The Archetypal Bad Korean Co-Teacher.

That dickwad male faux-teacher just crossed the line.

His students came in and several of them were being pure assholes. To HIM. Not to me. They didn't have their books, and he was trying to head me off about addressing. Fuck knows why. I told them to stand up at the back of the room. He translated and went to physically move them. They shouted him down in low speech and literally physically pushed him away. I snapped and shouted that they needed to stand up and move to the back now. They did so without any further protest.

Class went on. Assholes #1 and #2 stood there as they should have with their arms up, still and quiet. I let them sit down. Asshole #3 moved his arms up and down, leaned against a desk, and sighed just about as loud as he could. He was left standing. That pissed him off. He started muttering under his breath. I told him to go outside. He said...........

"Thank you!"

Wrong day. Wrong time. Wrong teacher.

My whole face changed and the class went stone silent. ".... Thank you? Did you just say thank you? You. Go outside now. When school is over, you come to my office." I asked the co-teacher to translate this for me. The student asked him why he had to come to my office. My co-teacher responded that he didn't know.

Now the class is under control. They've seen that I'm not fucking around and super fun yank-the-teacher-around-by-the-balls time is over. We finish class, and the student (who the teacher has at some point moved back in from outside where I put him) goes to walk out the door. I shout him down. "Hey. You. My office. Don't forget."

The co-teacher comes running over, dragging the student in tow. "Um. I think maybe this time you just forgive him."

".... What?"

"Just forgive him. I want you to forgive him."

"He needs to come to my office. What he did was really disrespectful."

Please keep in mind the student is standing right there watching this entire exchange.

"Yes but he has many problems in many classes so I think you forgive him."

"Look. I'm not going to punish him, or scream at him, but he needs to come to my office so I can speak with him, because he was extremely disrespectful today."

"But he has a little time."


"He has only ten minutes between classes."

"He has 35 minutes between six and seven class, and all of the time in the world after school."

This man then proceeds to explain to me how he has two children so he can understand children's minds, and it isn't right to punish them harshly. Because I can't understand them, and they are Korean....

I proceed to explain to him that I have been teaching these students for two years, and I understand their minds perfectly well, which is why that student needs to come to my office. Because when my students have a problem with behavior in class, I don't just forget about -- I give them a chance to explain what they are thinking and feeling and where the behavior is coming from.

He's like every bad stereotype about a Korean co-teacher ever wrapped up into one person. And he's not even a fucking teacher. When I got back to the office, my face was like a goddamn bulliten board, and Co immediately asked what happened. I explained it to her, and she was furious. The first thing out of her mouth was, "He thinks you are an idiot?! He has never even taught before! You have more experience than he does!" God bless her. She said I was absolutely right to stand up to him about the student needing to come to the office. It would be one thing if he had the classes under control, but they are ice skating right over him. I'm not about to be next.

Unbelievable. Something tells me this is far from over, but it's nice to know I have the other teachers' support in the case that anything does go down. Right now, I'm trying to walk a tightrope of not being disrespectful to him, as an older male, and not being disrespected by my students because of him. I'll do the first before I accept the latter. Like Co said, "You have to teach them as third graders next year -- you must keep their discipline. He.... he will probably be gone by next month!"


Burndog said...

I had a similar sort of issue today. I had a student hit me while I dragged him...in his chair to the back of the room. His homeroom teacher was in the class...and not only didn't address the situation...but apparently (as she mentioned later after I had arranged a meeting with her, the boy, and the boy's parents) hadn't even NOTICED it!! Fucking hell!

Gloria said...

I had a similar experience when I was teaching in public schools in Korea (I'm still in Korea, but not teaching kids any more). I rarely had any problems (after the first few classes of setting expectations); however, when I had brand spanking new teachers, suddenly the classes started getting worse... More than that, I kept hearing about how terrible the students were when I wasn't there. Then, when I wouldn't let one student get a free pass for being rude, my co-teacher (one of the new ones) suggested that I just let it go. I didn't. She had never given me trouble before that and she didn't give me any more trouble after that. In fact, as much as she complained at that time, she was right back to being as pleasant as a peach with me right after the ordeal was through. She continued to give him trouble though... and it was his own fault, from my observation... letting her talk to him with ban-mal (not the respectful language) and letting her whine and roll her eyes out of class responsibilities.

Anyway, keep on being the reasonably strict teacher. They'll continue to respect you and learn better from you that way. Some students might like the more lenient teacher, but almost all the students know which teacher is the one that cares about their learning and has the ability to teach them.

undercover said...

I can't believe that happened to you -- that's really outrageous. Thank goodness other teachers are backing you up amidst all the craptastic ridiculousness.

Aside from being rude and undermining your authority, that faux-teacher is really doing a disservice to the students as well. I really believe that despite the bad attitudes and occasional rebellions, most students really want to learn. And in order to do that, they need someone to be strict and call them out on their bad behavior -- because kids are total jerks who would just sit around punching each other all day if they could. It's the teacher's responsibility to help them achieve their potential, not make flimsy excuses for them. Good on you for being the responsible adult here, unlike the dickwad male faux-teacher.

I'm no Picasso said...

Burn -- I don't know. I've had co-teachers who don't do shit and whose classes behave horribly before, but I have *never* had one interfere with my handling of the situation. This is the third time he's tried to tell me what to do. As I've said before, if he was a main co, I'd be more inclined to be more obedient, but I have a really hard time taking this off of an instructor who's here to make a bit of cash and then fuck off again when the hagwon market opens back up.

Gloria -- It basically felt like I was being dragged down with him. If the students had sat there and watched this student talk the Korean teacher into forcing me not to do anything about his behavior, that would have been it for me.

Like you said, I don't think he realizes how quickly the students will drop grudges. Especially when they know they were wrong. But they *will* continue to get away with whatever they think they can.

Undercover -- Exactly. You can understand your own children as much as you want, but when you have forty boys in a room at one time, you don't have the luxury of letting them take over and disrupt everything. You have to prioritize. If I "understand" him, and he disrupts my entire lesson, that's 39 other students who have suffered. Which is the greater evil?

And I don't have any idea what I would do if my main co's weren't as supportive as they are. It's going to be a crying shame when a bunch of them change schools after winter vacation, and I get a brand new handler.

The Korean said...

Wow, I can't believe that. Put one of my parents in that classroom (both former HS teachers) and the child would have been slapped silly.

I'm no Picasso said...

TK -- Well it's good to see that it's not just me, being childless, who cannot understand the students then!

As my mom has said on this very blog before, part of "understanding" your children is understanding when they need a good kick in the ass. Maybe we're just from a different school of thought, following our parents' examples, but I think I came out alright anyway.