Monday, June 14, 2010

Mala Gente

"Mala gente" is Spanish for "bad people;" but (in Spanish) those words carry a lot more weight than their childish sounding English cousins.

Today's meeting went poorly.  So poorly that my memory of it is clouded with anger and difficult to flush out.  It was nearly 90 minutes of abuse and condescension.  I lost my temper, I didn't yell, but I spoke sternly.  Julia laughed.  I remember telling her that the students should bear 50% of the responsibility in the classroom.  She laughed and set me straight.  Toward the end, she realized she wasn't getting the responses she wanted out of me so she started talking to Ian about my inability to catch the many mistakes I make in the classroom.  "Why can't you see so many mistake?" she asked me again and again.  Then they (Julia + Montana) would pose "questions" like, "Your teaching skill isn't change enough, what do you think?"  I tried to explain that it wasn't really a question, but I was met with a simple, "Yes, it is."  

Montana didn't have our (my) backs.  No one in the country can be trusted to stand up for you.  It's every man for himself and, if there's any benefit to it, feel free to throw your neighbor under the bus.  Climb upon the backs of your peers if it means success.  Korea is a reflection of the worst in any industrialized nation.  Japan's business culture may be equally rough, but at least people treat each other with real respect (as opposed to the feigned variety); and Americans may be dog eat dog, but at least it's (usually) kept on a professional level.  You don't gain anything by tearing your employees down.

I'm sorry.  I try to keep these posts reserved because I don't feel there's a need to complain to a captive audience.  But, today's been a very, very bad day.

A face to the name (from 9 months ago):

Good night!


  1. I am sorry Casey. I wouldn't be able to stand it either. Chin up, you've only got 78 days to go.

  2. 78 days, and not all of them are work days. And I don't say that to belittle how horrible it is for you, just in hopes it gives you a light at the end of the tunnel. I am so glad that you guys have some time off in July, and then the real countdown starts. I am also glad you have time after this ordeal to do something you love.

    I have sat in your class rooms, I can not comprehend what it is she wants from you that you are not already doing. Thanks for that photo, folks will now have a face to throw darts at.

  3. and from her photo - she looks like such a nice person. but we know what they say about judging a book by it's cover. this has been such an amazing journey. i have loved your blog, and i will miss it. yet, i want for you and ian to be done with juliatheytyrant. i keep wondering - what can you say to her that will make her stop and think about what she has done and said to you can ian. probably nothing. as you have pointed out so many times - it is the culture in korea, to be as she is. take comfort from knowing you and ian have done your very very best. this (julia) is something beyond anyones control.