Just give me the fucking paper.

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Let me explain something: I still love my job. I love meeting with the students, teaching, creating materials, brainstorming new ideas, seeing light bulbs go on, and even giving the occasional tongue lashing. My actual job: teaching. I love it.

What is getting harder and harder for me to ignore these days is the other part of my job, which is dealing with a co-teacher. Granted, a lot of that is due to the co-teacher in question. I don’t hate her, and I don’t think she’s a bad person. But she’s incredibly inexperienced, and terrified of just about everything. This has not been working well for me, especially when I’m considered the lowest man on the totem pole, and the least scary to inconvenience. Even if the inconvenience for me may be much larger than for someone else.

Let me explain something: I still love my job. I love meeting with the students, teaching, creating materials, brainstorming new ideas, seeing light bulbs go on, and even giving the occasional tongue lashing. My actual job: teaching. I love it.

What is getting harder and harder for me to ignore these days is the other part of my job, which is dealing with a co-teacher. Granted, a lot of that is due to the co-teacher in question. I don’t hate her, and I don’t think she’s a bad person. But she’s incredibly inexperienced, and terrified of just about everything. This has not been working well for me, especially when I’m considered the lowest man on the totem pole, and the least scary to inconvenience. Even if the inconvenience for me may be much larger than for someone else.

Two weeks ago, I got called back in to the hospital to re-do my urine test. The urine test, as most of you will know, requires you not to eat or drink anything besides water for the nine hours previous. The day I was meant to go back in, I had five classes on the schedule. The simple thing to do would be to ask my morning co-teachers if we could swap classes from that day with some other day that week. No missed classes — only rescheduled ones. Which is something my coworkers do to me all the time.

What New HT decided to do, instead of making a request to her other coworkers, was tell me that I could come in on an empty stomach, with no coffee (emphasis on the no coffee), and teach the entire day, and then after work, head over to the hospital.

I took it upon myself to approach my coworkers myself and rearrange my schedule. At the end of the day, I informed New HT that I had swapped around the classes and would be going to the hospital in the morning, so not to expect me until close to the afternoon.

Last week, she asked if I wanted to judge a speech contest. Well, no. Is the short answer. But I always say no to everything district-related, mostly  because I don’t like the way shit is run (last minute information, constant changes, and always way more required of you than you were originally told). So, I thought, this is a one day deal — it’s not a camp. One day, in and out, no matter what happens, and it’s over.

Of course I came in today to be told that we would be needing to attend a “pre-meeting”. That’s fine. I was on the bill for four straight morning classes, finishing at 12:30. It was going to take at least an hour to get to the meeting place, by public transport, and she informed me that I was due there at 1. Do you see the problem? I did.

So once again, rather than succumb to her illegal-ass food deprivation practices, I spoke to the other teachers and let them know I may need to swap my fourth period class. 

Well, it turns out the meeting was actually scheduled for four. Fine. I teach my fourth. Before lunch, I ask her for the information about the meeting — location, contact info, time schedule, etc. She won’t give it to me. She’ll tell me about it later. After lunch, I ask again. She’s got to teach a class, so she’ll be back to explain it all to me later. Around 2, after her class, while she’s sitting quietly at her desk doing God knows what which was more important, I ask one final time for the memo. She says, “Oh yes.” And then sits quietly at her desk for another thirty minutes. I ask her if she can just at least tell me the location, so I can plan a route and figure out exactly how long I’ll need to get there. She looks confused and slightly distressed, and says she’ll help me in a minute.

This woman watches me every day sit there in the office and read entire articles in Korean. She watches me get Cool Messages from the admin offices and know about all of the schedule changes, club activities, class cancellations and half days that she never informs me about.

But she will not — will not — hand over that fucking memo. It’s in Korean. It’s for her. It’s for her to explain to me.

And this is why this job is just not meant to be done by someone who has been here for more than a few years.

At 2:45, she finally grabs the memo and wheels her chair over to my desk to start her explanation. She has her smartphone to pull up bus routes and explain to me how I’m meant to get there. She, by the way, has a car and never deals with Incheon public transport. She tells me the name of the building where I’m meant to go, a city hall of sorts. I ask her… is there not any more specific information than that? I’m just supposed to walk into the city hall and BAM! There I am? I ask her, one last time, if I can have, or at least look at, the memo. She looks confused, doesn’t answer, and goes back to her desk. She sits there quietly.

I pack my bag and put on my shoes. I stand up. I look at her again: “So I’ll just walk into this building and that’s it? That’s all the information you have?”

She glances down at the memo, which she is still refusing to put in my hands. She makes a face.

“… There’s no other information? There’s no contact person or phone number or further directions? That’s the only information on that paper? It’s a big building, I’m sure. But if I just walk in, I’ll be there? Right where I need to be?”

“OH!” The light bulb finally goes off. She pulls out a sticky note and writes on it, in Korean, the name of the office I need to go to, the person who is in charge, and her phone number.

When I got to the meeting, another teacher asked me to write down my bank information. She took the paper back and gasped at the fact that I had written 농협. She pointed to it and said, “Can you read this?”

“농협,” I said.

She giggled with delight. We proceeded to have the rest of the meeting in Korean.



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