Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How Does One Make Amends?

Today, as I walked home with the new foreign teacher, we had a heart-to-heart talk about my past relationship with this school. I have been giving him bits and pieces of what I went through and lately been in a kind of negative attitude. I noticed this about myself and told him I didn't want him to have the wrong impression. It lead us to talk about what happened. The new guy really listened and even allowed me to see what was the most important thing.

That is that I really need to leave this school on good terms, especially if I want another job. I told him I already knew that and had been working on it already. I have made sure that my reference is my new coteacher (the guy). But then I realized that someone calling this school could end up talking to all 3 of my coteachers. That made me almost stop in my tracks. It's not that I am still on bad terms with everyone else it's just that I never have really made amends with them.

Therefore, I am now in a spiral trying to figure out a secure and comfortable way to make my amends. I want to do this especially with #2 coteacher (the oldest now of the bunch). We never really had any fights together or completely difficult times, but she was there during the rough parts and certainly remembers it all. Plus our relationship is not deep. I have spent "tea time" with her talking about current news or phenomena going on in Korea but other than that it is just a typical coworker situation.

Till now, I thought to just finish my two months and be done with it. But I realize how precious these last days are going to be. It is the only time I have to really set things right and make sure there won't be any bad things transferred through the phone about me.

Don't get me wrong; however, I really do want to make sure she knows I care about our relationship and that I want to leave the school knowing I am sorry for any harm I have done.

My first thoughts to get this done was to figure out a time when I could approach her and just confront her with my wishes. Then I started to see the big picture and realized it is all going to have to tie into my actions. Here are my plans of action. (Sorry, I seem to be really liking using bullet points.)
  •  Take part in morning "tea-time". #2 coteacher usually brings in fruit or bread for everyone. I have declined it because I eat a full breakfast. But sitting there and having a small piece won't kill me.
  • Friday we will have a teacher's dinner to celebrate the new foreign teacher. Make chit-chat with #2 teacher and everyone else. 
  • During the after-school dinner (small number of guests) try to open up to everyone about my leaving the school and how I want to leave with a peaceful and happy feeling. (Not sure about this since it might be to direct...and make things uncomfortable for them.)
  • Next week the teacher's are going on the obligatory Mountain Hike. I was offered to go. #2 coteacher told me she really wants to go. I told her I will try to go this time, but might have to rest a lot while on the mountain. She seemed ok with this. Now I realize I really have to go and make it as my last opportunity to bond.
  • Bring in snacks for everyone. (I already have been bringing in my extra apples from home. But something more deliberate might be nice...hmm time to bake again?)
  • After some time do approach #2 coteacher and talk about this with her. 
  • When leaving the school give everyone a card with a personal message.
Those are my ideas thus far. I basically see that the most important thing will be my attitude and what I show to everyone up to the day I leave. I was on a good roll until the new foreign teacher came and then my mind got swirled up in thoughts of the past. Time to snap back into shape!


  1. Sounds like a good plan--stay strong! And good luck!

  2. Good luck, Joy!

    But if your plan to renovate (or whatever it is) your reputation is to "make chit-chat with #2 teacher", I fear you are SOL. Likewise with nibbling on communal tea-and-crumpets (especially since you never brought them yourself!)

    I just kind of wonder how you've been in Korea for so long without understanding that the tea-and-crumpets thing mattered--this was also an issue at your previous school, right?

    Using a foreigner co-worker as your job reference in Korea? After living here for a couple years? Tell me you're kidding.

    Well, anyway, it was nice to see you for a moment in Haebangchon! The people I was with are actually more your type of crowd than mine, so I wish you had stayed (BWIM less hard drinking than me).

  3. Tuttle I have brought my own nibbles to share.

    I would have liked to stay but was actually meeting my boyfriend and going elsewhere. Anyways I think I have learned that tea time is important and I did just wasn't everyday.


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