Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Less Happy but still...

So I didn't want to once again follow up a rather chirpy post with a downer yesterday, ruining my whole e-outlook for the day, but I ended up having to spend all of lunch listening to the teacher sitting next to me rant about how ungrateful we foreign teachers were. I don't know if she realised that I actually speak Korean or just didn't care, but my co-teacher knows and I think the other teacher sitting across from me definitely picked it up by the expression on my face, and they were looking a little uncomfortable by the end of lunch. Apparently this teacher had been at a school with a NEST (Native English Speaking Teacher) before, a Korean-American gyopo, and had not been left with a good impression. I don't think she had actually taught with her as this teacher is a Maths teacher, but the NEST had apparently made quite an impression on her. Obviously as the foreigner, any NEST is going to be subject to much more scrutiny than they are aware of by all the teachers in the school regardless of actual direct contact, and according to Ms Ranty, this one had been very arrogant about their status as a foreigner in Korea but because they were also Korean, this meant a lot of bitching very loudly in Korean about being forced to do stuff that teachers in America wouldn't be expected to do and calling in sick a lot. I don't know how much of it was exactly true and based on repeated behaviour or it was just once and the NEST had been a arse about it and it had stuck, but I guess that kind of thing does happen. The ranting co-teacher also had a lot to say about foreigners only wanting to teach in Japan - don't know if this was also based on the other NEST - and only picking Korea as a second choice, which kind of sounded like she thought the ones in Korea were the losers that couldn't get into the JET program. By this point I had stopped paying attention to the silly woman, but my co-teacher told me about it later and when I told her that that certainly wasn't true, especially in my case, and lots of people choose Korea because it has better working conditions (slightly) she said she would correct the other lady. Which is going to go down well I'm sure.

But it's ironic really that this teacher was so uppity about the whole thing and so prejudiced against foreigners, because she's sure to be the type that would make a big deal about knowing a foreigner if she was friends with one (unlikely) or staring at one in the street or trying to touch their hair/skin. I'm sure she's also the type that would make no effort to learn or use any English if she ever went overseas to an English speaking country, and then would rant about how racist people were there against her. Anyway, it was a bit odd. I'm assuming she did in fact know that I speak Korean as even most of the new teachers know by now, and was just on her soapbox blithely bitching away in the manner of someone brave enough to say it when they don't have to directly look at the person they're going on about and "subtly" complaining by using an example of someone else. And no, she didn't look at me once during this tirade, even though I'm sure she noticed that I was sure as hell looking at her with my "what ARE you on about you mad cow?" face a few times. Anyhoo, for the most part the other teachers are nice and realise that I don't speak during lunch much because a) I don't want to speak Korean in front of the kids, b) my Korean isn't top notch as it is so I can't really just chime into conversations like the other teachers do and c) I'm the foreigner so it's quite daunting. So I'm not going to let one person spoil my week. I hope she isn't on the 2nd grade trip though because that would be a pain in the butt.

In other news, Spring is finally yawning and emerging from its den, so the weather is getting warmer and I'm turning down my ondol heating more and more every week. The yellow gaenari (개나리) flowers - real name "Forsythia" I think, but lots of Koreans call them "Rape flower" which can be a bit weird if they ask you if you've seen them or want to go see them - are out and the cherry blossoms won't be far behind. I'm also going to a strawberry picking festival on Sunday at Sangju which should be fun and of course also strawberrilicious :) Huzzah for Spring!


  1. i like the two long paragraph rant about the teacher and then...its spring! lol. i cant wait till it gets really warm. when should i come to cheongju? keke

  2. hehe yeah i always try and end my posts on a positive note! however random a note it may be :) and really, i feel that there are just moments in life where the most appropriate response is "what the!!" ^^