Sunday, October 3, 2010

Korean Business....

Top:lycoris, also known as: spider lillies. I picked these in the park on Saturday.. sooo pretty!
Bottom: Halloween at TN English :)

The week began with stress and agony.. ugh! To be honest, had I known how ridiculous work was going to be... I would have thought a little bit harder about coming to this in-particular school. Don't get me wrong, I love it here but work is just hellish sometimes... well, a lot of times! Like I have said many, many times before... the management is so unorganized here!!!! I am on this research team and frankly, it's hard to say what exactly i'm doing research for. We have these unorganized meetings a few times a week and I always leave with numerous questions in my head. I finally started speaking up because I just can't stand the way things are done. Management wants us to do all these tasks and then when we ask specific questions pertaining to them, they are not even sure how to answer us. It's beyond me why they ask us to do something that is supposedly imperative and yet they don't even know exactly what they want- COME ON!!! So, obviously there is a big difference in the way Westerners do business and in the way Koreans/Asian cultures do business. In Western societies, most people start off working in lower positions, as they gain knowledge and superiority, they work makes sense and its very beneficial for a company. In the education world... most principals worked as teachers and for many years. What kind of principal would you be in you had no idea what it was like to teach!!! Over here, the management has never taught and they hardly speak English.. those are the two very important things that go on at our school. Typically, when a boss asks his employees to do something, the boss probably has a general idea of how long it might take his employees to complete what was asked. Usually he knows the answer because he has been there once before and knows what each job entails. Our management is constantly asking us to complete these outrageous tasks and after the task is given the time question always comes up. How are we supposed to know how long it will take when we have never done something like this before? Not only have we never done something like this before but... neither has management. And.... on top of it all.. why the hell are they getting brand new teachers, like myself to do these projects. These projects would take much less time to complete if they were being done by the older, more experienced teachers. I think they thought it was a wonderful thing to have an actual Elementary teacher come to teach at their school. Now, I adore my students and I feel that they are learning/ progressing a great deal but... a majority of things that I am doing and things that they want me to do don't match what I learned in school AT ALL!!!! This job is not easier or harder with my degree. The jokes on them that I am getting paid more.. oh well! Here's what I think they should do... i've suggested it but they don't listen. Since us teachers have to prepare, teach, make lesson plans, create scopes, make tests, grade, write evaluations, bla bla bla-do our job... we don't exactly have all the time in the world to worry about all this extra work- it's a litttttttttle more important that we worry about the children and their education. So, they should hire some other people to come in and strictly work on extra work... or, they should let the older teachers do the extra work and let us new teachers take over their classes. Hmm... they won't do it! Last thing and then I promise i'll stop bitching! So, since the company is so unorganized... they have not created the calendar for the rest of the year. This means, none of us teachers know the exact dates in which we will be off work for winter/Christmas break. This is driving my insane because several of the teachers and I are planning to go to Thailand for that 5 to 7 day break and we can't buy our plane tickets until we know which days we have off. Since we can't get our tickets yet, the price continues to increase every day. Before we know it, no one will be able to go because they won't give us the schedule till the beginning of December. It's ALL BULLSHIT! Ok, i'm done :)

Other than the work drama, I had a very riveting shopping experience. On Wednesday evening Laura and I went out to dinner then went to run a few errands. We came across a really cute, little store that was having a sale. We couldn't help but go in. While looking around, a very elegant Korean woman came in. She spoke a little bit of English. She told me she liked my style, as well as my small head/face. She picked out a variety of things that she thought I would like and I tried them on for her... it was kinda weird but quite the experience. During all the trying on, she randomly took off her belt and asked if I liked it. I told her it was very nice and so she gave it to me. She picked out a really neat suede vest... something I would never find in America. I really loved it and had to have it. For 45,000 won I couldn't pass it up. I payed for the vest and when I got my receipt it said 70,000 won. WHOA... I did not think the vest was that expensive and I really didn't wanna pay that much so I appologized in my best Korean. Right after I got a refund, the elegant Korean woman said, "not to worry, I will pay the difference of the vest"... I couldn't believe it! I refused several times but she really wanted me to have the vest. I paid 45,000 won and she payed the other $25,000. I was so grateful and tried giving her a hug but she refused the hug in a very weird way. Oh well, we continued on our errands.. what a night! :)

The nice thing about the work week is that it flies by... its Friday before we know it.. thank God! The weekend was pretty uneventful. I ate one of my favorite Korean dishes (Shabu Shabu) on Friday night and had a few drinks at a bar in Sangmu (our side of town) with friends. This weekend was dedicated to saving money. On Saturday I volunteered my time to go down to school and help decorate for Halloween. Halloween is not a Korean holiday but because we are an English school, we celebrate it and educate the students about it. The school is giving us an extra 20,000 won (around 20 american dollars) in our October pay check to buy a Halloween costume for the school Halloween party which is on Saturday the 31st (Yes... we have to come in on a Saturday to work and No, we are not getting paid extra for it... I still think it will be fun!). This upcoming week we are all ordering our costumes from a website. I think my costume is a good one... finally, I think i've got a pretty scary one. I'm not telling yet, you will find out soon!

Saturday night was great, I stayed in and made a delicious dinner, read some of my book, watched some old school movies like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" , as well as some french films... (oh Dave, you were right, there is a LOT of symbolism in french films) and oh course, skyped! Actually, I helped Laura kill off a couple of crabs that she and Ryan ate for dinner. That was an interesting ordeal... kinda sad though because the crabs really tried their hardest to hop the pot. I took some videos that are on Facebook if your interested.

Korean Facts/Randomness:

-The little kids (ahh I miss, so much teaching little kids) call my "Animal Teacher" because it's hard for them to say "Emilie"'s really cute. The little ones are so precious and hilarious.
-Asian people do not have very long eyelashes at all. A lot of women either wear fake eyelashes or they have eyelash implants.
-Prescriptions do not come in bottles. They come in individual little packets (a packet for each day). Depending on what you have, they will put a few types of meds in each day's packet. For example, Laura got sick and in her day's packets she had her antibiotic, a sleeping pill, a vitamin and a tylenol.
-Korean architecture: you know that America is one of the only countries that builds with lumber (mostly we have that resource readily available).. Korea, as well as a lot of other countries builds with concrete slabs and metal. Maybe this is why they don't feel he need to have a smoke detectors or fire extinguishers anywhere around here... buildings are less likely to go up into flames if they are made of concrete and metal.
- I told you before that our windows don't have screens... insane amounts of mosquitos were coming it, it was awful! So... i discovered that our windows do in fact have screens..silly me, YAY! The screen extends out from inside the wall/window and clicks into place- it's very nice! No need for a mosquito net now ;)

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