The Magic of the Last Minute


Koreans, in general, do things at the last minute, and bless them, because somehow their entire society manages to function on this habit. For waygooks in schools, this means that business involving us comes down the pipe pretty late in the game, and the information spreads through various Korean hands before it gets to someone who even speaks English, and then it gets to you once they get the time to tell you. Often, this is seconds before the thing involving you is set to begin. As an elementary teacher I am mostly shielded from this kind of thing, but occasionally things are also dumped in my lap late in the game, and without a great deal of explanation. An exchange:

 

Persona Dramatis: Me, and one of the pleasant admin ladies with some pretty rockin’ English. We sit in the VP/Admin Office place (Kyomushil), enjoying green tea after lunch.

 

Lady: So, when will you start teaching in the library?

Me: …I… don’t know? I will teach in the library?

Lady: Yes. I saw in the book today. You don’t know?

Me: No.

She goes to rummage for the book where she discovered this information and produces it for me. It includes today’s date, as well as the rest of January. It is scheduled for four hours a day, and includes the time I will teach camp, and when I will be in Thailand. I point this out.

Lady: Oh, okay. After lunch, you go to the library and teach.

Me: Who will I be teaching?

Lady: Anyone.

Me: …what will I be teaching?

Lady: Ah, speech class. Just talking with students.

Me, relaxing: Oh, okay, that’s fine.

Lady: But it is the library. So you cannot talk.

Me: …

Lady: …

This goes on for several moments. She decides to call my co-teacher, who becomes slightly apologetic when she realizes she forgot to tell me about this. No biggie. Co tells me it’s more of a story-telling thing, I just go and read some English books.

Me: Can I go to the library? I want to check what English books we have.

Lady: No.

Me: …

Lady: …

Lady: It’s closed.

Me: Oh, may I use the key?

Lady: The library teacher has the key. The only key. She is on vacation.

Several more exchanges of ellipses occur. Fin.

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