May 24, 2018, 04:12:51 AM

Author Topic: Public School Isolation Feelings  (Read 4394 times)

Offline Mistaloot

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 33
  • Gender: Male
Public School Isolation Feelings
« on: August 27, 2014, 07:44:55 AM »
Hey,

So I've done 6 months in my Middle School as the only NET and at first I was enjoying the down time.  More time for my own thoughts and to do my own things.  But after going to various camps over the summer and working with other NET's, I've come back to school with an overwhelming feeling of how lonely it is here.  The other teachers do talk to me and I make an effort to talk to them when I can, but as the only foreigner I can't quite shake that feeling of 'I'm on my own here'.

Just wondered if anyone else felt like this at times and if so, what do you do about it?

Offline robin_teacher

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 372
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 07:48:53 AM »
I have an ongoing kakao group-chat with my teacher friends where we post the most absurd and noteworthy things from our day. It keeps me from feeling too isolated.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 08:21:10 AM by robin_teacher »

Offline jamielemmex

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Gender: Female
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 07:57:01 AM »
I find I like being alone and am not lonely. No one talks to me, hardly anyone at my school speaks English.

I'm teaching myself Spanish.

Offline acousticr

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 503
  • GEPIK, rural elementary.
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 07:58:18 AM »
I mostly make it a point to keep in touch with my friends. I complain or laugh about my day with them, and then find other things to absorb my attention in the evenings.

I have an ongoing kakao group-chat with my teacher friends were we post the most absurd and noteworthy things from our day. It keeps me from feeling too isolated.

That sounds really helpful.
$10 off your first order at iHerb.com with this code: BPC852

Offline mikeD

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 417
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 08:11:59 AM »
I am not only the only NEt at my school but there is only one other NET in my town. To entertain myself I am quite active at school. I play sports with some of the teachers on my own time and during the teachers sports time. I also go to the gym on Saturday morning to practice sports with the students and the gym teacher. I have a badminton rivalry with the vice principal and we play every so often. Find anything that interests you and do it with someone at your school. It could be art, music, sports or anything else you can think of. If you can help the students in your extra time in a way thats enjoyable you will connect with the other teacher thats involved with that. Then you will be invited out all the time and to their house and so on. Good luck! Hope you feel better for the second half of your stay.

Offline basic69isokay

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 468
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 08:20:58 AM »
This is a common feeling in Korea in general, not just for public school teachers.
You are an outsider, always will be. It can be a positive thing though.
My friend used to say, "If you don't like being alone, you're not in good company."
Go hiking, go to the gym, read a great book, watch a movie.
Of course, there are opportunities to make single serving friends. Join a FB social club, or hang out with the recent grad packs of waygooks in your local city.

Offline Mistaloot

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 33
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 09:17:54 AM »
Good suggestions all around.  I live in Busan so it's not outside school that's the problem, it's the lack of interaction with people in the school during the day.  The English level is low in the school as well so its quite hard to talk to the kids as well.  I'm sure there are a lot of people in Korea feeling like this though.  Think the start of Semester 2 can have an impact on it!  Keeping busy is the best option I think!

Offline BigEaredHylian

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 449
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 10:39:24 AM »
I don't want to sound too anti-social but I really enjoy being the only NET at my school. I think even if I spoke fluent Korean I would keep it a secret. It's nice having coworkers not be a part of my life. Does that sound bad? I can come to work, do my job, and go home. I don't have to worry about office politics or anything like that. If my students like me, I'm happy. If my coworkers like me--great, but if they don't, it's not a big deal. I love it

Offline Joshua1211

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 183
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 11:05:25 AM »
 Op- You're lucky in that you're in one of the biggest cities in Korea so at least you have plenty of social opportunities outside of school. I also feel really lonely inside and outside of school sense I'm in a pretty remote part of Korea. There are a group of young teachers here that I've made a major effort to be friendly with by organizing dinner meet ups, bringing gifts from my vacation, talking at lunch, etc. I was going to the pool with one of the teachers but her schedule changed this semester so now we aren't going anymore. I've tried to overcome the "outsider" stigma but it hasn't worked out.

I think the isolation bit of teaching here is easly one of the most difficult aspects to deal with. At first I was using all my down time to draw and read and do personal stuff but that only lasts so long before you need actual interactions with people. To shift tracks of this rant I would suggest that you accept the fact that you might not be able to develop any meaningful relationships at your school no matter what you do. Focus on you social life outside of school because at least you have that.

Offline Gaikoku.org

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 11:08:21 AM »
I get the same feeling until classes start again. Since the work load is generally quite low anyway having such an extended period of down time can get you...well...down. In my first 6 months I was feeling pretty fed up in the winter because the vacation was soooo long and the weather was also bad and depressing. Then work kicked up again and people started doing stuff and it was all good.

Offline pokute

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 83
  • Gender: Female
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 02:20:08 PM »
I concur.  What's worse is I'm a sensitive thing and very introverted and some days you just need someone to listen to your complaints/thoughts/feelings.  The small and bigger "differences" of this working culture are sometimes tough to deal with from my highly logical working frame of mind.  I guess adaptation isn't for everyone.

Offline aklimkewicz

  • Hero of Waygookistan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1647
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 02:26:50 PM »
I don't want to sound too anti-social but I really enjoy being the only NET at my school. I think even if I spoke fluent Korean I would keep it a secret. It's nice having coworkers not be a part of my life. Does that sound bad? I can come to work, do my job, and go home. I don't have to worry about office politics or anything like that. If my students like me, I'm happy. If my coworkers like me--great, but if they don't, it's not a big deal. I love it

I love it too. One of the best reasons to work in a small rural town is that you get left alone so much.

To the OP, or anyone else having similar feelings, I recommend hagwons. There are usually always other native speakers to talk to there. But, that can get irritating with office politics or annoying coworkers your can't escape. Hmm, the grass is always greener . . .
Dropbox is the BEST way to coordinate files between home and school. Click here to get it --> https://db.tt/JSMXsrdm

Offline Sweetrevenge355

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 126
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 05:06:09 PM »
Quote
I think the isolation bit of teaching here is easly one of the most difficult aspects to deal with. At first I was using all my down time to draw and read and do personal stuff but that only lasts so long before you need actual interactions with people. To shift tracks of this rant I would suggest that you accept the fact that you might not be able to develop any meaningful relationships at your school no matter what you do. Focus on you social life outside of school because at least you have that.

Does anyone feel that they are expected to learn Korean while they are here. My friend warned me that even if I somehow became fluent in Korean, I would still be interrupted/ cut off by fellow native korean speakers if I tried to speak Korean. I also find that its difficult to be social with my coworkers and am wondering if they expect me to just start speaking in English while they are talking about who knows what in Korean. During a co-worker trip, one of my fellow teachers told me that she 'wants' to be my friend but it would be up to me to ask her to come to a waygookin bar during the weekend. Not really sure how to take that since I know she's married and has a daughter.

Offline Gaikoku.org

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 06:24:33 PM »
I also find that its difficult to be social with my coworkers and am wondering if they expect me to just start speaking in English while they are talking about who knows what in Korean. During a co-worker trip, one of my fellow teachers told me that she 'wants' to be my friend but it would be up to me to ask her to come to a waygookin bar during the weekend. Not really sure how to take that since I know she's married and has a daughter.

I talk a bit to my co-teachers since they speak English pretty well (well, my handler is fluent and my second one can make okay small talk) so the rest of the school hears gossip about me. If you're the same then the rest of the school has more of a handle on you than you do on them. So they might have genuine positive feelings toward you but no way to interact. I spend a lot of time just smiling like a simpleton in the corner at work dinners and such. It's boring for me but I look like I'm happy and project a positive aura so everyone at least says hi and bye to me.

Online Foreverparadise

  • Hero of Waygookistan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1374
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 12:44:02 PM »
I can tell you as a professional teacher that this job is one of the most lonliest jobs to have because you won't be interacting with other co-workers that much at all throughout each and every day. It happens an any circumstance, whether you are a homeroom teacher in North America, or the only foreign teacher at your school. In our cases here in Korea, it's being lonely while sitting at your desk in your office, English classroom, or in the teacher's office, and the language barrier to go with it.

Offline mr_spivak

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 80
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 01:21:55 PM »
I don't want to sound too anti-social but I really enjoy being the only NET at my school. I think even if I spoke fluent Korean I would keep it a secret. It's nice having coworkers not be a part of my life. Does that sound bad? I can come to work, do my job, and go home. I don't have to worry about office politics or anything like that. If my students like me, I'm happy. If my coworkers like me--great, but if they don't, it's not a big deal. I love it

Agree 100%! I know a LOT more Korean than I let on, it's just nice to not be bothered. I like being able to just come in, teach, unwind a few hours in the afternoon then go home. I spend my free time at school preparing for my masters and studying Japanese. In the event I do get bored, the kids are certainly always up for playing. As someone said above, if you're a social butterfly maybe you're better off at a hagwon where there will be other NETs.

Offline stemarty

  • Moderator LVL 1
  • Hero of Waygookistan
  • *
  • Posts: 1133
  • Gender: Female
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2014, 07:57:41 AM »
I guess after being here for 3 years, i have almost shaken off the "alone" feeling.

Do things to keep you busy at school. Study online, write a journal / blog, make lesson plans and games, play sports or join a club with students, read books and magazines, and try to get to know your students.
I am constantly busy so I guess that's why I don't feel so lonely. I don't even have time to deskwarm most days!

You can also try to start an English club or newspaper club so that you are at least communicating with people in English. I teach a club every thursday and every other sunday and it is the high light of my week.

Outside school try to keep involved in the foreigner community or do something to keep you busy. Although this won't be happening while at school, it gives you something to look forward to afterwards and keeps your mind off th loneliness. It also will boost your morale alot.
Join a sports club, activity club, taekwondo, music lessons, have a dinner gathering once a week, exercise, play video games, travel on weekends.... anything to keep you busy. You'll need something especially in the winter! 

also: make an effort to learn korean. That way the teachers will try to communicate with you as well as your students.

Offline 14u14me2

  • Explorer
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Gender: Male
Re: Public School Isolation Feelings
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2014, 01:56:22 PM »
"I guess after being here for 3 years, i have almost shaken off the "alone" feeling."
+1

You get used to it.  ;D. Use your free time to do something constructive, and also, something you enjoy.

Good luck and enjoy the "me-time"

 



Learn new things. Meet new people. Be inspired.
The 2018 KOTESOL National Conference. Crossing Borders: Korean ELT in the Modern World. May 12 Kangnam University, Yongin
koreatesol.org/nc2018