Psuedo Strike day 3

by Mr Mike

Still no paycheck so work at CPIS today continued in a similar capacity to yesterday.  I hate to say it but it is really tough to “not teach” these kids.  Its more boring and less fun to just let them have DEAR (drop everything and read) and playtime.  We did our morning meeting, took spelling tests and practiced our Christmas songs before I had to teach art and sent them to lunch.

At lunch I checked my account for the first time today.  I wasn’t expecting anything to be there and that was quickly confirmed so I grabbed some cheap gimbap for lunch before going up to to eat and decompress on the roof.  At least it was a nice day out.

I gave my class an extended playtime after lunch before showing 2 “how its made” science videos on cloth and paper.  We colored firemen to discuss fire safety & stop, drop & roll in social studies before  cleaning up and getting ready for centers.  I brought out the CRASH game (sight words), 2 matching math games and a short vowel sort for centers.

My normal centers include a station where I am teaching and another where they are doing math or phonics independent work rather than just all 4 stations as games.  I’ve got a new Uno sight word game for my more advanced students and word wheels that I want to start using.  But, without a paycheck or any payday in sight the teachers resolved to do minimal teaching so I followed suit.  The sad truth is that its difficult to get motivate myself after being told the owner of your company is embezzling your salary.

My after school clinic had an overly long playtime to start their 2 hour session and then we played Phonics Hangman.  After that we resumed our regular regimen and completed their typical workload.

Before all of the foreigners met at 5:00 to discuss our options I tried to swing by [the old director] office to gauge the situation.  I was intercepted by [the new director]and informed that we had a meeting with [the director] momentarily.  This was a shock.  Was it good?  Probably not but we certainly would attend.

All the teachers, foreign & Korean sat for nearly 10 minutes waiting, wondering.  Was he going to announce a school closure?  Was he going to pay us?  Is this simply his way of informing us that today’s paycheck wasn’t coming?

Finally [the director] walked in and began spouting out Korean.  I had to raise my hand to ask for a translation; a courtesy that I would have expected he be smart enough to think of beforehand.

[The principal] translated in brief

“He is very sorry.  He is asking us to wait until Tuesday to be paid.”

He kept going for a few more moments before opening the floor for questions.

“In 6 years this has only happened very few times.  Please trust [the director] that he is doing his best.  Please trust his history of paying on time.”

He may have a history of paying former employees on time but 2 out of 3 paychecks that I’ve seen have been late.  2 out of 8 from my coworkers have been late.  I don’t like those odds.

I raised my hand.  “What are you doing to ensure that this doesn’t happen again in December.”

“Please trust me.  I have not had this problem but few times in 6 years.”  [the principal] translated essentially the same thing over again.

Well, that didn’t answer my question.  My heart began beating faster as I raised my hand again.  My nerves making it tough not to shout at this guy.

“If you are going to ask us to accept late payments then we need to renegotiate our contracts.  You need to give us something, end the day earlier, vacation days, some form of compensation, anything.”

I paused for [the principal] to translate my question to [the director].  His long response boiled down to a short retort from [the principal].

“He is willing to hear our proposals after we are paid maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Wait, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday now?  None of this sat well with the teachers but what could we do?  A few more questions were rattled off and the response was always the same.  He’s been doing this for 6 years without trouble so trust him.  I certainly don’t have any trust for someone who has been unable to pay over 60% of the paychecks that I’ve been in Korea for.  It just makes me more excited for my interview at Yong Hoon.

Unfortunately all interviews tomorrow have been postponed due to a craze of parents on campus for “lottery day” to see who gets into the school next year.  That gives me a little more time to prep for a Saturday the 16th interview.  I’m really excited about moving to a legitimate school but don’t want to count my chickens too early.  At least its the weekend and I’m off hiking in Seoraksan!

Mr Mike

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