Monday, September 03, 2007


Monday, Monday. What a sucky day.
I went into work today and found my new schedule, effective immediately, waiting on my desk. The same thing happened at the beginning of last month, when the summer sucktacular schedule was laid on me. I didn't complain last time, too much, even though the new extra hours wrecked plans I had made over the previous weekend.

But today I walked in and groaned at the schedule before I'd even taken my bag off my shoulder. "This gets worse and worse." I said.
"What?" Jane asked, though I'm sure she knew what I was talking about.

When I first started working at my school there was some balance. Occasionally classes would be re-arranged to ensure I saw all the classes at least once during the week. Back then we had a 3-day rotation going on, so if there was a holiday on Wednesday, I'd see those classes Thursday. Otherwise, the kids complain.

There have since been many changes to the staff and schedules and I usually just do what I'm asked without protesting. Things have seemed to become really unbalanced, though and it's started to bother me. In one month I'll see one class 13 times, and another class at the same level only 8. I've had to start teaching kindergarten students, which doesn't thrill me. Last month I spent more time in class with the youngest students than any other age group. I had them for 4 classes in a 5-day week. They're loud and can easily get out of hand and I start my day off frazzled.

So today after Jane asked why I was groaning about the new schedule, I asked her why she was separating the last class of grade sixers.
"I told you I was, and you said 'fine!'" she accused.
"Yes," I said. "But, that was before the level test we had."

On Friday my lesson got preempted so I could proctor a test for the 7 students. It was largely in Korean, and mostly grammar with a couple of reading questions. I stayed late to get them marked and was disheartened to find that the students scored practically equally. Equally bad. The highest mark was 15 out of 33, and they all failed. I've been concentrating on verb tenses with this class for a few weeks. I've been trying to teach them how to look for the answers in the questions. I've been emphasizing simple sentence order. I thought we were doing better, but apparently not. So I questioned separating them. But Jane didn't hear that. She doesn't hear anything.

"They're all at pretty much the same level. Why are you going to separate them? I think it's going to really upset the students!" She's moving them into another text book, but one class will be at level 4, and the other at 5. I would put them both at 4. This is a class that's been textbookless for more than a couple months because they couldn't handle the textbook they'd been assigned. My former colleague in Japan laughed when I told him what they'd been using. He uses it as a conversation text for high school and university students.

Anyhow, Jane started to raise her voice. Separating them was for MY benefit because they were hard to control. (Seriously - she took all the "challenging" students and put them in one class, and all the quiet and eager-to-please ones in the other class. I'm sure this was for my benefit.) Then she started shouting about her schedule, and the work she has to do. Then she started shouting about,...well - something. I couldn't hear her because I was shouting at her to stop shouting at me.

So she stopped shouting. And she started to scream at me. Full on shrieking.
So I got up and walked out the Teacher's Room door, and right on out of the school.
Sadly, this isn't the first time Jane's acted out.

I stood downstairs in the doorway for awhile just taking some deep breaths. Adrenaline's a curious thing. It makes me so shaky. I always feel like I'm buzzing! Once I'd calmed down, I went back upstairs to find Jane screaming into the phone, to the Director I assume. When she finally slammed the phone down, I said, "Jane, if you ever shout at me like that again, I quit. I'll go right home and start packing."

Then I went to class.
Earlier tonight I started to browse around some job postings.


Kevin said...

Here again, we really need some pictures. Seriously this time-- no joke. I want to see what Jane looks like.

It'll make her that much easier to track down and kill.


Bohemian in Korea said...

hmmm, I was talking to The Bohemian about you and he says that your biggest problem is A) you have a big heart and B) the people you work with his words 'fookin cunts'.

Now I rarely tell The Bohemian when he has gone over the top but I'm afraid I have to agree.

I have a smattering of Korean and of course The Bohemian is fluent but each and every time here in RoK that someone has worked to make our lives 'easier' we've found that the goat legged man was preparing to stick it to us.

I can't count the number of times that under the gauze of 'help' someone has inhibited my ability to do my job.

You, my dear are a good soul. Keep on trying and you will find your niche!

If'n I wasn't such a curmudgeon I could help yaz more.



Gigha said...

I agree with Kevin! Well, I don't want to kill Jane, but I want pictures!

And... I have said it before, but it really is time you got your walking boots on!

Jelly said...

Thank you, guys! Most days are better than some.

lindsey starr said...

your postings about the people you work with are always leaving me puzzling why you stay... and why the school is so nuts.... and yes, also wanting to see photos of them... and wanting you to find a good place that would appreciate you! You are a good soul and deserve better!

(that said, I also love how you just totally vent about it, and write it all so well- perhaps that is partly why you can keep putting up with all of the b.s.)