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Deskwarming: serious business
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JFuller317



Joined: 10 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:28 pm    Post subject: Deskwarming: serious business Reply with quote

For the past two weeks or so I was told that last Wednesday was the last day of school for the semester. No one mentioned anything about me needing to come in, and when I asked a few different teachers about it, they all said there was no school.

So I was pretty surprised and greatly irritated when I started getting phone calls and texts from a co-teacher late Thursday morning. At this point I was about to head out to take the train to Busan, and I was in no mood or position to deal with her crap.

For awhile I just shut my phone off, but the messages wouldn't stop. So I finally called her back, and she laid into me with surprising vitriol. I asked her if she was at the school, and she said no. So I told her it was clearly a misunderstanding, but it was impossible for me to come in at that point, so I would see her on Monday. I gave her a firm goodbye and hung up.

She called back almost instantly and said something like "You don't get to say goodbye! This is all your fault!" At this point I was pretty perplexed (what exactly was my fault, a slightly cheaper energy bill at the school that day?), so I told her to shut the f*ck up and turned my phone off for the next few hours.


On Monday, after 4 hours of camps, I was ordered to speak to the vice-principal. It was pretty difficult to get anything through to him. I don't know how many times and in how many different ways I tried to explain "I honestly thought there was no school/I thought the school was closed for the day/I thought no one would be there/I asked several different teachers and they all told me there was no school", but the answer just came back every time like a recording: "In your contract, it states that if you are not using one of your alloted vacation days..." If I had a baek won for every time I heard the word "contract" in that discussion, I could probably retire tomorrow.

I proposed the solution of retroactively applying my unused sick or vacation days to the two days I was absent, but he wasn't having that. He's going to take the two days as unpaid leave. In a brilliant coincidence, I've hardly ever taken a sick day, and I'll have a ton of them left over after the contract is up, and I MAY also end up with unused vacation days. I'm also getting an official warning. Pretty sure that's getting ripped in half immediately.


I wonder if it even occurs to them that they've just torpedoed any goodwill I still had with the school. I love my students, and some of the teachers are people I'd consider "friends", but this is the last day they'll have anything other than a complete mercenary for an employee. December can't come soon enough.
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engrishprease



Joined: 22 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lol, was that a figure of speech or did you literally tell your co-teacher to stfu?

So let me get this straight. You missed Wednesday & Thursday, two days you were expected to show up but failed to because of a misunderstanding (still your mistake). Now the thread title (desk warming) suggests you didn't have any classes those two days? Is this correct?

If those 2 days were indeed desk warming days, I can sort of understand where you are coming from, but if you actually had classes those 2 days... I don't know what to tell you. Shocked Laughing
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noky



Joined: 14 Jul 2010
Location: Yeongcheon

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds more like he missed just Thursday and that was indeed a deskwarming day. I hope telling the co-teacher to "stfu" was just a figure of speech. Escalating the situation is rarely the proper response.
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Seoulio



Joined: 02 Jan 2010

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok given the rant you had last time about the POE mandating deskwarming, are you really being that naive.

Its the last day of CLASSES, classes and your vacation dates are a different thing, and you know that. Do you have camp coming up? you can prepare for that.

did anyone at all ( in a position to say so) tell you "you dont need to come into school" for those days?

Then you get into a screaming match with both your partner tacher, and a huge disagreement with your VP?

Id say goodwill for both ways it kind of shot.

Come on man, you figured youd just miss thse days and hopefully no one would be the wiser. YOu were following the best to do it and beg for forgiveness than to ask and be denied permission.

You know darn well you could have solved your own problem before it started by saying "so do I need to be here those 2 days or not" which as stated at the beginning, and from your own previouus thread, you knew what the stance was likely to be on that.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next semester could be really difficult. Are you sure you want to continue working there?
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hari seldon



Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Location: Incheon

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seoulio wrote:
ok given the rant you had last time about the POE mandating deskwarming, are you really being that naive.

Its the last day of CLASSES, classes and your vacation dates are a different thing, and you know that. Do you have camp coming up? you can prepare for that.

did anyone at all ( in a position to say so) tell you "you dont need to come into school" for those days?

Then you get into a screaming match with both your partner tacher, and a huge disagreement with your VP?

Id say goodwill for both ways it kind of shot.

Come on man, you figured youd just miss thse days and hopefully no one would be the wiser. YOu were following the best to do it and beg for forgiveness than to ask and be denied permission.

You know darn well you could have solved your own problem before it started by saying "so do I need to be here those 2 days or not" which as stated at the beginning, and from your own previouus thread, you knew what the stance was likely to be on that.


Couldn't he have arranged in advance to do what Korean teachers do - professional development? He just needed to make the arrangement and write up a report documenting it, right?
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Summer Wine



Joined: 20 Mar 2005
Location: Next to a River

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand where he is coming from.

I was told at least 4 times yesterday that I have a camp in August.

Not one person mentioned that they had also given me 2 weeks of full classes starting from today.

I turned up at school to desk warm with a laid back attitude, just to find out I am supposed to have an entire lesson plan set up for the next two weeks.

Oh, yes its not my camp.

I also wondered how many times people have to ask me "didn't your co-teacher tell you?". No, she didn't - does she want me to get fired for screwing up? I don't know - though I am starting to wonder.

Oh, most of the kids have no interest in the class - Its baby sitting I understand - so do they for that matter or at least they act like it is.

I just wish I had some warning my school didn't end when every other teachers did. (post editted - vacation doesn't exist for the NET now it seems).

I think this is my one and only last year with Gepik.
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Juregen



Joined: 30 May 2006

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are right, you are wrong.

Don't make interpretations just because they are in your favor.

Your best strategy (of which you are doing the exact opposite), is apologize profusely, and tell them you asked and you never got a clear answer to your questions.

Ask them how you can make up the lost time.

Take responsibility like a man.
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air76



Joined: 13 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there are no classes to teach then there is no reason to go into the school....I think that this is pretty obvious.
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curiousaboutkorea



Joined: 21 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are not a student, you are a teacher/worker/employee. No school does not mean no work. Why didn't you ask, "Do I have to come in on that day?"

My kindy has no classes on Friday. That does not mean I automatically get to skip work. I took the time to ask if I need to come in. It was shockingly easy.
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shostahoosier



Joined: 14 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear you Summerwine...when teachers spring a surprise class on me we play hangman for the entire period. And if thats too hard then I let the kids play musical chairs...I dont care if its 1 class or the entire day...I'm just not getting stressed over their poor planning.

To the OP, I find it hard to believe that someone aware of deskwarming would not show up for school because there were no classes.

If you know its common for ESL teachers here to show up to school even if there are no students, what convinced you that this particular time was special?

You even say that she began calling and texting you while you were getting ready to leave. What did you think the frantic calling was about!?
Did you think she was calling to ask you about the weather, or that she needed your advice on how to make a good quiche?

It sounds to me like you purposely didnt ask the school if you needed to be there because you already knew the answer.

As for the letter of warning, that could be a problem if you want to work at another public school.

If I were you I would at least pretend to be sorry. There's really nothing for you to win here and they can make things miserable for you next semester.
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WadRUG'naDoo



Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:45 am    Post subject: Re: Deskwarming: serious business Reply with quote

JFuller317 wrote:
For the past two weeks or so I was told that last Wednesday was the last day of school for the semester. No one mentioned anything about me needing to come in, and when I asked a few different teachers about it, they all said there was no school.

So I was pretty surprised and greatly irritated when I started getting phone calls and texts from a co-teacher late Thursday morning. At this point I was about to head out to take the train to Busan, and I was in no mood or position to deal with her crap.

For awhile I just shut my phone off, but the messages wouldn't stop. So I finally called her back, and she laid into me with surprising vitriol. I asked her if she was at the school, and she said no. So I told her it was clearly a misunderstanding, but it was impossible for me to come in at that point, so I would see her on Monday. I gave her a firm goodbye and hung up.

She called back almost instantly and said something like "You don't get to say goodbye! This is all your fault!" At this point I was pretty perplexed (what exactly was my fault, a slightly cheaper energy bill at the school that day?), so I told her to shut the f*ck up and turned my phone off for the next few hours.


On Monday, after 4 hours of camps, I was ordered to speak to the vice-principal. It was pretty difficult to get anything through to him. I don't know how many times and in how many different ways I tried to explain "I honestly thought there was no school/I thought the school was closed for the day/I thought no one would be there/I asked several different teachers and they all told me there was no school", but the answer just came back every time like a recording: "In your contract, it states that if you are not using one of your alloted vacation days..." If I had a baek won for every time I heard the word "contract" in that discussion, I could probably retire tomorrow.

I proposed the solution of retroactively applying my unused sick or vacation days to the two days I was absent, but he wasn't having that. He's going to take the two days as unpaid leave. In a brilliant coincidence, I've hardly ever taken a sick day, and I'll have a ton of them left over after the contract is up, and I MAY also end up with unused vacation days. I'm also getting an official warning. Pretty sure that's getting ripped in half immediately.


I wonder if it even occurs to them that they've just torpedoed any goodwill I still had with the school. I love my students, and some of the teachers are people I'd consider "friends", but this is the last day they'll have anything other than a complete mercenary for an employee. December can't come soon enough.


Well at least you got two days off. That's pretty sweet.

Warning letter = Oh nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
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The Gipkik



Joined: 30 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many mundane and insignificant routines in Korea are so ritualized, so heavily laden with formalities, that what we think is a complete waste of time--deskwarming--becomes an incident of critical and symbolic importance to them. It's the contract as a generality. The worker as faceless. Most schools don't interpret it. They adhere to it.
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Milwaukiedave



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Location: Goseong

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly recommend listing to Seoulio and Juregen, but my bet is you won't. Be prepared to be fired.
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air76



Joined: 13 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Milwaukiedave wrote:
I highly recommend listing to Seoulio and Juregen, but my bet is you won't. Be prepared to be fired.


Seoulio's advice generally entails "The school is always right, do what they say." I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if Seoulio actually defended the practice of desk warming itself.

As much as I'd really like to side with the OP as I think desk warming is possibly the pinnacle of Korean inefficiency and backasswardness, most likely he has been working there long enough to know about this desk warming malarkey and probably should have asked if he needed to come in or not.

Certainly, whether it was a genuine misunderstanding or not, speaking to your co-teacher in such a manner will certainly get you nowhere, even if "he/she started it."

I understand the OPs frustration however. I don't have to desk warm, but if I did, I can't imagine how ridiculously angry it would make me.
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