And the Lemons You Rode in On

On Thursday I spent the whole day making kickass power points and writing lesson plans for the next week. I was done and was really looking forward to the next week. I had some fun stuff to do – April Fool’s day stuff with 3rd grade, “favorites” with 1st grade. Second grade…. eh – whatever. Second grade is crap and the book is crap and the best you can do is just get through the class. Seriously, there is a saying here that North Korea would never successfully invade because South Korea has 2nd grade middle school students. No one likes 2nd graders. The teachers don’t, I don’t, Chris doesn’t, Chris’s co-teachers don’t; they don’t even like themselves. But, next week I only would’ve taught all-girls second grade. That’s really nice. And since I only teach the 2nd grade girls every other week, that means I’ve only seen them one time (the first week of school all their classes were cancelled).

So even with horrible second graders, the next week was looking awesome.

Until we get some damn emails from our office of education saying we are going to miss 3/5 days next week. Seriously?

It’s an “in-service training” we will have to commute 2+ hours (we live no where near real-Daejeon) by bus every morning and every night to go get lectured. We just did this at the orientation for 40 hours. We did it online for 10+ hours. EPIK is having us do it online again for 15 hours and now we have to do even more, in person for 18 hours. Worse is this time, we are missing our students and it’s burdening the school. My co-teachers are hiding their disappointment – they have to teach all my classes for me alone. And on top of it all, it’s classic last minute BS “oh hey, its Thursday night. You’re going to have to come next Wednesday. Oh, and by the way, your school doesn’t even know. Good luck, and if you don’t come, you’re basically fired next year”

So we had to tell our schools. Who had no idea. We actually had to show them the email before they believed/understood us. Then we had to tell our co-teachers who were like “no, no, we understand, it’s for business.” but they’re frowning the whole time. Then I had to re-do every single powerpoint and lesson plan so that my co-teachers can do my classes for me. The whole thing is effing ridiculous.

I am not against the learning. I would love to learn how to teach better. But that is not what these things are with EPIK, it’s all team building shit and lecturers who contradict each other. The schedule even shows us making pottery for half a day. Sounds fun but I thought this was training – not tinkering around. Just let me stay at my school and teach.


So we tried to make lemonade. For one, we live no where near Daejeon-proper. Like at all. We are as north as you can get without being in the next town.The bus ride is supposed to take 30 minutes but with traffic it is closer to an hour sometimes. We never really go into real-Daejeon because it is so out of the way. Now we can visit all the shops and stores and see where everything is in Daejeon – since we’ll already be there. We really haven’t explored this part of Daejeon all that much because it is so very much out of our way.

Then, we got to thinking how much the busses are going to suck. We have to pay by cash and transfers are impossible. So we said “F it, we’re going to get a hotel and have a little “stay-cation”‘

They will reimburse us $20 a day for food and travel. So the hotel we found will actually be free or very close to free after we are reimbursed. We are going to make a vacation out of it.

As for the crap team building bullshit and often-bad lectures that we suffered through at the real orientation. We cant make lemonade out of those. They suck. Orientation was horrible. But all we can do is hope that these are a little better and that people won’t be as big of assholes as many were during the 10 day orientation. It’s a smaller group of people, so we’ll see.

We’re not looking forward to it at all. But we’ll try to enjoy the hotel and being closer to all the real-Daejeon stuff (like markets, shops, and more restaurants).



2 thoughts on “And the Lemons You Rode in On”

  1. Kaeti:

    Zena and I have been enjoying your narratives. EPIK sounds a bit like the Government at times; “getting you out of our comfort zone”, “networking”, and “team building” are favorite buzzphrases. I have found that these ideals encourage an attitude of not being as concerned about what you know, and more concerned with who you know.

    I’m very much interested in hearing more about EPIK and how it impacts (both positively and negatively) your teaching.

    Keep us posted.


    E & Z

    P.S. What is the current season/weather like there?

  2. They’ve changed it. We only went for two hours after lunch last time and then there was another training with co teacher where we sat in a room with a guy who has been teaching for two years going on about how to get on with your Co and then as we all realised it wasn’t actually about co teaching and lesson planning he accused us of being way too quiet… It’s a farce, they just ask for volunteers regardless of there experience/skills and just plonk them in a room to speak. Feel bad you’ve got to do it all day though, but glad you can see daejeon ^^

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