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Author Topic: Deskwarming FAQ/Thread [MEGA THREAD]  (Read 264612 times)

Offline Arsalan

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #100 on: January 28, 2011, 04:25:30 AM »
When I was teaching I in S.Korea, I had the same issue.  Although, I think my rebellious inclination towards authority without question made me just ignore all of it.  I had always thought that there was no logic behind it other than forcing one to conform, while they had the freedom to bend the rules in terms of their contractual obligations. 

I don't recommend doing what I did however, it seemed to pan out ok in my case, but it can make life tedious in some situations.  You need to determine the attitude of your principal, vice-principal, and co-teachers.

Regarding the psychological differences in work environments, I would completely agree with it.  However, depending on your school and "colleagues", I would think some people do benefit from the time spent at school doing research and prep.
Carpe PM... ZzzzzZzzz ZzzzZzzz.

Offline roundrug

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #101 on: January 28, 2011, 06:32:55 AM »
Hehe, deskwarming.  I only have 2 days of it this year (next week) because of using so much vacation time.  And, I teach 3 camp classes per day--9:30-11:00, 1:00-2:30, and 3:00 to 4:30.  Keeps me occupied all day and I have plenty of time to clean up and prep between classes.  Oh and btw I get paid overtime for doing 10 extra hours of teaching per week.  One of my co-teachers, who is on a temporary contract, also has to be here, and she is totally deskwarming.  All she does is watch movies all day, with 2 electric space heaters on at full blast.  What a waste of energy, in my opinion. 

I do think deskwarming is a kind of luxury--though I love teaching, it's also stressful for me--my 3rd year teaching, and I still get nervous before every class.  It would be nice to not have to teach.  But this school is freezing cold.  And, I am moving onto a uni job in March.  I was so shocked by the contract.  What?  I only teach 12 hours per week?  But, what time do I have to arrive at school?  Oh, just to teach my classes?  Oh, and I need to have office hours?  When are those?  Oh, whenever I want them to be?  And vacations?  Oh, all during school breaks, except I can't be out of the country the last week of vacation?  So like....December...to...March?  Oh My Gosh.  I don't know what to even DO with myself during this time.  When you look at this...it does seem pretty stupid to have to come in a deskwarm in the elementaries.  Though...I wonder if the uni will pay me during breaks....?  Hrrrrmmmm....

Offline STRETCHARMSTRONG

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #102 on: January 28, 2011, 10:36:00 AM »
Desk warming is up to the VP.  I had a cool one at my last school and he would just make me come in for 10 minutes a day and chat with my co-teach.  I guess it was a way to make sure i wasnt leaving korea.  now i have a power hungry vp that doesnt like waygooks and he goes out of his way to make sure i drive two hours a day and sit for 8.  its really a waste of power.  i am the only one in this big office all day.  i do get to crank the heater and plug my floor heater up as well.  i never feel inspired to do lesson planning during my desk warming time.  i think maybe its because i feel like i am going crazy from sitting alone all day long for weeks.  i would love to see all the waygooks protest desk warming.  sign something promising you will desk warm at your house or a coffee cafe or the beach or somewhere in korea. be nice to your waygooks, they are along way from family, their food, their beer, their culture.  we should make some tee-shirts that reads desk warming no. 

Offline juliehrrs

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #103 on: January 28, 2011, 12:33:47 PM »
I think another reason for desk warming is to keep the waygooks out of trouble, my co-teacher told me once that the reason we have to stay at school when the kids have half days or whatever is so that we don't go run amok in the streets of Korea. Now I can here the uproar in reponse to this but I don't think it is too far off. Since I have been here I have met so many foreigners who have such a complete disregard for the Korean culture and have run amok on their time off. As someone has already said on this thread we are guests here and we should act like guests on our time off.

Offline Morticae

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #104 on: January 28, 2011, 01:38:23 PM »
I think another reason for desk warming is to keep the waygooks out of trouble, my co-teacher told me once that the reason we have to stay at school when the kids have half days or whatever is so that we don't go run amok in the streets of Korea. Now I can here the uproar in reponse to this but I don't think it is too far off. Since I have been here I have met so many foreigners who have such a complete disregard for the Korean culture and have run amok on their time off. As someone has already said on this thread we are guests here and we should act like guests on our time off.

If my co-teacher had said that I would tell him/her to keep their discriminatory remarks to themselves.

This isn't a concentration camp. We're not really guests, we are employees, foreign residents. Somebody passing through on a week long vacation is a guest. You don't expect anything in return of a guest, and you extend hospitality to them.

Minority groups will always be discriminated against, that seems to be fact enough. But I hate when it's done from within the group itself. No, not all "waygooks" are irresponsible and here to "run amok" (What does that even include?). No two "waygooks" are created equal.

I've been spending my paid vacation time teaching students from my house, this teaching amounts to a little over 15 hours a week. For free. The school administration didn't ask me to do it, I did it because I wanted to. Of course, they are thrilled about it. I know, I know, how irresponsible of me. We're all the same I guess. Low life scum here to destroy the divine-like quality of Korean society, so a leash must be kept around us.

Offline juliehrrs

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #105 on: January 28, 2011, 01:58:48 PM »
It was not the opinion of my co-teacher she was telling me that that was what she had heard.
I was not implying that all foreigners run amok at all, I was simply suggesting that perhaps it is because of one or two people who have taken advantage of the situation here or acted poorly that we are required to desk warm, no need to get heated. And by run amok I mean, getting drunk and vandalising property, speaking badly to Korean people because they don't understand English and that sort of behaviour.
I commend you for your extra work, we need more teachers like you.

Offline BryceSK

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #106 on: January 28, 2011, 02:58:53 PM »
I agree with Morticae. It's not right to paint everyone with the same brush and secondly if you're going to make sweeping statements about "so many foreigners" being hooligans then stick to it. The moment Morticae commented, your tune changed to that of "one or two people".

Look, we are all here as ambassadors whether we want to be or not,  but it does not mean that we must live like monks and nuns constantly walking on egg shells with regards to everything Korean. It goes without saying that we must respect their culture, they have afforded us a fantastic opportunity and I am truly grateful for it. Yet it's important to remember that respect is a two-way street regardless of culture / race / religion etc.

Offline Halcyon

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #107 on: January 28, 2011, 04:01:33 PM »
To whoever said that the reason we have to desk warm is so that "we don't run amok", I'd say that is complete tomfoolery.  I know it wasn't the opinion of you or your co-teacher juliehrrs but the fact the she would even repeat it as a plausible fact is silly.  I hope you didn't give it any credence yourself.  Why would we be given any vacation time at all if that were even remotely true?  What amokness can be done during January that can't be done during February? Or vice-versa?  And what about time off during summer vacation, Chuseok, Lunar New Year, and every weekend throughout the year that we don't have to work. :-\

Plus, it seems that the majority of teachers here use their vacation time to travel to neighboring countries or to return home to visit with their families.  Whatever 'amok is being run' by NESTs here is more than likely being done outside of Korea if even at all.

I suppose her hearsay didn't really need a response but I personally have a hard time letting baseless, unfounded reasons/opinions stand as fact.  And by no means is that an ad hominem to you juliehrrs~
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 04:06:44 PM by Halcyon »

Offline juliehrrs

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #108 on: January 28, 2011, 04:35:38 PM »
No my co-teacher said it as part of a discussion, she didn't believe it or agree with it herself. We both had a little giggle to it, and pretty much said what halcyon wrote about the other holidays and even weekends.
@BryceSK: I apologies for my sweeping statement, straight after I posted that I realised that what I said was wrong (brain freeze?). I don't think of all foreigners badly at all. What I was trying to get at is that maybe there was an incident with bad behaviour that lead to desk warming? I don't know, I am asking?

Offline STRETCHARMSTRONG

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #109 on: January 28, 2011, 04:58:08 PM »
there was a teacher at my school who was sneaking off during his desk warming and the VP saw him and started yelling.  The dude jumped a fence and kept running.  when i heard about this i was thought right on man, but that was when i had a great VP.  I heard this angered the little fella and he went to raising hell with the higher ups. Desk warming can get to ya.  mentally and physically. there has to be another solution.   maybe they could create the buddy system.  desk warm with a friend or lover. ;D

Offline Davey

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #110 on: January 28, 2011, 06:43:03 PM »
It's all in the contract that you and everyone else teaching here wilfully signed. You will have have to work when you are not using the 18-20 vacation days you were given. As it was stated earlier on this thread, many of these "working days" are only around four hours. What's so hard to understand about the Korean logic here? You agreed to work these days, and now they expect you to do so. And why the complaining!? You are being paid to do nothing! Bring a book to read. Watch a movies or a t.v. show. AND get paid! Why the complaining? Good luck finding a job like that back home.
You need to calm down. Most of us sit in a freezing cold office for 8 hours with nothing to do. There are so many books you can read. There is only so much facebooking to be done. No one is arguing about doing their job, just stating the OBVIOUS stupidity of forcing us to sit at a desk for no reason.

if it's any consolation, Korean teachers under contract like us have to desk warm, as well. For example, i co-teach with a Korean-contract teacher for the 3rd grade and she has to desk warm when she's not on vacation or doesn't have camp. furthermore, she has to go to school on Saturdays even though she has no classes and nothing to do but lesson plan (but, like us, there's only so much lesson planning you can do). she agrees it's preposterous, but i guess these are simply the terms for contract teachers, Korean or not.

KTs who are subject teachers (PE, ethics, etc.) also have to come in saturdays despite having no classes.

it's stupid, but it's certainly not an issue exclusive to foreigners.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 07:07:14 PM by daveyc18 »
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Offline confusedsafferinkorea

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #111 on: January 29, 2011, 05:45:44 AM »
I must admit I am disturbed by the attitude of some of the people writing here. To make a comment like, if you don't like it then go home, is inappropriate. We all have a right to express our opinions without inviting that kind of response.  Just because you don't agree with someone does not give you the right to be offensive.

I would like to comment about this 'deskwarming' thing. I was, before coming to Korea, a Deputy Principal of a High School in my own country and one of the things I learnt very quickly that the most important people in any school (students aside) are your teachers.  The way you treat your teachers comes back to you tenfold, if you treat them with respect and encourage them in whatever way you can (giving them personal attention, little perks etc) you reap the rewards in many ways.

If you, however, treat them like objects just there to teach and little else, you too reap the rewards, but I can assure you that it is not the kind of rewards you would like.

I am a firm believer in doing things that have a good reason supporting it and only that. If you make a teacher do something for the sake of doing it and for no other reason, you soon build up resentment and you will not get the maximum benefit from that teacher.

I do realise that many Principals or Vice Principals, make us deskwarm to appease the 'gods', but many have made a decision that they don't care about the 'gods', they care about their teachers and for the most, if you scrutinise their schools, then you will find a well-run school with a happy staff and I am not just talking about a foreign teacher being happy, but all teachers at that school.

Deskwarming is a mindless thing and serves no purpose whatsoever other than to appease the 'gods' and I salute the Principals and Vice-Principals who have the guts to stand up to the 'gods' and say, ' I don't care what you think, my teachers are the most important to me'  Nothing works better to motivate anyone than little things that make life just that much easier and more pleasant.  If a Principal allows you extra time off, not in your contract, NO ONE is negatively affected, in fact the outcome could be quite the opposite in my experience.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 07:00:19 AM by rlong (Ralph Long) »
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Offline cepctheworld

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #112 on: February 14, 2011, 10:21:53 AM »
I would like to state that we all do not read the complete threads because we are waygookin teachers and we are used to being lazy.  ;D  None of us would ever have cake jobs like this (and mine is one of the more challenging public school jobs in my small city) back at home unless we were the offspring of someone important.  ;)

I think the desk warming balances all of the other things I get excused from that make Korean teachers much more stressed out than we are.  Things like meetings, planning activities like talent shows, sitting on boards, filling out grade cards and dealing with parents.   

please laugh at this... it's some sarcasm (and truth) to lighten the mood here guys.   

Offline joybot0

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #113 on: February 14, 2011, 10:46:43 AM »
Well enjoy it while it lasts! Their starting to find things for us to do. Plus deskwarming and doing nothing but watching movies makes foreign teachers look bad. I'm sure there is utterances amongst coteachers of how lazy we are...due to this deskwarming we do.

Last year I skipped desk warming and walked up and down the stairs around the school for exercise. Stairwarming!

Offline sweet_potato

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #114 on: February 14, 2011, 10:59:11 AM »
Deskwarming are good for using those sick-days..... no one's gonna give you a hard time for it because you're not missing any classes. It's also a good time to go see a dentist or any other things you've wanted to do for a while.

Offline Janitor

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #115 on: February 14, 2011, 11:10:37 AM »
as for the deskwarming thing, walk into any office and you will see a lot of Koreans doing the same. When I was meeting a lot of the city hall people, I would usually have to wake them up after lunch when I arrived.

It is a little different at schools because teachers have classes along with other duties but I have also found that most of my teachers are not the greatest when it comes to time management. Thus,  things are put off until the last minute, kind of like when we were in University and left all those assignments to the last minute and then ran around complaining about having no time. A lot of my co-teachers are like that at my school any way. Time-saving things like dropbox/ data syncing and weekly plans are difficult to explain to my teachers.

When I was deskwarming I had my lessons finished and organized and showed them to my co-teacher on her way out the door. Thus she felt bad but went home just the same. I shot myself in the foot but at least they knew my work was done.

I guess the reason mostly is that the system is working off something built from a hogwan structure. It has now greatly changed but there is still that feeling of "If we pay them X amount they must work x amount of hours" However, they fail to calculate the amount of time we spend in class and holiday time. Hogwans were simple because they are open even when schools are closed. However, most are closed on Saturdays. When EPIK started up again they followed the same structure to be competitive in order to get teachers, but with a few changes to the contracts. These days it is completely different to what a hogwan contract is but after working for 4 years in a few hogwans I can see where they have started from.

In my years here I have found that there is no logical basis for the holiday time in public school other than an arbitrary amount that sounds great on paper. The camps are away of optimizing down time but deskwarming just came about because there is a gray area between school holidays, camps and waygook holidays.

Offline jchoe

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #116 on: February 14, 2011, 01:32:08 PM »
This is not to answer the original question, but after reading this, I wonder… why are people so thrown off by being at school with no students? Legit teachers around the world have days where no students come and there are no particular tasks assigned, but we call those days “teacher WORK days”. Desk-Warming seems to me to be a term, which when used to describe one’s behavior, speaks volumes about his/her work ethic. (I believe with confidence that the teacher who taught you to read came in many summer days and probably some late nights and weekends)

Do you care deeply about your students as learners and just as people? It’s deeply rewarding to put someone’s needs above your own comfort. Here are some ideas of what you could do if you can’t think of any: plan ways to encourage your students, develop new games and activities, create displays for your visual learners, think of new rules and procedures to implement that will give all students the best chance to learn in a place where they feel secure…

Offline confusedsafferinkorea

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #117 on: February 14, 2011, 01:41:03 PM »
jchoe..... people object because it is a mindless thing and it is done for the sake of doing it, for no other reason. When it comes to people management, doing something for the sake of doing it, is the worst motivator. If you read my previous post some time back you can see where I am coming from on this issue.

People management skill is the thing most lacking in Education circles throughout the world. All people in management positions in Education should be trained in this skill, but they are not, they are just teachers that are promoted to higher positions and lack the training. Teachers are your most important resource in a school and making concessions on things like desk-warming (for Korean and Native teachers) only has a positive spin off, believe me.
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Offline rich

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #118 on: February 14, 2011, 01:53:08 PM »


everyone should just relax, spring is around the corner. just watch this vid and enjoy some of your valentine's chocolate..

Offline asabranca

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #119 on: February 14, 2011, 01:56:31 PM »
"Teachers are your most important resource in a school and making concessions on things like desk-warming (for Korean and Native teachers) only has a positive spin off, believe me."

@rlong - I completely agree with you, Ralph.  I think that if some concessions were made in relatively inconsequential things like desk-warming, it would probably increase morale ten-fold and result in an even higher productivity, energy level, and willingness to cooperate on more substantial issues (like voluntarily staying late a few nights before a big test to tutor individual students) despite the temporary decrease in working hours.