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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Korean “Adventure” – Part 3: WORK!

 *names shortened to protect the innocent!

My first impression of my school is that it is fairly cheerful in color and design. I met the teacher I was replacing, A, as well the other foreign teachers, Rn, Am, Rd, and Hi. Including myself there are 5 foreign teachers (FTs) here. The large number of FTs were a big part of what attracted me to the company in the first place. At my old job we only had two FTs which put a lot of pressure on us. Plus, if you hate your coworker you’re screwed; no one else is there to rely on. Luckily for me it seems like all the FTs here are cool. Part of that is because all but one (and me I guess) are guys so it’s a more drama free environment. They also seem to care about their job and were super friendly and caring about my arrival. They seemed to have a team attitude and the head FT, Rn, took particular pains to be there for me on my first day.
After a quick meeting with the Head Teacher I watched powerpoint videos about the workings of the company and its textbooks. Then I observed for the rest of the day. I have come at a bad time though. It’s the last class of the semester this week which means it’s a filler class, a time where kids can relax and reflect on the hard work of the previous semester. Unfortunately that means I’m not watching real lessons that would help me with my model lessons or real life lessons. The other FTs have tried to fill that gap by giving me as much info as they could in break periods and helping me with prepare with my model lessons.
To skim through the rest of the week I mostly prepared for model lessons, absorbed as much info as possible, and observed. The FT I am replacing has been an amazing source of knowledge and without his help my understanding of the teaching style and model lessons would not have been as good.
The other FT staff have proved both useful and supportive. They had no problem walking me home, taking me out, giving me teaching advice and excellent constructive criticism. I never felt torn down or demoralized by them and anytime I had a question it was greeted with patience and practical advice. While I wouldn’t say I feel prepared to teach I am certainly ready to.
I also get my own desk and computer which is GREAT! I am store my books, etc there and use the internet. Thank god.

It will never be this neat again.
Lastly, unlike my previous job which was the last word in controlling this job gives a lot more freedom. It’s less formulaic and when you have breaks or are not teaching classes you can leave the building, actually leave the building! So I can go for a tea run or get lunch whenever I feel like it! They seem to trust (or not care) that as long as the job is done you don’t have to be handcuffed to your desk. On the flip side they still expect unpaid overtime. They don’t seem to get that if you tell a teacher that they will be working from 2:30pm to 10:30pm and said teacher flies half way around the world to get to their job, they expect their working hours to be from f-ing 2:30pm to 10:30pm! While it may not be all sunshine and roses here the mere fact that I can get tea anytime I want is a plus. I have also decided to set a precedent with myself and I haven't taken any work home with me. I leave it at work where it belongs.

Even Suji can be pretty with the right amount of sun!


  1. Sounds like a promising start ~ Good luck !! I'm sure you will make the best of it :)

  2. I am kinda jealous of your cute desk and personal computer... and I'm glad you won't be stuck at it! Freedom over my time has been one of my favorite things at my school, I'm sure you'll really love it too. (Especially since it means MORE TEA; very important.)

    Good luck with the new job!