Here is a funny little story. On Friday after all the classes were finished and I was chilling in my office doing oh so important office stuff...(wink)... the Principal called me into his office. My coteacher told me to go down to the Principal's office. I immediately asked whether I was in some kind of trouble, but she didn't know.
It is rare I am called into his office. On the way there I contemplated what may be the reason, and the only thing I could think of was maybe to thank me for working there or something like that.
I walked into his office and found him sitting with the Nurse, so then my thoughts changed to maybe they were going to talk to me about the H1N1 scare.
I said hello, sat down and went through what was quite an extraordinary experience.
It turned out the Principal was asking me to continue my teaching at his school for one more year. But he doesn't speak very good English and so used the Nurse (an ahjumma who can speak English fairly well) to translate.
She asked me, "Ummm the Principal wants to know if you want to stay here for another year?"
Me: "You want me to teach here for another year?"
Nurse: "Yes, that's right. The Principal is having a hard time finding a good new teacher because of the time of year. He thinks you are very good and the children like you."
The wheels and gears in my head were needless to say spinning. I had accepted the fact that a group of people including the Principal and Vice Principal agreed to not keep me for another year. Because of what my coteacher wrote in her report. I was a little shocked but also not fooled.
Because my coteacher was not asked to join us and he had the Nurse being used as a translator I had the feeling that the Principal was asking me because it is the easiest solution to his problem of replacing me.
So my answer was something like this:
Me: "I don't know if I can. My relationship with my coteacher is very bad. We have had lots of arguments and I think our relationship is broken."
Nurse: "Broken? Really... I didn't know that."
Me: "Yea, it's been pretty bad. I just don't think she likes me. So it would be hard to stay at this school because we don't work well together."
Nurse: (Speaks Korean to the Principal explaining my answer.)
Principal: "You just say YES or NO. Don't worry about the coteacher that will be fine. You worry...just...YES or No."
Me: "I'm sorry it is just not that simple. I could stay till February since you will have more choices at that time."
Nurse talks to Principal.
Principal: "Just YES or NO." Then he gets up and makes a phone call. The next thing I know my ex-coteacher comes into the room to help translate. She explains to me that I would get a new house and that he just wants to know my decision today.
Me: "I am going to have to say No. I just don't believe it would work between my coteacher and me. I believe she doesn't want to work with me anyways and she wants to start over with a new teacher. I really enjoy this city and the children and it would be easy to stay at this school another year but working another year with my coteacher would be too much stress."
Ex-coteacher: "Oh, I didn't know it was that bad. Well okay."
Me: "And I want to add that I overall have had a hard time at the school. I can't stand living in my house one more day and it seemed no one cared about this."
Ex-coteacher: "Ah I know. You had a hard time here. I feel it is mostly my fault. I am so sorry."
Me: "It's okay. I understand at that time you were very busy.
And we all kind of nod our heads and say thank you. The Principal comes over and is given my decision. He takes a deep breath and sighs then shakes my hand and says thank you. And we all get up and leave.
I couldn't find my coteacher after that but I have to wonder if she knew he was going to ask me. Apparently, she is having a hard time finding a new teacher and I think it is because the Principal is being picky.
Now if the Principal had called us both into the room, and I was able to sit with my coteacher and talk to her about our work together then maybe I would have said yes. But he went about it in a sneaky way and was doing it like a business transaction. But this is how this guy ticks and I wasn't surprised.
I had a feeling this might happen after hearing about the problems they were having picking a new teacher. The thing is they should have made this decision back when they had their meeting. I am already jazzed up about leaving this school and starting fresh somewhere else.
All in all, it felt good to be able to say No.