coups d’etat

More on my trip to the Danoje festival after I get home and can upload videos and photos.

However, my being gone for two days (hmm…is THAT why they let me go?) was used to stage a coups.  Seems the female co-teacher has a lesson plan all written out, and after my last boy’s class, Mr. Lee informs me he will be teaching tomorrow.  “something more interesting to the students.”

grrrrr… fine.  You just teach the students how to speak English, Mr. Lee   Just give me the airfare back home, since you don’t need a native English teacher.


You know, the more I think about this the madder I get.  No warning.  No consultation.  Just – I’m taking over.  You’re boring.

Forgot to add that Mr. Lee actually provided some classroom management today, and I wish I had never seen it.  He took his stick and whacked a kid on the skull with it.  Very hard.  I felt really bad for the kid, especially since it seemed like an arbitrary choice.

The old fart can barely speak English at all.  I think this is just retribution to try and undercut my credibility since I complained about his almost total lack of attendance.  His English level is extremely low and the students skills are double his.  So I don’t doubt that he can’t understand me, but his assertion that the students can’t understand me is projecting.  The reason I believe this is because my other small classes the students have zero problem understanding me, and they are at various skill levels as well.  The problem is that it is 100% immersion in a class size of 40+.

The other co-teacher has at least shown me her lesson plan (obviously taken entirely from the internet) and asked for feedback.  It is totally packed, she’s preparing a power point presentation, and has 4 handouts to go with it.  Five segments long, one of the segments she expects the kids to fill in the correct form of the verb “to be” and “to have” without any explanation.  Anyway, tons of reading and writing.  She has a point that if the kids are totally busy then they’ll talk less.  But I also feel both the co-teachers are wrong that my talking about culture or the subtleties of speaking English is a dead end.  Just like middle school in America, the lessons that are taught don’t necessarily seem to have any value at all.  But, they lay the groundwork for future lessons.  Also, I don’t feel I should be slowing my speaking down to the speed of audio tapes – I feel I’m supposed to be providing an immersive environment of native speaking at natural pace so the kids can get exposure to what it really sounds like.  The kids have to learn that education is not all about entertainment all of the time.  I feel they are supposed to be getting prepared for college.  Unless, of course, college in Korea also consists of entertaining the students…

Well, that’s fine.  I will just sit back and let Mr. Lee teach.  And I’ll let Ms. Baek pack the lesson plans with handouts.  The kids will probably respond just like the Korean teachers expect – looking studious.  But some of the students are bright and are interested in my approach, and I think they will miss the challenge of an all immersive environment with cultural clues.

I am at a loss as to what to think about Korea and its educational system.  Is this my continued good luck here to get co-teachers who pine for the status quo?  From what I learned from the GePIK orientation, the school district (and Principal) says they want immersion and our cultural understanding, yet in practice they seem mostly impressed with empty entertainment.

I actually fell in love with Gangneung this week, so maybe next year I should move on…if I had broken my contract I might be working there right now with college students, as there was a job opening through my tutor’s friend.  If it’s open next year, I won’t hestitate this time…

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