Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not gonna make it...

Things are absolutely falling apart at school, the s**t has absolutely hit the fan.
There's been a ton of teacher drama this semester and now, at the tail end of the semester, it looks like we're one teacher short for the remainder of classes. I kind of feel bad for the management- but not really, because they always wait until the last minute to try to cobble together an ineffective solution. If they know today that they need someone to cover tomorrow's classes, will they ask you now? No, they'll wait until tomorrow, until there's just several hours before the class and then phone you up and ask you to teach the class. I'm sure there's some kind of weak logic in this but I can't understand it. One clever tactic some teachers have adopted is to simply not answer the phone. If you avoid the problem, then the problem will avoid you. I should start doing that too.

The thing that I hate the most is this mantra from the school- "we don't want to stress the students". I hear this over and over and over again. What about the teachers? Why not get a substitute teacher instead of asking already full-time teachers to take on extra hours? Instead of having admin come from Kiev to observe classes this week, why not get an admin to cover some classes? Why not bring back the guy who left who desperately wants to return? I'm just saying- there are other ways to solve this problem instead of calling me up and saying "The main office in Kiev wants all American teachers to contribute extra to get the school through this staffing crunch. We don't want the students to feel inconvenienced during this period."

Also, it tears down morale when certain people can behave in inappropriate ways- sleep through classes, not show up for work, etc.- and the school can't reprimand these people in any way because they desperately need manpower. If the individual is willing to show up the next day all will be forgiven, because at least they showed up that day. The upside of this: you can say no to the school's last-minute requests because of the same thing- what can they do? The school can't afford to punish you.

The funniest part of all this- this is not a panic, a crisis, anything unexpected. This is just business as usual. They've been operating this way for years and I'd bet a lot of English schools function in similar ways.

So, 9 days of work to go. I'd be willing to quit in an overly-dramatic fashion except it looks like someone already beat me to it.

Despite all this, my students this semester have been great. (There's one class though, just one, that's about as much fun as a round of chemotherapy, but it's just group dynamics: student X thinks student Y is too old, student Z thinks student A is boring, student B thinks student C is dumb, and so on. It's like a party with the wrong guests.) The other classes are fantastic and I have a great time teaching them. The school administration finally released our evaluations from 2 months ago and I got above-average in every single category....nothing lower than a 9.7 on a scale of 1 - 10. Yeah!


  1. I think many work places have the same s*it going around. My company hasn't hired any new people in almost 5 years, but every now and then employees get held over their shift for mandatory overtime. The similar tactic of avoiding to answer your phone has been adopted, but you can't escape the tap on the shoulder if you are at work. And I don't mind pitching in, but I already fill maxed out between home life and work life that it's really not good for me to work overtime.

  2. Hang in there! I'm sorry this school is so unprofessional! They should have the decency to give you plenty of warning when things like that happen.

    Congrats on the amazing evaluations! I am not surprised of course, though, you are pretty much a rockstar. Let's talk this week! Love you!

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  4. LOL...I sure wish I could type better at 6 a.m....ANYway, great job my friend! I miss you guys here SO much! And tell Denis I've almost used up all the TP he left here when he left...send more soon!

  5. I'll tell him to get on it....but I'm not sure you'll like Ukrainian TP....unless you enjoy creatively recycled newspapers :p