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9 February 2005
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KLB - Pay Day!


Bonnie from the agency e-mailed me today about a couple of things. First the good part, my pay statement:


S T A T E M E N T



Name : Shawn Matthews
Account # : Hana Bank 462-910069-49207
Date of Payment: February 8, 2004

-Salary Amount W3,520,000 (Korean Won)
-Income Tax : -116,160 (3.3%)
-Residential Tax -11,616 (10% of Income Tax)
-Transportation : +50,000

Total : W3,442,224 (Korean Won)


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was a hard month, mostly because of my assistant, but it was really worth it. That equals $3,225 net by today's exchange rate for a month's work. I think I'd have to make at least $4,250 in the states to bring home that much in a month - if not more. I wish I could have that scehedule every month (minus Cathy!).

Now the bad part. Included in her e-mail was a letter responding to mine. I had written her to let her know I would continue to work there for the second half of the year (remember I have an option to quit after 6 months in my contract). I didn't say anything at all about the grievences I experienced in the past 5 months, either. To my disgust, I got this back:

Thanks for making the decision to stay at the same school, however, I feel
that I have few things to be changed in keeping our classes successfully.

1. You are sitting on your chair during class. I want you to check students
to check if they are following you well and writting things down correctly.
2. You are reading newspapers or books sometime during class.
3. You are the main teacher and you are responsible for 100% teaching during
class. I am little worried about Cathy's involvement in leading activities.
4. I expect more preparation for the class.
5. Teachers are usually get the school at least 15 minutes to 30 minutes
prior to the first class. I know you are coming from the distance but that's
why I made additional tranportation arrangement.

I truly know that you really like children and amazingly good with them, and
I really appreciate that. However, my position cannot hold the things to be
fixed to make our class go on for a long time.

It would be wonderful to have you keep the contract for another sememster in
accepting my suggestion just because students love you in class. But at the
same time, I need to keep the quality of learning and class that I promised
to school, students and parents.

In summary, I would like to keep you at the same school with some changes or
I need to replace this position from the next semester. Maybe the whole thing is caused from the long distance but it was your decision to work at that school and my decision to work with you.

Please tell me what you think by mail sometime this weekend since I won't be
available this week at all. It will be so much work to replace and train
somebody new again but I am paying you the highest pay rate than everybody
else but I am having problems.


As I read this, I wasn't sure whether to be angry or to laugh out loud (after all I was still giddy about the pay statement.)

Obviously Cathy's main function (besides annoying me) is to spy and report back to Bonnie. I am not sure how I will reply to the e-mail, but it will probably be a simple, polite "resignation letter" - that I've decided not to work there after all. Not because her demands are unreasonable, but because I hate working with someone in the room who reports everything I do to my boss.

For now, here is my side of things briefly:


1. You are sitting on your chair during class. I want you to check students
to check if they are following you well and writting things down correctly.


I have no idea where this is coming from because I rarely sit down. Sometimes, after the long trek to work (90 mins with no seat) and teaching 2 hours per class, I did sit down when the kids were working independently. My legs were tired! However, since most of my class has been phonics and speaking, 90-95% of the time I was on my feet. You have to be.

2. You are reading newspapers or books sometime during class.

I've already gone through this. When the kids were taking tests or busy I would glance at the newspaper or a book - mostly during breaks. I personally find nothing wrong with this, but I did stop doing so because of Cathy's reaction. Obviously Cathy had reported it already to Bonnie. Sheesh! Anyway the verb should be past tense ("were").


3. You are the main teacher and you are responsible for 100% teaching during
class. I am little worried about Cathy's involvement in leading activities.


Nobody ever told me exactly what Cathy's role is. Once in a great while she teaches a game by explaining directions in Korean. She never teaches lessons - ever. So, again, I don't know what this is about unless it's because Cathy complained about having to teach games sometimes? - or perhaps a student told their parent how fun Cathy teacher is? Who knows but it's ridiculous.


4. I expect more preparation for the class.

This is typical. I get paid by the hour to teach and don't get paid when I miss class, but I'm expected to go in on my time for free. Simple solution: pay me an extra hour or two each week for preparation time. Or at least give me a day off with pay now and again.


5. Teachers are usually get the school at least 15 minutes to 30 minutes
prior to the first class. I know you are coming from the distance but that's
why I made additional tranportation arrangement.


The additional arrangement she's referring to is the 50,000 won transportation bonus. It costs me almost double that. It still takes me 80-90 minutes every day to go to work, same to get back. That's a lot and I refuse to leave any earlier than 90 minutes before I work. I get there 5-10 minutes early on average. I think Cathy is capable of greeting the kids as they come through the door. What else does she have to do besides spy on me?

Well, I let that out. Thanks for reading. Now it's back to counting my moola and playing Prince of Persia. As Julie said, I have to calm down and relax awhile before I respond to that e-mail. My first reaction was to write back 5 of my own requests, including even higher pay (just to be funny) and a new assistant, a ride to work, etc..


I truly know that you really like children and amazingly good with them, and
I really appreciate that.


She should have just left it at that...now for her "it will be so much work to replace and train somebody new again"...wait until that new person works awhile with Cathy. And the poor kids. They really enjoyed my class because I make learning fun. Maybe they will get lucky and the next teacher will be good at teaching and also at work-place politics, being able to balance the two. I'm good at teaching, I've realized, but I've long known I can't tolerate a lot of the BS involved with it.

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