Thursday, September 1, 2011

Littlest Violin

So, I put off writing a blog post for a long time. Half of which is because I've become super lazy, and the other part was because I didn't want to comment on anything that could be an issue with me in the future. At this point, I don't really give a hoot.

This post will be a soju induced rant, so it may not be important. Lets start with Korea in general. Korea is a wonderful country. Safe, clean, and very efficient.  The public transportation and low cost of taxis can't be beat. Plus, I LOVE not having to tip. Tipping is stupid.

On the other hand, I will go with a stereotype that Koreans are the best in the world at copying. Koreans focus so hard on education and information, that their culture greatly lacks in creativity and originality. Yes, the American education system is a joke, and I wish we could find some sort of medium between the American system and the Korean system, but the Korean system's power comes from aggressive parenting, which no tax dollars can immitate. On the other hand, America encourages freedom of expression and speech, which has enabled us to become leaders and pioneers in many areas throughout the last two centuries. Korea, in its current form, can never hope to accomplish that. Their students become zombies who are robbed of any and all ability to discover their own passions or interests.

I think a lot of this stems from the mandatory military service required by Korean citizens. All militaries preach that you don't ask questions, and this philosophy has extended into education, business, and all other aspects of life. "Why" is not an appropriate question. This completely contradicts my education, which encouraged me to ask "why." There is no line of communication to discuss reason, it is a simple matter of right and wrong. People say that is "just Korea," but I think it it is a ridiculous way to run a business. I think Korea is fantastic in many ways, but their approach to business and education is not something I could ever deal with on a long term basis. At Chungdahm (my employer) I am pretty sure they advance students who sign up for extra courses while completely ignoring actual class performance. For my second term in a row, the best student I have had in a class has been held back because it is their first time in a class, while weaker students have advanced because of age or enrollment in intensive classes. It is a joke, and undermines any idea that I'm a teacher.

As for my time teaching, it has been a complete waste. Coming from law school, I chose an academy that encouraged the socratic method and offered mutliple higher level courses. Yet the branch that hired me decided to stick me with 5th graders who had very limited English skills. I had never taught children before, and had no idea how to deal with them, let alone foreign kids. As a result, I made a ton of mistakes my first term. Most of them my fault, but I had no idea what I was doing. Since then, I have never been allowed to teach an upper level course. Why was I hired to teach bullshit English? I have no idea. I don't regret coming to Korea, but I came to Korea to teach, and I have not been given a chance to teach students at the level I would be best at teaching. This does not include my intensive class, but that would require a long rant all its own. I know I am far from the best teacher, but I was also put into a job I was never suited for. So, yeah, teaching in Korea sucks unless you have been here a long time or speak Korean. I can't wait to get home.

Outside of that.... Um.... It rained a lot. For like two months straight. Pretty ridiculous. That's still not excuse for me failing to do half the stuff I wanted to do while living in another country. It's very difficult because a lot of my co-workers have been in Korea a long time. They have seen it all, and have settled into their own lives. I see facebook photos of my friends from my training group out with their coworkers and get jealous, because my experience is nothing like that. We're all kind of on our own. Trying to find people willing to travel and visit historical sites with is very difficult.

Soo... this isn't a funny post. But I'm not in a funny mood. I have about four months left until I go home, and I really can't wait.  I love the country, but for multiple reasons (most of which are entirely my fault), I'm done with the place. Work is not going to provide me with any ounce of enjoyment, so I'll have to find different ways to enjoy this country.... Or start studying for the bar..... Gross....

Go, Kerry Collins.

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