Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Things have been a little tense at work the last couple days. It's report time. Actually, the end of every month is report time, and it's noticeable in the staff room. Everyone is quiet and gloomy. Except me, I'm always a ray of sunshine.

Actually, I do my reports at home because I'd rather spend the ten minutes between classes running down the hall to the bathroom, or eating a triangle onigiri I brought from home, or photocopying an extra worksheet if I think I might run out of things to do with the kids.

The past couple days I've been battling some kind of stomach bug, so although I've been my usual ray-of-sunshine self, I've also been running back and forth between the bathroom. And I'm exhausted.

So are my co-workers.

This month is particularly tense because it's quarterly-report time. These reports are a lot more detailed, with grading and comments sections for both the Korean teachers as well as myself to complete. The Korean teachers grade the kids on reading, writing and comprehension, while I cover pronunciation, speaking and listening. I do these reports because I have to, but I'm fairly sure the hours I spend on the comments section are wasted, as I'm fairly sure the parents can't understand what it means when I write "Jason is an enthusiastic student who is always willing to participate, but requires a stronger commitment to speak English exclusively in the classroom."

My friend and co-worker, Elizabeth, has been miserable the last couple days. She's been speaking with this feeble tone and seems as if she's been injured. I've asked her a few times what's the matter and she just gets this pained look on her face. She has been at my school for more what's headed on 3 years now, and I think she's just totally fed up. I'm sure I'm not helping matters either.

There are 3 Korean teachers and myself here. I teach all the students, while the other teachers divide the students in thirds and,...wait, that sounds barbaric. Each teacher has their own classroom. I have all the classrooms. Capiche?

Each teacher gives me their reports so I can fill out my portion. I appreciate that they seem to stagger the laying of the reports on me. The head teacher always gives me her incomplete ones first, usually the weekend before they're due, and then the other two teachers give them to me when they're done.

Today I asked Elizabeth when she was going to be able to give me her reports and she said "Thursday?" I screwed up my face a little and said "Ah, then "I'll have to get them all done that night! Karen says she wants to hand them out Friday. Hmmmm. Hey, if you're finished with some, could you just give me those ones and I'll work on them tonight?" She nodded weakly.

During the next break, she handed me the reports for our last 2 classes. One set was incomplete and she pointed that out to me. "Ah," I nodded, "No problem." She then asked me "Jenny, when is good I give you the others?"


I pretended to think. "Uhhhhh, Saturday?" She nodded ok, and then thought a moment, "No, Karen wants to give them on Friday!"

"Oh yah," I said, and then pensively scratched my head. "Ummm, how about Sunday?" She started to nod again but then looked at me, a little annoyed. "Jenny, Karen give them on Friday."

"Oh! Yah, ok,....so Monday's no good then eh?"

She dropped her hands to her side and looked at me like she was going to slap me one.

"Ok, ok, ok," I chuckled. After thinking for a couple seconds, I made my face reflect the lightbulb going on over my head, "Give them to me yesterday!!"

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