By Jason Morrow
Communication is a key that unlocks nothing at Songwon Elementary School. Day by day miscommunication builds and builds until all the teachers vote to have Young-mi (the Korean teacher that communicates with us) talk to us.
Each day the teachers give us journals from the students to grade and yesterday the pile of journals nearly stacked over our heads. It covered our entire side of the table. I suppose our faces showed displeasure because this left us zero time to plan for anything.
Young-mi stopped me to talk in her classroom and said that the teachers were concerned that there were hurt feelings over it. I then explained that when you have to grade all of the student's journals it gets quite overbearing.
She also informed me that they think we are angry because we do not always have a smile on our faces.
"For example," she said, "In the morning when some teachers say good morning to you, you aren't smiling."
I really didn't know what to say.
I wanted to say that I see you every day, Why would I need to give you a big "Howdy-Doody!" Every morning? Back in the States, "good mornings" are much more enthusiastic on Monday's and less so on Wednesday's and Thursday's.
Since I didn't know what to say I simply shrugged and smiled.
She stressed that the teachers were there to help us, but even when we ask questions we don't get a straight answer or they give an answer to a completely different question. Talking to them turns into frustration for both sides.
They haven't stopped to consider that they often have conferences without us or even about us while we are sitting there grading journals. We feel invisible at school and that's alright. But the Korean women need to understand that because I'm not flashing my teeth during every moment of my day, I'm not angry.
As far as the job is concerned, it's great! It is not without its challenges, but we both really enjoy it. In all honesty, our teachers that do not understand us are the most frustrating part of the job. But we both know we aren't here for them. We are here to teach children our language and do our best at it. We don't always succeed but when we do and the students are really enjoying the class and learning, it's the best feeling in the world.
If a student ever asks me why I don't like my job then I know there is something to worry about because I do like it. I like it a lot. The sensitivity of Korean women can be too much at times and this week it has been way too much. I'm not saying that they speak for all Korean women but they sure aren't always leaving the best impression.
Today was frustrating. But TGIF, right?…
Emily here: This is what I told Jason to say but he thought it might be a bit rude: Click Here