Part II - Koreaier Than Ever
They’ve covered all the material for the year, they know the grade they’re getting, what’s the point of another month?
So it’s my job to convince 40 kids at a time that they should quit having fun and buy into the excitement of learning irregular past tense verbs. No sweat.
Apparently this system is in place because of the hierarchical nature of the Korean workplace. Those in charge felt that if a teacher stayed at a school for a long time (10-20 years or so) they would become more powerful/important than the principal because they had been there so long. So as a result, you can’t keep a job for more than 5 years.
On top of that, after your 5 years are up, you don’t get to pick your new school. The ministry of education assigns it to you. It could be anywhere in your province and provinces are about the size of a county, maybe a little larger. Plus, you literally don’t find out your new job assignment until a week (or less!) before it begins. The school year starts March 2nd and teachers at my school are still waiting to find out where their new jobs will be. That gives the teacher 1 week to find a new place to live near their school (or a have a huge commute), move, get situated at their new school, and start teaching. Oh and guess what else, you don’t get to pick what grade or subject you want to teach either (at the elementary level). Maybe you’ll have 2nd grade, maybe you’ll have English, it all depends on what the school needs filled. Ridiculous!
For me, these dinners seem way more productive than a staff-wide icebreaker activity at an inservice, but that’s just me. I mean, playing inside-outside circle is all right too I suppose.
So there you have it, another look at Korean schools! See you next time for a return to my normal posts on frivolity and merriment!