Thursday, June 2, 2011

Who Would Hire Such a Girl?

The #1 most stressful part of this entire process has been:

I am, in general, rather impatient when it comes to other people deciding my future for me, and I want answers and validation NOW! This is not a good trait for someone applying to work for people on the other side of the planet.

After Reach to Teach accepted to represent me I had to wait a week or two before EPIK (English Program in Korea) released the application for their next round of hiring. This time was spent preparing the first round of documents that could be obtained easily and locally (i.e. scans of various documents I had on hand and sending off paperwork to obtain others). Once I got the application I filled it out as quickly as I could and sent it back to RTT.

On a side note, all of the documents I mention in this post are sent electronically.

After this there came the wait. I have very good qualifications (a master's degree in English Education and one year of teaching under my belt), so I think they were anxious to lock me down because I got a call scheduling an interview within about two weeks of submitting my application. During these two weeks I was "persuaded" (and by this I mean my recruiter actually knew what was better for me while I was still unaware of how this stuff works) to add an application to EPIK's SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) program. This involved preparing a mock lesson plan. EASY! Especially when the recruiter sent me a list of suggested topics and among those for high schoolers was "how to analyse and discuss film" (for those of you still catching up, I'm a cinephile who minored in cinematic studies). I HAD A LESSON PLAN, POWERPOINT, AND HANDOUTS READILY AVAILABLE!!

Just in case you wanted to see what the world's greatest shot distance powerpoint slide looks like. Yeah, that's right, ALL the examples were taken from LotR.

So I did the interview and it did not assuage any of my fears of being hired AT ALL! The interviewer was stonewalling me the entire time. I heard no smiles in his voice and he gave me no feedback or responses to any of my answers. I was seriously nervous I didn't get the position. So nervous, in fact, that I started looking up info about working in a private school.

Private and Public schools are NOT the same beasts in Korea as they are in America. "Private" schools are more like daycares or after school programs. Kinda like sending your kid to tutoring. These private schools are run more like a business than an institution of learning and have a long history of screwing their employees over. They are EVERYWHERE in Korea and offer none of the prestige typically associated with American private schools. Public school positions are much harder to come by, more competitive, and also offer greater job security and better perks (such as paid sick days and vacation days).

I irritated the hell out of whoever would listen to me as I panicked about the possibility of not being hired. This all happened during Andy's final exams. It didn't help my stress that my normal safety net was buried in piles of engineering textbooks.

A week or so went by and then I got the email, I WAS ACCEPTED INTO SMOE!!! SMOE is the most competitive school system in Korea and I got the job! This means that I will be working and living somewhere in Seoul, one of the largest and most prosperous cities in the world! Eeee!!! I've never lived in an actual city before (Knoxville has roughly 200,000 people, Standish only has about 8,000), this is so exciting!

As always, if you have any queries, feel free to comment and I will try to answer as best I can!

Coming soon to an unread blog near you: Procrastinating Your Way Through Learning Korean!

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