One thing that I find really irksome about being a teacher in South Korea is that while we are piled with responsibility (especially in the cases of the other Korean teachers), we are still treated like children in one vital respect.
To be specific, we have to ask permission to leave school grounds.
We are not allowed to leave during our lunch breaks, long breaks, or after classes have finished. We are required to be on school property at all times.
While I understand that this is mostly for the benefit of the students in that we are offering them office hours to come and see us (not that they ever do), it is extraordinarily frustrating to be held hostage on campus at the whim of our principal. Say I want to run to the store (20 feet across the street) to get an energy drink, or a snack, or go to the bank during my lunch hour – nope. This time does not belong to you. Doesn’t matter how close the location you want to get to is, you’re stuck put.
Considering my minimum wage jobs working in retail allowed me this freedom, I find the lack thereof in a decent desk job to be bothersome to say the least and downright insulting at worst.
We were told when we started working here that our principal is “the king of his castle”, but I feel like this takes it to too far of an extreme. The work ethic culture here dictates that we don’t have any time that is our own during the eight hour work day; we are owned from the time we walk in until the time we walk out (which very often is also dictated by the school’s wishes should they want you to stay later – less so for me, but again for other coworkers).
Sometimes all I want is a walk around the block during my lunch hour to get away from the shrill shrieks of young children that start to grind your brain like bread – but alas.
So that’s my peeve for today. Not a fan of being treated like a child myself after having to deal with them all day. I also think it would do the overstressed workers here a world of good to at least have the mentality that they aren’t caged animals performing for their masters at the crack of a whip.