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How to deal with being undermined
« on: November 24, 2016, 06:37:23 pm »
I have a co teacher who is generally very sweet and good to me, but she sometimes undermines me and its a bit annoying. For example, the other day she told me to prepare some quizzes for the students and told me how many quizzes she needed. I did it and then when I tried to get the students desks in order to take the quiz she says " The students can just do it together. This quiz isn't really important " She said that directly in front of the students. If the quiz isn't important and they are allowed to copy then why do the quiz?  And even if it's not important she should lead the students to think they are so that they will focus more.

 Another time I was going to teach the kids and then she just jumps in and decides to play them a movie instead. She sometimes will go up to the children that I placed at the back of the room for time out and engage with them and coddle them. She will also joke with the kids or talk with some of them while I'm trying desperately to get them to look at me and pay attention to the directions. The other day I was trying to explain something to her and she kind of snatched the paper out of my hands because she was frustrated. (It wasn't super aggressive but I felt it was a bit borderline ) . I get along very well with her at other times though. She is actually really sweet, but at times it seems like she has no manners. What would you guys do in this situation?


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 07:51:45 am »
I had a similar situation last year with my coteacher. It got to the point where neither of us spoke or interacted unless it was required, e.g. what lesson we will do the following week. I suggest being patient and taking a step back from interacting with them unless absolutely necessary.


  • cjszk
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2016, 08:25:38 am »
This doesn't sound that bad.

It sounds like she was being rather insensitive while also not seeing your point of view, but I can imagine why a Korean teacher might say something like "the students can just do it together. This quiz isn't really important." It sounds like she just wanted you to make a time filler. In any case, saying it in front of the students is not very teacher-like of her. But what can you expect? There are many teachers who do non-teacher-like things everywhere in every school. Just brush it off, this isn't a job where you can get finicky about every little thing. If she hurt your ego, you can brush it off or let her know how you feel.


  • chelly90
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    • September 11, 2015, 09:40:10 am
    • South Korea
Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 09:14:50 am »
I understand because I feel like I could have written this down to some specific details. Only difference is my CT barely ever lets me do anything. And when she does she thanks me in a way I feel is condescending. I really don't need to be thanked for reading a few sentences out loud.

I also have this problem occasionally at my main school. There I teach alone even though there is technically an English CT. He does absolutely nothing and is never in the class except random times he decides to walk through to go sit in my office while I teach. Yesterday during my worst class that I could actually use his help with because their behavior is so bad he walks in doesn't even glance at me let alone acknowledge me in any way and proceeds to have a conversation with the student during my teaching time. Then he moves a bad student I had purposely put at a table alone to a table with a group of students then he walked out. I was livid.

So, basically just know you are not alone and at least she is sweet outside of your classes. I'm trying really hard to not let it get to me. I just sort of zone out for self preservation. But it is difficult sometimes. To anyone who says it doesn't sound that bad they really couldn't know your situation or you. True it could probably be much worse but that doesn't mean it won't cause you stress. You are allowed to feel however you feel.

If your CT is really sweet and approachable outside of class you could try talking to her. Though I think if she were then you probably wouldn't have come here. So my only advice is to do what I do and to just put up with it and maybe be passive aggressive to her lol


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 09:42:57 am »
I know exactly how you feel. You prepare well, and plan things out a certain way. And your teaching performance, is after all, your job performance. You take it seriously. It's important.

My advice is to let the school and your co-teacher set the tone for how serious/important class is. I've taught at many schools in Korea with many different co-teachers, and each one is different.

If your school/co-teacher don't place much emphasis on following plans in class, or keeping behavioural discipline, just roll with it. If you're able to get past your current annoyance (sometimes easier said than done -- I'm not judging you), you might find your job is actually less stressful. As a result, your relationship with the students might actually get better.

It really isn't in your control. The Korean co-teaching situation is different from teaching alone, or say teaching in North America. Officially you're the assistant teacher, so don't worry too much about these things.


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 10:10:24 am »
I understand because I feel like I could have written this down to some specific details. Only difference is my CT barely ever lets me do anything. And when she does she thanks me in a way I feel is condescending. I really don't need to be thanked for reading a few sentences out loud.

I also have this problem occasionally at my main school. There I teach alone even though there is technically an English CT. He does absolutely nothing and is never in the class except random times he decides to walk through to go sit in my office while I teach. Yesterday during my worst class that I could actually use his help with because their behavior is so bad he walks in doesn't even glance at me let alone acknowledge me in any way and proceeds to have a conversation with the student during my teaching time. Then he moves a bad student I had purposely put at a table alone to a table with a group of students then he walked out. I was livid.

So, basically just know you are not alone and at least she is sweet outside of your classes. I'm trying really hard to not let it get to me. I just sort of zone out for self preservation. But it is difficult sometimes. To anyone who says it doesn't sound that bad they really couldn't know your situation or you. True it could probably be much worse but that doesn't mean it won't cause you stress. You are allowed to feel however you feel.

If your CT is really sweet and approachable outside of class you could try talking to her. Though I think if she were then you probably wouldn't have come here. So my only advice is to do what I do and to just put up with it and maybe be passive aggressive to her lol

I've seen this a few times too. What I found out this year is that Korean teachers are assessed by their students, and these assessments are reasonably important in their career progression. Native teachers, generally, aren't assessed by students but by their principal/VP.

Some Korean teachers therefore want to (or feel they need to) undermine the native teacher by playing the good-cop thereby getting warm fuzzy assessments from the students.

Sad but true (at least as far as I understand it).


  • Aristocrat
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2016, 10:18:44 am »
I have a co teacher who is generally very sweet and good to me, but she sometimes undermines me and its a bit annoying. For example, the other day she told me to prepare some quizzes for the students and told me how many quizzes she needed. I did it and then when I tried to get the students desks in order to take the quiz she says " The students can just do it together. This quiz isn't really important " She said that directly in front of the students. If the quiz isn't important and they are allowed to copy then why do the quiz?  And even if it's not important she should lead the students to think they are so that they will focus more.

 Another time I was going to teach the kids and then she just jumps in and decides to play them a movie instead. She sometimes will go up to the children that I placed at the back of the room for time out and engage with them and coddle them. She will also joke with the kids or talk with some of them while I'm trying desperately to get them to look at me and pay attention to the directions. The other day I was trying to explain something to her and she kind of snatched the paper out of my hands because she was frustrated. (It wasn't super aggressive but I felt it was a bit borderline ) . I get along very well with her at other times though. She is actually really sweet, but at times it seems like she has no manners. What would you guys do in this situation?

Maybe it's cultural differences. I don't like to bash Korean culture, but at the same time I don't want to ignore the truth. In the Korean workplace, you'll notice a disturbing lack of professionalism. Never undermine, argue with or demean another teacher in front of the students, this sounds like common sense, but many Korean teachers (particularly the older bunch) seem oblivious.

It's happened a few times and I'll always have a word with my CT about it after class. Needless to say, I'll stress my point firmly, but politely. This usually does the trick and the CT might need a gentle reminder now and then.

The trick to not being undermined is to assume the role of the classroom leader and make sure everything is structured and consistent. Tell your CT how you want to run the classroom and what you need them to help you with.


  • chelly90
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    • September 11, 2015, 09:40:10 am
    • South Korea
Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2016, 10:21:35 am »
I understand because I feel like I could have written this down to some specific details. Only difference is my CT barely ever lets me do anything. And when she does she thanks me in a way I feel is condescending. I really don't need to be thanked for reading a few sentences out loud.

I also have this problem occasionally at my main school. There I teach alone even though there is technically an English CT. He does absolutely nothing and is never in the class except random times he decides to walk through to go sit in my office while I teach. Yesterday during my worst class that I could actually use his help with because their behavior is so bad he walks in doesn't even glance at me let alone acknowledge me in any way and proceeds to have a conversation with the student during my teaching time. Then he moves a bad student I had purposely put at a table alone to a table with a group of students then he walked out. I was livid.

So, basically just know you are not alone and at least she is sweet outside of your classes. I'm trying really hard to not let it get to me. I just sort of zone out for self preservation. But it is difficult sometimes. To anyone who says it doesn't sound that bad they really couldn't know your situation or you. True it could probably be much worse but that doesn't mean it won't cause you stress. You are allowed to feel however you feel.

If your CT is really sweet and approachable outside of class you could try talking to her. Though I think if she were then you probably wouldn't have come here. So my only advice is to do what I do and to just put up with it and maybe be passive aggressive to her lol

I've seen this a few times too. What I found out this year is that Korean teachers are assessed by their students, and these assessments are reasonably important in their career progression. Native teachers, generally, aren't assessed by students but by their principal/VP.

Some Korean teachers therefore want to (or feel they need to) undermine the native teacher by playing the good-cop thereby getting warm fuzzy assessments from the students.

Sad but true (at least as far as I understand it).

Really?? That seems so idiotic to have elementary-high school kids be who assess teachers. I can understand having anonymous surveys to get a feel for how the teacher is doing. But for that to be the main or only resource of how a teacher is doing is ridiculous. Children are children they will, like you said say favorable things about a relaxed teacher who gives them whatever they want. Children cannot think objectively enough to be the sole assessor of their teacher. How strange..perhaps this is why kids here are sometimes have such bad behavior or low respect..and I don't just mean towards me. I see kids act ways to Korean teachers that blows my mind because I can't imagine kids getting away with it where I'm from.


  • The Arm
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2016, 10:27:13 am »
Yea the whole students assessing the teacher thing is intense.

Last year one of my colleagues (a really good and caring teacher) got ripped apart by her own homeroom class.  She was really distraught and rightfully so I think.


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2016, 10:36:35 am »
Student assessments aren't the ONLY assessment of Korean teachers, but they are reasonably important.


  • kobayashi
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2016, 10:39:17 am »
Really?? That seems so idiotic to have elementary-high school kids be who assess teachers. I can understand having anonymous surveys to get a feel for how the teacher is doing. But for that to be the main or only resource of how a teacher is doing is ridiculous. Children are children they will, like you said say favorable things about a relaxed teacher who gives them whatever they want. Children cannot think objectively enough to be the sole assessor of their teacher. How strange..perhaps this is why kids here are sometimes have such bad behavior or low respect..and I don't just mean towards me. I see kids act ways to Korean teachers that blows my mind because I can't imagine kids getting away with it where I'm from.

umm.... as part of our NET evaluations the students survey us. there's a standard form that they use that your kids rate you on. you're rated on 7 different criteria:
1) Classes help with speaking
2) classes help with pronunciation
3) classes help with writing
4) classes help with english vocabulary
5) classes are fun and interesting
6) classes help with confidence with english
7) classes help with learning about foreign cultures.

the scale goes from 1-6, where 1 = Doesn't at all and 6 = Always does.

there are also evaluations that are done and uploaded via the NEIS system. those are different criteria (not sure what though). those are the ones that the korean teachers are evaluated on. although you may also be evaluated on that. I was. so i had the students evaluate me using 2 different evaluation forms.

but yes i agree it is kinda ridiculous to get students to evaluate their teachers, especially elementary students. if you discipline the students a lot they can just use the evaluations as a form of revenge. and they will, they're kids after all, they don't have a lot of emotional maturity.


  • oli125
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    • November 23, 2015, 07:53:56 am
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2016, 10:54:54 am »
I have a co teacher who is generally very sweet and good to me, but she sometimes undermines me and its a bit annoying. For example, the other day she told me to prepare some quizzes for the students and told me how many quizzes she needed. I did it and then when I tried to get the students desks in order to take the quiz she says " The students can just do it together. This quiz isn't really important " She said that directly in front of the students. If the quiz isn't important and they are allowed to copy then why do the quiz?  And even if it's not important she should lead the students to think they are so that they will focus more.

 Another time I was going to teach the kids and then she just jumps in and decides to play them a movie instead. She sometimes will go up to the children that I placed at the back of the room for time out and engage with them and coddle them. She will also joke with the kids or talk with some of them while I'm trying desperately to get them to look at me and pay attention to the directions. The other day I was trying to explain something to her and she kind of snatched the paper out of my hands because she was frustrated. (It wasn't super aggressive but I felt it was a bit borderline ) . I get along very well with her at other times though. She is actually really sweet, but at times it seems like she has no manners. What would you guys do in this situation?

Maybe it's cultural differences. I don't like to bash Korean culture, but at the same time I don't want to ignore the truth. In the Korean workplace, you'll notice a disturbing lack of professionalism. Never undermine, argue with or demean another teacher in front of the students, this sounds like common sense, but many Korean teachers (particularly the older bunch) seem oblivious.

It's happened a few times and I'll always have a word with my CT about it after class. Needless to say, I'll stress my point firmly, but politely. This usually does the trick and the CT might need a gentle reminder now and then.

The trick to not being undermined is to assume the role of the classroom leader and make sure everything is structured and consistent. Tell your CT how you want to run the classroom and what you need them to help you with.
Yea the whole students assessing the teacher thing is intense.

Last year one of my colleagues (a really good and caring teacher) got ripped apart by her own homeroom class.  She was really distraught and rightfully so I think.
Yea the whole students assessing the teacher thing is intense.

Last year one of my colleagues (a really good and caring teacher) got ripped apart by her own homeroom class.  She was really distraught and rightfully so I think.
Student assessments aren't the ONLY assessment of Korean teachers, but they are reasonably important.

I agree...just the other day my coT was telling me how worried she was because she got some negative reviews from students because she is pretty strict. I'm at a middle school btw.


  • chelly90
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    • South Korea
Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2016, 10:59:03 am »
Really?? That seems so idiotic to have elementary-high school kids be who assess teachers. I can understand having anonymous surveys to get a feel for how the teacher is doing. But for that to be the main or only resource of how a teacher is doing is ridiculous. Children are children they will, like you said say favorable things about a relaxed teacher who gives them whatever they want. Children cannot think objectively enough to be the sole assessor of their teacher. How strange..perhaps this is why kids here are sometimes have such bad behavior or low respect..and I don't just mean towards me. I see kids act ways to Korean teachers that blows my mind because I can't imagine kids getting away with it where I'm from.

umm.... as part of our NET evaluations the students survey us. there's a standard form that they use that your kids rate you on. you're rated on 7 different criteria:
1) Classes help with speaking
2) classes help with pronunciation
3) classes help with writing
4) classes help with english vocabulary
5) classes are fun and interesting
6) classes help with confidence with english
7) classes help with learning about foreign cultures.

the scale goes from 1-6, where 1 = Doesn't at all and 6 = Always does.

there are also evaluations that are done and uploaded via the NEIS system. those are different criteria (not sure what though). those are the ones that the korean teachers are evaluated on. although you may also be evaluated on that. I was. so i had the students evaluate me using 2 different evaluation forms.

but yes i agree it is kinda ridiculous to get students to evaluate their teachers, especially elementary students. if you discipline the students a lot they can just use the evaluations as a form of revenge. and they will, they're kids after all, they don't have a lot of emotional maturity.

Well,damn..If I have ever been evaluated beyond my open class (which is a joke) then I have no idea of it. So I must be doing alright haha. Can't really imagine my schools ever taking anything seriously though. Beyond showing up for morning coffee in the office.


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2016, 11:18:56 am »
I have a co teacher who is generally very sweet and good to me, but she sometimes undermines me and its a bit annoying. For example, the other day she told me to prepare some quizzes for the students and told me how many quizzes she needed. I did it and then when I tried to get the students desks in order to take the quiz she says " The students can just do it together. This quiz isn't really important " She said that directly in front of the students. If the quiz isn't important and they are allowed to copy then why do the quiz?  And even if it's not important she should lead the students to think they are so that they will focus more.

 Another time I was going to teach the kids and then she just jumps in and decides to play them a movie instead. She sometimes will go up to the children that I placed at the back of the room for time out and engage with them and coddle them. She will also joke with the kids or talk with some of them while I'm trying desperately to get them to look at me and pay attention to the directions. The other day I was trying to explain something to her and she kind of snatched the paper out of my hands because she was frustrated. (It wasn't super aggressive but I felt it was a bit borderline ) . I get along very well with her at other times though. She is actually really sweet, but at times it seems like she has no manners. What would you guys do in this situation?

Maybe it's cultural differences. I don't like to bash Korean culture, but at the same time I don't want to ignore the truth. In the Korean workplace, you'll notice a disturbing lack of professionalism. Never undermine, argue with or demean another teacher in front of the students, this sounds like common sense, but many Korean teachers (particularly the older bunch) seem oblivious.

It's happened a few times and I'll always have a word with my CT about it after class. Needless to say, I'll stress my point firmly, but politely. This usually does the trick and the CT might need a gentle reminder now and then.

The trick to not being undermined is to assume the role of the classroom leader and make sure everything is structured and consistent. Tell your CT how you want to run the classroom and what you need them to help you with.

I wouldn't "tell" the CT how to run the class. Maybe suggest it. This is a great way to have your CT hate you for the rest of the year.


  • kobayashi
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    • August 18, 2016, 11:14:47 am
    • Nibiru
Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2016, 11:24:11 am »
Well,damn..If I have ever been evaluated beyond my open class (which is a joke) then I have no idea of it. So I must be doing alright haha. Can't really imagine my schools ever taking anything seriously though. Beyond showing up for morning coffee in the office.

your schools are actually supposed to discuss the student evaluations with you. and some MOEs/POEs do the student evaluations for the NET twice a year, at the end of each semester.

but of course everyone knows schools hardly ever do what they're supposed to here  :P

i think generally your student evaluations have to be pretty disastrous for that to be the sole reason you aren't renewed. although worth bearing in mind that they are definitely taken into account when your school puts forward their recommendation as to whether or not to renew you.


  • chelly90
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2016, 01:31:12 pm »
Yeah. Your coteacher, especially if you're in a public school, is your superior. They tell you what to do, and you should, ideally do it. They also have authority over the class.

Now, in a good coteaching relationship, this isn't a problem, because your coteacher won't feel the need to get on your case about stuff and you'll both basically forget that he or she is above you in terms of authority. The 'co' of coteaching really shines in these situations.

In a less than perfect coteaching relationship, you'll either a) have a fussy, bossy, nitpicky coteacher who loves to complain and make life difficult for you, or b) a fussy, bossy, nitpicky native teacher who loves to complain and make life difficult for his or her coteacher.

Compromise is the number one most important aspect of coteaching. It's important to know that you're probably not going to teach everything exactly as you would like it to be, and hopefully your coteacher will also realize this, and it will mutually benefit both of you.

tl;dr Relax, your coteacher isn't 'undermining' you because she's in charge, not you.

I think you are not understanding the issue. The OP wasn't complaining about not having control over their CT. It was that they felt undermined by them. With the specific examples they gave to back it up that seems pretty clear to be true or at least understandably why OP would feel that way. Just because someone is your superior does not mean 1. they can or should treat you anyway they want with no regard to you and 2. That you are not allowed to feel upset, undermined or bothered by their behavior. Have you never felt bothered or upset by the actions of a superior simply because they were your superior?


  • Mezoti97
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Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2016, 03:37:49 pm »
umm.... as part of our NET evaluations the students survey us. there's a standard form that they use that your kids rate you on. you're rated on 7 different criteria:
1) Classes help with speaking
2) classes help with pronunciation
3) classes help with writing
4) classes help with english vocabulary
5) classes are fun and interesting
6) classes help with confidence with english
7) classes help with learning about foreign cultures.

the scale goes from 1-6, where 1 = Doesn't at all and 6 = Always does.

there are also evaluations that are done and uploaded via the NEIS system. those are different criteria (not sure what though). those are the ones that the korean teachers are evaluated on. although you may also be evaluated on that. I was. so i had the students evaluate me using 2 different evaluation forms.

but yes i agree it is kinda ridiculous to get students to evaluate their teachers, especially elementary students. if you discipline the students a lot they can just use the evaluations as a form of revenge. and they will, they're kids after all, they don't have a lot of emotional maturity.

This is true. I've had co-teachers/schools discuss the student evaluations with me before.


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2016, 08:20:09 pm »
Quote
7) classes help with learning about foreign culture

Wow, so maybe it's time for you to knock all those K Pop PPT games on the head then?


Re: How to deal with being undermined
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2016, 11:17:15 am »
Yeah. Your coteacher, especially if you're in a public school, is your superior. They tell you what to do, and you should, ideally do it. They also have authority over the class.

Now, in a good coteaching relationship, this isn't a problem, because your coteacher won't feel the need to get on your case about stuff and you'll both basically forget that he or she is above you in terms of authority. The 'co' of coteaching really shines in these situations.

In a less than perfect coteaching relationship, you'll either a) have a fussy, bossy, nitpicky coteacher who loves to complain and make life difficult for you, or b) a fussy, bossy, nitpicky native teacher who loves to complain and make life difficult for his or her coteacher.

Compromise is the number one most important aspect of coteaching. It's important to know that you're probably not going to teach everything exactly as you would like it to be, and hopefully your coteacher will also realize this, and it will mutually benefit both of you.

tl;dr Relax, your coteacher isn't 'undermining' you because she's in charge, not you.

That's a gross oversimplification of what is going on. I am not claiming that she isn't in charge. Did I write anything that would give you the impression that I was in charge? No, because you wrote that to be nasty. Anyone that has been in public school system for longer than a week knows where they are on the pecking order. I don't need you to remind me of this.

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. If my co-teacher says to me " Please make tests for the students because they need to be evaluated " and then say DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF STUDENTS " This test is not important " then it is rude. It's basic manners. I could care less about any of these silly tests. But she is the one that wanted it so I made it. She can say things like this of course, but saying it in front of students is rude.