Weekends Don’t Last Long Enough

My weekend was pretty awesome. Friday was a bit quiet, but decent. Saturday I went to Daejeon and met some people for a night on the town. It was a great night overall, though it did get a little ridiculous towards the end. Still, given my current mood, I don’t even feel like talking about my weekend.

Monday I got a call from a teacher I only met two times before saying we needed to meet. I thought it was going to be the normal bullshit meetings that Mr. Lee always tells me I have to be there for, even though I do nothing. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It was a goddamn ambush.

Apparently, Friday, when there were like three or four new Koreans I didn’t know that came in, one of them was giving me a performance evaluation. Would’ve been nice to know. I thought she was just a new hire that was observing my class to see what they were like. First of all, my worst class Friday, I actually had the most fun in that class that day that I’ve ever had. Of course, she wasn’t there to observe that.

She only stayed to observe two classes in the middle of the day, one of which I already know the students don’t like me. I don’t know what the hell they want. They constantly complain. Last week all we did was watch a movie and play a game. Literally. For a whole week. They just bitch constantly about how much they don’t like me and prefer other teachers. The deck is stacked against me there.  My last two classes she didn’t observe. One was pretty normal, my last class only had two students but was pretty fun.

Anyway, I got the report and I scored like 3-4 on everything. Even on calling kids by their name, which I do only about 100 times per class. I have no idea what the hell she wants. The three teachers at the meeting were trying to sugarcoat it and all, but they still came up and straight told me that my classes are “boring, depressing” and that students find me “scary”. On the scary note, I’ve heard students say I’m scary, but they always said it with a smile on their face, and the same students that say that are super friendly with me. I did not at all take that seriously. Even if I am scary, it’s only when they force me to be. I have to discipline them. Simply letting them run wild and chit chat all class is not really an option for me. Even so, there’s only three students I ever routinely discipline, and they’re little first grade monsters.

As for the “boring, depressing” part, I can acknowledge that. Mainly because it’s the start of a new book and when I was being observed all we did was read. Yes, reading is not terribly exciting, but it’s one of the things that I’ve been told to stress. I’m in charge of reading and pronunciation. I feel like I’ve got to spend a certain amount of time doing reading. No, it’s not terribly exciting. Yesterday, instead of everyone taking turns reading whole sentences, I had the class read one word each and go in a circle and timed them. At first, they seemed into it and had a bit of fun with it, but towards the end they were drifting. There’s only so much you can do with reading.

Easily, worst of all, in the comments and feedback section, where she listed particularly what was wrong and how I should fix it, she accused me of not trying my best to teach, as well as accusing me of not being personable enough with the students. There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t have an extended conversation with a student outside of class, play games with them, etc… It’s goddamn insulting. She said she thinks maybe because I’ve had a tough time with the students at this school that I’m worn down, but that doesn’t give me an excuse not to try my best. You know what, maybe I am getting worn down. I’ve spent 9 months doing my best every single goddamn day, and there are still kids who dislike me no matter how I try to motivate and reward them. Still, it’s kind of a catch-22 when they really tear you down and pretty much tell you what an awful teacher you are, then suggest “Cheer up, just have more fun in class.”

How insulting is that? She observes two classes one time, and she acts like she knows how I teach every day. I think it’s completely unfair. Granted, a lot of times when kids come in before class, in the ten minutes before class starts I just kind of let them talk or read or use their phone quietly until class starts. I’m not always striking up conversations with them, so in that area I suppose I could try harder. Still, I think a lot of what she said is totally out of context because it just doesn’t at all fit me.

Also, just this morning, Mr. Lee came in and asked me if I knew David’s e-mail and had given out someone’s e-mail to David. I guess he sent an e-mail to the head English teacher at the school (who I’ve never met or talked to, let alone gotten contact information), about some dispute of his with Mr. Lee. I had to defend myself, and even then, had to meet the principal and defend myself to him, and all I could say was I didn’t know anything about it. Then the teacher came in and said it wasnt’ me, but another teacher.

You’d be surprised how much something like this happens. I’m constantly getting questions about drama shit between other employees and Mr. Lee. I stay out of that shit. Either the employee is a friend of mine, or someone I just don’t talk to period, and I’m not going to put myself in an awkward situation by coming my boss and someone else. I actively make sure I know nothing about what the hell other problems people are having. I have a hard enough time with my own problems. Why would I invite more upon myself? And yet, I’m still constantly defending myself, trying to convince someone that I really have no idea what’s going on.

I get asked a lot recently if I’m stressed at this school. The fact of the matter is, inside the classroom, things are fine. Even with the students that complain, even with the small number of bad students, I have a fairly enjoyable time teaching. It’s the shit that is loaded upon me constantly outside the classroom that really makes continuing working here hard.

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