Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Will Old Habits Die Hard?

For all your up-to-this-minute information, don't forget to check back right now at this blog. Oh! You're here! Excellent. Now I shall give you a mini up-to-this-minute update.*

The number of students infected with H1N1 (aka Shin-John(g?)In-ploo-enjah) at my school is now FIVE. Up two from yesterday. Keeping in mind I work at a small private English academy (hagwon) that's a pretty high number.

There might be something going on to commemorate Halloween Day this Friday at my school. It's too early to discuss what that will or won't be and what might or might not be happening. Face painting was mentioned, and then promptly cancelled when they realised that would require me to have the student's faces right in front of mine. So something else might happen instead, or nothing will happen. It's all a secret mystery.

I'm not overly paranoid about H1N1; I figure I'm probably going to get it, but I really have to try to NOT to. With shingles, I know my immune system is currently fooked - even catching a cold could be very bad for me.

The Princess (my manager) wasn't honest about how ill she really was feeling Monday when she came to school. She said she wasn't worried that it might be the flu because she didn't have a cough. I told her, "you don't need to have a cough to have the flu. You don't even need to have a fever!" I pulled up a site showing the symptoms related to H1N1 and she checked off nearly all of them in relation to how she was feeling. I told her I thought we really need to encourage our students to stay at home if they're not feeling well and really, she should be setting an example.

I think it's going to prove SUCH a challenge here to try to avoid catching and spreading the flu. Koreans are going to have to change their attitude about work and school. Most people believe that showing up is very important. It doesn't matter if you're not being productive because you're ill. You're THERE, and that's what counts. However, it seems to be common sense to stay home and rest when you're ill and avoid people when you're contagious. But these ideas go against Korean thinking. I wonder if H1N1 is going to be the catalyst that promotes conversion to a healthier and more logical attitude. Also covering one's face when coughing or sneezing, and washing one's hands frequently are good habits that don't come naturally here. I wonder if these practices are going to take hold quickly. I certainly hope so. **Hand to heart, as I typed that last sentence, the 1st grader getting his online homework done behind me in the staffroom just sneezed all over the keyboard. Fabulous!

Right now, the news is reporting that H1N1 is spreading very rapidly in Korea. My boss told me the government had advised schools to close if H1N1 was present, but is now re-thinking and debating that advisory. Just like our planning for Halloween festivities - and as is the tendency for things in general in Korea, confusion and last minute decision-making seem to be the way it's going.

*I started this post at work on Tuesday evening, but had to put it aside when the bell rang for my next class. So really, this was an up-to-that minute update. For up-to-this minute news, you'll have to look somewhere else.

Update: Oh! It seems there has been a decision made! It's a relief to know what's going on!


Kevin Kim said...

Stay safe. Flu plus a compromised immune system = not good.

Gwen said...

Ugh. Your boss really needs to cancel classes. We're closed at least through this week. Take care.