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  • wonkavite
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • October 30, 2015, 05:42:40 pm
    • U.K.
Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« on: June 08, 2016, 03:45:01 pm »
   Here's my situation. I am teaching in a rural middle school, and I would say the deal I get from my school is pretty good. I have enjoyed a lot of my classes. The only problem is the frequently changing schedule. It's not a particularly heavy schedule, but it goes like this. Monday to Friday I will see some classes every week. They usually do not change (although they can be rescheduled occasionally). I see the remainder of my classes only every second week. I had to ask my coteachers several times to find out what my "normal" schedule was, and I wrote it on the calendar. But it's a two week schedule. A couple of weeks ago we had a completely  different schedule for 2 weeks. (Students were going to an English Village). Then there was the holiday-memorial day-and I came back wondering what would happen next. I asked, but got slightly confusing advice (one of the classes shares the same period: 8:40-9:20 in alternate weeks), but one co-teacher gave the impression the class had been cancelled and I had a free period. Then the other co-teacher came and said "YOU HAVE A CLASS NOW!" I had my materials ready, but was already late. Today, I found that there was a class I hadn't been expecting, today, and this time I had insufficient materials because I hadn't expected to see the class again until next week.
   I have been here a since the start of March, but I have only had even minor issues with the schedule over the last 2 to 3 weeks. I feel awful about missing a class today. Am I over-reacting?

   I feel very upset. Am I overreacting.


  • Imogen1991
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1109

    • March 18, 2015, 12:26:47 am
    • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 03:52:55 pm »
Unfortunately it's super normal here... you will learn to get used to it eventually! It's not overreacting really, I used to feel frustrated all the time about last minute sched changes but now I just make sure I'm well prepared in advance and get on with it


  • DLJL
  • Super Waygook

    • 479

    • July 26, 2015, 08:33:30 pm
    • Yeosu
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 04:08:05 pm »
One thing to forever keep in mind is that it's not your fault, but someone will probably make a snide remark to make it feel like it's your fault. This seems to be a deep part of the culture, refusing to take responsibility for things even when it's overwhelmingly their fault.

I've had my co-teacher stop me and tell me I'm teaching the wrong class from the textbook. I quickly changed to the class she said I should be teaching, and when she came over to complain to me at the end for being disorganised, I showed her the page from my notebook from just one day earlier when she had told me what class to teach. "Lesson five, page 82" cannot be misheard for "Story Time Part 1". She just told me the wrong thing, and rather then apologise for it she said it must have been a miscommunication.

Crap like that can really start to wear you down after a while, but I think the only way you can have it not bother you is to develop the confidence to tell people that something is not your fault and if a class has gone wrong, it's because whoever should have given you the information you needed failed to do so, and they need to do better in future.

I'd much rather a teacher be in a mood because I've told them they screwed up then the way I used to feel when I first got here and it seemed like I was being constantly blamed for everything and being made to feel like I was incompetent when it seemed obvious that I hadn't done anything wrong.



  • Tony Teacher
  • Veteran

    • 170

    • April 26, 2012, 10:10:52 am
    • Seoul
    more
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 06:54:11 pm »
Frequent schedule changes can be quite common, depending on where you work. Whereas, other countries may have school schedules planned months and even a whole year in advance, things can change last minute in some schools/hagwons in Korea.

It's something you can't change because these last minute changes are made because of mistakes coming from the top down. It can be the Office of education's fault, the principal's fault, or even the Head English teacher.

The best thing to do is try to have as much prepared in advance and not let it get to you. No matter where you work in Korea, last minute changes will happen, unless you decide to start your own hagwon or business one day, but that's a whole new story.

Oh and one more thing, verbally apologizing isn't as common in Korea as it is in western countries, so try not to take it too personally if they don't apologize for something. A lot of Koreans would rather not acknowledge the mistake and just try to put it behind them. But, there are some who do apologize. And some may not say "sorry", but instead lower their eyes to the ground and look sorry. And that's how that person says sorry to others.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 06:58:29 pm by Tony Teacher »
Business Consultant and Coach at www.entrepreneurkorea.com and www.hagwonstart.com


Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2016, 07:14:15 pm »
Not your fault. You have to (unfortunately) roll with the punches. Try to have all your lessons planned at least two to three weeks in advance and have some back up "fun" lessons in your back pocket if you pull ahead in the text book for some classes.Frequent changes are a thing here and you didn't make the schedule so its not really your fault.

My only advice would be to talk to your co-teacher the day before and the morning of just to double check on what you're doing for the day.


  • amgoalng
  • Expert Waygook

    • 720

    • August 31, 2012, 08:00:20 am
    • Gobuk, near Seosan, closer to Haemi
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 07:40:54 am »
Yeah, this happens to even Korean teachers.  My wife is a Korean teacher at a high school.  The principle is scared of her.  Even then, they will either pull classes, give her classes, or some crap, unsuspectingly.  Yesterday, she thought she would have some free time to read.  Nope!  Got a message from the board of education asking for a bunch of paperwork to be done on students.


Roll with it.
Welcome to Korea!   

Also, if your lesson isn't ready, just be honest with them.  If you CT is cool, they will understand and expect you to teach what you have while improvising the rest.  (If you did what you planned and still have time, do hangman.  I love to do the joke and say, "The word is hard."  To which is use the word "hard".  It gets a good laugh every time.)


  • wonkavite
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • October 30, 2015, 05:42:40 pm
    • U.K.
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 07:50:50 am »
  One of my co-teachers is saying that if it happens again, I will be dismissed. For two weeks, we had a completely different schedule, due to the kids going to an English Village with the co-teacher. Most of the timetable issues happened 2 weeks ago when the kids went to the English Village, and over the last day or so. Thank you for your comments.
  It's only listening exercises I do from the textbook. The rest of the stuff I do completely on my own.
  I have taught in Korea before. And it was a TECHNICAL high school. But while there were schedule changes, there weren't so many.


Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2016, 07:56:46 am »
  One of my co-teachers is saying that if it happens again, I will be dismissed. For two weeks, we had a completely different schedule, due to the kids going to an English Village with the co-teacher. Most of the timetable issues happened 2 weeks ago when the kids went to the English Village, and over the last day or so. Thank you for your comments.
  It's only listening exercises I do from the textbook. The rest of the stuff I do completely on my own.
  I have taught in Korea before. And it was a TECHNICAL high school. But while there were schedule changes, there weren't so many.

I would say ok, throw up my peace sign and bounce. Tell her you will start your two week dismissal right now. Watch how fast they change their minds.


Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2016, 08:01:32 am »
One of my co-teachers is saying that if it happens again, I will be dismissed. For two weeks, we had a completely different schedule, due to the kids going to an English Village with the co-teacher. Most of the timetable issues happened 2 weeks ago when the kids went to the English Village, and over the last day or so. Thank you for your comments.
  It's only listening exercises I do from the textbook. The rest of the stuff I do completely on my own.
  I have taught in Korea before. And it was a TECHNICAL high school. But while there were schedule changes, there weren't so many.

Wait what? Do your co-teachers not like you? Do they even have the authority to dismiss you? I wonder if you'd be able to get a letter of release in a situation like this.  I'd start looking for another placement if I was you... If anything they might not want to keep you and are looking for any excuse to get you to leave.


  • The Arm
  • Expert Waygook

    • 682

    • March 09, 2015, 09:15:02 am
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2016, 08:20:02 am »
  One of my co-teachers is saying that if it happens again, I will be dismissed. For two weeks, we had a completely different schedule, due to the kids going to an English Village with the co-teacher. Most of the timetable issues happened 2 weeks ago when the kids went to the English Village, and over the last day or so. Thank you for your comments.
  It's only listening exercises I do from the textbook. The rest of the stuff I do completely on my own.
  I have taught in Korea before. And it was a TECHNICAL high school. But while there were schedule changes, there weren't so many.

I would say ok, throw up my peace sign and bounce. Tell her you will start your two week dismissal right now. Watch how fast they change their minds.

I think it's best to stand up for yourself in situations like this.

When stuff like this happens, Native teachers will always get the blame (we don't speak Korean therefore we must be stupid and not understand the timetable). 

I feel like I've been a scapegoat SO many times for other teachers' f*ck ups in this school.  So when it happens now, I always make sure I explain what actually happened (ie. not my fault, nothing to do with me).


Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2016, 08:51:55 am »
One of my co-teachers is saying that if it happens again, I will be dismissed. For two weeks, we had a completely different schedule, due to the kids going to an English Village with the co-teacher. Most of the timetable issues happened 2 weeks ago when the kids went to the English Village, and over the last day or so. Thank you for your comments.
  It's only listening exercises I do from the textbook. The rest of the stuff I do completely on my own.
  I have taught in Korea before. And it was a TECHNICAL high school. But while there were schedule changes, there weren't so many.

Wait what? Do your co-teachers not like you? Do they even have the authority to dismiss you? I wonder if you'd be able to get a letter of release in a situation like this.  I'd start looking for another placement if I was you... If anything they might not want to keep you and are looking for any excuse to get you to leave.

No they don't have the authority (I think the principle might, not sure though) at least the co-teachers don't. What probably happened is this particular co-teacher probably had their ass reemed, and shifted blame to the foreigner. Hence the threat, which is why I would call their bluff.


  • Zaiterade
  • Super Waygook

    • 250

    • September 08, 2015, 07:36:23 am
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2016, 09:11:35 am »
OP don't worry, you coteacher can't do crap or has any power to affect your job. The principal can, but if you stand your ground, they should back down from such frivolous claims. I had a bad coteacher last semester that always criticized me and my lessons, but once he was gone, no one ever said anything to me about my teaching, and my new coteachers seem cool with me too. Call out the bluff if you have to. Getting a new foreign teacher is an expensive and annoying process for many schools, and they would rather keep what they have.


  • wonkavite
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • October 30, 2015, 05:42:40 pm
    • U.K.
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2016, 12:58:04 pm »
  Yes, that sounds about right. It took a while for them to find me, and I am not in a desirable part of Korea. It takes time and expense to find a new foreign teacher who is willing to live in a village! This is not Gangnam. It's the boonies.
  But I realize that from now on, I will have to keep checking for schedule changes on a daily basis. Maybe confirm with the teachers several times just to make sure. This is especially true when there's exams, or a new semester starts.


Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2016, 02:10:21 pm »
That sounds like a good solution. The first thing I do in the morning when I come in is to check with the classes I'm suppose to teach for the day to see what the hell is happening. It doesn't always help sometimes they don't even know, what's going on.


  • yirj17
  • The Legend

    • 2782

    • September 16, 2015, 02:23:16 am
    • Korealand
Re: Frequent Schedule Changes:How Should I Deal With This?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2016, 03:18:55 pm »
You can also ask for a school calendar. This will help let you know when things like exams/field trips/holidays are. It's not a catch-all but it can at least give you a better idea of when to expect cancellations/changes so that you won't always get blindsided.