Every culture has different ways of sharing and not sharing information. Sometimes it’s frustrating and sometimes it’s head-shaking. A big complaint from many Westerners in Korea is the lack of transparency and just general information sharing.
Typically when a homeroom teacher cancels I don’t hear about it until either I’m halfway to the classroom or two, I get to the classroom and the teacher tells me that she called my co-teacher and why am I here? So it was an interesting conversation on Friday when my co-teacher came to my office to tell me that the next lesson for our 3rd grade class was a bit boring.
(NOTE: According to the Korean Ministry of Education says that 3rd and 4th graders should focus on listening and speaking, because the other two areas of English are too difficult for them. 5th and 6th graders do all four areas of language.)
We had a bit of a discussion about what she didn’t like about the lesson plans and what she wanted me to do. And then I told her about the only being able teach speaking and listening skills, she looked shocked and had no clue that there were those limits. Which was an interesting role reversal and somewhat, in a weird way, a nice change of not being the one that’s clueless.
There are times when I want to scream about the lack of sharing information. As a Westerner, especially an American, I want to say to some of my co-workers (any that I have had now or in the past) what is so hard about saying oh, this class is canceled beforehand or this student has this issue. I remember when I worked at SEV and one of the kindys that came had Down’s Syndrome. I dont’ have any experience or license, etc. to work with special needs students and of course that would be one of the few groups that didn’t have enough teachers to chaperone them. At Singa Elementary, one of the fourth grade boys is autistic, but no one thought to tell any of the subject teachers this information, it was a really bad type of Cracker Jack surprise to walk in and notice there’s a special needs student in the classroom. And unlike the States, there’s not anyone in the entire school that’s qualified to help him or the other special needs students in my school.
Also, there are supposed to be days this semester that classes are canceled for a variety of reasons, KYY may tell me beforehand, or not. And there’s nothing I can do about it, but show up and hope that someone lets me know before I walk-in on a national test or something. But really, what can I do?