Thursday, March 23, 2006

Steam

As I mentioned, yesterday was a day off at my school. It wasn't a "holiday" but there was some big meeting of all the directors of all the private schools in my city. It happens once a year. (As it is, I learned today that my boss didn't even attend the meeting, so I'm not sure why our school was closed for the day - but I'm not complaining.)

On Tuesday, my boss told me that she would like to switch Wednesday's schedule with Thursdays, to which I agreed. We've done this before if a holiday lands on a Wednesday, reason being that we have a 3-day revolving schedule. On any given Wednesday, for the classes that I visit that day, it will be the only time during the week that they see me. So some of the students complain about having their Korean teacher all week. I don't blame them, I am a barrel of monkeys.

Anyhow, Thursday also happens to be the one day of the week where I finish an hour early. There are only 2 classes slotted in the last period and I take class "A" Monday and Wednesday, and class "B" on Tuesday and Friday. It's not like I get a real "break" per se, as I still have phone teaching to do. (I have to make about 40 5-minute calls every month.)

I was surprised today, when just before my 2nd last class I learned I was expected to teach the last class as well. "What?!" I said. "We don't switch the last class!"
"Yes," argued my boss, "I told you we were changing Wednesday's and Thursday's schedules."
"I know." I said. "And we did, but we never switch the last classes."
And we never have. Other than covering for one of the teachers if they're absent, I've never taught a Thursday last period class.

We had a bit of back and forth, but in the end I won out and the Korean teacher took the class, but not without throwing me a whole bunch of non-verbal attitude in the staffroom during the few minutes before the bell rang. I felt a bit guilty, because the boss had promised the K-teacher the period off, and had to rescind it, but sheesh. I don't want this to become a habit, where I lose the only hour of "school hours" I'm allowed to complete these frigging phone calls.

We sometimes have events on Fridays where we have no classes (next week, for example, will be Market Day - and the following week will be Speech Contest,) and thus far I've never been expected to switch the last class on those days. If Tuesday happens to be a holiday, I don't have to teach the last class on Thursday. I mean, in general - with holidays, there's a very "tough luck" mentality here, as anyone in Korea can attest to. Out of a possible 8 holidays through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and the Lunar New Year, we ended up with 2 days off on between September and January because the rest of the holidays fell on Saturdays or Sundays. Too bad, so sad.

As it is, I end up having to make the majority of phone calls on the weekend because all of my middle class students are in other cram schools after ours, and don't get home until after 10. Today I got home, called all the students on the list, didn't even get ahold of half of them, and it took over an hour.

Perhaps I should have just shut up and taught the class. Don't make waves. Keep my head down, but I didn't. It was a combination of being surprised and a quick reaction to the seeming unfairness of the situation. Also, mumble mumble something about giving an inch and taking a mile.

I know this was boring to read if you managed to get through it. Thanks for witnessing a vent.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

You did the right thing. "If you give an inch, they take a mile" is right.


Kevin