Friday, October 20, 2006

I Give Up

My experience in Korea has been a series of sudden, jolting changes in schedule, location, and procedure. Among them:
  • Commotion around the head teacher's desk. Announcement in Korean. The teachers grab papers and scatter as the bell rings. I'm told, "Some of the teachers will have to supervise the music midterm." Okay. So I go to my class like usual to only find that all classes for the school are canceled during the period for the test. (Literally one minute before class, it is canceled for a completely different activity.)
  • "Now we will go to Geoje High School for a volleyball tournament." Then, I'm told my three different people that I will ride with them (told not asked). I end up riding with the "wrong" person and the people at my school frantically search for me. (ten minutes notice)
  • "You will not have your seventh class, because the students will practice for the parade." (five minutes notice)
  • "You will have to stay at a different place tonight because the family is too busy." (thirty minutes notice)
  • "We won't be able to pay you on time because the other English teacher doesn't have a bank account set up." (three days after the fact)
  • "You will have to teach that class that we told you not to prepare for after all." (one hour notice)
  • "Oh by the way, we need two letters of reccomendation and a physical or you will lose your job." (two weeks notice)
  • Phone call. My coteacher speaks in Korean to the person on the phone. "The Geoje Education Supervisor (roughly equivalent to superintendent) is on the phone. He wants to know when you will have your winter vacation." She then puts the receiver down on the desk, with the man on hold, as if I'm supposed to decide right that second. The teachers and students have an entire five weeks off between semesters beginning in January. We have a very partial last week of December. We only have school on Tuesday and Wednesday. Why they don't cancel those two days of school I have no clue. So, out of that five weeks, I get a week I have to chose to be off. I have yet to make plans to either go back to the states or to travel with other English teachers. I tell my coteacher, "I will need more time to decide." She speaks to the supervisor in Korean and hangs up. "He says we need to call back in one hour."
I give up. Now, I'm going from place to place as told. I'm not going to freak out if they tell me something canceled. If something is canceled and gets uncanceled, I will have a backup. However, I'm carefully planning the stand I will take and demand to be informed about decisions and changes that effect me.

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