Second week of teaching. Doesn’t get any easier. If anything I’m irritated by the kids even more. I have one kindy class full of absolute little shitheads. The girls are sweet as sugar, trying their hardest and hanging off my words, but the boys are all in an equal stakes running to become the Antichrist. I’ve become crabby and grouchy and am actively snapping at them, and sometimes swearing. DO YOUR WORK and DON’T CLIMB UP THE WALL and SIT DOWN and GET OUT FROM UNDER THE TABLE and NOW YOU’VE SPILT YOUR FUCKING MILK EVERYWHERE LOOK AT THIS MESS. I assumed I was good with kids, but there is a Grand Canyon of difference between playing with my little sister, and trying to maintain order in a classroom full of 10 kids who don’t speak the same language as me and spend 12 hours a day studying so they’re fidgety as fuck.

That’s the thing about Korea – the kids get pushed hard by their parents. I understand the reasoning behind it. Korea has very few natural resources, so it needs a well-educated workforce to succeed. That’s how Japan, Taiwan and to a lesser extent Singapore clawed their way up the HDI rankings. But seeing this concept put into practice is just awful. I feel so sorry for these kids. When I was in kindergarden I was playing with blocks and drawing pictures. These guys are sitting down, filling out workbooks and doing maths and learning Chinese. They’re six.

The other problem is that the emphasis on booklearning leaves no room to teach them life skills. A lot of them are rude and inconsiderate bullies because they don’t know any better. (And that’s another teacher’s observation, not mine.)

I’m not sure what the obsession with learning English is. Korea has very strong links with America, but I’d imagine that financially they’re tied more to China and Japan.

I had my medical yesterday, along with the new American teacher who arrived a week after me. The school made us pay for it ourselves. Tony was a lot more argumentative about that than me – I tend to be a doormat with regards to my employers – but they still refused to pay it. It cost eighty bucks. And talk about intensive: blood tests, urine tests, eyesight, hearing, cardiology, radiograms, the works. I get why they want to check fo STDs and drugs, but hearing and eyesight? Seriously?

They still haven’t paid my airfare back either. I thought they were just waiting for my bank account to be set up, but they paid me a $200 advance on my next paycheck (since I’m broke), in cash. Every time I bring it up with Sarah she’s suddenly not so fluent in English. I don’t think they’re trying to gyp me, I think she just has no fucking clue what she’s doing, having moved into her job only a few weeks ago. I suspect that’s a contributing factor to the utterly hopeless disorganisation of this place.

Chris said that when I return to Australia he might be able to get me some work up at Mornington – I even sent my resume to his boss. But that’s not looking too likely now, which really bums me out. I don’t want to return to Perth and Coles and the same old problems I was facing there. But I don’t want to stay here either.

Maybe I’ll face the same problems wherever I go.

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