This is Korea

02 Mar 2009
Posted by Marisa
Marisa's picture

I was just admiring the picture from Antalya, those days when we were on vacation. It now seems like 5 billion years ago. Those days when I was "working hard." Not much has changed in that respect, I'm currently sitting at my desk (still in the giant office, no private office for me it turns out) with nothing to do because no one has made a schedule for me. It is I guess "the busiest day of the year" or so Ms Park tells me. And Jordan and I have already exchanged comments that we sure were naive to believe we could just walk into this year with no surprises. As if there has ever been a day with no surprises, and I think that even if we stayed in Korea forever, it would never stop surprising us.

So first I walk into school, where I think my new office is, to find Ms Park and she tells me that someone (she actually said "my friend" but I don't know who that is) has decided it's back to the giant office for us. Actually, just for me, since Ms Park used to be in a smaller office. Surprise Number 1. I start to wonder if we'll have class in there or if they'll just use it as a fancy showpiece, when she starts to answer my question, "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday you have class here" (she points to the room and I assume this means the classroom) "Thursday, Friday you go to new school." Wait, what was that? A new school? Surprise Number 2. No more is said about this issue as Ms Park now starts telling me about how this is the busiest day and I have to pass out papers. So we have a teacher meeting and about 10 new teachers have arrived (at this point I realize both Miss Kim and Miss Doo, my favorite, are missing, likely gone to different schools and replaced by these newcomers, Surprise Number 3). Then we go to a school meeting, where one of my conversation ladies whispers to me that she's heard that I'm going to a school in the country. Surprise Number 4. I try and express that this is all news to me, but this just confuses her (perhaps she thinks I should know where I'm going, this thought has occurred to me, but only briefly, when since I've gotten to Korea have I known what's going on?) At the school meeting the new seventh graders bow to the older students and they all whoop and holler for the new teachers. Ms Park confides to me that since today is so busy, no one has yet made me a schedule, so I can "prepare." (No surprise here) What, however, should I prepare for I wonder. What grades am I teaching, who am I teaching with, what do they want me to do, and perhaps the greatest question, where am I teaching? This feels rather philosophic since I've only been at school for two hours and already I'm questioning the nature of the universe (the Korean school universe that is).

I think you know you've arrived, or perhaps that you've been here too long, when a day like this seems pretty normal. After all, I say to myself, this is Korea, what else do you expect?


I think all I can say to the day you've had is, "wow." What a cross cultural experience.

You seem to take this calmly... :-)

We will eagerly be awaiting subsequent developments in your unfolding story. :-)


Lots of surprises. Just when you think you might know what's going on...

Keep us posted, the ongoing saga...

Well, we are waiting in

Well, we are waiting in suspense of where you will be teaching and what classes. It looks like I will be teaching 5 & 6 year olds next year - 10 of them. After correcting well over 500 pieces of writing in the last couple of months, little ones sound like a dream - coloring, painting, reading stories out loud . . . And I know how to get them off the table :)
Who is in the new office and cool classroom? I'm hoping that maybe you will still get to use it.
My LCD projector got hooked up today! (It was installed in the ceiling in December.) So, now I have to become even more tech savvy.