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31 January 2005
South Korean Flag








KLB - From Good to Bad to Ugly


Today started great. I skipped off to work looking forward to teaching the kids. Then of course, no sooner did I arrive then Cathy started annoying me again. At 9:55 she started class.

"Cathy, I will start class today. I'm early. Just sit down."

She said OK, but then a moment later continued to start the class. "Take out your books! Hurry! Take out you pencils. Hurry. Hurry!!!"

Later, as I was teaching, she kept zipping around the room fixing the kids' postures and scolding the poor runts over every minor infraction. I asked her to sit down again, and she said "No, that's OK. I'm fine."

I looked at today's lesson in the new book and all it said was: "Page 25-26, story." On the page is a long story about "wants versus needs" that even my C class would not understand. The next page consists of questions that ask things like, and I'm not kidding, "What is the main idea of the passage?" This is what I'm supposed to teach to 6 and 7 year old Korean kids for 2 hours. Forget it. As usual I passed over the new book and went back to English Time, an appropriate book for teaching English to Korean kids, and phonics. I could already see Cathy getting nervous as I did this.

Then, once again, the agency boss popped in. Every other damn day somebody is coming in the room to watch me...the principal, a parent, the agency, it's ridiculous. Why not just put a camera in there and hook it up to the internet so everyone can watch?

It probably wouldn't bother - actually nothing would bother me if Cathy wasn't my assistant, to be honest.

After the ten minute break, Bonnie, the agency woman, took me aside. Rather than say anything like, "Wow, good job," or whatever (I mean, I had these kids dancing on their toes for her) she says, "Shawn. I have to talk to you. We are so behind."

"We?" I replied.

"Yes, this includes me and Cathy. We're all a team."

"You and Cathy are behind? I don't know what you mean."

"With the books we are so behind."

"No we're not. Can you be specific? Show me exactly where were behind."

"I know we're behind. I read the weekly reports and talk to Cathy."

So, Cathy also doubles as a spy and reports everything back to Connie about how I haven't been teaching the book enough and spend too much time on phonics (is that possible?) and English Time. I started to get pretty defensive and I couldn't hold back: "You come here at random times unannounced and you think you know everything that's going on. We're not behind. I can't always teach that book because it's too hard for the kids. However, I think we're doing a great job. These kids are so much better than back in September."

Sensing my anger, she immediately backed off and started to say, "Yes, yes, everything's fine don't worry, I'm not complaining." Then she goes on to say how she wants me to teach there all year because the school really likes me and nobody wants me to quit in March. As we were talking so long, Cathy was forced to teach. You think she could just do that? No. Five minutes later she taps Bonnie on the back and points at the clock, saying I have to go back to teaching! UGH! Bonnie agreed.

So then all that just put me in a pissed off mood in front of the kids. I couldn't even focus on what I was teaching. Meanwhile Cathy and Bonnie stood in the back watching me.

Isn't it right that too many chefs spoil the soup? I want them to just leave me alone and let me teach for crying out loud. I think I will have to quit in March after all - but for the wrong reasons!

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