June 10, Whistleblower

Apparently it is against policy for me to teach alone. I’m supposed to be teaching with the homeroom teacher (lol) and at the very least, the homeroom, teacher should be there most of the time.

I chatted with Helen for an hour about the students and other things. She told me these fifth graders are notorious, and had problems with authority dating all the way back to the third grade.

Big yikes.

Apparently all the trouble kids were in one class and that year, the homeroom teacher changed four times. Eventually the vice principal and the head teacher had to monitor class every day until the following school year when the students could be dispersed.

I had mentioned how tough 5-6 has been and Helen asked if the homeroom teacher is in the classroom. This felt like a loaded question and I didn’t want to snitch, but I also am starting to dread fifth grade as a whole because the crazy behavior is spreading.

“Uh…. No.” Helen’s face was touched by righteous anger.

“They’re supposed to be there. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

I mean, nearly all of the homeroom teachers bounce when I come in and I feel it a certain point of pride that I can keep a class somewhat intact with a language barrier and all that. I didn’t mention that.

“Are there any other fifth grade teachers who aren’t there?” She pressed. I felt like I was being kindly waterboarded.

I mean… most of them? I mentioned 5-5 but told her it was my fault as I had given him permission months ago to leave the class.

“I’ll just remind the fifth grade head teacher to tell the others they should be there.”

Well, now I feel like a snitch, but at the very least, maybe I won’t have aggressive heartbeats during my thirty-five minutes a week with fifth grade. I may have thrown some people under the bus, even if it was righteously, but at least I got to hear from Helen that one teacher had said I was good at teaching. Yay! And sorry to for the hammer coming down on y’all. But as another teacher friend said, it’s on them to be there and complete their duties.

Helen also responded that she can’t teach English next year as its school policy that subject teachers must rotate out after two years.

Korean public schools have an elaborate point, merit, and salary system. Subject teachers earn more points but a lower salary which gives them a chance to be top of the list if they want to move to another school.

Sixth grade teachers earn half of a subject teacher’s points because sixth grade is notoriously undesirable (puberty, I’m guessing) while other homeroom teachers have no points but a higher salary. No teachers can spend more than five years at one school, and Changwon teachers cannot spend more than ten years total in the city as Changwon is extremely desirable for families’ dedication to education.

Not so much for our little city, as you’ve read. Sometimes I day dream what it would be like to have high level students with invested families and interest in education.

Helen also revealed to me that I will be required to teach an open class next semester.

“We will teach together since technically you’re supposed to teach with someone.” I can’t do the open class with a homeroom teacher. She agreed that the process was a little awkward but asked what class I’d choose.

That’s easy, 6-2! She was surprised to learn that I think they’re funny, and I was surprised that she enjoys 6-6 the most.

The vice principal and a teacher from another school will come to observe so, uh, no worries about that at all…

But that’s a worry for next semester!

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