…for a grand total of TEN DAYS. These poor kids. Not only do they only get less than two weeks summer vacation, they have to spend those days doing the enomous stacks of homework I spent all morning photocopying for them.

One of the higher-ups had the delightful idea that we should ring all the kindergarden students on Tuesday night to wish them a happy vacation. Never mind that we just spent all day with them, and that the last day of school was Wednesday, so a lot of conversations wrapped up like this: “Have a happy vacation – see you tomorrow!” Most of the time we didn’t even get through to the kids, though, since the list of phone numbers we were provided with were their emergency contact numbers. So we often called their parents’ mobiles in the middle of a business meeting. Not to mention the inefficient Korean phone system, which usually resulted in a failed call and an automated message. Of my 19 students, I only spoke to 5.

Oh! And we were doing all this at 7.00 pm.

I also had a parent complain recently about my weekly plans. Every week we write a lesson plan, and every week we have to photocopy it and send one home with each student. It usually consists of about two or three pages. The complaint was made to my Korean co-teacher, who then directed it to me:
“Ryan’s mother say weekly plan should be on one page.”
“What? It’s three pages.”
“Yes, she want on one page.”
(laughing) “I… I can’t do that. That’s physically impossible.”
(Co-teacher goes off and makes a phone call, returns half an hour later)
“She say if you can’t do one page, do photocopying… double sides.”
“What? No. She… why is she even complaining about this?”
“She not like.”
“Tough! I’ve got better things to do than dick around with the photocopier! Like, say, educate her son! Why the f… why is she even complaining about this? Why does it matter whether it’s on two pages or one?”
“She say is difficult.”
“Oh my God. If she thinks it’s difficult to use two bits of paper at once she needs to spend a day toiling in the fucking potato fields. Or, say, educating her son! Her rude, disruptive son!”

To be fair, my co-teacher found it as amusing as I did, and the other teachers agree that it’s the most pedantic parent request they’ve ever heard (runner up: “make sure you change my son’s shirt if he gets sweaty”). Nobody actually expects me to photocopy the weekly plan in accordance with parent’s demands, and I wouldn’t anyway. It just serves as a good example of how this school is completely and totally under the grip of the parents. Fucking private education, man.

So anyway, today was our last day of proper classes,and it was “activity day” for the kindergardners. I got assigned one of the lamer sports (arrow throwing, basically ring-toss). During the height of a solar eclipse, one of my kids wandered off into the eerily quiet hallways, the only noise the sound of the distant kids screaming and laughing in the gym. Following him into an empty classroom, I was shocked to see that the eclipse had triggered his metamorphosis into the Antichrist, and watched in dismay as he opened his eleven dark mouths to howl out a proclamation of the end of days.

At least that’s what should have happened, since fiction has conditioned me to expect that dramatic things should occur during eclipses. Instead it turned out he was just sulky because I’d accidentally overlooked him when handing out the second round of arrows.

So that’s it for classes for ten days. We still have to go in to work tomorrow for reasons that haven’t been clearly defined, but Tony and I are going into the city to apply for our alien cards. Our supervisor wasn’t too happy about that – she wanted us to go on Friday, our first proper vacation day – but we were firm. It’s not like we’re going into a government office to stand in line for hours for the fun of it. It’s a work-related venture. Which is also why they should fucking pay for it. They paid for Valerie’s. In fact, they did more than pay for it – they did it for her. She just had to give them her passport, and a week later she got her ARC card. Whereas I had to google the fucking process myself, find out what documents we have to take, figure out where the office is and, tomorrow, go there ourselves on the subway. We have been given absolutely NO help whatsoever, and it fucking irritates me. I’m in a foreign country, don’t speak the language, I have enough to be adjusting to as it is, and yet they expect me to chase up my own red tape. Which I need to do in order to TEACH AT THEIR SCHOOL.

Man, fuck this place.

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