A few weeks ago a new foreign teacher arrived in Daegu. At our hagwon and from what I understand at every other school, all foreign English teaching positions are for one year. As every teacher has a different start date it is a revolving door of teachers coming and going throughout the year. The new teacher essentially replaced a guy who fulfilled his one-year and is now back home in Hawaii. I’m not jealous or anything…really.
Five out of the six foreign teachers on my floor (elementary) will be leaving in May so there will be a major change in the landscape of the office during that time. I was excited to meet the new teacher because he will be here for the duration of my stay. Right now there are 11 foreign teachers in all at our school and not one female. At our last meeting our manager promised us this would change even using this as a bargaining chip to convince some of the teachers to resign for another year:
“I know some of you have to go, but some of you should think about resign. You know, I can help with international girls. Now that I’m here we will be bringing in more women teachers. That’s part of being happy with a good vive (vibe), you know.”
Even though the latest arrival is not a chic it was still nice to meet someone new. Before he came, at our daily FT (foreign teacher) meeting we crowned him with the moniker “Colonel”. This was not an arbitrary decision. You see, his name is Kevin, but we already have a Kevin. The new Kevin if from Canada-> Kevin From Canada->KFC->Colonel.
I like the Colonel. He is easy-going, friendly and up-beat. His arrival triggered some memories of my first few days here in Korea, like my inability to read anything at all on a restaurant menu, getting lost on a run through the city, and I will never forget the morning after trying soju for the first time. The Colonel had a rough time during his first trip downtown. You easily could have mistaken him for Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s shortly after he got his first taste of drink in a bag.
This Friday a girl from Texas will touchdown in Daegu. There is mild concern among a few that we may have to tone down the “guy talk” that has become so customary when we go for lunch or dinner. I will be sure to filter what comes out of my mouth her first few days, properly gauge the desired level of appropriateness and then go from there. I get the sense that everyone is looking forward to the new dynamic that will result from adding a female to the mix. Hopefully she grew up in a household with a lot of guys.
Our manager explained that she is attractive and that it why he hired her, pointedly assuring us that appearance is the top criterion in the hiring process.
“Guys I look at everything… beauty is important… I’m talkin’ height … weight… body type … all of that stuff.”
Side note: I am still reeling after my favorite basketball player (Deron Williams) was traded away from my favorite team (Utah Jazz) to the lowly New Jersey Nets last week, but I am starting to come around. I tried to vent my frustration, confusion, and uncertainty about the situation to my students but they didn’t seem concerned or the least bit interested. How NBA player movement is not on these young Korean kids’ minds is beyond me. You should have seen their eyes roll when I began discussing the stagnant collective bargaining negotiations.
Side, side note: I spent a good part of today watching Charlie Sheen’s new interview on 20/20, perusing other random Youtube footage of Charlie talking about how “epic” his lifestyle is, and then reading articles surrounding his career and life. When asked whether he thought that it was possible that he might be bipolar Sheen quickly responded, “I’m bi-winning… I win here, I win there.” I highly recommend you take a few minutes out of your day to watch his interview on Youtube. Epic stuff.