Seems there is a meeting my co-teacher has to attend for new teachers. Or so she tells me. Do I have to go to this? Nobody knows. Someone will find out. The meeting starts in four minutes. I don’t know where the meeting is.
Welcome to Korea!
Would it matter if there was a room they told me to go to? Not really, since I can’t read any of the signs. I guess this is why the foreign teachers are always in the dark – we can’t read the memo’s, so why bother giving them to us? My co-teacher is a home room teacher this year, so that means on top of holding my hand, she also has many other responsibilities and probably forgot to tell me about this.
The other day I arrive in class and start my lesson. Only about ten minutes later, another teacher shows up and says it is her classroom. I show her the schedule and tell her it’s okay, I have this classroom right now. She says okay and leaves. I go back to the lesson.
About ten minutes later, the guy who schedules classes and this teacher come back and take me into the hall – so much for THAT lesson! The guy explains that the other teacher is right and that it is her class. I get out the schedule he made me and show him that it is my class, and I explain that it is already HALFWAY through my lesson…and then he apologizes and says he is sorry, but the schedule has changed. (someone forgot to give ME the memo! errr, tell me about it) Oh. OK I say, well, this period is already messed up. Please give me the correct schedule for the day AFTER this class is over. The other teacher still wants to teach. I say – look, this is very disruptive to my lesson. Can you please just let me finish this lesson? They both agree and leave.
About five minutes later, the guy and my co-teacher drag me out of class again. And tell me this is not my class time. OK. Whatever. Meanwhile, these kids’ lesson is getting destroyed. The mistake has already been made. Why don’t you just let me finish the lesson? This argument goes on and on for several minutes, and I am getting increasingly frustrated by this rigid adherence everyone has to this new schedule and how the educational goal is totally being missed and the fix is not fixing anything for this particular period. I try to argue once again for finishing my lesson (I don’t know why, since there’s only twenty minutes of class left and the class room is in near pandemonium right now) and my co-teacher finally says, “OK. But you must finish early.” WHY? Again we go around and around “Because it’s not your class. You must finish now.” I stand my ground and keep asking why and giving my arguments, when FINALLY the co-teacher explains that attendance has not been taken and the other teacher needs to take attendance. OHHH! Why didn’t you say so? No problem.
wtf. Why not be forthcoming about that right away? Culture Shock #2. They obviously aren’t used to anyone asserting logic or reason and questioning of authority. I guess a Korean teacher would have just left and found out why later.
No. Wait. They would have gotten the memo and had been able to read it.
So I finish the class ten minutes early. But no teacher in sight. Had to go find my co-teacher and tell her. They seemed shocked that I had actually finished early as requested.