Retirement Korean Style

Yesterday was the retirement for my school’s principal.

NOTE: Licensed (certified) teachers can teach at one school for five years, than they have to move schools and they can only teach in a particular school district for ten years. Unlicensed teachers can only have one year contracts and depending on principal’s discretion may sign again at the same school.Vice-Principals can be at a school for a maximum of three years. And principals can be at a school for four years. Teachers get promoted to a sort of head teachers position, then they can got to a ‘Vice-principals’ school. After being a vp for a while, you can get tapped to go to ‘Principal’s’ school. And when a space clears up, you get promoted to being a principal. Right now there is a bottleneck traffic jam at the principal’s position, so some prinicipals are being forced into retirement to give the 70-something vps a chance to move up, so the head teachers can become vps, and then they can get the licensed teachers off the sub-lists.

First, I knew that the principal was retiring but I didn’t know exactly when the retirement ceremony was or where it would be. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I thought it would be at the school and an overcrowded restaurant later. Instead it happened on Friday, when of course because I didn’t have any classes I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, at a convention/wedding hall not too far from Olympic Park. It was packed, at one point in time a group of teachers had to stand up so that higher-ups from the school district could be seated. There were at least twelve different plaques, medals, plates and numberous bouquets given to her. There was a brief slideshow about her life and several teachers performed a song and dance in her honor.

I left as soon as the soju started to flow and the noribang machine was turned on. Interesting experience it was and now there will be a welcome party for the new principal this Tuesday. Oh, joy, I can’t hardly wait.

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One response to “Retirement Korean Style

  1. baikeunsook

    Oh and the highlight food item was: a vanilla lemon cream oreo cookie with a teeny tiny piece of lettuce on top and a baby shrimp on top.

    And the best moment was the principal leading her husband during a “slow” dance.

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