Friday, July 17, 2009


As we were dashing out of the classroom today to make it to the dinner party my coteacher informed me that the Principals and all the teachers will gather tomorrow to have a meeting about my renewal.

I took it as good and bad news. Kind of a slap of truth. I didn't know all the teachers would be there. At this point it is all subjective.

So at the dinner party my mood was a tad sour as I thought about how unfair it is for them to talk about me and my performance without first hearing my side of the story. Again this was noticed by my coteacher who may or may not take it with her to the meeting tomorrow. I know that if she feels like she doesn't want to work with me any longer she can push her opinions about me.

I know she is a good person but this is about the workplace and her ideals of what makes the right Native English teacher may not match with her perception of me. I wish I could just explain to her that not knowing the result of my contract renewal decision makes me really anxious and nervous. But we have been so darn busy I haven't been able to tell her this.

Next week is our school's summer camp that I have to teach alongside my coteacher. This weekend I will try my best to just not think about what is going on at the meeting.

In my opinion I feel like I did a good job. I never took a sick day, except for those small times I left work to visit the doctor. I always showed up to work on time. I have worked hard at lesson planning for the advanced class. At times I was a bit robotic and boring during the regular classes but I have recently tried to be more chipper and helpful.

Once again I know it is all subjective and depends on how other people feel. I wasn't the foreigner who gleefully spilled everything about my life and country to every coworker at school. I mostly kept to myself and did my job. If this image is something they have grown to distaste than there is nothing I can do any longer.

For me I only care about staying at this school because it is the easiest option. Instead of finding a new school and facing a new set of conditions staying at my current school means I know what to deal with. Plus I love the kids and know I will miss them. In addition, if I really fix up my attitude I know that I could work really well this coteacher. But if I am told they don't want me to renew then I will join the chopping block gladly.

If they come to the conclusion that they want me to renew then I will demand the housing change. And we will see what happens then.

Meanwhile I have these two summer camps to get through then it is off to California for vacation!

By the way, I discovered today that my umbrella has holes in it, which does not help during monsoon rains.


  1. This is probably going to be harsh, and it's OK if you don't want to approve this for viewing.

    Seriously, you should reread your post. And think to yourself, is this someone I would want to hire again?

    No one is going to hear your side when you whine about your living conditions and act like a grump to all of your coworkers. They won't care. Anxiety is part of life, it's how you react to it that is a good indicator of a person's maturity level.

    "For me I only care about staying at this school because it is the easiest option. "

    Put yourself in your school's shoes, and think, as an employer, how that one line would sound to your school.

    And finally, think on this, the US is going through an incredibly bad period of economic woe. You have a job now. It may not be exactly what you want, and if that's the case, find another. But don't burn your bridges before you do, you may find it very difficult to get a job if you have to return here to the US.

  2. good luck! i hope everything works out well for you!

    and i think i fixed my problem!


  3. Hey Paul I hear ya. I know it came out sounding petty. Believe me though I see the value in keeping the job beyond what I wrote. At the time of posting I was feeling nervous so my mind wasn't right.

    It is just a reflection of how one's mind can be muddled when working at a job in this country. Heck maybe I'm the only one with this problem and it has nothing to do with cross cultures.

    Anyways I am sure I am making it out to be worse than it actually is.

    And when I face my superiors I appear to be a lot nicer person than the persona I wrote about on here.

  4. Some of the stuff you wrote about re: your feelings, anxiety, etc.... would be better kept private in a private journal in my opinion.
    Suffice it to say you're nervous/anxious about your contract renewal, who isn't?!
    I'm sure your co-worker intuitively knows that. She's been thru it & by now probably understands you in some ways better than you understand yourself!
    I have more suggetions how to handle "life on life's terms" w/less stress & anxiety...if you're interested we can have a phone chat or email.
    I still think being more careful about what you say in your blog is important.
    Eager eyes are everywhere!

  5. While you admit to being nervous and anxious about your contract renewal, I did find myself agreeing with PaulC in that the way you've written this entry doesn't portray your attitude toward teaching in the best light.

    One thing in particular that caught my attention though was the following:

    So at the dinner party my mood was a tad sour as I thought about how unfair it is for them to talk about me and my performance without first hearing my side of the story.

    Why do you think it's unfair for the school to evaluate your performance without consulting you first? Wouldn't your presence and emotions provide a distraction from them objectively looking over your work? If you have to be there to 'explain' your actions that doesn't sound like you've been doing as well as you could. Ideally, your attitude and teaching should speak for themselves. Granted, bumps come up from time to time, but shouldn't there be at least an equal number of positives to balance them out?

    I'd also like to add that, before coming to work in Korea, I spent eleven years working in the United States and received an employee evaluation in each of those years. Every single time my employers discussed my performance in private before notifying me of their appraisal. I'm curious to hear what led you to the conclusion that it's unfair for Korean employers to do likewise.

    It may be worth putting a little more thought into the image you give others through your writing. (i.e., word choice, et al.) While your friends may understand what you "really" mean, your entries can come off in a different light to visiting strangers.

  6. Samedi: I see your point exactly and know that these posts are toxic. In some ways it is a string that follows from when I was at the hagwon and felt like I was told lies all the time. I am trying hard to understand the way work life functions here and should probably get over myself.

    I can see that you have a lot of adult wisdom on this topic and so probably find it irritating to read posts like this.

    As I move on to my 3rd job here in Korea I should probably cross the threshold and be more proactive and mature on the job. Something that can only be done with actions.

    For now I have a lot of reflecting to do.


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