These past few weeks have been a bit rough.

My college is doing a big push to become more international or “global” as my boss likes to say.  Part of this means that the English program is expanding, albeit slowly.  That makes me happy.  But in addition we’ve been sending more students abroad to study for a year in America, Canada, or Australia.  This also makes me happy, because I feel like I’m making a contribution to my students’ lives that goes beyond checking their grammar and vocabulary.

So when the professor in charge of the program asked me if I could “consult” with a few dozen students to help them with their resumes and cover letters (required for their applications) I said no problem.

It turns out “consult” meant, in most cases, “write.”

For starters, Korean resumes are very different from American ones.  In fact, I’d say American style resumes are much easier to put together than Korean ones, which require tons of personal and family information.  (Marital status?  Really?)  Compound that with the fact that many of their English skills are intermediate or even lower it just means it takes a lot of time to make everything look right.

I ended up telling the professor that next time she should just let me give a little seminar on writing a resume and cover letter rather than what happened this time — an endless back-and-forth between her sending the students to me, me telling the students their documents were a complete mess, and the students going back to her feeling deflated and then promptly getting chewed out by her.  For what, exactly, I’m not sure.  How can you blame the students when they haven’t been given proper guidelines?

I’m happy to do the work but next time, just let me do it my own way.  Lord knows I’ve written plenty of these things before.

But it’s the hierarchy thing at work — she’s an actual, tenured prof., and I’m basically an adjunct.  It’s her rodeo and she gets to run it how she wants, even if it would clearly be more efficient all around to let me show the students on day one how to write a proper American style resume and cover letter.  This time around, they brought me their Korean style ones and we did this weird dance involving bad translation and pretty wide cultural gaps.  No bueno.

Anyhow, they had interviews last week and it sounds like most of them have been accepted to a one-year work/study program in America.

Now I get to spend hours upon hours prepping them for visa interviews at the US embassy.

Again, I don’t mind.  But for Allah’s sake let me have some input into how we go about this in an efficient way that maximizes the usefulness of my time and theirs.  Don’t just endlessly throw the students at my office at random-ass hours without a proper plan of attack.

Working hard does not equal working smart.  Quite the opposite, actually.

This entry was posted in Education, Korea, Kultur, Teaching, WhinyForeigner. Bookmark the permalink.

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