Monday, September 23, 2013

'til Tuesday

I had thought I would be able to hit the Daegu Immigration Office Monday afternoon, to pick up my alien registration card (ARC), but that'll have to wait until Tuesday: on Mondays I teach from 11AM to about 2:45PM, and on this particular Monday I'll also be sitting in on a colleague's 3PM class to observe and to steal techniques. Chalk it up to that golden calf known as professional development.

I've always been a big fan of peer observations, but it's obvious, in this school at least, that not everyone shares my opinion: the colleague I'm observing is one of only three who responded to my shotgunned email sent to all twenty-five or so foreign faculty in our department. In my email, I had asked all professors for permission to sit in on their classes to watch and learn—not to critique. I made that very clear, in an effort to minimize nervousness. I admit it was a bit disappointing to receive only three affirmative responses out of twenty-five or so folks; I can only imagine some profs' private reasons for not wanting to be observed.

I remember one colleague, who shall remain nameless, from my previous gig at Sookmyung Women's University. She said "no" when I asked whether I could observe her class, but in her case, I already knew why she didn't want me there: her comedy routine, during her lessons, involved trashing her fellow teachers. That was how she kept her kids' attention. It must've worked, too. Some of her students told me this was happening—with smiles on their faces since, from their point of view, my colleague's trash-talk was all in good fun. Obviously, and unfortunately, my fellow teacher felt the need to vent her insecurities in a sad effort to make herself feel somehow superior to her coworkers. On the surface at least, this colleague and I got along fine; she did, however, have trouble with a male colleague of mine (who shall also remain nameless). They tended to squabble in the office.

I'm sure that trash-talk isn't the reason the other profs in my department haven't responded. I've actually formed a very good impression of both the CUD veterans and my fellow incoming faculty: no weirdos, no "hagwon freaks," no visibly unstable folks among them. Everyone strikes me as professional, caring, talented, and quite personable, which is a damn miracle given the sheer size of our staff. I hear, however, that CUD is planning to hire another ten or fifteen expats. Christ. I have no idea where all the newcomers are going to be housed, but I imagine that someone, somewhere, has already planned things out.

In any event, my Monday peer observation will run until almost 5PM, which will leave me no time to hit Immigration that day. So: Tuesday it is. I have only one class on Tuesdays, and it finishes at 11AM. I can be at the Immigration office before noon... although I suspect the office will close for lunch and not open again until 1PM or 1:30PM. My other Tuesday activities include my run to Samsung Hospital for my checkup (mainly, this is about getting tested for drugs and AIDS), after which I'll finally hit an SK Telecom office and get my old cell phone—the one Tom got me this past April—resurrected. I'll use that phone until I have the funds to buy a real smart phone for myself.

Tuesday's a big day.


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