My afternoon suddenly took a nasty twist and now I’m feeling lousy. It is because of that group of civic employees. They’ve talked to the coordinator since last week. The coordinator called me in and I knew something was up. He did not want to discuss the teaching or class activities or plans, so that is a clue. He told me that students had been reporting that I said derogatory remarks about them, and that is quite untrue. As I stated in an earlier blog, I walked away from the failed outing and returned the following week with a plan to make some changes. In the meantime, I received an evaluation. The Coordinator talked to the group, and someone said something, though he could not make any specific claims nor cite a specific incident. I think he had hatched a plan to let me go from that assignment before he asked me to come to the meeting. After all, he had nothing to discuss. He asked me what was going on, and I proceeded to report to him the class activities, the problem with the outing, the student evaluations and the changes I had been making. He said he didn’t want to discuss any of that. He said he had heard something, but couldn’t say what or who had said it and started to tell me that I had a negative attitude. I was caught off guard and reacted. He asked me my opinion, and I told him what I thought were the weaknesses of the group. He wouldn’t hear of any criticism of them, like it was beyond consideration that there could be any shortcoming of the group. Really, he acted like a typical institute (hagwon) director. In those after-school institutes, if a child or parent complains about a teacher the director blames the teacher. The problem must be the teacher. It is so ignorant. I defended myself as a teacher and regarding my character and history. I guess he was not used to that. He started to explain that I did not understand Korean culture. Give me a break. I cut him off right there. He kept saying I was negative, and insinuated I was unsuitable. I could see that he wasn't really interested in problem solving and that he was determined to dump me in the first place, so I walked out.
I wrote up my account and view of the so-called meeting and sent it to him for the sake of documenting things and my self-protection. I am sure he did not read it through. He told me he had discussed me with the Dean of the section and they had decided I should “never teach City Hall classes” any more. At the same time, he expressed his “appreciation” which was a pitiable response to the first few words of my letter. He said he was just trying to solve a problem and he had never witnessed anyone walking out of a meeting. Really.
However, he told me I was expected to teach the city hall people tomorrow morning, in that the lay-off was effective as of next week. Wow. He clearly doesn’t understand what he’s done. Teaching that class had become a little awkward, and now I feel upset and don’t want to go there.
I don’t even want to go to the Korean class. There is not much to this week’s lesson, anyway.
I should talk to my colleagues. Actually, I think it is a sign of where the program is at, and perhaps even the whole section. It's dying. Funds and programs and staff are getting cut, bit by bit.