Today a handful of CPIS’s teachers, including myself, boycotted the weekly Wednesday meeting. The foreign teachers have resolved not to send home the weekly report to parents. Quarterly progress reports which are due Friday won’t be written and “baby sitting” instead of “teaching” will continue. The minute we receive our paycheck, duties will resume as normal.
Today my principal asked “where were you for bus duty??
“Where is my paycheck?” I responded. “I’ll come down for bus duty after we are paid.”
“That’s not okay.” She retorted.
“I agree; its not okay that we haven’t received our paychecks. If Mr. Bae needs someone at bus duty he can pay us or do it himself.”
She laughed and walked out of the room with a smile on her face. What bothers us the most is that the attitude from the administration gives us zero trust that we will get paid and shows a complete lack of respect for our needs. They act as if it is perfectly fine for us to receive our pay more than a week late while fearing if it will even come at all.
Luckily my class had a birthday party today so it was easy to skip most of the academics. We did our morning meeting and played an adding doubles math game. I read a Dr. Seuss book and we enjoyed birthday cake, clementines some singing and the end of Despicable Me.
The working environment has gone from bad to worse. The students and parents haven’t seemed to notice any change or at least haven’t commented to us but there isn’t a single teacher that enjoys being here. We feel like we are volunteering our time so some Korean businessman can embezzle our paychecks into a losing investment.
They ask us to “trust them” but cannot fathom that trust is not given but rather needs to be earned. So far they have done nothing but prove themselves untrustworthy. They tell us “maybe you’ll get paid on ______ date” and then reassure us that there is “million dollar deposit on school which pay teachers first.” At this point we don’t even know if that’s true. Each aforementioned date zooms by and we are given another “maybe.”
When asked this morning they said we’ll be paid “3, maybe 4 o’clock.” At 4:00 I checked my account and saw far too few won so I went downstairs to my principal.
“Are we getting paid today?”
She held her hands up finger touching her thumb in what I can only assume is the Koraen version of crossing one’s fingers and said,
“I don’t wanna say yes, 90%. I asked accountant and she said ‘it look good’.”
I said thank you and went back to my room.
All I know is I am looking forward to finding a new school to teach in regardless of when this paycheck comes. Financially I am still stable and hopeful about my interview Saturday and I’m meeting with my recruiter tomorrow night to discuss other options. My only concern is the “letter of release” which has been held over some of my coworkers head in the past. One even had another job offer starting in December and asked for his letter. They stalled and stalled and when his new job contacted our current school suddenly the offer was revoked and he was told “that is too heavy for us.”
If they fail to provide this letter I’ll have a tough time getting a job in Korea. I’m hopeful my recruiter can help but have already resolved to teach in another country if the worst case scenario pans out. I’ll wait to start contacting new recruiters but would love to teach in Hong Kong or New Taipei. I’ve had offers in Bangkok and will certainly explore other possibilities.
4:50. I finished my after school class and desperately wanted to leave in lieu of a still empty bank account.
4:59 I see my co-teacher in the teachers room and she says “we got paid.” I look again and finally after over a week of sitting and wondering we finally got the money! Who knows what will happen next month?
Tonight I get to go fencing for stress relief but for now I’ll stick with this cat meme to lighten the mood.