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  • miss_cho
  • Super Waygook

    • 400

    • October 10, 2011, 10:00:55 am
    • Korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #220 on: July 12, 2012, 09:58:57 pm »
My co-teachers at my different schools asked me in early spring if I would re-sign with them, they all told me I'm a good teacher and they wanted me to stay - so I'm not quite sure why, if they wanted me to continue at their schools, did they exclude me from opportunities to get more involved with the teachers and the school in general.

Did you ever tell them directly that you really wanted to be more included in those kind of things?

Maybe you did, but the thought occurs to me that perhaps they'd just assumed you didn't want to be included because that was their experience of NETs before you. Who knows, maybe a previous NET bitched and moaned excessively about having to take part in those kinds of activities - rather like some people on here do - and some KTs may have though it best to not repeat the mistake with their next NET.

I think it's quite possible the previous NET didn't want to attend any dinners (*if* she was invited) because I've heard that she hated her time here. So what you suggest is plausible.

However, I suspect my not being invited has more something to do with the situation Deesh presented - my co-teacher doesn't want to be my "handler" at dinners. I also get the impression I make my co-teacher uncomfortable - he's an older guy that speaks minimal English and he gets anxious having even the most basic conversations with me and laughs nervously throughout it. I understand that my presence is difficult for him because it highlights his lack of English skills and therefore he might believe he would lose face amongst his co-workers if they realized how little English he actually speaks. I try to keep our conversations minimal and only discuss important matters therefore I never expressly discussed a desire to be included in school activities with him. I do plan on saying something about at least extending an invitation to the next NET to events because I'd like him/her to have a better experience.

When I interviewed with my new school I did tell the principal, vice-principal and main co-teacher that I would like to be included in school activities because I want to be more involved so I have high expectations that things will change. Hopefully it won't be one of those "grass is always greener" situations though ... :D


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #221 on: July 12, 2012, 10:24:36 pm »
If I were someone who wanted to go to school events, but wasn't invited, I'd ask my KT's a lot questions about how it went.  Like "Hey, did you have fun at _______?  What did you eat?  Did you do anything cool?  Take any pictures?"  They may get the hint.

I think that's kind of the point in many cases - if the NET was able to have such conversations with KT's, and the KT's were friendly and proficient at English enough to answer them, then the NET would probably be invited on trips in the first place.

Sometimes it's just difficult to build relationships with any of the Korean teachers - regardless of how pleasant and friendly you are. In particular this can happen in smaller schools, where there are no co-teachers and the NET teaches alone or with home room teachers.

Yeah, it's funny. I was having a conversation with my managing KET (good friend too) and here's a snippet from it:

CT: You know, the students all think the things you do are strange.
flasyb: What do you mean?
CT: They think you are strange because you are foreign, maybe. (he always says maybe - a habit I've picked up now). I understand you because I know your job more and what you do but they just think you are strange.

I reckon the same could be said for a lot of my Korean colleagues.

The vast majority of problems that NETs face in Korea either stem directly from or are compounded by communication issues. Something happens, we are not provided with an explanation because to do so would likely require a full understanding/explanation of internal structures/politics at the school, so we receive no explanation - besides, why would you explain something so a subordinate in Korea? ;) Since the thing that happened makes no real sense to us and no explanation is offered, we assume it's something ridiculous or strange. I reckon it's the same thing when KTs see our actions but don't have the English ability (and (most of us) don't have the Korean ability) to communicate our reasons. Assumptions are made and each side looks crazy to the other.

If I were to give one piece of advice - and this is something I haven't trialled myself so it's just an idea - to the next NET (and I'll be writing them a letter), it would be to do all major communication via email. I suppose some of you will be thinking, "well, duh," but it's something that wasn't immediately obvious to me. I assumed for a long time that I was being understood. This is clearly not the case. I suspect a lot of NETs make the same error as me too. They're English teachers, so they should understand me. Shoulda woulda coulda. The reality is, they frequently don't.

Email could potentially solve a lot of problems. It's no secret that Koreans have much higher reading abilities than speaking/listening abilities - it's evident from the way their education system geared towards understanding instead of communicating. In an email, you could choose your language carefully and dumb it down to the extent where equivocation is all but impossible - you can make it absolutely clear. After an email, you can that approach the KET in question and CCQ (concept check question) them. In a conversation, CCQing a teacher at the end would seem patronising but after an email, it would be quite natural - "Did you get my email?" "Is X possible?" "What did you think about X?" etc. Finally, some KETs are embarrassed about their low speaking levels and speaking to them in an office with their colleagues often seems to cause them to want to get a conversation over as quickly as possible - you can bet your bottom dollar other KTs are listening in! An email would give them a chance to think about what they want to say and wouldn't just be a surprise conversation out of the blue in front of their colleagues (or even in private) that would immediately set them off on the back foot. Email is the way.

OK, I've gone off on a tangent there but it's something I've been thinking about.

People don't get invited because they can't communicate. Perhaps the rest of your colleagues already assume you won't enjoy it.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #222 on: July 13, 2012, 09:16:18 am »
If I were someone who wanted to go to school events, but wasn't invited, I'd ask my KT's a lot questions about how it went.  Like "Hey, did you have fun at _______?  What did you eat?  Did you do anything cool?  Take any pictures?"  They may get the hint.

I think that's kind of the point in many cases - if the NET was able to have such conversations with KT's, and the KT's were friendly and proficient at English enough to answer them, then the NET would probably be invited on trips in the first place.

Sometimes it's just difficult to build relationships with any of the Korean teachers - regardless of how pleasant and friendly you are. In particular this can happen in smaller schools, where there are no co-teachers and the NET teaches alone or with home room teachers.

The vast majority of problems that NETs face in Korea either stem directly from or are compounded by communication issues. Something happens, we are not provided with an explanation because to do so would likely require a full understanding/explanation of internal structures/politics at the school, so we receive no explanation - besides, why would you explain something so a subordinate in Korea? ;)

Email could potentially solve a lot of problems. It's no secret that Koreans have much higher reading abilities than speaking/listening abilities - it's evident from the way their education system geared towards understanding instead of communicating. In an email, you could choose your language carefully and dumb it down to the extent where equivocation is all but impossible - you can make it absolutely clear. After an email, you can that approach the KET in question and CCQ (concept check question) them. In a conversation, CCQing

I recommend this as well.. its a very good advice indeed.
several of my Korean coworkers in my office choose to email me rather than just talk.
It was strange at first but now I prefer them doing that as well. Makes things much more
clearer and straight to the point, rather than mumbling about something thats really hard to grasp.
Sometimes, we use our messengers to talk.


Re: When they make the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #223 on: July 13, 2012, 10:13:24 am »
I've never been invited and thank Lord Buddha for that. Personally, I can't see it as being anything other than horrifying: trapped with Koreans, eating Korean food, sleeping on floors with other men....I'd rather be water-boarded!

Give me desk-warming every time! If, by chance, there is a mirror in the room, then I am with my best friend  :laugh:

I've never been invited and thank Lord Buddha for that. Personally, I can't see it as being anything other than horrifying: trapped with AMERICANS, eating AMERICAN food, sleeping on floors with other men....I'd rather be water-boarded!

Give me desk-warming every time! If, by chance, there is a mirror in the room, then I am with my best friend  :laugh:

Yup.

Jimmy, kinda doesn't work that way.

If you were in America you wouldn't be sleeping on floors with other Am. Men (at a school teacher "getaway" at least). Instead you do things like go see a sports game. You'd be eating American food which is amazing, btw. And you wouldn't be expected to cut up a small meal into 15 tiny portions and slowly share little tiny, cutie-cutie, itsy-bits of it while your co-workers get plastered pretending that your "satiated". Torture. I cannot describe the pain a hungry man goes through at a Korean teacher's dinner in words (or, I could but I dont know that many expletives and they don't like that on waygook).

No, my friend. In the US you'd eat a huge burger or steak or plate of pasta along with some alcohol, possibly and definitely dessert. You can bet you'd get your 1,500 calories in that meal. You'd have some conversation that not only could you understand, but you'd also enjoy, possibly, especially if you're into professional team sports. Even if you don't like team sports, at least you have good food to get you through. And don't worry, no one will drag your ass to the Noraebang afterword and take you by the hand up on stage while they let loose some extreme VIBRATO as if it's meant to be used all the time that way.

:)

Oh, and Cereal's Canadian.

Did ever it ever occur to you that maybe the portions in the US are too big rather than the other way round?
People I know who have visited America  have always said that they were surprised by the large size of the portions of the food.
I think with a lot of people whether the meal is delicious or not is more important than the size of the meal.

Eating a huge burger/ steak and going to watch a sports game (like real men do) is just living up to the stereotype.
I'm sure there are some Americans who will be embarrassed by what you wrote, no?


  • SBracken
  • Expert Waygook

    • 579

    • March 07, 2011, 07:41:22 am
    • Pohang, S Korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #224 on: July 13, 2012, 11:04:26 am »
I've never been invited and thank Lord Buddha for that. Personally, I can't see it as being anything other than horrifying: trapped with Koreans, eating Korean food, sleeping on floors with other men....I'd rather be water-boarded!

Give me desk-warming every time! If, by chance, there is a mirror in the room, then I am with my best friend  :laugh:

I've never been invited and thank Lord Buddha for that. Personally, I can't see it as being anything other than horrifying: trapped with AMERICANS, eating AMERICAN food, sleeping on floors with other men....I'd rather be water-boarded!

Give me desk-warming every time! If, by chance, there is a mirror in the room, then I am with my best friend  :laugh:

Yup.

Jimmy, kinda doesn't work that way.

If you were in America you wouldn't be sleeping on floors with other Am. Men (at a school teacher "getaway" at least). Instead you do things like go see a sports game. You'd be eating American food which is amazing, btw. And you wouldn't be expected to cut up a small meal into 15 tiny portions and slowly share little tiny, cutie-cutie, itsy-bits of it while your co-workers get plastered pretending that your "satiated". Torture. I cannot describe the pain a hungry man goes through at a Korean teacher's dinner in words (or, I could but I dont know that many expletives and they don't like that on waygook).

No, my friend. In the US you'd eat a huge burger or steak or plate of pasta along with some alcohol, possibly and definitely dessert. You can bet you'd get your 1,500 calories in that meal. You'd have some conversation that not only could you understand, but you'd also enjoy, possibly, especially if you're into professional team sports. Even if you don't like team sports, at least you have good food to get you through. And don't worry, no one will drag your ass to the Noraebang afterword and take you by the hand up on stage while they let loose some extreme VIBRATO as if it's meant to be used all the time that way.

:)

Oh, and Cereal's Canadian.

Did ever it ever occur to you that maybe the portions in the US are too big rather than the other way round?
People I know who have visited America  have always said that they were surprised by the large size of the portions of the food.
I think with a lot of people whether the meal is delicious or not is more important than the size of the meal.

Eating a huge burger/ steak and going to watch a sports game (like real men do) is just living up to the stereotype.
I'm sure there are some Americans who will be embarrassed by what you wrote, no?


It's both a blessing and a curse that Americans are constantly embarrassed by other Americans. On the one hand, it means there are some of us with sense. On the other hand, it means there are those that are still causing the embarrassment. I wouldn't say Jrong's post is embarrassing exactly, just demonstrating a very picky, inflexible tolerance.

If you're such a hungry man in pain and you know what's coming- just pregrame the freaking dinner. Grab a snack at a mart before school to eat later, or, heaven forbid, plan ahead and bring your own snack/small meal from home. I'm also not sure what kind of life poor hungry man is living to go for 1,500 calories in one meal, presumably one out of three.

jimmy makes a fine point.


  • kiraaso
  • Adventurer

    • 55

    • May 27, 2010, 08:28:42 am
    • korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #225 on: July 13, 2012, 05:13:08 pm »
If I were someone who wanted to go to school events, but wasn't invited, I'd ask my KT's a lot questions about how it went.  Like "Hey, did you have fun at _______?  What did you eat?  Did you do anything cool?  Take any pictures?"  They may get the hint.

I think that's kind of the point in many cases - if the NET was able to have such conversations with KT's, and the KT's were friendly and proficient at English enough to answer them, then the NET would probably be invited on trips in the first place.

Sometimes it's just difficult to build relationships with any of the Korean teachers - regardless of how pleasant and friendly you are. In particular this can happen in smaller schools, where there are no co-teachers and the NET teaches alone or with home room teachers.

About building relationships with Korean teachers...

When I first came to my school, I would teach and then sit at my desk and work hard on my lesson plans non-stop until 4:30.  I'm an introvert and like to use my desk time effectively.   

One older teacher, after a few months, took me aside, with my co-teacher translating, gave me a speech and said everyone in our six person office have all bonded except YOU.  That I need to talk with other teachers, not make faces when people use my desk as a lunch table, and don't let old teachers clean.  That another teacher said her native teacher at her is super social, so there must be something wrong with me.  They implied that I was being selfish.  It was US vs. YOU   

This was upsetting because I'm a quiet person who works hard and they were telling me that was wrong.  Before her speech, I could tell people were unhappy with me, but I had no idea why. 

I guess my point is that some of you, at least in my case, may have to really change how you go about things if you wanna build relationships with your co-workers.  Culture-wise and how you interact with others.  When I first came here, I though I could really blend in and accept Korean culture and found out that it's not that easy.

With a lot of effort, I've made a really good balance of being my quiet self, socialization, doing things according to Korean culture, and proven that I work hard and well.   


  • papayapie
  • Super Waygook

    • 421

    • May 30, 2012, 10:30:06 am
    more
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #226 on: July 16, 2012, 08:41:24 am »
fgdfgdfg
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 11:07:52 am by papayapie »


  • fishead
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1138

    • April 23, 2010, 07:58:05 am
    • Yangju Korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #227 on: July 16, 2012, 11:52:33 am »
 I actually have to admit I enjoy these things. Lots of people come out of the woodwork and speak to me particularly when alcohol is included. You find things out about your co-workers you wouldn't find out any other way. I found out one of the gym teachers was interested in Modern art.

 Turning these things down is not a good idea. I makes you look too individualistic a quality that is not condusive to good public school Jung


Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #228 on: August 19, 2012, 11:24:14 pm »
I've never been asked on one. I only find out about them the day I'm at school and people are missing and my schedule has changed.


  • Cereal
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1239

    • March 16, 2011, 12:51:55 pm
    • Earth
    more
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #229 on: August 22, 2012, 11:16:03 am »
I've never been asked on one. I only find out about them the day I'm at school and people are missing and my schedule has changed.

Deskwarming this week. I was the first one in today and the only person on time. Me, the VP and 3 other teachers. Lunch was ordered and delivered...but none for me. They forgot!

At least they were apologetic  ;D

Having been a good boy scout way back when, I came prepared for just such an emergency with my ramen noodles  :laugh:
"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
Bakunin


  • TheWB18
  • Expert Waygook

    • 634

    • October 27, 2011, 07:51:30 am
    • South Korea
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #230 on: August 22, 2012, 11:40:06 am »
So, had my school trip before vacation, figured I'd share the details finally.  I was expecting the worst, however, I was pleasantly surprised.

We started drinking on the bus a little before 7AM, had a nice long trip watching Korean comedy movies which even I thought were pretty funny (turns out the same gag repeated 6x is hilarious if you're a little in the tank), got on a boat, went to an island, went fishing (more fun when drunk!), ate fresh sashimi, then a big soup dinner with a ton of soju, then messed around drunk until 2AM.  Next day everyone was too hungover for the planned activities so we just ate breakfast, hung around, then took the bus home (with stops to buy random "specialty" foods from the reason, which I of course avoided).

It was actually a lot of fun...mainly, but not entirely, because 75% of us were drunk 75% of the time (the other 25% being sleeping time).


  • Epistemology
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1906

    • September 19, 2010, 01:57:27 pm
    more
Re: When your school makes the effort to 'include' you….
« Reply #231 on: December 13, 2012, 11:40:34 pm »
I have one just after Christmas. Really dont want to go though as I have a wedding to attend that weekend.

Its a new school and all, started here only last month, but I have an absolute terrible experience with these things ever since I cut out the majority of alcohol to improve my health.  My last school's one in summer was an unmitigated disaster. Started off alright, took the bus, saw a few things, went to Nami island and a few other interesting places. Would have been fun if it ended there. But, no. After that, we got dinner, which was fine. Then the Alcohol came out. Did I mention that I don't really drink beer, and will not drink spirits for afore mentioned heath reasons? Yeah...You can imagine just how much fun I had here. I sat there, with a miserable look on my face just hoping something would happen allowing me to make a run for it to the nearest taxi rank. Alas, it was not to be. I was then dragged to the Norebang to hear what sounded like people murdering cats. I managed to escape and sat outside for a bit, looking at the stars(which was the most enjoyable thing that night). Eventually one of my coteachers found me and asked what was wrong. She managed to get the room key from one of the male teachers. I took it and ran back to the rooms, was in bed for 11pm.

The next morning we had lunch at a restaurant.....Octo pus in a soup, but what they did was they threw a live octopus into boiling hot soup.....I was absolutely shocked at what I just witnessed, im not a vegetarian by any means, but seeing that was enough to make me feel physically sick.

This one now at my new school....I just cant quite understand it to be honest, Its absolutely freezing outside (-10C to -16C!) so it will be impossible to do the fun parts of this kind of trip. It looks like its just one huge drinking binge. That might appeal to some teachers, and it would have certainly appealed to me when I was younger(2-3 years ago, when I first came to Korea), but not now.

Its a damned if I do, damned if I don't scenario really.
I don't go and give a reason why, and I'm seen as a bad sport.
I go, but don't participate in the drinking, I'm seen as unsociable, awkward AND a bad sport.

Trying to see if I can work out some sort of compromise with them, Go, but get permission to leave early and catch the Jungang line back into Seoul, bus to Bundang, and Taxi to my place. I can live with that inconvenience. If I get out before the drinking gets heavy, then I avoid the bad labels.

Away an bile yer heid ya numpty,ye dinnae ken whit yer talkin aboot.