Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Re-inventing a Wheel

Today my boss asked me just before my last class if I would do her a favour. "Sure!" I said, because I'm nice. She told me that for 2 of the grammar books we've just started to use she was unable to get a Teacher's Copy. I told her I didn't care, because I don't need the teacher's copy. She explained that the Korean teachers DO want the Teachers Manual, as it has all the answers in it. So she asked me if I would answer every question in each of the 93 page long books.

I thought she was joking.

It's not difficult work, by any means. I know the answers, but it's just a very time consuming job. I guesstimated that if I came home and worked every night, pretty much, until I went to sleep - it might take a whole week. (Part of me wants to do it just to see if I'm right, but the more rational part of me resents having to do so.) I told her "that will take a LONG time!" She said, "I'll give you time!"

My boss, the giver of time.
How about being the giver of MONEY there, chum?

I'm really not the kind of person that will demand compensation for any extra tasks I'm assigned. If I work more than my agreed to 30 hours a week (and most weeks I do) I don't complain. I mean, I got my ass out of bed at 7am the other morning to help her try and drum up business. I spent lots of time (not to mention about a hundred bucks of my own money) planning and executing Crepe Day last January. Likewise for last year's Halloween party. I'm a trooper, pretty much. But hours and hours of answering grammar questions for the Korean teachers' convenience? Uhhhhh,...

My boss told me not to worry, that SHE would do it, but that I would have to check all her answers. Ahhhh, that's better, screw us both! Doesn't that effectively DOUBLE the inconvenience? Not,...logical,....does,...not,....compute!

So I started to ask her about the Teachers Manual. Surely such a beast exists. "Yes, but the bookstore doesn't have it," she said.
"Can't they order it?"
"Why not?"
"I don't know. They said 'no.'"
"Can't we get it somewhere else?"
"I don't think so. It's ok. I'll do it, you just have to check my answers."

It just didn't make any sense to me, so I went over to the computer, pulled up google, and got 2 websites for booksellers in Korea we could order the TM through. How hard was that? And they're on sale. For about 5 bucks Canadian. Jeeze. If I were to bill you for the time it'd take me, you'd be paying 200 times that amount.

Something about the people I've worked with in Korea is definitely noticeable. I would never blanket it to be a common trait of people here, but it's been my experience that my co-workers tend to give up very easily, but also complicate matters to the nth. It's like they take a quick look under their desk, and when they don't see a wheel there, they set out to re-invent it. Out of rubber bands and paper clips. I guess it's most irritating to me because I am a combination of stubborn and lazy. Let's make things easy and efficient. I won't be told "it can't be had" (and oft times done/made either.) Why not? Does it exist? Well then let's get it. You say we can't? Why? What if,...? No? Well, what if,..? No? Well, how about,....?
And I'll just keep on like that forever.
Until you stick a fork in my eye.

I didn't say it, but it's a shame the Korean teachers will throw a hissy fit if they don't get their answers. Working the answers out for themselves is good practice. Yes, I know, it's work, but it's not like they couldn't use it. They're better teachers if they can explain to our students why an answer is correct, rather than just writing in the correct answer in red in the students books.

I've mentioned it before, but I get kind of annoyed if I go into work, and with the exception of asking me English related questions, my co-workers make no attempt to speak English otherwise. I've decided to let all that go from here on. It's not like they wouldn't really like to speak English. I realize they could if they would, but they can't so they won't. Probably, knowing what they were speaking about all the time would make me even more anxious, talking about problems with the parents and students or the latest fashions and Korean dramas.

I had a good day with Elizabeth. She mentioned "being in the hospital." We haven't talked specifically about what happened, but I'm sure we will. Plans have begun to form to meet outside of work over dinner. How we like it best. I just hope she doesn't try to feed me any of the spun version of accounts that my boss has re-written and is being handed out to whoever asks. As it was, I was there - and she wasn't. Regardless, the elephant got smaller and I was relieved, as I thought it might impale me yesterday on its big sharp tusk.

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