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  • StuntMan
  • Waygookin

    • 21

    • September 05, 2012, 09:41:14 am
    • South Korea
Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« on: November 15, 2012, 09:40:59 am »
Hi everyone,

As the title no doubt reveals, this post is going to be a rant. My apologies in advance, however I've held this in for too long and I would really appreciate some advice on the matter.

I started at a public school in a small town 45 minutes south of downtown Daegu in September this year. My co-teacher is a 58 year old man who seriously slacks on his end of the job. Here's why:

When I was first picked up by him, he took me to my apartment in Nong-gong, showed me where the bus stop was and then left. He didn't take me shopping for supplies or at least show me where to get any. He also left me in my apartment with no bed sheets or blankets (and he saw there were none), so my first night I used my towel as a blanket and some clothes as a pillow.

The next morning I woke up to serious flooding because the fridge had a leak. I get to school and relay the problem to my co-teacher, who tells the principle, and that day I am moved to a new apartment in Guji-myeon (which is coincidentally a lot cheaper to rent than the last one). This apartment was empty, so my second night I spent on the wooden floor... Got my bed 2 days afterwards and desk and chair (which are a student's) 2 weeks ago. Aren't the schools supposed to get a hefty budget for us? I wonder where mine went?

So far, from what I've gathered, none of the teachers here really care about the students... They're here for the extra points they get for teaching in a rural school. They're all in their mid 50s so are looking to qualify as VPs etc. AT 26 years old, I'm the youngest teacher here.

Since I started it's been a regular case of me biting my tongue while my co-teacher shouts at me for some insignificant thing. He'll call me up to his office and if I'm not there in 5 minutes he freaks. Recently, he was going to help me take my desk to my house, however I had to meet him at 12, giving me 15 minutes to eat my lunch. Anyway, 12:05 comes and I'm in the process of finishing off my food when I hear "Hurry up!!!!!!!!" screamed at me in the middle of the food hall, in front of all the teachers and students. They all stopped and stared at me. I was completely humiliated.

The other day I lost my wallet with my ARC and bank card. When I told him about it he - as usual - freaked and started shouting at me in korean and pointing his finger at me in front of the 25 other korean teachers I share my office with. They all started laughing at me. This happens regularly.

His co-teaching abilities are non-existent. He doesn't come to class and I plan all my lessons alone, and I never know what's happening because he doesn't tell me. He uses the English room as his home away from home. I've walked in there smelling cigarette smoke and soju many times.... I don't even teach in there.

Finally, just today I was told that I should lie about the middle school students' results on their listening and speaking test in order to make the school look good. This is wrong and goes completely against my morals as a teacher. I understand the students can't fail, so I'll give them a 50%, but I'm not giving them 80s... I refuse. I taught in a rural school in Thailand for a year that had one tenth the budget this school has, yet the passion of the teachers and the ethics of the school was far more intact than here.

I'm not sure what to do about it anymore... It's only been two and a half months and I'm already feeling this bad. I'll never break my contract, but I need some advice as to what I can do. I'm hesitant to contact the DMOE, because if they tell the school I complained, and I have to stay here, it'll make things very awkward.

Any advice?

Thanks in advance.
Mike


  • Arclight
  • Adventurer

    • 61

    • March 03, 2011, 01:01:10 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2012, 10:02:44 am »
At which middle school in Nongong do you teach?  I probably know the former foreign teacher and can point you to them for advice.  Though from what I recall, they liked their school.  I'm finishing up my second year at Nongong Elementary and I'm planning to renew for a third.  Fortunately, I love my school and staff and my apartment is posh.  I understand your frustration in living so far from downtown though. 

A lot of coteachers are lazy I think.  I know I put a lot more effort into my lessons than in the ones they teach alone.  But mine do care for the kids and have never once shown impatience or anger towards me.  That must be a difficult situation.


  • Jrong
  • The Legend

    • 2381

    • April 28, 2011, 12:52:32 pm
    more
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 10:18:21 am »
Wow your CoT sounds like a real  :evil:.
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd


  • Munwon
  • Veteran

    • 117

    • February 23, 2011, 09:55:36 pm
    • pusan
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 10:30:29 am »
Tough break! I think you should be more self-reliant. Make some Korean friends that can help you that way you don't have to depend on that old fart. Plan your lessons with you and have your top students maybe translate to the rest of the class. Best of luck buddy!


  • iseya
  • Expert Waygook

    • 704

    • February 15, 2012, 06:14:49 pm
    • USA
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 10:48:35 am »
Wow. 
That guy sounds like a piece of work.  He and I wouldve had words if he tried to embarrass me like that.
How good is his English? 
Can you talk to him?  Or at least give him the impression that how he's talking to you is not cool..via gestures or looks perhaps? (not middle fingers and death stares)
It's probably for the best to ignore little things and general dickish behavior...but he shouldnt be berating you and talking to you like youre a student.

I agree with the idea of being as self-reliant as you can. The less you have to be around him the better...sounds like its a good thing that he doesnt attempt to Co-teach with you.


  • papayapie
  • Super Waygook

    • 421

    • May 30, 2012, 10:30:06 am
    more
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 10:51:53 am »
@Munwon

You're telling him to be more self-reliant yet to make Korean friends so he can use them? Okayyyy.

@OP

Your situation sucks. Sounds kind of similar to my first night here. My apartment had nothing but a bed. No sheets, no pillow, no silverware, nothing. My co-teacher did take me shopping, but I had to buy everything, and like you, I was wondering where the budget was that they get for having a foreign teacher (which I know exists). My advice: forget about the budget. It's been 8 months for me and I haven't seen or heard of it. Anything I want I've gotta pay for. If you bought everything in your apartment with your own money, try to sell it before you leave to spite your school cause I'm sure they'll think you're leaving it.

I didn't expect the school to buy me anything crazy. But man, I expected at least a plate and a fork and maybe a blanket. It was like 20 F when I arrived and my apartment was even colder. My co-teacher couldn't even meet me right away, so I tried to figure out how to turn the heat on, gave up, and covered myself in stuff from my suitcase to stay warm till she arrived five hours later. What a crappy day that was...

Anyway, co-teachers generally suck. Just ignore yours whenever possible. If the other teachers don't care, maybe you should try not caring. I know you probably want the kids to learn English and do well, but it's going to be hard for you alone to make a difference in their English ability. Just smile and nod and agree with everyone.

I don't think contacting your DMOE or whatever  is going to do anything. Are they blatantly violating your contract in a specific way you can point out? If not, you're in the same situation as me - crap co-teacher, but no real way to call her/him out on it, so you just kinda gotta suffer.

I found that totally not caring has really improved my overall mood. I was like you in my first few months - wanting to do the right thing, be the best teacher, make the best lessons, really engage the kids....but I realized there's no point and I was making myself frustrated and angry at the lack of help and encouragement from co-teachers, so I just stopped caring and now things are a little better  :azn:


  • VizionMC
  • Veteran

    • 205

    • April 05, 2011, 12:21:52 pm
    • Gwangju, South Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 11:00:29 am »
Your situation sounds genuinely awful, even more so than most other horror stories.  It sounds like you haven't been here that long, and therefore have a long way to go.  If it is as bad as you make it out to be, I would be doing everything in my power to be moved elsewhere.  Life's too short and you have to look out for #1. 


Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 11:14:15 am »
First I wouldn't stick around for more of that crap. I'd say quit but you have to think about how you do it depending on if you want to continue teaching English in Korea. Personally, I would raise hell. There's no reason for you to be treated that way. Anything that breaks the contract, including what should be in your apartment, bring it up with him. If he doesn't care bring it up with the next person in the line of authority. Contact your coordinator, there's no reason for you to put up with this stuff. If you are being verbally abused don't accept it. Of course I'm saying all this assuming you decide not to stick it out.


Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 11:19:24 am »
When I came to Korea I had a horrible time making friends and I was in a large city. I would say do your best to get to know your area and if need be you could always look into transfering schools if it is that bad.


  • Andyroo
  • Expert Waygook

    • 676

    • February 09, 2011, 12:49:41 pm
    • Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 11:41:04 am »
On the bright side there is a good chance that you will get new co teachers next year.

old teachers complaining about the location/school don't tend to stick around long.


  • SBracken
  • Expert Waygook

    • 579

    • March 07, 2011, 07:41:22 am
    • Pohang, S Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 11:43:35 am »
His co-teaching abilities are non-existent. He doesn't come to class and I plan all my lessons alone, and I never know what's happening because he doesn't tell me. He uses the English room as his home away from home. I've walked in there smelling cigarette smoke and soju many times.... I don't even teach in there.

Finally, just today I was told that I should lie about the middle school students' results on their listening and speaking test in order to make the school look good. This is wrong and goes completely against my morals as a teacher. I understand the students can't fail, so I'll give them a 50%, but I'm not giving them 80s... I refuse. I taught in a rural school in Thailand for a year that had one tenth the budget this school has, yet the passion of the teachers and the ethics of the school was far more intact than here.

First, of all, this ^ is all pretty normal. Well, if not normal it's at least not shocking to hear about. A lot of NETs, even brand new ones, have to both teach alone and plan their own from-scratch curriculum. (I did, it was terrible ^^)

Finally, just today I was told that I should lie about the middle school students' results on their listening and speaking test in order to make the school look good. This is wrong and goes completely against my morals as a teacher. I understand the students can't fail, so I'll give them a 50%, but I'm not giving them 80s... I refuse.

This also is.... far from uncommon. If you refuse, they will probably just change the score anyway after you submit your grades. I don't blame you for sticking to your ethics, but remember that doing so could cause further waves with your school and your CT ('why can't he just CONFORM!?')

So far, from what I've gathered, none of the teachers here really care about the students... They're here for the extra points they get for teaching in a rural school. They're all in their mid 50s so are looking to qualify as VPs etc. .....a rural school in Thailand for a year that had one tenth the budget this school has, yet the passion of the teachers and the ethics of the school was far more intact than here.

Yep. I'm in a country school myself (3, actually), and a lot of the teachers couldn't care less. Some of them could though, which is great to see. A relief, confirmation that not EVERYBODY is a jaded, spiritless sack of just-here-for-the-whatever. How you handle this though probably will depend more on your students than your co-workers. Do your students care? at all? If they do, keep up with your code and work your butt off for them. If they don't, well, you've got a choice to make. Struggle and connive and beg and suffer to teach them the smallest bit of English? Or treat their class times with the same disregard as they treat you as a person. The one's a lot easier, and at this point, I've chosen the second option. The classes that are completely unruly (I get 0 support from my CTs) I walk in and stand at the teacher's podium for 50 minutes. Sometimes I'll teach the 5 students who might pay attention. The classes that behave at all, I make their lessons, I teach them, I help them. The classes that really get into my lessons, geez, over here, I live for them. I started out giving effort to all, now I return the effort they give me.

The next morning I woke up to serious flooding because the fridge had a leak. I get to school and relay the problem to my co-teacher, who tells the principle, and that day I am moved to a new apartment in Guji-myeon (which is coincidentally a lot cheaper to rent than the last one). This apartment was empty, so my second night I spent on the wooden floor... Got my bed 2 days afterwards and desk and chair (which are a student's) 2 weeks ago. Aren't the schools supposed to get a hefty budget for us? I wonder where mine went?

Assuming you're EPIK (as I'm unfamiliar with other contracts), yea, you're definitely entitled to a handful of things. That they switched apartments for you that quickly is actually a little amazing (I had to go through a nightmare to switch, and that was after a year of an entire wall covered in mold). The fact that you got a bed only two days later is also nothing to sneeze at. People have waited weeks for appropriate furniture sometimes. If you're still lacking in something, dig out your contract and point to the Korean where it says what you are entitled to, remembering that you CT will not be happy with you doing so. (People are expected to suffer in silence here, which is ironic, as whining is so prevalent.) Just remember: making waves is a precarious route.


When I was first picked up by him, he took me to my apartment in Nong-gong, showed me where the bus stop was and then left. He didn't take me shopping for supplies or at least show me where to get any. He also left me in my apartment with no bed sheets or blankets (and he saw there were none), so my first night I used my towel as a blanket and some clothes as a pillow.

...

Since I started it's been a regular case of me biting my tongue while my co-teacher shouts at me for some insignificant thing. He'll call me up to his office and if I'm not there in 5 minutes he freaks. Recently, he was going to help me take my desk to my house, however I had to meet him at 12, giving me 15 minutes to eat my lunch. Anyway, 12:05 comes and I'm in the process of finishing off my food when I hear "Hurry up!!!!!!!!" screamed at me in the middle of the food hall, in front of all the teachers and students. They all stopped and stared at me. I was completely humiliated.

The other day I lost my wallet with my ARC and bank card. When I told him about it he - as usual - freaked and started shouting at me in korean and pointing his finger at me in front of the 25 other korean teachers I share my office with. They all started laughing at me. This happens regularly.

His co-teaching abilities are non-existent. He doesn't come to class and I plan all my lessons alone, and I never know what's happening because he doesn't tell me. He uses the English room as his home away from home. I've walked in there smelling cigarette smoke and soju many times...

Well, flat out, this guy sounds like a complete turd. He likely doesn't want to be at the school, doesn't want YOU there, and doesn't want to teach English. From the sound of it I wouldn't be surprised if he had issues in general (outside of his job, that is). Sounds like a typical whiny, drinking, smoking ajusshi. And clearly not the smoking hot kind, but the smoking stinky kind. With him, at least on the outside, just let EVERYTHING roll off your bag. It's easier for some than others, hopefully you're an individual who has mastered this skill (or at least worked on it some :) ). I would play the confused card as much as I could. "Oh, you wanted to leave now? You didn't tell me that." regardless of whether or not he did. He's trying to make you lose face (big thing in Korea).

I lost my wallet one time too- thankfully I had one great CT who I felt comfortable calling and she got it cancelled, and THEN called the bank branch near my normal school for me explaining that I'd be in for a new card in the next couple days. If the other teachers laughed at you... geez, I'm sorry to hear that. Pretty obnoxious, but it probably comes back down to saving face. Also, you said they were all older? They can relate to your CT more than you. You, quite possibly, are just a young, ignorant, funny little foreigner who can't wipe himself. I'm really sorry you're in that position. If you can, find a teacher you can relate to at least a little; it'll make the work hours a little smoother. As for your crazy CT, just flat out avoid him as much as possible -_- It isn't bad advice to find a Korean friend (or one of your co-workers) to go to with problems that require speaking Korean.


TO END:

Sorry to hear your story. I've got a crap school, a decent school, and a really awesome school (8 students total, love it) but at least my co-workers and CTs are tolerant of me. Remember, breaking your contract isn't the end of the world. Especially when you're in such a troublesome situation. If you do decide to stick it up though, good luck, best wishes, fighting!, and hopefully you'll be able to get a lot of support from the waeg community, be it digital or foreigners in your town.


Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 01:29:23 pm »
Wow! You're co-worker seems like a piece of work.

I say give him a real reason to get angry. A la punk'd.


And about the students test score. Don't change them. If you do, you'll be hurting the students. By changing the scores, the students appear to be doing alright, so the government doesn't need to change anything. If they can see the real scores, then they might try to do something to help the students...like get them better teachers.


  • namerae
  • Featured Contributor

    • 207

    • September 26, 2011, 09:38:41 am
    • Anyang, South Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 02:05:50 pm »
I'm surprised no one has said, "If you don't like it here, no one is making you leave"! (You negative nancys out there...)

OP: Why don't you just call the coordinator and transfer schools. Or find a new job. Or even do a midnight run if you think you have to? Seriously, this is not the only job you could get. Did you apply through EPIK and take the first thing they gave you? Okay, ranting aside, just get out of the situation. You've only been there a few months and you'll have to endure for another 10. Don't put yourself through that. Just start over.


  • sirenhill
  • Veteran

    • 79

    • July 09, 2012, 03:09:04 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2012, 02:08:17 pm »
Shocking stuff this but nothing  I havent heard of before.We can be like cash cows for some schools and also unscrupolous recruiters.Recruite rs try and wine and dine us with empty promises or by being pushy making u rush things through so u dont think fully or else u are in a situation where u cant and just take a chance.

I have been in a number of situations where an older teacher tries to ridicule me in front of the class or staff its a horrible thing they do considering that losing face is a massive thing here.I never had probs with accomodation but maybe what you could do if you have a Korean friend is find an apt. and get rent to the amount you are entitled,buttt they dont seem very "Diligent" in taking care of the foreign teacher so I think that will go badly.Unfortunately if you go to your recruiter to complain about anything like this they will usually say the usual bull plop like : why dont u buy them nice gifts or some treats /why dont u just go home then. Arghhh the last one I hate especially as mostly its the korean staff who are causing the hassle but you have to treat them ?? nuts eh its like congratulating someone for kicking u in the head .

Best thing to do is to go the provincial education office and find some staff who are foreign and relay all the issues you have.Also you can contact the labour laws site for foreigners and contact someone about what your rights are .Make a couple of copies of your contract or send it right on as they are bending rules like Uri Geller bends spoons.
I really hope this situation irons itself out as it sounds like you are having a torrid time.
I am having difficult times at my current school but I make sure that my life outside is super busy and enjoyable so I can leave all my troubles at the school gate when I leave.


  • Jrong
  • The Legend

    • 2381

    • April 28, 2011, 12:52:32 pm
    more
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2012, 02:44:10 pm »
I'm surprised no one has said, "If you don't like it here, no one is making you leave"! (You negative nancys out there...)

OP: Why don't you just call the coordinator and transfer schools. Or find a new job. Or even do a midnight run if you think you have to? Seriously, this is not the only job you could get. Did you apply through EPIK and take the first thing they gave you? Okay, ranting aside, just get out of the situation. You've only been there a few months and you'll have to endure for another 10. Don't put yourself through that. Just start over.

Yes.
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd


  • Grimne_Lothos
  • Expert Waygook

    • 846

    • December 28, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
    • Buyeo, south korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 02:44:56 pm »
These sounds like just your average crappy public school job.   The only issue is that your co-teacher doesn't pretend to respect you.   But then, you havn't bought your own car, you lose your wallet, your 30 years younger than him, its not really that out of hand for him to  treat you like a child.      Like others have said, you don't need him for anything.   Become more independant.  He's not your friend.  If you put yourself in situations where you need his help then  he clearly won't be gracious about helping you so don't put yourself in those situations.


  • StuntMan
  • Waygookin

    • 21

    • September 05, 2012, 09:41:14 am
    • South Korea
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2012, 02:50:08 pm »
Thanks for the kind responses everyone. It really does help just knowing that Im not the only one whose had to deal with a situation like this. I worked really hard to get here, so if I left I would lose all respect for myself and I think that's what many of the teachers at my school want. Im not going to make it that easy for them ;).

I know this is also an isolated situation and
that not all schools are as bad as this, so I'm hoping to be able to stick it out and transfer next year. I think the teachers at my school all belong to the 'We dont need foreigners in Korea' club which is why they are all so unfriendly. Regardless of that, I'll stick it out with a smile on my face until after my contract is up.

The students are my saving grace, so I tend to spend more time around them than my teachers, and there's a Japanese teacher whose going through much the same thing, so at least I'm not alone.

Some people just suck, regardless of how friendly or kind you are, so to hell with them, its not my problem. ;). A deep thanks again to everyone for your thoughts, just being able rant about it helped enormously. Thanks again. :D
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 03:06:58 pm by mikeglen »


  • anna.rpo
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1148

    • October 07, 2010, 12:06:56 pm
    • Jecheon
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 03:25:14 pm »
Please bear in mind that you can transfer after 6 months without breaking your contract. A friend did, as she was living in the boonies! It might be an option if you are determined to stay but still unable to cope after 4 or 5 months. Good luck, I feel for you.
http://karoritokorea.blogspot.com/

Use code WAK323 for iherb, up to $10 off your first order. You know you want to.


  • papayapie
  • Super Waygook

    • 421

    • May 30, 2012, 10:30:06 am
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Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 03:28:05 pm »
You'll be able to tough it out! My coworkers are also part of the "Korea doesn't need foreigners" club. They are such dedicated members that they frequently pretend I don't exist, so much so that I am not invited to any school outings or even given a picture in the yearbook  :azn: :police:


  • JL5205
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • March 05, 2012, 11:02:50 am
Re: Irritable, lazy and seriously impatient co-teacher.
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2012, 03:40:43 pm »
I know this is also an isolated situation and
that not all schools are as bad as this, so I'm hoping to be able to stick it out and transfer next year. I think the teachers at my school all belong to the 'We dont need foreigners in Korea' club which is why they are all so unfriendly. Regardless of that, I'll stick it out with a smile on my face until after my contract is up.

I wouldn't be so sure of that.  If your co-teacher hates you this much already what makes you think he's going to let you renew your contract?  He'll most likely write a terrible evaluation and get the P or VP to sign off on it - thereby ruining your career as a public school teacher.  If I were you I'd try to transfer schools or leave.  I'm sorry for you but this really seems like a battle you can't win and sticking it out for another 10 months probably won't make this guy change his mind about you.