So. In the interest of balance (of my own mind, of course), things that are good about my new co-teacher:

  • When she's honest about the fact that she's checking English expressions and not trying to disguise it as never-ending, monotonous conversation, we can have really awesome conversations about language and I get to explain things on a level that I don't hit on very often in my current job. I like that. I like teaching English. There's no need to try to slip it in on me.
  • When another subject teacher decided she wanted to bring her five year old daughter to the teachers' English class, even though I didn't have the balls to say I thought it was a stupid fucking idea, because it's an adults' English class, and that just simply is not going to work (although I've done it successfully before with a ten year old -- a ten year old is a lot different from a five year old), she told me she thought it was fucking stupid and that she was going to tell the teacher she needed to ask the other teachers in the class for their permission first.
  • She's giving me the right to write questions on the students' exams based on my class material so that the students feel more keen to pay attention in my class. She's also making them complete any assignments we don't finish in class as homework, keep all of my worksheets in a file, and counting them toward their grade. No co-teacher has ever gone to such efforts to validate my class time with the students before.
  • After being completely, soul-shatteringly offensive upon finding out that my S.O. is Korean, and then trying to make up for it in the completely bizarre manner of randomly blurting out that she hoped I would marry a Korean and stay in Korea forever, she came back a few days later and just asked a series of friendly questions about who he is, what he does, and all that normal kind of blather. It was obviously an effort caused by reflection and feeling the need to make amends. Which I sincerely appreciated.
Being ignorant is one thing. Being ignorant and refusing to try to learn is another, entirely. We all start out at certain points of understanding, and make progress from there. I can accept that. I've had my own learning curve, and made my own mistakes. I still do, I'm sure, on a daily basis. There's also a difference between ignorance and hate. This is definitely a case of the former, which I can ultimately live with.

I know she's confused by what seems to be a really hot-and-cold personality out of me at the moment. I always do my best to stay professional, even when I really want to just slam my computer monitor onto the office floor, climb over the cubicle and strangle her. But like any other human being, I have my good and not-so-good moments at this.

The point is, we weren't put on this earth to be in ideal situations at all times. Part of correcting your own ignorance and facing your own faults is learning how to confront those things in others. If you don't take these situations and learn from them, then you're not just wasting opportunities, but you're also making yourself more miserable than you need to be. And life is fucking short. So I'm giving it my all. Truly.

No doubt I will continue to make posts out of frustration, and put those real gems she comes out with here for everyone to laugh at and commiserate over. Because that is a part of our experience, and one that is made a lot easier by realizing that we're not alone. Specifically, that I'm not alone. But it's important not to internalize it too much, or make it bigger than it is. So. There you have it.


Derek, Rachel and Cadence said...

I love reading about your experiences with your co-workers. My husband and I had some interesting ones when we were English teachers in Sokcho a couple years back. Your stories bring out a lot of "good" memories! :)

Burndog said...

Top post IMP! I am dealing with a lot of the same sort of shit with my MiMi teacher...but yeah...there's are ways that she's alright. I'm hoping that once we get through the teething troubles...we'll both be gravy. But it's gonna be an interesting few months before we get there.