Foreigner Smash!

The good news is that, at the end of week three, my classes are going well.  The students are well behaved and interested in English (that will drop off by week five, but still) and some of them seem really motivated.

The bad news is really just the same old story here in South Korea — administrative chaos.  I never considered myself an organized person before moving here — far from it.  But I’m still blown away by just how poorly South Korean schools do scheduling.  They literally cannot just make a 2014 calendar and stick to it.

Of course, they make the calendar but within days it becomes a red-ink battlefield of crosses and slashes and moves and changes.

If a three-day national holiday falls on a Saturday, do we have Wednesday off or no?  Maybe!  We’ll tell you the week beforehand when plane tickets are outrageously expensive!

If a department is having their “Membership Training” (an excuse to drink, professors included) on a Wednesday and Thursday, are they expected to show up for class on the following Friday?  We’ll tell you the morning of!

If the annual spring sports festival is on a Thursday, are classes cancelled on Wednesday for group-cheer practice like they were last year, at the last second?  Not necessarily!

It’s easily the worst part of working here.  Schedules are not goddamn suggestions, they are schedules.  You make one and stick to it barring the Rapture.

My highly unscientific opinion is that, in a culture that relies heavily on top-down hierarchical structures, it’s basically just another form of discipline.  How dare you plebes actually make plans and have a life outside of work?

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