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25 March 2005
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KLB - A Fight and Some Good News

I lashed out at Cathy again today, the worst argument yet. I won't go into great detail but basically it culminated with me yelling things like, "Don't interrupt my class, don't try to teach my class, and never tell me what to do ever again! Just sit down while I'm teaching and do your paperwork and don't bother me!" Then, later: "Listen, this is a part time job. You don't have to take it so damn seriously. You don't have to work 10 hours a day. Use the class time to get your work done and then go home and relax for once. I'm tired of hearing that you sleep three hours at night. You don't need to be constantly worrying about every little thing. Come to work, do your work, go home and forget work until the next day, OK?"

I felt bad, but these things needed to be said. I let it go on too long. It actually paid off. She sat there the rest of the day quiet as a mouse. It was nice not seeing her roaming around, focused on me, interrupting to tell me I have to do something, that I should call on so and so, suggesting I spend less time on something and more on another, reminding me when to start class, when to finish, etc. I am completely confident in my teaching ability right now and I have total control of these kids and I know what I'm doing. All I wish she would do is make materials and do the Korean paperwork. Even is she sat there working on her university assignments would be fine with me.

In some regards I think she envies me and is frustrated by the fact that, despite my laid-back attitude and relaxed work ethic, I'm still a surprisingly effective teacher. After all, the kids love me. They hang all over me, vying for attention. They follow me through the halls and write me love letters and bring me candy and gifts. They draw "Shawn teacher" faces all over their notebooks. It's almost sickening the relationship I've developed with them. At the same time, they listen to me. I can say, "Attention!" and poof, silence as of the grave. They respect me. This must aggravate her to no end.

At the end of the day Cathy said to me, "I just can't angry with you because you're so nice to kids and so funny." Yes, I felt bad too. Once again, I know she's not a bad person and it's hard for me to stay mad. I tried not to back down this time, but, like a weakling, I ended up apologizing for yelling. Even so, hopefully she won't bother me for awhile.

I finally called Bonnie for the first time and told her what's going on. I'm glad I did. Get this: Cathy will be quitting next month anyway! I had no idea! She never said anything. Turns out she has to take some teacher's classes during the day to finish her MA degree. Bonnie also told me she knows Cathy over does it. She's told her before that it is my class and not to bother me. I'm not to worry, though, everything is fine. Everyone is very pleased with me, and she asked me to endure a little longer.

What good news! Thank God!

After school, the little girl's mother who is taking me to VIPS tomorrow, came in again to chat a bit. I found out she owns her own business, a trading company that supplies the food to restaurants such as, you guessed it: VIPS. She's planning to set up an office in New York within a couple of years. Cathy told me she's rich. I figured it already since her daughter, utterly adorable (she's one of my favorites despite being so spoiled) wears fashionable clothes and carries a brand new Samsung camera cell phone that must have cost $500. She's ten years old. Anyway, her mother wanted to verify the plans for tomorrow. After hearing how rich she was, I feel uncomfortable now. I wonder if she's planning to proposition me at dinner to teach Julia privately. If you don't know it, private teaching is illegal in Korea. Basically you're not allowed to earn money as a foreigner outside of the job that sponsors your visa. It's good money but to me it's not worth getting deported over.

Regardless, I figured I should bring a gift to dinner, so I went out and picked up a few things: a bottle of Chilean Red Wine for the mother and her husband and a bunch of things for Julia (as is she needs anything): crayons, stickers, a cute notebook and some colored pencils. Even if she's spoiled, she'll be happy. Her two little girlfriends, Sarah and Grace, will certainly be jealous too. All three of them sit out in the hall until I go home and then follow me to the bus stop every day. Maybe I'll split the gifts up for the three of them, since Cathy is also planning to get something for Julia.


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