Monday, 5 April 2010

A Visit From the Cheongsong Inspector

Today was a stressful day. It was one of those days that fully embodied the popular phrase ‘Dynamic Korea’.

When I arrived at Andeok School, I was immediately informed that I would have to have an English class with all of my Korean co-teachers. All five of them. Never mind that I already had 5 classes throughout the day with my normal students… I had to prepare a 3-hour lesson for my three middle school co-teachers and my two high school co-teachers…aaand the head of the Cheongsong Board of Education (the school board for our region) was going to be present for the class. This was the information I was told.

Everyone was so antsy preparing for the arrival of the Cheongsong “Inspector” – the title they dubbed him. I was just happy that I had managed to prepare my three-hour lesson, complete with videos, news articles, discussion questions, etc.


It was 4:00pm. It was time for the teachers to gather. As I waited at my desk in the teacher’s lounge, my co-teachers slowly collected into the room, one by one. The five of them were shaking hands, three of them never having met, quietly conversed to get familiar with each other. Then it was time for the class.

The “Inspector” and the head of the Cheongsong English Department had arrived and we all headed upstairs to the English Classroom. There was an eerie silence as my Andeok co-teachers poured some juice for the two guests of honour and for one long, grueling minute, it seemed like everyone in the room was eyeing each other.

The Cheongsong head finally stood up and gave an introduction – all in Korean, of course. Actually, all of the introductions from co-teacher to co-teacher were in Korean, except for mine.

I explained that my teacher’s classes mostly consisted of discussions, since my co-teachers were at the highest level of English. The Cheongsong head nodded and pleasantly smiled…and I was about to start my class. That’s when he and his partner stood up, thanked all of us for allowing them to observe my class.

My co-teachers ended up staying for 30 minutes after the departure of our main guests. We watched videos, and discussed one news article. 30 minutes. That’s all it took. Two and a half hours of lessons that I had planned suddenly ceased to exist. I was exhausted from the day, never taking a break, except to eat my lunch.

I wish Korea weren’t so dynamic. It’s going to finish me…

- Jess

1 comment:

  1. That's when you reach into your amazing "inner strength" that so defines you - and head held high - forge ahead. You're simply incredible!