Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Waste of Eyeliner

When I woke up this morning, I felt fresh and rejuvenated. I was ready to take on the day. It was going to be my first day back at work after Spring Vacation. It felt like a good hair and make-up day.

Classes only commence on Tuesday, March 2, but various teachers have to come to school for some paperwork (which I don't do) Each grade's teachers come on a particular day.

I was also going to meet my co-teacher who's been on sabbatical for the past few months. I arrived at school on time, went to the English classroom and waited for the other teachers - who are all meant to be at work by 08:40.

By 09:00, no one was there. At 09:10, I called my friend in the admin office asking which teachers are coming in today. She told me 5th grade. I belong to 6th grade staff.

At 09:20, I begin to think it's a mistake that I came to work. I called my co-teacher to ask if she's coming in. She said she wasn't.  So why was I there?

The principal wanted me to come in, so it's been marked as my working day. But - no one else was there and there was no work to be done. How can I prepare lessons for students and classes that are only starting next week? And besides, this is my third year teaching - I have all that already!

So I went to the second floor teachers room where the vice principal sits. He told me to sit at the computer under the heater. I scanned some documents for the secretary in about 5 minutes flat, and then had to occupy myself after that. I'm never bored. I always have something to do, but why I had to be there, when no one else was and when there's no work is just beyond me.

The vice principal started walking around, then came to me and pointed at my bling ring on my middle finger and said in Korean that I need to get a ring 'here' [pointing to the ring finger]. Sigh... This irritated me since the bindi incident.

Lunch time came and went. Usually, if teachers come to school when the students aren't there (and the kitchen's closed), we order in. Well, today the principal and vice went out to have their lunch. I went downstairs to the admin office and they were surprised I hadn't had lunch so they gave me some snacks.  They also couldn't understand why I was there and it felt like I was a display piece for the day.

One of the ladies said I should go to the janitor's room and watch the Ladies' Figure Skating (Olympics). So I did. I sat there for about 2 hours...half watching. Listening to music. Writing on my iPod. If I knew this was going to be the case, I'd have taken my book or my netbook to school.

I went back to the admin office. One hour left till home time. They told me to just go home. They wouldn't tell anyone. So I did.

I have a sneaky suspicion that my principal is punishing me for something. As much as she tells me how beautiful my eyes are or how well I put my eye make up on, or as much as she tells me she likes my jewelry, I know she doesn't like me. She's got a reputation for sweet-talking people with sugar-coated words, and then upsetting people afterwards.

At her previous school, she had three foreign teachers. I know she categorizes me as "just another foreign teacher". She's not known me as long as others at the school do to know my personality and style of working.

This all comes with living and working in a foreign country. No one will understand how hard it can be. No one stands up to authority here. When you've been raised to challenge authority, this is very difficult. You just have to suck it up. This is one of the reasons people are so stressed at work. They have no say. At all.

The day's over...and I'm putting it down as just another lesson to be learned about living and working in a foreign country with a different culture.

...and that was my rant for the day.



Unknown said...

Aaaaah, i know as you said before "you dont get bored" :) But this kind of day just make u irritated or frustrated, thinking if you were at home you could have been doing something creative etc.. Anyway if we think positive then its a mock exercise for go back to school.. Be positive...

Sheetal said...

I like that - mock exercise! :) Yes, after a few minutes, I recovered and was back to my positive self!