Monday, January 10, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

Things are not great here in the "land of the morning calm (after the previous night's half-cocked salvo of lunacy.)" I've had yet another job offered to me then taken away for reasons that have yet to be discovered. Sometimes I feel like a suffering saint. You know like any one of the 10 or 15 who attempted and failed to tackle Marshawn Lynch the other day while giving up 41 points against a 7-9 team. Actually I counted 9 but that's pretty dadgum bad! And I, in my infinite support of the Saints, chose Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Garrett Hartley, AND the N.O. defence in my playoff pool. Drew and Garrett did me proud but Reggie wasn't healthy I guess. They kept using Julius Jones for plays, like the short screen, that are Bushes bread and butter. My grievance with my football team parallels one of my main complaints about life and I kept yelling it at my computer screen as I watched: More Bush! We need more Bush!

But I suppose it wasn't their fault. Reggie ended up missing a lot of the second half with a bum leg. Would they have won if it was Reggie running on 4th and goal instead of Wynn, an untested rookie? It doesn't matter I guess. When the opposing quarterback is throwing moonshots with the football like he's playing a game of donkey on the basketball court and the ball is somehow NOT being intercepted but landing in the hands of the correct receivers who then run for touchdowns through a defence that can't tackle, then you know the Saints are suffering.

I feel like that sometimes. I'm on this unwanted holiday because of a school that expressed interest in me back in August, called me, told me they'd send me their offer the next day, never got back to me and made it impossible to get back to THEM. That was Nam Seoul University. This last week I put in a resume for work at Dongshin University in Naju and within an hour I got a response. I was asked to do some intensive courses in January and February. Again I agreed and they said they'd send me their offer and they disappeared.

I got an offer within an hour of application. They were all excited about hiring me and then just changed their minds. What causes that? Are they googling me and finding naked pics? With some of the schools I'm pretty sure they called my previous employer and were told how I'm a terrible worker because I'm honest and hard-working so I make them all look bad, but I didn't include them on the resume I sent to Dongshin U. But I'm sure I have been considered and rejected by many of the places to which I've applied.

I also have a few people in Naju who know me and work for the school board there who expressed interest around Christmas time in finding me some work. I did two camps with them and they loved my work at the camps and were really excited about the prospect of hiring me to teach full time. They pretty much told me not to worry, they'd find me work. I haven't heard from them since and am just a little paranoid that the same thing might be happening with THEM. I was actually a little worried that they might hear about me (almost) getting work at Dongshin and think I was looking for other work behind their backs. For that reason I used them as references when I applied, but who knows what goes on?

So things are a bit tense right now. I don't know if I should continue searching for work or should I wait for the Naju job. I am about ready to give up on the whole university/college thing and admit that I'm not likely to be happy no matter where I work. I could take the attitude that I'm liable to run into the same problems with jealous, incompetent people who resent how good I am at my job and how much better I would be at THEIRS who, like little children, try to sabotage my efforts and get pissy when I end up fixing what they broke and making things even better for everyone. I could decide that I'll just do a really mediocre job the next place I work. Mail it in. Fuck the dog. That'll make everybody happy! But I'm just not like that.

Instead I'm counting on my theory that this type of person embodied in the corrupt businessman, lawyer, politician etc. trying to gain a little prestige and some false morality by posing as an "educator" tends to gravitate toward the universities and colleges of Korea. This is, in a nutshell, why I've had such trouble here. I'm hoping for some maturity and appreciation from the Korean public school system. Hopefully the people I work for there will see that I'm not trying to show them up, I'm doing a good job and helping the school. Hopefully nobody will brandish this edgeless, antiquated, nonsense weapon of "FACE" against me if I do something differently or improve upon one of their ideas. Practically all of the morons I've worked for in universities and colleges around this country could shoot somebody 6 times in the head in front of me and with smoking gun in hand protest at my calling them a murderer. "You are costing me face here!" they would say.

Like Penis. My last supervisor, Na Ki Deok, gave me a class of 50 despite a verbal agreement I made with the college to not exceed 30 students per class. He assured me that some students would drop the class but I'd fallen for that before. It doesn't happen. So I propose to him a simple solution whereby the class is split in half. "Impossible," is the familiar reply. Well before you say that listen to my proposal. I show him the schedule, which has convenient openings, offer to teach the newly created class FOR FREE, and outline just a few points of classroom dynamics that will ensure a much better learning environment in a class of 25 than one of 50. "Impossible," he repeats. Why? Because the students already have their schedules. It's the beginning of the semester and I haven't taught a class yet. Let's go talk to the dean of the department and see if it would be okay. "It's impossible, David, why are you wasting my time?" Eventually I convince Penis to go and the dean of the department says, "Sure." and all is well. Do I get a commendation for improving the education of 50 students? For teaching 34 hours FOR FREE? For possibly setting a valuable educational precedent at the school? Nope! I am despised by Penis because my sole purpose was OBVIOUSLY to try to make him look bad. I don't ever need to do that. These idiots tend to do that job, (and maybe ONLY that job), very well.

It's because they aren't educators. Their sole purpose is to make money. They are much better than educators at GETTING the jobs as authority figures in universities and colleges throughout Korea, but abysmal at DOING them.

This brings me to the point of this entry. When I started working here in Korea I had a much higher tolerance for the shenanigans that regualarly occur when people are trying really hard to LOOK like they can do jobs they know nothing about. In the leisure possibly brought about in part by this lowered tolerance I am noticing a lot of other areas in my life where my expectations have risen thereby increasing the possibility and frequency of disappointment. And, with this in mind, I have noticed it in other folks through world news and current events.

There are areas where higher expectations lead to advances that justify them. For instance computers. I can remember when I had to rush to the computer room at my school at lunch time, forego eating lunch so as not to damage the computer, insert my floppy disk, wait about 3 minutes for "High Res Cannon" to load, account for wind speed and trajectory, take a shot, wait about a minute for it to either hit the other player or explode on the ground around him. Then wait a few minutes while the other player did the same. THIS was fast and furious high tech. entertainment!

Nowadays 10 seconds is an eternity to wait for almost anything to load. And graphics that would have absolutely blown my mind 20 years ago are, "Meh."

George Carlin says kids are never given a chance to just sit on the ground with a stick. Not any more. You never even SEE a stick any more. How long could I, as a kid, sit there with a stick and dig holes or make piles of dirt or peel the bark off and maybe taste it or rub it on cement somewhere to sharpen it or poke a hornet's nest with it or tie some string to it and make it into a bow so you can shoot OTHER sticks at the hornet's nest with it? Endless hours of imagination strengthening, formative play. Nowadays a kid would sit with the stick for 2 minutes, huck it away and go inside to play Xbox. And so would I!

What happens to us? We get bored of everything! How can we somehow learn not to take stuff for granted? Because I've had good jobs over the past few years I have just finished my 6th month of vacation. And that included a pretty expensive trip to Canada. And STILL I bitch about those jobs as evidenced above. I wish I had a sort of M.I.B. pen that I could flash in front of myself so that all my expectations could be lowered to an early time in my life when times were not so prosperous. And I wish that even in my prosperity I could maintain the pure joy in the little things. Find joy in small good things and don't sweat the small bad things. What an absolute PLEASURE I would be to hang around then! But what a crotchety, bitchy, buzz killer I can be!

I think most folks know that I won't complain about things that I don't care about. If I'm bitching about Korea or Canada or education systems or friends or family or people in general it's just proof that I care about them enough to want to improve them. You don't ever hear me railing on about the sport of cricket or picking apart the fine art of interpretive dance. But I could be more positive.

So that is my resolution for 2011. I will try not to bang my fist on my desk when my computer takes 5 seconds to do something that should only take 2. I promise myself to remember a few things every day that I would have almost killed to have, that I HAVE now and never use. Like my Wii, my bike, my own house. Well, okay I DO use the house, but I'm pretty lucky to have it and don't think much about that. I can wash my dishes or take a hot shower whenever I want. Couldn't do that last year or the year before.

I can watch almost any TV show or movie I want, make almost any food I want, drink almost any drink I want, read almost any book I want. I can travel almost anywhere I want, fish, no wait, swim in almost any lake I want, hike up almost any mountain I want, and make friends with almost anyone I want. I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul!

Now if only I can find some new waters in Korea into which to steer that ship and challenge my fate... AH HA! Why don't I change from teaching at universities and colleges to teaching in the public school system? What a great idear!


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