The Bad Side to Public School Teaching in South Korea

I thought now was a good time to do another post about the pros and cons of teaching in South Korea. Actually, this was not written as a blog post, but rather a private e-mail to my friend that I thought I should share for anyone who is considering Public School in South Korea. This is, unfortunately, the bad side of Public School.

“I am just unhappy all of the time because of work. Co teacher even asks now if I am OK, and yesterday the other one said I look depressed. I dread every morning and every day I just want it to be over. This is the worst year I have had in Korea. My last 2 schools had ups and downs, but it’s difficult to find anything I can tolerate here.I brought chocolates to school – I was just going to bring 1 box for the lady on the first floor because she is just SO horrible, bitchy and disrespectful towards me and I wanted to kill her with kindness. I ended up buying 3 boxes, the other 2 for my co teachers. I want to tell myself that the horrible one does things only because she wants a good orderly class, and she looks out for me changing my material but that is not true. I am sitting with these chocolates next to me, and I don’t even think I will give it to her. Today is a typical example of how she makes me so upset. We are teaching, and the kids are kind of havoc because they moved their desks and did group work, it’s about 5 min before the end of the class, and she just walks out. She’s done, apparently. I take over and let them leave and straighten out desks but she has now decided she is done for that class. Every morning, she waltzes in 5 min late. I don’t give a shit to take over, I prefer it – but she takes full advantage of me and I do not like it. Seriously, just had enough. I can’t do another 6 months of this.

From next week, I start teaching grade 6 on my own. She told me that is my class. Yet, she told me now she wants to see my material and rules and tells me what rules I need to add. She never co operates with me about times to talk about our shared lessons and when she finally decides she has time, it is 20 min on a Friday before the end of the day and I (I being the operative word) end up rushing around to finish before home time at 4:40. I mentioned that to her before, and again yesterday when she mentioned we would have to talk about lessons together, and I told her not the end of the day because we rush around. But, she makes me do all of the work anyway. It is literally a dictator rushing around telling me what to do at the time that is convenient for her but inconvenient for me. And the worst part is how she ALWAYS says “we need to…” “we must…” as if she lifts a FINGER for lesson plans OR classroom prep. And then the way she says “could you…” every 5 seconds when ordering me around. I must change the music, put out name tags, open classroom, open windows do everything. Even 2 days ago she said to me she doesn’t want to use the YouTube video I opened up so “could you” find one with lyrics. I told her SHE can find one – type in xxxx lyrics and she will find it. When we had to go shopping for summer camp, she kept me about 2 hours post work buying material, and made me push the trolley. It’s a princess in work. At this point, I don’t know if I should purposely stop doing nice things – like setting out her name tags for her etc because she should do them on her own. This whole experience has just made me wish I was back at the hagwon, with shitty holiday, no classroom, no interactive board and a 35 hours working week purely because I had no one to watch over me, no one telling how how to teach or what to teach and I didn’t have to worry about all my lesson planning going to waste, having to do it all over and have to rely on someone who is very uncooperative to get it done every week.”


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