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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Korean Way

There is no telling how many blogs entries I could write about "The Korean Way." I've got work on my mind today though. I can't claim that I have ever worked in an office full time back in the states, but I have done some part time work. Most of that work consisted of planning ahead for future events and being given deadlines for projects, whether they were big or small. These things simply do not happen in the office here. About a month ago I was told that I would be giving a presentation on the new curriculum for our company's academies. They gave me two weeks to get ready, which was actually quite amazing. Consider what I have been told in the past 48 hours(the beginning of a new term) at our office1. There are no questions for the novels for three of the nine levels at our campus2. Potential investors are coming to watch you teach a different teacher's class on Wednesday.3. A few hours later I was told that I would instead be teaching a different class, still not my own, and another teacher would also be observed.4. Just 4 hours ago I was told that someone from one of our big investors was coming to take some pictures.5. What actually happened was a small film crew(foreigners) showed up and wanted to film some classes. 6. Talking with them, they told me that they had just been contacted 3 hours ago by our investor when they heard that this crew was in Korea currently and asked them to swing by.7. We should dress up tomorrow for the investors.Everything is just so last minute. Luckily I perfected the art of scrambling during my college days. I was good at procrastinating and even better at working on the fly. But I also love having things organized, and my Korean co-workers are often impressed by the little things that I do. I actually came in on Saturday to get some work done. One of the things I wanted to accomplish that day was make an assignment sheet so every teacher knows what sections of their books they need to cover in class. Since we share some of the books with the Korean teachers, it can get confusing because one foreign might teach the same level 4 times, but have 4 different Korean teachers that he or she co-teachers with. So all I did was make a spreadsheet that had the titles of the sections of the books, and underneath them they were marked F for Foreign, K for Korean, and B for Both. They were amazed! It was as if they had never even thought about organizing this before, and they probably hadn't. It must just be a cultural difference that the norm is for them to fly by the seat of their pants for everything. They roll with the punches, sometimes complaining, but generally not. For us foreigners, it is a little more difficult, but everyone slowly learns to deal with it.


Oh Brother! said...

It's good to know that procrastination pays off sometimes...

Michael said...

Hey guys, I think I may be coming to teach at the same school very soon (a google search of the school's address brought up your blog, so...)
Can one or both of you write me at mycombs (at) I'd love to ask a few questions about the school, etc. Thanks, and keep up the blogging!