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Author Topic: Deskwarming FAQ/Thread [MEGA THREAD]  (Read 254761 times)

Offline juliehrrs

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2011, 01:08:31 PM »
Just to clarify I am not complaining about desk warming, I am quite aware that I would not be able to find another job where I get paid to sit around and doing nothing. I was just wondering what the reasoning is, I know that it is in the contract and I was fully aware of it when I signed. The Korean teachers who have the same contracts as us also have to be at school, this includes both of my co-teachers and neither of them are here.

I am not going to draw unnecessary to my situation at all, so everyone can relax it was just a discussion question.

Offline raintenshi

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #81 on: January 27, 2011, 01:09:52 PM »
@derbear86

Yes, "working" days. Desk warming (for me) does not mean I'm working. I hate having to come to work and have no work to actual do. I hate being bored at work, whether I'm working in Korea or working back home. It seems a waste of money/time to have me show up just because I'm suppose to. Due to some things happening with me at my school (long story), I have NO winter classes!! So it's not like I can spend time preparing for it. So I've been desk warming for over a month now -_- And it gets really boring/tiring pretty fast.

My summer sounds like what you've got right now. I had 4 classes in the morning to teach every day (20 classes/week) every day unless I was on vacation, then I had the afternoons to myself.  I much rather have something like that then what I'm doing right now. Especially with this cold winter!!

If it was just a matter of "contract", I would suggest that they should put in a clause: During a vacation period (June - August or December to February) and the employee is not assigned additional classes (camps, teaching lessons, etc) by their employer at their school or another, the working day is only 4 hours. The change in working days will not cause a reduction in the employee's vacation days or a reduction in pay.  <-- Or something like this. That way, the schools make sure we're not leaving the country (or something else) and we're given time to prepare our lessons in advance *cough cough*, but at the same time, we're not forced to sit at our desks for long periods of time with nothing to do.

Offline Halcyon

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #82 on: January 27, 2011, 01:13:44 PM »
If we're talking about actual reasons, which I think is what the OP was trying to get at, I don't think it's enough to say that it's because it's contractual.  It should be but here in Korea it's always been a 'contractual thing' and, as it's been mentioned, schools have only just recently begun to strictly enforce the provisions set out in the contract.  Before, most schools applied the text of our contracts as they saw fit.  More often than not, that worked out in our favor.  If there were no obligatory camps to attend then Native English teachers weren't expected to be at school.

A few years ago, a kind of great debate...or rather a more refined debate began in Korea about the English education system here and along with it the role we NETs/NESTs were to play.  As administrators and officials looked more closely at how we were being "used" it became apparent that, simply put, we weren't being "used" enough (maybe utilized is a better word but I like used^) or at least the perception that we were wasn't pervasive enough.

Along with administrators and other officials, some teachers and parents began to voice their concerns/complaints about how effective we truly were from a "cost vs results" perspective, about our work ethic, and in some circles, about our character (due to several foreigner-related incidents over the past several years)

And so, enter desk warming.  I feel confident in saying that it's because of two things.  First, contractually we are obligated to work during the school's vacation until our allotted vacation time kicks in.  Second, and I think the weightier of the two, desk warming is a way to appease the dissenters who think we're just overpriced ornaments.  I mean, if we're at school, we must be working^.

(I also think that there was some hope, if only a sliver, that we would actually use that time to prepare for the next semester's classes or to improve our teaching skills...I'm fairly certain it was only a sliver.)

Even with the stricter guidelines, I'm finding that most schools are still taking it upon themselves to decide what we should be doing before our actual vacation times starts.  I desk warmed a bit during my first week and then had four hours of class a day for three weeks- an advanced class of 10 students for two hours and a teacher workshop for two.

A friend of mine will be finishing his fifth week of camp tomorrow!  If you had given him the choice, I'm pretty sure he would have chosen to desk warm instead ;)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 09:15:59 AM by Halcyon »

Offline juliehrrs

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #83 on: January 27, 2011, 01:19:01 PM »
@Halcyon that is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for, thank you.

Offline Cy&Leon

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #84 on: January 27, 2011, 01:30:46 PM »
-Halcyon
"Second, and I think the weightier of the two, desk warming is a way to appease the dissenters who think we're just overpriced ornaments. " I agree to this statement from many viewpoints. Just put yourself in their shoes. Native teachers don't work on Saturdays. Koreans if they think it's not fair-they WILL complain. So, to keep everyone happy and our jobs, we 'work' on the break.

I know one native teacher that complained nothing to do during this 'deskwarming' and he was given 1 more week of camp for a total of 3 for elementary school.

globetrotter.2011

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #85 on: January 27, 2011, 02:00:26 PM »
I really dislike listening to native teachers complaining in Korea.

I was unemployed for a whole year in my home country before I came here. It was a really rough time for me but now I' m so grateful to have a job whether it be desk warming or not.

I knew exactly what was in my contract before I came here and I was more than happy to sign it, I didn't need any extra clauses!

I never complain about desk warming. For me it is a small bonus of free time from teaching classes, something I never anticipated before coming here and I have no problem filling it with things to do at my school.

I have always maintained the attitude here in Korea that i'm at all times a guest here. It is not my place to tell the korean people how to run their show. They have given me the opportunity to work here.

Life is all about a positive mental attitude, be positive and good things will happen.  :D

If you are negative and complain, well.....I think the last poster summed it up best
Quote
I know one native teacher that complained nothing to do during this 'deskwarming' and he was given 1 more week of camp for a total of 3 for elementary school.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 02:06:38 PM by globetrotter.2011 »

Offline CultureShock

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #86 on: January 27, 2011, 02:20:21 PM »
To all the people saying "why are you complaining" "good luck finding another job like this" "blah blah blah".
 :o

Make sure you fully read someone's topic. She wasn't complaining, and she didn't say she was having a bad time with it. This is what she did say
I was just wondering if anyone knows that actual reason why we have to desk warm? Most of us spend so much time complaining about it but does anyone know if there is a reason?

Just a question. There is no tone, or context that should make you think otherwise. In other words --calm down.
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Offline ISangHae

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #87 on: January 27, 2011, 02:43:11 PM »
I disagree with globetrotter.

Came into public schools after hearing how fantastic they were compared to the hagwon I worked at. This coming from a former co-worker, so he gave me his rundown:

**More time off**

I was severely disappointed upon learning that when no one else is in school, I have to stay. It is lame, bigoted, and silly. The principal doesn't even come in on regular school days- the K teachers come in once a month. I could sneak out, but I respect the rules. I babysit the kids (camp), they go, I eat lunch and return to the funny farm that is my school.

All I can say is: if you had it before, and lost it- there is plenty of reason to vent.
Even if you didn't have it before, but know of others that (do/did) and know that it is possible, there is still reason to vent.

The powers that be could give us something: like teacher training (for those staying) or paid camps (like there were back in the day) but if you'd rather sit and not stand up for yourself, that's your problem.

Offline rhafrika

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #88 on: January 27, 2011, 02:55:26 PM »
I'm not complaining per se but it doesn't make sense for us to come to school when we have nothing to do. In other countries teachers and professors don't go to school during breaks unless they have work to do and they still get paid. I remember telling my teachers this and they even thought it was a good idea. But still compared to non-teaching jobs getting paid to do absolutely nothing is not all that bad really. There's lots you can do while you're sitting--I've been doing lots of reading, making travel plans, working on applications for next year, studying Korean. My desk warming time is almost up but I was even considering bringing in my art supplies and doing some painting. It's not that bad folks! It is annoying that some teachers don't have to go in and others do but oh well! Maybe someday Korea will figure out that it doesn't make sense at all to have us come to school when there is no work for us to do. I think we could be investing more in the Korean economy if we weren't here sitting around because we could be spending our money doing stuff in Korea! haha!

Offline ranteab

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #89 on: January 27, 2011, 02:56:11 PM »
Initially, I was also confused as to why I had to remain at school after I had finished my classes during winter camp (which is @ round 12:30), when everyone else had  already left.  Now, I actually realise that this time actually stands me in good stead as I get so much done. I go on websites like these and gather materials for my classes; I research holiday destinations; etc.

This time is the perfect opportunity for one to do all the research with respect to teaching, working and living in Korea without any distractions or kids or teachers breathing down your neck. (Hey, the more info, the better! There's always something you are unsure of.) Yesterday for example, I researched all the things which our medical insurance covers and that which it does not. I definitely learnt a few things which I had not known before.

Had I left early and  simply gone home, I would definitely not have been able to do as much. I would've convinced myself that I was going to spend the time working on lesson plans, but I would only have been kidding myself!

I feel you on the 'desk warming', but you can choose to use it constructively and make it work for you and at the same time get paid for broadening your knowledge base...

Offline derbear86

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #90 on: January 27, 2011, 03:19:27 PM »
To culture shock,

And anyone else saying, "Make sure you fully read someone's topic..." "stay calm" blah blah blah.

Make sure you read the entire thread. I was not targeting the original poster with my comment, I was targeting the complainers. Read this particular thread and you will find at least a couple of them. Read any thread on Waygook for that matter and you're bound to find many. Deskwarming seems to be a very popular target for the complainers on this website and this is something I can't fathom. Would you rather be having in-class hours and camps!? You'd probably be on here complaing about that then! Use this deskwarming time wisely. If you don't like coming to work with no work to do, find some. Surely your lesson plans aren't perfect. Refine them. Perfect them. Clean out your desk. Learn Korean. That ought to keep you busy. There is always work to be done.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 06:30:13 PM by derbear86 »

Offline treesy

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #91 on: January 27, 2011, 06:54:38 PM »
My school at the last minute said I could stay at home, other than teaching after school class Tues and Thurs for 2 hour last week and this week. They gave me two choices, come to work or do a "special project" at home. This project is making PPTs about cultural lessons to add to regular classes. I am also doing the lesson plans for the last two weeks of the semester. There is no running water on all the floors except the first so it would be annoying to come in. I am not sure if they are going to check my work or not that I did at home or if it was just an excuse to let me stay home.

Offline elspeth

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #92 on: January 27, 2011, 07:04:12 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.

Offline derbear86

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #93 on: January 27, 2011, 07:17:45 PM »
And what makes you think I'm uncalm? I didn't realize you could tell so much about a persons emotional state by reading a post on waygook. With regards to your comment, just keep your word. You signed the contract. Deal with it or go home.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 07:22:33 PM by derbear86 »

Offline DMZ

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #94 on: January 27, 2011, 07:27:24 PM »
Shall we agree to disagree?

Offline negacoca

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #95 on: January 27, 2011, 07:58:04 PM »
It is obviously true that we are more productive when we come into school.  There's a psychological difference between being at work and being at home.  During the regular school year, I usually stay a couple of hours past 4:30 for that reason.  So, I can understand why they feel they are utilizing us better when we deskwarm.  However, eight hours seems excessive with no classes.  I like raintenshi's idea of having a four hour working day during school vacations, if there are no afternoon classes to teach.  Teachers that take teaching seriously would use that time to improve their teaching, but still get a partial vacation.  Personally, I think I would spend a greater fraction of my time doing activities that would help my teaching in an empty four hour slot than an empty eight hour slot.

I don't actually have to deskwarm.  I teach four classes each morning, then I am free to leave in the afternoon.  I can choose how long to stay at school, depending on how much needs to be done for the next day's camps, my other plans for the day, and the temperature of the classroom.  Sometimes I stay till 2:00 or 3:00, and sometimes I leave right at noon (especially on those really cold days).  This makes me feel like a respected teaching professional.  I imagine it must feel patronizing to have to sign in somewhere at 8:30, be forced to spend all day at school, and then have to check out with someone at 4:30.  That seems more upsetting than deskwarming in and of itself.  But, I wouldn't mind coming in to work for half a day without classes to teach.

The temperature of the classrooms during vacation is a problem.  At home, I don't have to wear my hat, gloves, and scarf.  It is much more comfortable to work on lesson plans at home, despite the psychological disadvantages.

I think most native teachers should not complain about their overall situation (I'm sure there are exceptions).  This is generally a great job, and most of us have life pretty good.  But, that does not mean we cannot discuss how things could be better.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 08:46:23 PM by negacoca »

Offline Brian

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #96 on: January 27, 2011, 08:43:53 PM »
I understand the OP and others weren't complaining.  There are reasons some NSETs are justified in complaining about deskwarming, and there are things that make NSETs look really petty and out-of-touch with reality for doing so.  I like the idea of a half-day workday mentioned by others here: no reason teachers shouldn't, um, do their jobs and follow their contracts, but also no reason to sit alone in a freezing school.

When deskwarming was applied more consistently across the country last year, including in Jeollanam-do, the reason generally given was that some NSETs were complaining about having to deskwarm while teachers at other schools didn't have to.  The longer vacation times were always a big selling point of public school jobs especially in places outside of Seoul, but while some schools do still offer this time off, it's quickly disappeared over the past year. 

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Offline Morticae

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #97 on: January 27, 2011, 10:02:43 PM »
It is obviously true that we are more productive when we come into school.  There's a psychological difference between being at work and being at home.

Personally, I have never created 1 complete worksheet/powerpoint while at school. I do everything while I'm at home. When I'm at school, I just can't focus! It's the complete opposite of what you describe. Not to mention I just don't want to use the Korean ppt/terrible computers. During the regular school year my teaching hours are way too erratic to do any work. I need a chunk of time to sit down and work. One 45 minute block just isn't enough to get me seriously started.

I'm on vacation now, but I was given no option of half days. Even during the two weeks of my winter camp I did. 8:30-4:30, end of story. Oh well.

If they want me to work, they are better off sending me home. If they want me to come in and sit around and do nothing, I'll do that too. I've never complained to them.

Offline eveliens

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #98 on: January 28, 2011, 12:15:20 AM »
It is obviously true that we are more productive when we come into school.  There's a psychological difference between being at work and being at home.

Personally, I have never created 1 complete worksheet/powerpoint while at school. I do everything while I'm at home. When I'm at school, I just can't focus! It's the complete opposite of what you describe. Not to mention I just don't want to use the Korean ppt/terrible computers. During the regular school year my teaching hours are way too erratic to do any work. I need a chunk of time to sit down and work. One 45 minute block just isn't enough to get me seriously started.

I'm on vacation now, but I was given no option of half days. Even during the two weeks of my winter camp I did. 8:30-4:30, end of story. Oh well.

If they want me to work, they are better off sending me home. If they want me to come in and sit around and do nothing, I'll do that too. I've never complained to them.

I also do better at home where I can put on the music and focus without freezing my fingers off and having a computer that actually works! At school there's at least one part time Korean teacher puttering around me-- it's very unnerving and distracting to be climbed over repeatedly. I was relieved when I was told I could go home to work after teaching class in the morning.

Offline LemonWater

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Re: The reason for desk warming
« Reply #99 on: January 28, 2011, 03:04:42 AM »
I agree with the above posts, I am more productive at home, at least when it comes to lesson planning. My computers at school are all in Korean, and I can put together a powerpoint twice as fast at home. Plus the distraction factor. .. I do like to sit at a computer and dedicate a few hours, uninterrupted to making a lesson. . .

But for desk warming. . . Nothing is expected of me. It does force me to get out of bed and do something during the day. . . during these cold months,av I would probably just sit at home and hibernate. So maybe I am more productive at school, even if I am watching movies or planning my vacation.

And I have heard the same thing as others . . . in years past, some people got the entire break off, some had to come in and do winter camps. The ones that had to come in complained too much, so they said everyone has to come in, regardless if you are teaching or not. . . so complaining just means more work for everyone.