18 August 2009


I have a hunch. My workplace in Korea will perpetually test my patience. The basis for my hypothesis?

Reason One: I STILL don't know when my employer actually wants me in the country. First I heard they wanted me August 25. That's next week. School starts Tuesday, September 1 (two weeks from now) but they have not given me an arrival date. Someone at a partner agency called today to say I can come August 27. Next Thursday. Talk about short notice!

Reason Two: It took my employer TWO WEEKS to give me a Visa Issuance Number. It takes four days to obtain a visa, and that's only if the Korean Consulate isn't slammed. If they really want me there NEXT WEEK, which isn't confirmed, this is all going to have to happen quickly...

Reason Three: What about plane tickets? I mean, they're paying for it, but getting an international ticket on this short of notice means big bucks for them... why not just think ahead, and save several hundred dollars?

Reason Four: What grades am I teaching? How many classes am I teaching? Who knows! Not me! All I've been told is I'm working at Seongnam Elementary School, and working hours are 8:30-4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Unfortunately, the list just goes on...

But I also have another hunch. My workplace in Korea will provide one of the more fulfilling, challenging, and transformative experiences I've had. The basis for my hypothesis?

Reason One: I'm teaching at an elementary school. Though I don't know whether I'll have four or five classes a day, and I don't know what grade(s) I'll be teaching, we all know that Korean children are among the ranks of the most adorable on the planet.

Reason Two: Though I've heard mixed reviews about Korean students, the vast majority say they are obedient and eager to learn. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Reason Three: I have a co-teacher. Now, I don't have to be stressted about knowing enough Korean to communicate with my students when they don't understand my English. Her name is Ms. Kim and we'll be teaching together all year. We've exchanged a few emails, and she's hilarous. Well, her attempts at replying to my emails in English are hilarous anyway. I have no doubt that we'll have a good time together.

Reason Four: I've been taking an online Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) class. At the end of the course, I receive a TEFL Certificate. Not only do I get paid more by the school, but I'll have WAY more confidence in the classroom.

Needless to say, I have much anticipation about what is coming. I will be living in a studio-style apartment in Bundang, just two subway stops south of the school, which is in Seongnam City. Both are located within the larger metropolis that is Seoul, but are far enough away from the hub of the city that I won't feel completely overwhelmed by the sights, smells, and amount of people.

As for now, my room is strewn with boxes and suitcases, most of my friends are in Seattle or elsewhere, and both my siblings are back to school. I've got a few more last-minute-wrap-up errands and a little more packing to finish, but by and large I'm ready to go.

Next Thursday, here I come. Gotta love it...