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Career Venue => Contract, and Job Related Issues => Topic started by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 08:53:22 am

Title: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 08:53:22 am
Last year, when a grade's English classes were cancelled for a day(For example, four fourth grade classes) I would just desk warm and do work for the next week's lesson, other grades, etc. I work at two schools, and because they are at different English levels I use different materials for both. This makes more work (which I am okay with, I also did this last year).

However, my main school this year changed and my co-teacher believes that if our classes for that grade are cancelled in one week, she adds me on to co-teach with her during her class (I am never scheduled to see one grade twice a week because of my split schedule between two schools). I understand that it is technically within my 22 hours, but I feel like my co-teacher is taking advantage of me. She always always for my materials for her class even if I don't co teach with her, and it makes me really uncomfortable- I feel like she is using me to make her job easier. Typically, all my co-teachers handle their own class themselves because I am not scheduled to teach with them...

I am 4 months into my 2nd contract and right now I have really been burned out on her asking me for favors and changing my schedule to what suits her. I am afraid if I bring it up to her that "sorry, it's your class..." she will treat me really differently and make for an awkward situation at work.

How would you tell your main co-teacher how you feel about this?
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: 외계인 on June 04, 2015, 09:00:09 am
Last year, when a grade's English classes were cancelled for a day(For example, four fourth grade classes) I would just desk warm and do work for the next week's lesson, other grades, etc. I work at two schools, and because they are at different English levels I use different materials for both. This makes more work (which I am okay with, I also did this last year).

However, my main school this year changed and my co-teacher believes that if our classes for that grade are cancelled in one week, she adds me on to co-teach with her during her class (I am never scheduled to see one grade twice a week because of my split schedule between two schools). I understand that it is technically within my 22 hours, but I feel like my co-teacher is taking advantage of me. She always always for my materials for her class even if I don't co teach with her, and it makes me really uncomfortable- I feel like she is using me to make her job easier. Typically, all my co-teachers handle their own class themselves because I am not scheduled to teach with them...

I am 4 months into my 2nd contract and right now I have really been burned out on her asking me for favors and changing my schedule to what suits her. I am afraid if I bring it up to her that "sorry, it's your class..." she will treat me really differently and make for an awkward situation at work.

How would you tell your main co-teacher how you feel about this?

Uh, yeah--all while telling everyone else how busy and stressed she is.

I have been stuck with a seriously shite co for 2 years now, she is absolutely terrible at her job and as a human being. She is like a giant ball of the worst stereotypes about working in Korea. And the other two I have had were nothing to write home about either.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 09:05:30 am
I have waited a few months to notice a pattern- that she knows I am a good teacher that cares about students and the lessons I craft- So I believe that she is using me....

This year, I already had one open class with my other co, and she asked me to help her with hers, which involved TEACHING IT WITH HER. It's been a rough year working with her... :cry:
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: ChickenLegsMcGee on June 04, 2015, 09:11:07 am
I feel if it's within your 22 hours, then you're neither being flexible nor being taken advantage of. It's not like they are asking you to come in on the weekends, or staying past 5pm, or asking you to last minute switch classes. You're simply doing your job. The contract is ambiguous enough that you will be doing work that other foreign teachers don't have to, and vice versa.

It should be stated in your contract that you should help out with reasonable requests related to work. 
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 09:15:27 am
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: jwharrison30 on June 04, 2015, 09:18:34 am
Just say you are too busy, or for her to ask later, keep putting it off.  Or give her some really poor materials, or activities that require lot's of prep, of she is lazy then she won't do it and she will stop asking.  Or just say, "sorry I don't have anything else for this lesson, maybe you could find something online?"
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: GenericPie on June 04, 2015, 09:23:10 am
It's a tricky situation.

Does she seem like the vindictive type? If so, the consequences of you calling her out could be even worse than your current situation. It must be irritating dealing with a lazy CT that uses you, but dealing with a CT that's actively trying to ruin your life is a lot worse, especially if you have to work with her for another 8 months.

How you deal with it depends a lot on your CT's character, but I suspect a full on confrontation would be a bad idea. She might take a hit to her pride and take it out on you. Maybe some subtle hints that you're uncomfortable teaching extra classes would be your best bet, at least to test the waters. Next time she asks you to help her mention that you're really busy with lesson planning or have some other work to catch up on. She can't force you to teach her classes, so it might work.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 09:27:17 am
It's a tricky situation.

Does she seem like the vindictive type? If so, the consequences of you calling her out could be even worse than your current situation. It must be irritating dealing with a lazy CT that uses you, but dealing with a CT that's actively trying to ruin your life is a lot worse, especially if you have to work with her for another 8 months.

How you deal with it depends a lot on your CT's character, but I suspect a full on confrontation would be a bad idea. She might take a hit to her pride and take it out on you. Maybe some subtle hints that you're uncomfortable teaching extra classes would be your best bet, at least to test the waters. Next time she asks you to help her mention that you're really busy with lesson planning or have some other work to catch up on. She can't force you to teach her classes, so it might work.

 I think this is the kind of understanding I was looking for. It does put me in a tight spot-- I think the subtle hints will have to do for now.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: ChickenLegsMcGee on June 04, 2015, 09:33:34 am
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.

Well that's my point of view.

Same with your question. Flexible and taken advantage of is simply a matter of perspective. They both mean the same thing. Whether it's good or bad it's up to you, but I think you already see yourself as being taken advantage of rather than flexible, so probably best to talk to your coordinator and see what they say, and act on that advice instead.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: taeyang on June 04, 2015, 10:24:53 am
my very first post on waygook, way back when, was about a situation very similar to this. one of my co-teachers wanted to "bank" all the cancelled classes, and use them whenever she wanted. i told her i couldn't as it would go over the 22 classes i taught every week, and would technically qualify as overtime. she was only a contract teacher, and very low on the totem pole, so her opinion didn't matter. needless to say, the matter was dropped.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: Jason-Daegu on June 04, 2015, 10:55:05 am
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.

There is a simple solution to this one where everyone saves face. Agree to do it, and then don't. Make some excuses last minute and leave her high and dry. You get all apologetic, talk about how busy and stressed you are and she has to suck it up for one class. She'll then decide that you're not so reliable after all and will have to make some kind of plan of her own, which will probably start as a fall-back but will quickly become THE plan.

As for making you you teach her classes, she's being horribly opportunistic but you aren't really losing out. Your free periods just moved to a different day. The system for making up lost classes is entirely at your school's and co-teachers' discretion. It's unfortunate that she's not letting you have the extra time but it is extra time, not something you are entitled to.

Dig a little and you'll probably find out some reason why she doesn't want to teach English. I work in the countryside and was flat out told by two of my co-teachers that they won't be teaching English in their personal English periods. They said that they lack the ability (or so I gathered from the fact that they lacked the ability to tell me they lacked the ability), apologized and asked me to take care of it. My point is that just because someone is employed as an English teacher it doesn't always mean it's a job that they can do. Your co-teacher is probably petrified of teaching alone. Take pity on the poor lass, you're clearly that good.

A wise co-teacher of mine once said that the only people in Korea who didn't need to speak English were the English teachers. They had done their hard work and now it was their time to rest. Never again will their English proficiency be tested. 
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: Falling_Sky on June 04, 2015, 10:58:00 am

A wise co-teacher of mine once said that the only people in Korea who didn't need to speak English were the English teachers. They had done their hard work and now it was their time to rest. Never again will their English proficiency be tested.
Excellent post overall, but this part is hilariously true!  :laugh:
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: meepmoopimmarobots on June 04, 2015, 11:01:03 am
People have given you really good advice regarding coteachers using your materials, but I'll tell you what has worked for me in the past:

- If a coteacher wants to use something of mine, and I don't plan to use it again/I am finished with it for the year, I give it without hesitation.
- If a coteacher wants to use my materials and it's something I plan to reuse, use in the near future, or want to save for a special occasion, I will:
                     a) Tell her, "Oh, I was thinking of doing XXX later, but you could look at this game template/worksheet and change it to be about Lesson Y."
                     b) Tell her, "Sorry, I don't have anything for that. Why don't you take a look and see what's online?"

Option A is for teachers I like or who actually do their work.

DO NOT GET INTO A SITUATION WHERE YOU ARE SUPPLYING THIS WOMAN WITH EVERYTHING. When I first started working here, I had a coteacher who fawned all over my stuff. At first she asked for one or two PPTs every now and then...then she started asking for reams of stuff to use alone in her classes...then she whined until I planned her portion of camp as well as my own...then she started straight-up refusing to plan anything for our mutual classes...then she started asking me to make two or three things for every class and just taking what we didn't have time for to use in her own classes...and now, as of last month, she is giving me the silent treatment, has called me a "mean foreigner," and told me I was "immature" because she asked for a 5th PPT for ONE CLASS at 4:20 on a holiday Friday and my response was "I'm sorry, I don't have time to make anything else for that class, but here are the A, B, C, and D you already requested."

Just keep her at arm's length as much as possible.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: Datasapien on June 04, 2015, 11:03:15 am
I had a similar situation with my old co-teacher - always asked me to help her make materials for things that weren't related to my lessons. Felt like I couldn't say no when I had the time to help..

Anyway, she twice asked me to make up lessons I missed due to cancellations. Basically because she couldn't be bothered to 'teach' her classes herself.
The first time I obliged, but it was a nightmare week.
The second time, I mentioned to her that it would take me well over my 22 hours / week, and that I would only do it if I received overtime pay. She very quickly dropped the idea. So I'd recommend this route ;)

Sounds like your co-teacher is a carbon copy, GL!
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 11:23:32 am
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.

There is a simple solution to this one where everyone saves face. Agree to do it, and then don't. Make some excuses last minute and leave her high and dry. You get all apologetic, talk about how busy and stressed you are and she has to suck it up for one class. She'll then decide that you're not so reliable after all and will have to make some kind of plan of her own, which will probably start as a fall-back but will quickly become THE plan.

As for making you you teach her classes, she's being horribly opportunistic but you aren't really losing out. Your free periods just moved to a different day. The system for making up lost classes is entirely at your school's and co-teachers' discretion. It's unfortunate that she's not letting you have the extra time but it is extra time, not something you are entitled to.

Dig a little and you'll probably find out some reason why she doesn't want to teach English. I work in the countryside and was flat out told by two of my co-teachers that they won't be teaching English in their personal English periods. They said that they lack the ability (or so I gathered from the fact that they lacked the ability to tell me they lacked the ability), apologized and asked me to take care of it. My point is that just because someone is employed as an English teacher it doesn't always mean it's a job that they can do. Your co-teacher is probably petrified of teaching alone. Take pity on the poor lass, you're clearly that good.

A wise co-teacher of mine once said that the only people in Korea who didn't need to speak English were the English teachers. They had done their hard work and now it was their time to rest. Never again will their English proficiency be tested.

Above in bold- Those classes are cancelled, not moved around. She basically is banking on the classes that I don't have to teach and replace them with teaching hers. I guess I wouldn't mind so much if I wasn't such a leader in the class- I always lead class, come up with all the materials etc- which I haven't minded for other co-teachers (I enjoy teaching, and I believe I am good at it!) But I think she is being opportunistic.

PS. Jason, I think I know you?? haha
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: tamjen on June 04, 2015, 11:28:59 am
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.

Well that's my point of view.

Same with your question. Flexible and taken advantage of is simply a matter of perspective. They both mean the same thing. Whether it's good or bad it's up to you, but I think you already see yourself as being taken advantage of rather than flexible, so probably best to talk to your coordinator and see what they say, and act on that advice instead.

Really? Since when?
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: Jason-Daegu on June 04, 2015, 12:01:27 pm
I understand what you are saying, but if I am teaching at my other school two days, why should I be requested to give her materials for her classes regularly? It's not my job. Typically, the KET will teach a class twice a week- once with me, and once alone. The other day, when I asked her why I am seeing 4th grade twice (that's 4 classes that I would have had free periods) she said it was because 6th grade classes were cancelled for that day. As I've said, none of my other co-teachers do this. Just her.

Maybe I have always had courteous co-teachers in the past, and this one isn't so.

There is a simple solution to this one where everyone saves face. Agree to do it, and then don't. Make some excuses last minute and leave her high and dry. You get all apologetic, talk about how busy and stressed you are and she has to suck it up for one class. She'll then decide that you're not so reliable after all and will have to make some kind of plan of her own, which will probably start as a fall-back but will quickly become THE plan.

As for making you you teach her classes, she's being horribly opportunistic but you aren't really losing out. Your free periods just moved to a different day. The system for making up lost classes is entirely at your school's and co-teachers' discretion. It's unfortunate that she's not letting you have the extra time but it is extra time, not something you are entitled to.

Dig a little and you'll probably find out some reason why she doesn't want to teach English. I work in the countryside and was flat out told by two of my co-teachers that they won't be teaching English in their personal English periods. They said that they lack the ability (or so I gathered from the fact that they lacked the ability to tell me they lacked the ability), apologized and asked me to take care of it. My point is that just because someone is employed as an English teacher it doesn't always mean it's a job that they can do. Your co-teacher is probably petrified of teaching alone. Take pity on the poor lass, you're clearly that good.

A wise co-teacher of mine once said that the only people in Korea who didn't need to speak English were the English teachers. They had done their hard work and now it was their time to rest. Never again will their English proficiency be tested.

Above in bold- Those classes are cancelled, not moved around. She basically is banking on the classes that I don't have to teach and replace them with teaching hers. I guess I wouldn't mind so much if I wasn't such a leader in the class- I always lead class, come up with all the materials etc- which I haven't minded for other co-teachers (I enjoy teaching, and I believe I am good at it!) But I think she is being opportunistic.

PS. Jason, I think I know you?? haha

She is truly lazy then. If it's a different grade or class entirely then that's terrible. If it's the same class then she can always play the "it's unfair to the students that they didn't get as much time with the foreign teacher" card. It's not exactly fair but I should imagine that the higher ups would support her there.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: Jason-Daegu on June 04, 2015, 12:05:44 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: ChickenLegsMcGee on June 04, 2015, 12:11:50 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Another brother in the same boat. Woot woot.
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: jordan.schultz on June 04, 2015, 12:16:35 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Yup, same here.


As for OP do you have anyone else at that school that speaks English?  Perhaps you could subtly mention something to them about it, not in a complaining way but "oh wow, it's so weird that...".  If not then you have to suck it up.  I wouldn't fuss too much about the classes but I certainly wouldn't be making materials for my coteacher to use when I'm not in that class and you've been given some pretty good ideas on how to handle that.  Good luck!  Oh and since your coteacher is having you teach her classes you can ask her for her materials that she would have used in class, since she already has is prepared and you wouldn't want it to go to waste  :wink:
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: meepmoopimmarobots on June 04, 2015, 12:17:16 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Another brother in the same boat. Woot woot.

yeah, we all know who you are, Tichard Rang! Nice try!
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: ChickenLegsMcGee on June 04, 2015, 12:23:16 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Another brother in the same boat. Woot woot.

yeah, we all know who you are, Tichard Rang! Nice try!

How the hell did you find out my true name? Only those in the underground hamster fighting rings know of that name....
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: chicagoteacher on June 04, 2015, 12:28:24 pm
So I mentioned it to my other( different) co-teacher today, and it seems that the co-teacher I told you about does similar things to her. So it looks like we have a pretty lazy/selfish co worker on our hands, but since she is older than us, and a head teacher, we have to tread lightly. I really appreciate all of the responses here- I realize my situation was a grey area and that's why I asked for suggestions.

I taught the two extra classes today but made it known I was really tired after doing block time English festival and having to work in the super humid 4th floor English room. She's kept her distance from me. Gonna vibe this one out..
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: meepmoopimmarobots on June 04, 2015, 12:28:31 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Another brother in the same boat. Woot woot.

yeah, we all know who you are, Tichard Rang! Nice try!

How the hell did you find out my true name? Only those in the underground hamster fighting rings know of that name....

I see I have hidden my identity well.

But for now, foolish Tichard, be aware: EL HAMSTER DEL MUERTE GRANDE NO HABLA ESPANOL is coming for you!

*hamsters into the shadows*
Title: Re: Flexible or being taken advantage of?
Post by: ChickenLegsMcGee on June 04, 2015, 12:47:51 pm
Yeah, this user name forces me to be quite careful about what I post... Needless to say, I completely misunderstood the nature of this website before signing up. Now I'm just too lazy to change it.

Another brother in the same boat. Woot woot.

yeah, we all know who you are, Tichard Rang! Nice try!

How the hell did you find out my true name? Only those in the underground hamster fighting rings know of that name....

I see I have hidden my identity well.

But for now, foolish Tichard, be aware: EL HAMSTER DEL MUERTE GRANDE NO HABLA ESPANOL is coming for you!

*hamsters into the shadows*

 :huh: .......... mom?