New Job, New Apartment, New Week!

New Job

So a lot has happened over the past week and this weekend we are embarking on a new adventure.  I am being transferred to a different branch of the school we currently work at.  I start Monday at 3pm and have no idea what it will be like.  Luckily though, I will receive a few days of training with the current teacher, so that will be very helpful.  I WILL FINALLY HAVE MY OWN CLASSROOM! Words cannot describe how excited I am for this!  My current job of librarian/artist/scientist/ teacher was really fun but I never felt like I could really get a handle on the situation because they were someone else’s students.  Now though, I will get my own room that I can decorate, write my own homework, and enforce my own rules.  It is going to be great!

There are a couple cons to me having to move. First, I will have to commute. 😦   I know most of the world does this but I am not a fan of commuting, even though it will only be about 20-30 minutes a day.  David and I were able to walk 15 minutes to the school for the past two weeks and that was really awesome!  We got to talk about our plans for the day and enjoy some light exercise together.  Now, I will be riding the bus by myself.  I plan on downloading some good audiobooks for the ride, so if anyone has any suggestions…

The second drawback is that by leaving, the other teachers will go back to almost zero prep time.  Every class I did gave each teacher a half hour prep (so times that by 3 and they got an extra hour and half prep time per week).  David is luckily and has an hour and half prep on Tuesdays that he gets paid for, but some of the other teachers do not have any.  So I feel bad leaving them.

Finally, I’m going to miss some of the classes a lot!  I know I will have my own children now, but I definitely had some favorites at the Uijeongbu branch.  Maybe I will be able to go visit sometime.

New Apartment

When David and I signed our contract with our new location, we were promised an apartment with a separate bedroom.  So imagine our surprise upon walking into the apartment and finding a studio… spacious, but still a studio.  Upon further inspection, we discovered that there was not any furniture, except a mattress (no sheets or blankets), fridge, t.v., cable, and internet.  No table or chairs, no desks.   Just a room with a mattress.   We were not too happy about it.  Neither was our recruiter who proceeded to call the owner and speak sternly to him.  He then came to our apartment with his son and promised to have us in a bigger apartment within two weeks!

Lo and behold, yesterday we moved into said apartment and so far we love it.  Even though there was a mix-up and we don’t have a bed.  We are supposed to get that tomorrow.  So right now we are sleeping on a mat on the floor (Korean style!).  We have upgraded in pretty much every way.  We now have a kitchen/ dining room  with a separate bedroom.  The apartment is pretty spacious for our needs and we hope to get a dining room table and chairs.  Our bedroom also came equipped with a bright orange desk with bedazzled handles.  It is cute though!  The only thing I will miss about our old place is the huge bathroom!  It was so big that when you showered, the whole other half of the bathroom stayed dry.  Our bathroom now is smaller but the apartment overall is nicer.  Plus we have a super high tech front door! Pictures to come once we are more unpacked!



Adventures of Tara Teacher

*Disclaimer: In South Korea, it is completely legal and awesome to post pictures of your students online.

When we first arrived at our apartment, one of the Korean Supervisors met us and proceeded to tell David all about his classes for Monday.  She then looked at me and said, “And I don’t know what you are doing.”  It turns out my job is a little different and it might be changing, even in the next week.  Right now I am Tara Teacher, Tara Artist, Tara Scientist, and Tara Librarian.   On Mondays I do library with each class, on Wednesdays it’s art, and Fridays I do science “kits”.  The other times I go to each class and help the teacher with whatever they need.  Sometimes that means helping students, but mostly that means I laminate, cut, and grade.  I don’t mind too much though, especially since I know it is not permanent and it really helps the other teachers out.

We also had our first field trip!  It was to a music museum and, honestly, it was a little boring.  The most eventful parts were probably the bus ride there and back.  If you saw my facebook you probably saw the kindies singing One Direction and just being silly.  The kindergartners got a tour in Korean so we did not understand anything that was being said.  I did take quite  a few pictures though.  So enjoy!

Overall, I really enjoy working at this new place and am excited to see what the future brings!


Quick update

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the lack of updates but it has been really stressful, busy, and crazy the last couple weeks.  So this is just a quick update to let everyone know that things are getting WAY better!  David and I are officially moving tomorrow to Uijeongbu (pronounced wee-juh-ng-boo) to a new school where we will actually get to teach!!!  We are so excited.  We also have had a lot of crazy things happen to us with regards to our current job and so we will fill everyone in soon!  For now, I am spending my last day of work laminating a million things and listening to my boss interview new victims teachers over the phone.  It is horrifying to hear the “half truths” he tells them as well as remember how he said those exact same things to us!  Hopefully they will google the school before they sign any contracts or send in their paperwork.

6 Reasons David and I do not want to leave South Korea

As you can tell from the direction our blog has been taking, David and I are looking for new work.  This is very difficult for reasons I have already outlined in this post.  So we (mostly I) began looking for work in other countries.  As our search continues, I have become more and more depressed about the prospect of going to another country (with our main option being China because of the roaring English market there).  Almost all the jobs I find seem a bit sketchy at best and like a complete scam at worst.  David and I took a leap to come to South Korea, one we admittedly should have been more careful about, and we are not ready to make the same mistake twice in another country.  So, we have decided to FIGHT.  We are not going to be pushed around by some obscure boss that hardly even shows his face.  We are going to threaten, kick, punch, and scream our way to a letter of release.  Even if we have to wait for the investigations we have going to come to fruition, we will do it.  So on a more positive note than of late, I wanted to make a list of reasons David and I find staying in South Korea so highly appealing.

1) We can easily read the language.  Korean is one of the easiest, if not THE easiest, languages to learn how to read.  Unlike other Asian languages, Korean has an alphabet and not a character based writing system.  David learned how to read in about one day and I learned a little slower over the course of a few weeks.  We can now read any sign presented to us, maybe not well or quickly, but we can do it.  Going to another country and not being able to read anything, sounds like a nightmare when we are both so used to understanding what little we do in day-to-day life.

2) The perks here are almost unheard of in other countries.  When paid on time and in full, you can make a lot of money here.  From all the research I’ve been doing, I only found one job that we both qualified for that paid us more than we are supposed to be making here.  However, it was a two year contract.  On top of a cushy living wage we get free accommodation, air fare reimbursement, a huge end of contract bonus, and a fair amount of paid vacation, is part of the contract.  Like I said, IF you have a good job that adheres to these guidelines, it feels like a dream job.

3) The government has support systems for foreigners.  While I haven’t done a lot of research into other countries, I feel like Korea has a pretty good system for foreigners, even though it takes a long time.  The Labor Board and Immigration will do investigations and force employers to pay money and allow you to switch your visa.  This will only take place after the investigations however.

4) Even though this has been a bad experience, we really like Korea.  Korea has lots of great things going for it.  Cheap delicious food, really awesome and hospitable people, cheap travel options, and lots of beautiful scenery to name a few.

5) South Korea is a developed nation.  Contrary to what some people might believe from hearsay, gossip, or confusion between North and South Korea, South Korea is very much on par with the U.S. in many ways.  Yes, they have squat toilets.  Yes, many Koreans enjoy sleeping on the floor (on mats of course).  However, these things are all more cultural and choice related than anything else.  Western style toilets are in every place that I have visited.  And for every Korean that sleeps on the floor, just as many have mattresses.  The economy is booming, opportunity is everywhere.  South Korea is a great place to be nowadays.

6) The technology is far greater than most places (including the U.S.).  I can’t even describe to you how great it is to press a button on a webpage and it loads almost instantly.  If I were to travel to China, where the great firewall rules and fast internet is near non-existent (or so I hear), I would probably have a fit every time I had to use a computer.  Especially after being so spoiled in South Korea.  Even going back to U.S. speeds will probably be annoying at first.