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do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« on: June 04, 2015, 01:11:09 pm »
Hello my fellow peeps~

I'm very anti-arguing and not sure if she's just taking advantage or if I'm honestly in the wrong.....

So, this semester(the 2nd semester of my current contract), my POE added yet another school to my work week. Leaving me with the grand total of 5 schools. That I don't have a problem with, it makes the workweek fly by.

What does irk me greatly is this on-going argument between one of my coteachers and I about my lesson plans. Last semester was great since I didn't teach with her- just shared an office once a week.

Since I'm only at this school once I week, I always make sure to double-check what lesson plan she wants me to do for the next week. A few times this semester (4) she has texted me 3 -4 days ahead of schedule asking for essay help or grammar things for students.
Her bad habit is- the day of- 3 minutes before class (after being MIA all morning) she will suddenly run into our office and go "oh I forgot- you need to make this ppt and essay example for class".  The ppt NOT being what we discussed the week before  :lipsrsealed:

I talked to her about that 3 weeks ago. I only told her that if she wants DECENT ppts and lessons, I need at least an hour before class, not 3 minutes. She did the fine, ok, whatever thing.

Last week, she texted me and I never got it. She pays for some service that tells her when the people she texts get the messages (or so she says). Anyway so even with me showing her my phone and the lack of a text she got all annoyed and called her phone service to see what was up. I don't know the outcome of that.

Then, the night before class this week she texts me at 9:00pm requesting an entire new lesson plan emailed to her by 10pm. The students were supposed to go on a trip so I wasn't supposed to even have classes the next day. I ended up texting her back, saying that 9pm is too late to be texting me and that in my contract I work 830-430, and to start giving me more notice.

Next morning she's in our office for once- and gives me the silent treatment. I said good morning, went to her desk to hash it out. But no, she just sat at her computer and typed away even after I asked to speak with her.  I got to work, did the dang lesson plan she wanted, and then AGAIN right before class (students came to get me to unlock the door so that's how I found out about the cancelled trip!) she goes, "oh I want you to teach this instead".  :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

Anyway, words were spoken. She is sadly the english department head at that school, but thankfully shes NOT my manager. I told her straight up that if she texts me outside of school hours I will be ignoring it from now on. She informed me that she will be typing up a monthly calendar for us and demanded my lesson plans to be emailed to her 1 week in advance. I told her that was stupid since she will just ask me to change the lesson 5 minutes before class even if I do email her early.

Anyway, now that it's been a few days I don't feel as angry and not sure if I should bother with apologizing just to save face or stick with it and watch my back......thoughts?



Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 01:22:27 pm »
what exactly are you supposed to apologize for?  doing lesson plans a week in advance?  preparing the materials she asked you to prepare? doing your job?

i think the calendar is a great idea.  that way you can point to it when she tries to change the lesson plan at the last second.  now there is a set schedule and she can't deviate from it (in theory - obviously she'll try but whatever).

I know the schedule changes all the time with little to no warning here, but that isn't your fault.  if you are only at the school once a week it is completely unreasonable to expect you to prepare new materials without any warning.  this shouldn't be an issue anyway because you are her assistant, technically she's supposed to be preparing for classes anyway.  technically. 

definitely don't answer your phone when she calls in the middle of the night.  don't tell her you won't, just don't do it.  if she asks - you were out with friends, your battery died, you were already asleep.  if she wants to contact you, it should be during school hours.  period, end of story. 


  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2055

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2015, 01:23:22 pm »
That's terribly unprofessional. From what you are saying, you are most certainly not in the wrong. Your comment about work hours is spot on. It is highly inappropriate to be calling a colleague and delegating work at 9pm.

I'd ask her to please send word to you in future via the school's landline and that your personal number is for emergencies only. I've had to make it very clear at my current school that I will not take phone calls or messages on my mobile at work or home after I had a co-teacher once try something similar on me ("Oh, but I tried calling you." - No, you didn't, and even if my records showed that you had, the phone was sitting in a locked drawer in the staff room whilst I was teaching a class.)
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  • cjszk
  • Expert Waygook

    • 894

    • August 23, 2013, 10:29:05 am
    • Seoul
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2015, 01:33:23 pm »
Stand your ground yes.

Personally, I have a policy I kind of stick to. I don't do work outside of my work hours. Period. If I need to finish something up I stay at school until it's done. Once I'm off work, no more work. No phone calls regarding work. Work time is work time. Time off is time off. I'd let her know that if she wants lesson plans changed to call at least a day ahead during work hours. Otherwise you should just refuse to teach with her even if it means just standing around in the classroom. She wants to turn a 360 at you, you let her have the whole blasted class time to deal with. This is just kind of what I'd do. If she changes a lesson plan herself at the last minute she needs to own all of it up.


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2015, 01:33:28 pm »
What an f-ing cow. Welcome to the joys of the Korean biatch workplace silent treatment! It's actually very peaceful after a while.

Your coworker is 100% in the wrong. She also won't speak to you again until she's ready to stop "punishing" you by not talking to you. Keep a crap-eating grin on your face at all times.

Don't answer your phone if she calls late at night and demands something. If she complains, tell her that you simply don't check your phone at night because there is no reason for anyone to be calling you that late.

The calendar actually isn't a terrible idea, but stress to her that you will be following THAT CALENDAR and that if you have to send her your materials a week ahead of time, changes will only be accepted until the day before, during work hours. This may earn you more glaring and childish behavior, but don't give in.

I have a coworker who is similarly unaware of the laws of time and space, but at least she isn't a jerk about it.


  • yfb
  • Expert Waygook

    • 861

    • July 05, 2010, 11:50:12 am
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2015, 01:45:44 pm »
NEVER APOLOGIZE IN KOREA. Apologizing is the polar opposite of saving face. Instead of showing genuine remorse for a fault, it will make you look weak and spineless and ripe for further bullying. Stand your ground. You did nothing wrong.


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2015, 01:54:01 pm »
Sorry that you're having that experience. I make calendars and send lesson material to my co-teacher. He changes how things go all the time (I think to make life easier for him).

I just go along with it. I'm trying to deal with it in a humble way, but I'm happy that my contract is over soon.

Working with lazy people makes me more lazy, working with productive people makes me more productive. It's contagious!

If you're the prayerful type I've heard this prayer for such working place situations: "Lord, I thank Thee, that through this, You are showing me how far my heart if from You."

Apologizing is the most amazing thing you could do. Maybe make it in a letter. Explain yourself, from her point of view. Explain how you think she must feel.



Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2015, 01:55:16 pm »
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

Be the better person OP!

EDIT: Humbly be the better person! Hehehe


  • korr
  • Expert Waygook

    • 724

    • July 16, 2009, 12:35:46 pm
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2015, 01:57:10 pm »
I actually think the calendar is a good idea. Then you can pull it out and (nicely, politely) say "Oh, I was following this." Say you need to know the morning of the day before so you can make any changes necessary. If she says no, make a little note next to that lesson on the calendar with the date and time you asked and made sure it was okay. That way she's less likely to claim you didn't ask her.

Even better, if you have access to the school messenger, SEND her the lesson plan as an attachment the day before with a happy chirpy message along the lines of "Just want to make sure this is okay!" That way if she claims you never asked her, there is a written record showing otherwise. Be polite and professional. But don't answer the phone when she calls you at 9 in the evening and don't let her bully you because she can't keep a schedule straight. Let her give you the silent treatment and go find some other English teachers to chat with.

You're not in the wrong here, and I say this as someone who takes the school's side a lot more than most people on Waygook. Also, don't take it to heart or think of it as a personal slight against you. She is being ridiculous, and my guess is if she treats you like this, she treats everyone else under her pretty badly, too.


  • Jet0716
  • Veteran

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    • March 29, 2014, 07:58:25 am
    • WI, USA (Hopefully Jinju soon)
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2015, 02:04:49 pm »
Sounds like a sucky deal.  I think youre doing fine with your planning.  Kindly stating that you simply cant get a lesson together in a couple minutes before class seems very reasonable to me.  I have an emergency lesson or two just in case, but nothing for specific stuff.  As far as using your phone so late i would be honest and just say what has been suggested.  You dont have time that late to plan and entire lesson, and you're not korean.  When you leave work, you leave work.  If it helps you feel better most phones have a silent function that can be turned on automatically at a certain time.  You could always just say that you have one of those on your phone.  After __ it just doesn't give you alerts. 

But yha, i dont think you need to apologize.  And a week early thing sounds like a chill deal for you. 


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2015, 02:16:19 pm »
do as she suggested: Email her the lesson plans 1 week in advance, and then every week, approach her 1-2 days after to ask her for confirmation of the powerpoints. Keep approaching her if she keeps putting it off until she gets the point.
Open your mind.


  • SKhero
  • Veteran

    • 78

    • March 03, 2014, 03:06:49 pm
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2015, 02:19:38 pm »
DO NOT APOLOGIZE!!! Not your fault at all. Your co-teacher sounds like devil-spawn haha. You should be civil but don't lower yourself because she's the head of your English department. You should try to keep a record of everything that transpires. Make sure you send things through emails and or messages instead of transferring your material directly to her computer via usb.

If you ever sense that an argument is going to start, you should record it. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that privately recording a conversation is legal here as long as you yourself are a participant in the conversation.

You should prepare yourself for any sort of negative evaluation and or report she might give to your school, future employer, and or office of education.

Hope the situation get's better!  ;D ;D ;D

 


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2015, 02:19:49 pm »
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

Be the better person OP!

EDIT: Humbly be the better person! Hehehe

Ghandi, what a blowhard that guy was.

Hey Ghandi, I wish everything was chocolate and that Kim Kardashian would get cancerAIDS.  How the f--k am I supposed to be THAT change??!?!!
Is this where the signature goes?


  • midori951
  • Veteran

    • 248

    • February 24, 2014, 12:14:59 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
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Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2015, 02:36:33 pm »
I sometimes wish shit like this would happen to me. It would be so much fun because I love to fight and have arguments.

There is nothing to be sorry for. She should apologize to you.

Other than that just talk to the coordinators. Because Work hours are for work, my personal time is my time. Yes sometimes i finish up a lesson or get my stuff prepared on the weekend, but making a whole lesson in one hour for no damn reason. No just no. anyway good luck OP.


  • orangeman
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1769

    • September 01, 2011, 09:56:35 am
    • Seoul-East Side
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2015, 02:58:12 pm »
This is actually quite common here, unfortunately.  It's a combination of the complete lack of forethought, the need to always prove how busy you are in the most over-dramatic ways, and the abuse of power by anyone who feels they have an ounce of it.  Calling/texting at night is unacceptable, though.  I would just ignore those. 

I knew a guy here years ago that made a sign for his desk that read, "Your lack of planning is not my emergency".  This was at a hogwan and whenever a Korean would inevitably come to him in tears in a panic, he'd just point to the sign and smile.  Sure, they hated him for a while but then they just moved on to other people when they realized he wouldn't fix all their problems.  It's like an abusive relationship.  You need to stand your ground.  They prey on nice people, people who might feel a duty to help or feel guilt for not doing enough.  They know exactly what they're doing, just like how an abuser targets victims.  Once they realize it's not worth the effort to abuse you anymore, they will move onto a new victim. 


NEVER APOLOGIZE IN KOREA. Apologizing is the polar opposite of saving face. Instead of showing genuine remorse for a fault, it will make you look weak and spineless and ripe for further bullying. Stand your ground. You did nothing wrong.

Exactly.  You don't have to be mean about it, you just have to act like it's not a big deal.  Smile, don't for a second even recognize her immature behaviour.  I've gotten the silent treatment from co-workers here, too.  I actually laughed right in the face of the co-worker who first did that to me.  That made her even more pissed, but whatever.  Are you 12?  Do you honestly think that you not talking to me is a punishment?  Do you really think that highly of yourself?  Anyone who does this in a professional setting obviously believes they are superior to you and that you need them.  Don't give her that satisfaction.  Act like you haven't even noticed it. 

Korea is a bully culture.  Most Koreans will take advantage of anyone they think they can.  Once you stand up for yourself they'll usually move on.  You can't show yourself as being weak, and unfortunately being reasonable and nice is seen as weak here.  Good luck. 


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2015, 04:00:47 pm »
I agree with the others who said to not apologize -- don't apologize! And I know that saying that might make it seem like we're telling the OP to pick a fight or to pour scorn on her co-teacher, but it's really not. It's a cultural thing, and like yfp said, apologizing here basically means putting yourself willfully in an inferior position and asking to be dumped on. That's why you often hear news stories in which public figures say things like "I didn't realize that..." and "The situation is not what I intended." They're not saying SORRY. They're saying "Please accept the sh*t I've just created for you; I formally acknowledge that you are not happy."

Boundaries. Set'em up and enforce them like a MFer.

OP, if you're not staying another year, this is even more leverage for you. If you're checking out soon, politely but firmly set boundaries and give anyone the finger if they don't get it. We're not here to be exploitable resources, and they don't seem to get that we're not hardwired into their bully culture and can't get out. Cooperate and compromise to an extent, but don't be so quick to turn the other cheek.


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1988

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2015, 04:20:03 pm »
I think I've figured out her little game, she's basically taking your material, using it to teach her own lessons, then telling you on the last minute to plan a new one (so the students don't do the same thing twice).

You're pretty much doing her work for her.



Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 11:48:48 pm »
First rule of EFL Korea: An apology is a sign of weakness...don't apologize
Second rule of EFL Korea: Don't apologize.


Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2015, 07:51:43 am »
Thanks everyone! That was, really helpful. I really needed to hear the "no apologizing" parts. Haha.

Sadly, she still hasn't gotten the hint and texted me a further 3 times outside of school hours (Twice on Saturday and once this morning (monday) at 7:40am), and I don't actually see her until tomorrow.

I really don't know how to be polite about this to her but I feel like if I text her back now (since it's work hours) at least I'd have proof in case shit hits the fan tomorrow.  :wink:


  • nomadicmadda
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • July 01, 2014, 06:49:40 am
    • Seoul, formerly Boseong
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Re: do I apologize or stick to my guns?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2015, 08:03:31 am »
Thanks everyone! That was, really helpful. I really needed to hear the "no apologizing" parts. Haha.

Sadly, she still hasn't gotten the hint and texted me a further 3 times outside of school hours (Twice on Saturday and once this morning (monday) at 7:40am), and I don't actually see her until tomorrow.

I really don't know how to be polite about this to her but I feel like if I text her back now (since it's work hours) at least I'd have proof in case shit hits the fan tomorrow.  :wink:

Was she texting you expecting you to yet again to additional last-minute work?