New schedules. Again a new class… Level 5!
- 650 am M-F Level 4 Conversation
- 750 am 1-1 Student T, Th
- 9 am Reading Intermediate
- 11 am 1-1 Student various days
- 5 pm 1-1 Student M,W,F
- 7 pm M-F Level 5 Conversation
- 10am-2pm Saturdays: 2 hrs Hot Topics, 2 hrs Conversation
I spent some time and made some efforts to get an official ruling on if my contract really could be interpreted that I don’t get to choose 8-10 days of paid vacation.
I went back and forth with my supervisor. A coworker consulted with a labor attorney. I made an inquiry with ATEK but received no response.
The concensus was that we basically were out of luck. We understand vacation to mean that we get to choose the dates, and that in a month with vacation, we would work fewer than 20 days.
But in Korea, and with YBM in particular, none of that is true for “Session Vacation” days.
For example, in October we get no Session Vacation days. In November November 19 (Fri) and November 30 (Tue) are our ‘vacation’ days.
If you want to take off an entire week sometime, the management suggest you plan far in advance and take the entire month off (without pay!) and possibly without a job to return to.
Hmmmm very disappointing.
It was during my preparation for a hot topics class, that I came across this insightful article in the Washington Post, In Prosperous South Korea, a troubling increase in suicide rate (17 April 2010) (pdf)
Korea feels stressful to me. And my students are always saying that it is.
But, reading this article brought it home to me and made it real. Too real.
The main findings stunned me:
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among South Koreans in their 20s and 30s.
- The suicide rate has doubled in the past decade and is now the highest in the industrialized world.
- The suicide rate has tripled in the past two decades and is now 2.5 times that of the US.
And a bit of an excerpt to try to explain…
Before South Korea got rich, wired and worried, its suicide rate was among the lowest in the industrialized world. But modernity has spawned inordinate levels of stress. People here work more, sleep less and spend more money per capita on cram schools than residents of the 29 other industrialized countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Still, it remains a taboo here to admit to feeling overwhelmed by stress. The word “psychiatry” has such a negative connotation that many leading hospitals have created departments of “neuro-psychiatry,” in the hope that people perceive care as medical treatment and not as a public admission of character failure.
Today, I met up with some Indonesian friends that we met at Haeundae Beach. They invited us to join them at the free Korean language classes they attend. I took a 30 minute subway ride and met them at the Dusil station. (pronounced Du-shil ….”si” in Korean is always “shi”)
I was a bit surprised to find out that the free classes were held at a mosque! But, the classes are open to anyone and teacher is really good. She speaks only Korean so it’s like how we teach. Only problem was, the class was too advanced for me. Most of the students are Indonesian and have been in Korea for a year or two. They’re studying to take the TOPIK entrance exam to enter Korean universities this fall or next spring.
So we didn’t stay too long, but attached to the mosque is a Turkish restaurant. That was quite a find! The aroma in their was amazing. We enjoyed Lavash bread, Turkish coffee and fruit tea. Oh, I wanna go back there for more!