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3 July 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Weekend Update

Thanks for all the supportive comments and e-mails. I'm hoping the situation is temporary. For now, I'll just keep writing.

I'm still in the job market. I turned down the public school jobs for a variety of reasons. Basically the pay was high but they offered no benefits or holiday/vacation pay. Also, I would have to travel pretty far and from one school to the other. I'd only teach 2 hours at each school but I'd have 2-3 hours in between to wait around bored. By the time I'd get home it would be 10PM at night, which would leave no time for extra work which I'd need to make up for days off/vacation times.

I've decided to just get something in a block schedule nearby where I'll be living. Something with all the benefits including rent. I don't know if I can handle a classes of 30-40 Korean kids either, after being used to 2-10 per class. Anyway, I've got my foot in the door at somewhere specific. I happened to run into this guy Jack who's working there and he told me about how easy the job is and the location is perfect:

"I teach sometimes just 3 classes a day. Sometimes it's 6 but not usually. I go in right before I have to teach and I leave whenever I want if I don't have a class. No planning, just play games and use the books."

I asked him if they needed an extra teacher, but he said didn't think so, seeing as both teachers had so few classes.

I shrugged it off at the time but when this public school job didn't pan out as planned, I decided to look into it more. It sounds easy like the job I had before, except this would be in Songnae, a great location. A couple of days later, as I was walking past the school, I saw the number and decided to call.

Usually schools don't have foreign teachers calling them directly for jobs out of the blue. If they need a teacher, they have to use an expensive recruiter of post job ads themselves. So when I called the director, he was totally confused.

"My name is Shawn," I said. "I'm wondering if your school needs a teacher."

"What? Who are you? Shawn? I don't know Shawn, sorry."

"I know you don't know me. Does your school need a teacher right now?"

"I'm sorry. I don't understand what you mean. I don't know any Shawn."

"I'm outside your school now. Should I come there?"

"How will you get here, by buss?"

"No, I'm in Songnae."

"What, Suwon? You have to take a bus."

Finally I told him to wait and handed the phone to Julie. Moments thereafter, we were in Mr. Kim's office. He's a short, extremely thin man, about 45 and has a kind face and demeanor. Julie told him in Korean all about my experiences and education, etc. He said that was nice, but all he cared about is if I was a good teacher like Jack. This is when things got funny. He went on first in English then in Korean about how wonderful Jack is. "Usually American not have passion for teaching in Korea. Jack has the passion. He can teach every age, from young kid to high school student. It doesn't matter to Jack. He is very kind and nice. He always smiles. The children love Jack. If he want sign new contract, I can pay him more money." Now, as he said this, I was sitting there remembering Jack and what he had told me about the job and I was trying hard not to laugh. The situation reminded me of Jerry, the drunken teacher who worked before me at Wonder School on Geoje island who, though quit and ran away, was remembered with such reverie by the the school owners. It just goes to show you, it doesn't really matter how well you teach in Korea, as long as you are friendly and the boss likes you.

Anyway, he admitted he was taken off guard by me and wasn't sure what to do. He didn't really need a teacher, but at the same time he was impressed with me and wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, knowing the costs and risks of using a recruiter and hiring from overseas. For now I sent him my resume and he should call us on Monday. He's going to figure it all out in the meantime. Apparently if he does hire me, everyone will have even less classes unless someone leaves. That will make me a welcome new teacher, I'm sure. I hope it pans out.

I'm supposed to go meet James now for more of that Yogurt I posted about last week. I'm not sure though. It's the rainy season and on schedule it's been cloudy and/or rainy for over a week now, including right now. Also, and I'm not calling James a bad influence, but if I meet him, I'm sure to wind up drunk and stumbling home at 6AM again. I may just rent some movies and relax in the cave. I'm not sure if Julie will come or not. She's mad again that I had girlfriends before her...sigh.


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