Thursday, November 27, 2008

Corporate policies follow you around the world

Hey everyone, I know I just did post the other day but there have been so many things going on that I wanted to keep you guys in the loop. Plus, my director just dropped me off with computer in hand, and since they ran the internet through my apartment to the guy next door's apartment, I was already hooked up with internet so that means no more P/C gaming rooms for me, yay!

So I wanted to write about a meeting that Craig, the other american at my institute, and I had with the vice director Sebastian (he's Korean, Sebastian is his English name). The hagwon that I teach at is called GnB, which is actually a corporation of Hagwons throughout Korea. I think they're the 2nd biggest or biggest in Korea and there's actually multiple GnB's throughout Ulsan.

So Sebastian has us in the office and explains to us that the home office would like us to be using more GnB text books. Currently, Craig and I are using these books called "Match" which are ok, they involve a lot of coloring, songs (which I never do anyways cause I can never find the cd. Each classroom has 30-50 cds in it, how am I suppose to find the right cd in 25 minutes time?), listening activities that I can dictate, you know using the foreigners for their exact purpose.

On the other hand, the GnB books are a little bit harder to gameplan as the book has a story in English which you read with the kids, then have them write the Korean translation underneath and then go over some key phrases, and then next chapter, more or less. Obviously Craig and I don't know enough Korean to know whether they are writing it correctly or not and there aren't as many break-ups with different activities for the kids, making it harder for us to use the book.

I think Craig and I did an adequate idea of explaining that those books aren't really the best way to utilize our time, and Sebastian was very understanding however home office policy is....well, home office policy. Sebastian made it clear that we need to follow certain procedures, book completion rates, etc. in order to continue our status as a GnB school, which I imagine carries some prestige.

I guess the moral of the story is that you think you're leaving the corporate world and entering a different sector, but really things are just the same anywhere. To quote #2 from Austin Powers "there is no world anymore, it's all corporations". On a positive note, the meeting wasn't really bad, Craig and I weren't doing anything completely wrong, and to be honest, it was really the first instruction from Sebastian on how to do my job (quite standard really, or so I've heard).

In other news, the last 2 days of work had been really positive and I'm definitely feeling more comfortable. I had no 7:10-8:00 pm classes tonight so I got to talk with the director, Mr. Choi, during that time. It was really nice talking to him and getting to know more about him, and he was interested in knowing about me and my experience in Korea so far, which was cool. Craig had told me that Sebastian and Mr. Choi (they're brothers, just a side note for you), were very nice and I have not been let down so far.

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope by this time you will have loosened your belt a couple of notches, watched the lions lose and ponder whether you should eat a 3rd piece of pumpkin pie or not. For me, it will have to be kimchi and some fried pancakes off the street....