October 19, 2017, 03:30:24 AM


Author Topic: Teacher procrastinates, feels very disrespectful to me. what would u do?  (Read 1948 times)

Offline wazure

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hi everyone,

about 2 months ago, a new teacher moved into my office. after having it to myself (it's a small room) for 8 months, someone else is now using it, which i didn't mind at all at first. he mainly uses it in the evening as it is for the film club and he has a bunch of editing equipment there. he has a few student helpers in there, teaching them editing all that. normally the door is locked, but he has a key since he comes in at night. so about 1 month ago, i noticed a bunch of my candy had been eaten. i also noticed for about a week, daily, that my computer was used (without asking me) and often times moved all over the place, food wrappers near my keyboard, even food sauce, and things on my desk arranged. this felt very violating, and so i kept telling my co-teacher about it and he kept mentioning to the other teacher about this problem.

at first the teacher (who i share the room with), was very nice and apologized and made the kids buy me a new package of candy (didn't replace everything that was eaten, but i appreciated the gesture). he said he got rid of a few students in the club that seemed like troublemakers. then when i noticed it had happened again (this was probably the 5th or 6th time), that my gum was now gone and my scissors gone. by this point i was so fed up and suggested he either leave the office or i should. they kept saying it won't happen again, since there was a festival recently. and the teacher said he would get me a new gum and scissors..

so, now after about 1 month's time and at least 5 mentions of "where are my scissors and gum?" and getting a vague response, yeah soon, it'll happen soon. and getting nothing, i am really offended and feel like he is just doing this to assert power over me and be disrespectful. so i am wondering what i should do. it's not the issue about the candy and the scissors.. i finally just got so irritated i bought new ones myself.. but it's more of the issue of feeling like a "lowly foreigner" in their eyes, one they can treat like crap, and put on a facade that they care, and then in reality not follow through.

i feel that i have been patient, VERY patient. and now i am just not sure how to react if i see this teacher again. he can go to hell as far as i'm concerned, but just wondering what you guys might do if it happened to you, with some behavior that would be fair to the situation and yet give me a sense of satisfaction. i'm not about to sweep it under the rug like a good little passive foreigner. i was thinking i should just ignore him and be very short. my usual USA way would be to confront the person, calmly, but my sense is here in Korea, they can't handle that and will passive-aggressively get back at you in one way or another.. am i wrong to assume this? i have already asked him SO many times, it seems obvious to me that he is being disrespectful.

thanks for listening! i would love your calm and rational opinions. expressing anger in a posting has a tendency to invite flamers and trolls, and i hope very much that does not happen. i have a lot of respect for waygook.org and hope to just get some kind/reasonable advice if anything comes to your minds. thanks everyone, any help is greatly appreciated.

Offline Jyang486

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Is it your computer, i.e. you bought for yourself, or a computer the school provided?  If it is yours, then put a password on it.  If it's a school bought computer, then the teacher has every right to the computer as you do.  Also, keep your candy and stuff you don't want taken without your permission laying around.  I didn't mind when teachers would help themselves to whatever I brought to the office we shared, but when I found out students came in when no one was around and started stealing candy and snacks, I started carrying it on me when I wasn't in the office.  You bought the scissors, so if you're afraid they'll get taken again and lost, keep them with you.  That's all you can really do besides consulting higher ups about it.  A lot of the teachers have a mentality where they take school related matters very seriously, but personal things like what you mentioned are whatever.  Just because you're in Korea doesn't mean you have to act the same way.  If your usual way is to confront the person about it then confront the person about it.  Otherwise from what I see you have two options: sweep it under the rug and let it simmer (not a bad choice if your contract is almost up and you're not planning on staying) or go to someone who can make him do something about it, i.e. the principal/vice prinicipal.

Offline wazure

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hi Jyang486, thanks a bunch. you gave me some things to consider. it's the school's computer, but my co-teacher said we have the right to use it exclusively. i did end up putting a password on it. that part has stopped (thank goodness), and at this point it is more about the relationship i have with this teacher, than getting the stuff back. i can totally forgive that it all happened, they are students and haven't fully learned respect yet. but when a teacher acts like he's all sorry and then acts differently, it's infuriating. but you're right, if i seem him again, i'm just going to say, you know forget the things i asked for to be returned, but more importantly, i feel very disrespected by you, so it's probably best you don't use this office at the same time i do, if at all possible, as sharing a room at this point makes me very uncomfortable.

and then whatever his response, is whatever. but at least i spoke me mind and didn't pretend. which is what i think will help me let it all go... and true. i leave at the end of August, so it's not worth getting nuts over.
thanks again for your suggestions!

Offline tamnier

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That's good advice jyang486 said, I'll have to add further about how violating it feels to have stuff taken from your desk(or other things in general).  Maybe it's part of korean culture, but my vice principal has taken several things of mine without asking.  Fly swatters(I had two for a game, he took both and put them on his desk in plain site), drinks, and sometimes if a teacher needs to go somewhere, sometimes they ask me to use my bicycle (often they don't).

My advice is the same as his, if you don't want it taken keep it on you, or our desks have locked drawers with keys(most teachers at our school have).  And instead of getting frustrated at the current situation, plan for the next situation so it doesn't happen again.

Offline Joscelyn2

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There are closet-like things in the back of my classroom that have tabs for locking. When I came they gave me a padlock so I could lock my personal things in there. It's not really necessary, but I usually lock my candy and personal things in there so the monkeys can't get at them if another teacher lets them into the classroom for any reason. If I leave it out I think it's fair game. As far as the food goes, I think it's OK to have a rule like 'please leave this room the way you found it' or 'please clean up after yourself'. Make a sign and post it in English and Korean. I find usually problems stem from miscommunication. I think that in Korea, men especially are not used to having to clean up after themselves. I know my students just throw trash on the ground and don't clean up well after themselves. Then the students come in and sweep and mop everyday. So during cleaning time, you clean. But for the rest of the time it's OK to throw wrappers on the floor or not clean up a spot of sauce. Maybe they don't do it to be disrespectful but they just don't realize that you DO clean up after yourself at ALL times and it bothers you when they don't. If you asked them to so they are aware that you like the office to be clean then maybe it will happen for you. That's what I would do.

As far as the gum/scissors goes. Ya, I think that you are wise to just get your own. If it happens again, then I'd ask the office to replace them and when they ask what happened to the ones you have you can say 'I don't know, they disappeared when so-and-so was in the office. These other things also disappeared but I don't expect you to replace those. But I need the scissors for my class next week.' That's what I would do. Then the office will get on the other teacher and make him produce some scissors. At least that's the way it works in my school. In fact, I usually have to go to one of my sympathetic co teachers and say ' I wish I had some scissors for my class.' and they will ask what happened to the ones I had so I can say 'I don't know they're gone after so and so was in my office.' Then that co teacher will go to the office for me and request new scissors and also explain in Korean that the other teacher makes things disappear and then it seems to stop. (This happened to me with some of the English books I brought from home. After the office was informed in a casual way - not really asking them to take care of it but just making them aware it had happened was asking enough - the books magically reappeared.

Offline Jozigirl

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I'm not sure he's intentionally being disrespectful.  People seem to take things from desks all the time here so he might think that you're making a bigger deal out of it than necessary.  I've had several pieces of stationery taken off my desk never to be seen again only to discover that one of the teachers in my office used the item and forgot to return it/lent it to someone else or finished it.  I don't make a big deal out of it because the school provides all of our stationery anyway so they basically view it is using school property.  My computer also gets used by students from time to time because it's school property - it irks me but it's not a big deal at the end of the day. 

As for the candy and leaving a mess at your desk.  Try to put the candy in a drawer or lock it up somewhere.  My teachers know that I always have candy in my drawer and I've told them to help themselves whenever they like so I've never had an issue with this.  Ask the teacher to make sure that your desk is not left in a mess and explain that having to tidy it because the kids have left it messy takes away time from more important things you need to do. 


Personally, I don't think any of it is meant to be disrespectful.  All of the offices in my school operate on a collective system - what's yours is mine basically so I wouldn't be surprised if other offices are the same.  I've had similar things happen back home where my classroom was used for various things and I've had to clean up after other people so I honestly don't think it's specific to Korea.  Donfronting the teacher isn't going to accomplish much and will probably just make you look petty.  The teacher might also surprise you if you stop making a big deal about small things like this.  One of my co-teachers regular borrows things from my desk but every now and then, he'll re-stock my stationery of his own accord or bring me a box of my favourite coffee so I just smile and try not to let it bother me.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 10:09:55 PM by sasez »

Offline wazure

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thanks everyone, these are all good things to keep in mind. i have a small, locked office, so it feels different than a group one, where i could see everyone using everyone's stuff.. but when my stuff gets taken, i have no one's stuff to take back! haha.. anyway, i always have to try to remember that they have the group collective more. i think i just hate procrastinators and when people say one thing and do another.. especially when i specifically said how much it means to me to have things returned, since i use them regularly. getting any supplies at all is usually a big thorn in the side, so it's probably better i just forget about it, and take the precautions u guys suggest. i do have a small side table i can lock stuff in. thanks y'all.

Offline heyitslep

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I'm going to assume the other teacher's English level is proficient. If it isn't then just disregard my advice. When you confront him, be forward with your feelings of being disrespected and insulted. However, handle it tactfully: choose your words wisely, select an appropriate time, and ensure the setting is safe for both parties. There's a big difference between yelling, "hey dummy, gimme my scissors!" and "I feel as if you've been taking advantage of my kindness."

However, I didn't see it mentioned where his procrastination arises? Do you feel it's procrastination in his response to your prior requests? If that's the case it may just be the same issue: lack of respect and/or boundaries.

Offline ilpunto

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You only have about 2 months remaining. I say just forget about it and let it be. Like another person said, keep your stuff with you (i.e. - take it home with you at the end of the day). Just ignore that stupid teacher. You'll never see him again after August.

Korean teachers tend to take each other's side. It doesn't seem like your co-teacher is being of much help to you. If you do something drastic, they could spread bad rumors about you and it could come to bite you at your next school.

If these are your last 2 months in Korea, then you can tell that teacher to go to hell.

Offline iwalkonwater

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Have you tried talking to other teachers at school about the behaviours of that teacher and what has happend in your office. I find it as an effective way to get things done in korean schools. As the aforementioned teacher don't want be embarrased by other korean teacher when asked by them, he probably would do all he can to resolve this issue and prevent it from happing again. You need to make it impossible for him to ignore the situation. my 200 won.

 

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