on Gateway Boulevard for about $1,800,000.

Hopefully when Lee County Schools builds a shiny new $50,000,000 school in the East Zone we get here it in Gateway. The school board owns land on Griffin Drive.

For now, we’ll make the best of it for another year at Gateway Charter.

Go Griffins.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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