Struggling on through a Plethora of Issues…

The sun has finally come out in Korea. We’ve gone from -10 a month ago to an average of maybe 15 now. I’m noting that at the start because I want to start with something positive. Here we go with the situation right now… lets hope it resolves itself.

Wow, what ridiculously hard work! I enjoy my job, but the working hours involved at Gangnam right now are more than a little insane. I’ve just had my third consecutive week working more than 50 hours teaching time (I ahve to prepare on top of that). I’m totally exhausted, and did very nearly nothing apart from sleep and watch DVDs this weekend. And work on Saturday of course… As I predicted (here: the new visa regulations are causing no end of problems. The Korean government’s short sightedness on the (already understaffed) English schools in this country is taking its toll. The worrying thing is there is no apparent light at the end of the tunnel: recruitment is down, staff retention is getting worse by the month (why would anyone want to stay in this environment?!) and the number of lessons is ever increasing. In other words we have ever more lessons to be taught by an ever decreasing number of teachers. This, well, pretty much sucks. At least I’m paid per lesson, which is about the only benefit of all this.

The problem is particularly bad at our centre… we have a current staff of seven – which is already a spectacular level of understaffing. We have another person starting at the start of next month and another one, hopefully, starting the month after. This would all be very well if it weren’t for the fact that every current member of staff via myself and one other plan to leave by the end of June… not exactly looking rosy. Despite our new teacher next month we will in fact be a teacher down overall. I dread to think what will happen when I ask for some holiday!

I’m lucky in all this… I’m surviving the nightmare hours and energy sapping schedule largely because of Helena, who has an uncanny ability to drag me back to the land of the living after a bad day. If it wasn’t for that I’m not sure if I’d even be getting by.

On the plus side (I’m determined there’s going to be one) Loko demolished one of our big rivals for the league 2 championship this year, 8-0, in my absence at the weekend. I don’t know what that says about me, but it puts us in a really strong position with seven points from three games. I’ve booked a DMZ tour for next Sunday, so I’ll finally see Korea’s most well known tourist attraction, and in my next lesson I’ll largely be talking about the Melbourne Grand Prix as my student has just returned from it. Life has to have some plus sides! Let’s hope it doesn’t stay like this! Wow, that was a depressing one. Love to you all (unless you work for the Korean government’s department for English teaching visas… In which case I’m all out of love, sorry…)

J x

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