A few things.

A few things before I probably crash out for a nap before heading out tonight (which -- how pathetic is this?-- I'm still talking myself into because, actually it's really fucking cold and icy and I kinda wanna just stay in and cook dinner and watch a movie):

1. My school forgot to feed me today. Now, granted I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself if that's what is expected of me, but the norm during vacation is that we all order in together as an office. By the time 2 o'clock rolled around and I realized that phone call asking what I wanted wasn't coming, I was too ticked off to try to do anything about it.

I actually like teaching camps, which makes me basically an anomaly among the NESTs from what I hear, but it can be a rough time of year. On the one hand, it makes you really appreciate your handler (if you have a good one). On the other, it makes you feel completely forgettable sometimes. Now, I don't need a co-teacher in class -- if you can't handle ten to fifteen students on your own, you probably shouldn't ever be in a classroom with 40 to begin with. But it's all the things outside of class that can go wrong. Like for example, last winter vacation when I came in in the middle of the student camp week to find the EOZ completely demolished and full of smoking ajeosshi. Apparently, it didn't occur to anyone to prepare another classroom for me to finish my camp in, and I ended up squatting in a cold ass office with my poor students with no computer and no board to write on, which nixed pretty much all of my lesson plans and left me using every last ounce of my creativity to find ways to teach effectively.

Ugh. It's a frustrating time of year. I saw two unfamiliar men sniffing around the EOZ today and it better not mean anymore surprise construction, or there will be words.

2. I'm really excited to get camps going. I've got three this vacation -- one with the students (I got the class attendance sheet today and several of my favorites are on there, along with a bunch of new boys I don't know by name yet, and absolutely not a single known little asshole), one with teachers at another school (which I love, because it gives me a chance to meet new teachers, and also there's something invigorating about standing in front of teachers' classes and finding a way to get them out of their shells and conversing) and one combined camp with parents and teachers from my own school (which I'm kind of nervous about, just because the teachers are upset about being mixed in with the parents, and it also sounds like kind of a ton of people are coming).

3. That guy texted to confirm our date for Saturday today, and I still haven't answered him, because I really, really don't want to go. Which is stupid, because he's not offensive in any way. He hasn't done anything wrong and he's decent looking. But. Well. I'd kind of prefer someone less good looking and slightly more interesting. I don't really understand what the point of this is. What do you think -- should I go and give it a shot, or bail?

4. Brian in Jeollnam-do posted this about the government potentially creating a black list of "incompetent" NESTs. I left this as a comment:

Forgive me for not really understanding what all the brouhaha is about. Why is there any need for a black list? If foreign public school teachers are already receiving evaluations (and we are), then those evaluations contain any negative feedback the schools have toward the NESTs already. If a school had half a mind to be responsible in their hiring practices, they would find their way to these evaluations anyway.

So the schools plan on asking immigration not to reissue E-2 visas to incompetent native English teachers. But native English teachers CAN'T GET an E-2 visa unless the schools offer them a job in the first place. So the schools are asking immigration not to issue visas to the teachers that they deem worthy of giving a job and inviting into their schools?

Does anyone else see the circle of inane tongue wagging going on here?

Certain people in the media sure do like to paint us like an uncontrollable invasion that can't be stopped despite everyone's best efforts, but the truth is, we're sorta like vampires -- we can't come in unless you invite us. At the end of the day, who's responsible?

I have a lot more to say about this, but most of it is probably best stated over a beer with other NESTs and not here in this blog. The long and the short of it is, though, why are the public schools turning to immigration to do their job? They are responsible to monitor the competence of the individuals they hire -- there's no reason to induce a nation-wide ban on bad teachers. That's just ridiculous. And I hope immigration laughs in their faces. Can you imagine Joe-schmoe Business Owner back home approaching US Immigration about how Jose Gonzalez was caught napping on the job, and therefore shouldn't be allowed back into the country, because otherwise he might make the mistake of hiring him again? Ridiculous. Absurdity at its finest. Frankly, all this does is make me question the competence of the institutions in place that are responsible for hiring native speaking English teachers. Apparently, they can't do their jobs either. Embarrassing.

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