Friday, 13 February 2004

Transitions At The School

The end of February is the end of term for my school, and I think all the schools in Korea. New term doesn't hang about, as it begins on Tuesday 2nd March.

Whether or not the approaching new term is responsible for the current transition period my school is going through, I don't know. In part yes, in part no, I suspect. Because both staff and student numbers are fluctuating fairly dramatically right now.

Student numbers are waning. One of my classes is down from 7 when I started, to just 4, and is going to merge with another of my classes, down from 8 to 7. My kindergarten class appears to be down from 7 to 4. Most other classes have 1 or 2 students "disappeared". Each time I wave goodbye to a small sea of happy faces, I never quite know for certain if that's to be the last I see of them.

I think waning student numbers are indicative either of parents choosing to move their child to what they think is a better school, or often parents give their kids a rest for a month or so about this time, as the school schedule is punishing over here.

However, the staff population is not any more stable. Today is depressive cynicial John's last day. Last week, Chan, a Korean teacher left a note on his desk and never reappeared. Another, Ally, has just got a new job, and I remember hearing Clara saying she would be going soon. In the last two weeks, three new Korean teachers have appeared. The first two were about for a couple of days, never to be seen again. Yesterday, a Korean teacher called Daniel appeared, or re-appeared, as he's worked here before.

Daniel doesn't seem like a bad guy. Maybe a bit wet and I could easily beat him in a fight, but his heart seems in the right place. Unike his hair, which resembles a thinning wig. But Daniel has the unwitting unfortunate ability to wander pass classes when I'm teaching just when they're at their very worst. Every time he looks in, it must seem to him that I'm just pissing about. I can have a good class, and in the last minute rub all the stuff off the board, and the kids are putting their books away, and he'll walk by to what appears a small scene of chaos. Or he'll look in just as I'm looking out the window and a couple of kids have started to make a racket. His timing is very poor, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, my next two weeks are going to be awful. Because John is leaving, there are two weeks to be filled with his classes. Apparently another English speaking teacher is being drafted in (permanently?) to cover his Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but I've been saddled with an number of extra classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays - my slightly more relaxed days - and even my other days have an extra class somehow wedged in. It all means that it's going to be relentless, and the last two weeks of term are not going to be my most enjoyable.

Anyway, that's for next week. This week has just finished, and therefore I'm going to get drunk now.

No comments: