I couldn’t take it anymore.
After the second week of class 1-3 blatantly erasing my presence as a teacher, the principal refusing to stamp my application for flight reimbursement and forcing me to request something less after being two months late, the dismissal of my taking on extra work in order to help the Korean English teachers, and the continued absence of my male co-teacher, and being told “I understand” from my Korean teacher friends while at the same time offering staying positive as the only solution in the face of it all, I blew a gasket.
When Miss Baek, my co-teacher came to get my revised second application for flight reimbursement I couldn’t help but let my voice raise to the point of almost yelling. (they are all scared of this strange confrontational girl)
- I finally made it clear to her that I felt not getting my application stamped was the same as my principal shitting on me and not supporting me.
- I finally made it clear to her that not getting the same amount of money as most of the other English teachers for flight reimbursement was the same as a breach of contract.
- I finally made it clear to her that it was absolutely unacceptable to not have a co-teacher in the boys classes – they’re breaking Korean law by leaving me alone with 40 boys.
- I finally made it clear to her that co-teacher boredom was THEIR fault and that I can’t write a lesson plan to include co-teachers when the co-teachers are ABSENT 70% of the time.
- And being pressured into attendance at religious services was NEVER ACCEPTABLE given there was no mention of this as a requirement prior to my signing up for this job.
During part of my conversation with Miss Baek, I told her I now understood why so many English teachers leave in the middle of the night and get on an airplane. Her eyes got very wide. So I went with it. I told her I had a good mind to just get a job at a Hagwon somewhere. I’m SERIOUS, I told her. I am VERY VERY ANGRY about this situation. And if I don’t get my flight reimbursement, I am going to the labor board. In fact, I am going to the labor board anyway.
Miss Baek will try and persuade the Vice Principal to talk with the co-teacher, Mr. Lee. Seems Mr. Lee was once in line for the Vice Principal job but didn’t get it. Mr. Lee doesn’t give a rats ass about teaching now and he has more seniority than anyone else in the school. So basically, he can do whatever the hell he wants. I told her his work ethic was disgusting. I told her to get me a substitute. Hell, get me seven substitutes if that’s what it takes.
Miss Baek tried to defend the principal saying he couldn’t stamp my application because he had to do what Gyeonggi-do School district wanted. I told her it was MY application, not his, and that he could sign it, he just chose not to. I told her the application was my head not his, and his wanting to not look bad is called politics. I told her that by forcing me to submit an application for less than half what was due me meant he supports the injustice done to me, and shows me how valued I am as an employee.
Miss Baek wants to go with me to talk to Gyeonggi-do school district. I told her my teacher representative, the will go amazingly low Miss Dain Bae, tried to railroad me and that it is pointless. Miss Baek says we should talk to whomever is in charge of flight reimbursement. Ha! That person is probably the person who tried to shoe-horn in that extra proviso that “unnecessary” stops not be reimbursed POST contract signing, to cover-up their contract over-sight. I told her no, this is a CONTRACT issue and above just the flight reimbursement. She doesn’t seem to understand this.
Miss Baek wants to write the next lesson plan, and what was going to be my topic? She’s been wanting to do this for quite awhile. I told her it was pointless unless the other co-teacher participated. I told her that was fine, as long as it was total English immersion and focused on the children speaking. So I told her stress-time was going to be my topic, which just happens to be a really hard lesson to grasp. So we’ll see what she comes up with.
And you know what? A job just appeared in June at an academy in the city next to Wonju where I was born.
Maybe I should just take that.