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3 March 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Hectic Hagwon

Arriving at the hagwon today, I looked at my schedule on the bulletin board and noticed yet another class penciled in. It seems every month a new one mysteriously appears without any notice or explanation at all. Had I not looked, I would have missed the class and received the scorn again of the teacher who would have to cover it.

I mentioned yesterday that my boss has started a new Math program. The large room in the back of the school used to be a place for the kids to hang out and play and watch videos while they waited for class to begin. This kept the school relatively quiet and the hallways empty. That room has now been made into two Math classrooms. This means the kids have nowhere to go when they arrive - often 10-20 minutes early. Instead, much to the scorn of all the teachers, they run up and down the hallway and stare in the windows. There's nothing like trying to teach a class when 5 kids are in the hallway making goofy faces at you and the students.

It seems as time goes by, my hagwon, once a nice little place with a perfect number of students, is certain to turn into the hellish overcrowded, chaotic places I've worked for in the past. My boss has gotten the business bite. He's becoming all the bosses I've had before - intent on making more and more and more at the expense of his staff and students. I can't wait until the massive new apartment complex is finished and hundreds of new kids are in need of an English school. I think there's room up on the roof for a summer session.

I do have to give him credit though. I found out how he's getting so many new math students already. In addition to fliers he sent home with every kid and in the local newspapers, he had every student already enrolled in the English program take a math test. He then sent home the results to unsuspecting parents. The test, most likely designed to result in a low score and therefore shock the parents into enrolling them in the math program, seems so far to be working. There's already a lot of students and the boss's wife has been meeting with parents all day.

Oh well, my day hasn't been that bad. While I was eating jab chae bap downstairs for lunch, a kind little old lady came in trying to make a few bucks selling these homemade back-scratchers with built in massaging wheels. What the heck, for 3,000 won they aren't a bad deal. I bought one to help her out. At least my back won't be itchy anymore.


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