Last year it was hell getting a visa to teach in R.O.K. So many hoops to jump through and a complete nincompoop at the helm. This woman also led astray the other new teacher and her errors cost him a week’s wages and $300+ Australian.
September 12, 2010
Still NO VISA
Okay, now I’m anxious. I thought for sure the visa would be in today’s mail, if not yesterday’s. I need the passport and visa to go. I hate the idea of having to change this flight again. I have half a mind to just not go and find a different job as much as I’m tired of all this job hunting and waiting.
I’m especially put off because the department Coordinator refused to come pick me up at the bus station. We’ve gone back and forth on this request. I’ve said that I’d really appreciate some help with my bags and finding the way to a new place after being on the road so long. I’ll leave my house at 5am if not before to get on a 7am flight to San Francisco followed by an 11 hour flight to Seoul. Then I have to get a 2 hour bus to a town near my small town. That’s when I’d like to have a welcome and someone to take the reins.
I even offered to pay the Coordinator for her time and the cab. She refused.
I suppose they just don’t do this, though every other job I’ve had does. In China and Japan several people met the new teachers and we didn’t have to touch our bags. In Korea the first time two people met me at the airport. It’s just nice to see such people and relax about a new endeavor. I really thought this young girl would be happy to make some extra money.
The thought I have is if I don’t get this help, does it mean that I won’t get other help at KNUE.
Yes, that’s exactly what the refusal meant.
From the archives – a sign of the incompetence of KNUE
What a day! I’m beyond fed up.
I drove to Springfield to get my diplomas and the criminal background checks apostilled (i.e. certified for my Korean visa). I rented a car and had all my forms, the directions, snacks, CDs, everything I figured I’d need.
The drive took about 4 hours. I hoped to spend 30 minutes in the Index Department of the Illinois Secretary of State. Then I’d go on to the Lincoln Museum.
I was pleased, prematurely, to see no line at the Index Department. I soon was told that they couldn’t apostille my background checks as they weren’t properly done, that they were no good because all they had was a few lines identifying me and the Notary’s seal and signature. I explained that that’s how I got them from the State’s Attorney’s office and that wouldn’t a lawyer know, wouldn’t the notary?
The woman who helped me was so nice and when my brother gave me my background checks I did say I was surprised that they weren’t more explicit. A layperson wouldn’t know that NCI meant National Criminal Index, for example. He assured me that this was kosher.
I kind of lost it as I wanted to mail these off today or tomorrow before I leave for a 10 days in Colorado. I explained that I needed them to get a visa to get a job in South Korea. I asked about getting new checks in Springfield and this woman kindly got me the address of the local FBI office and State Police office. By now it’s 1:15. She promised to try to “stay open” a bit after 3:30 if need be. She said if I had to come back, I could *get this* just go to their State St. office in Chicago.
Their what? I called both the Korean consulate and this Springfield Index office last week to see if I could do this closer to Chicago. Neither mentioned a State St. Office. The consulate just seemed to read some vague information from a paper. I don’t think they’ve figured out their own new system. Sorry, but I think they should. It’s part of their job and that it’s new, is not an excuse.
So I got my diplomas apostilled, but still needed more.
I first headed to the FBI, which is outside of town sort of in the cornfields. I thought for sure I’d missed the street since it was so far. Nope. Eventually I found this gorgeous new building. It’s surrounded by fencing and as I drove up, a guard came out to see what I wanted. I explained the situation and he said they don’t issue background checks there. He asked to see what I had and I showed him. He did say, those were the right forms and it all looked fine to him. Yet he’s not the one I needed to satisfy. The first woman and her associate were very nice, but not going to deviate from their first pronouncement.
Now it’s 3 o’clock. I wound up walking around town a bit and then heading home. I was in no mood for sightseeing, though the museum looks fantastic and the city has a lot to offer in the way of history and charm.
I figured I’d have my brother write a sentence on the form saying what they are and then signing them. That’s what the clerk said should have been done. I could then go to State St. in time to get them apostilled and mailed.
I drove back home some of the time sitting in bad traffic or crawling past construction. Not a real fun day.
When I quit my dreadful teacher training job at KNUE in January, the director asked me to write a letter that was more specific than the one below. I complied and will post it soon. For now, here’s how I bid the Intensive Teacher Training Program adieu:
Dear Dr. X,
After a tough 20 weeks, in which I found my colleagues, the curriculum and in some cases the students very disappointing, and after two weeks of normal collaboration editing articles with a colleague and working to build a new English teaching association, KEERA (Korean English Extensive Reading Association), I realize it would be crazy for me to return for more time at KNUE.
Nothing will change because old timers[redacted], tell the new instructors that they don’t want any “troublemakers, with new ideas.” Given what I’ve seen of many of the staff they don’t want any new thoughts or certainly no more work. As you might recall, one instructor, Brian, was so adverse to adding culture courses because he couldn’t or wouldn’t spend time developing *one* idea about culture. I was the only staff member to even attend KOTESOL or present at this conference. This is a height of sloth. It’s normal for professionals to want to discover new trends and exchange new ideas.
So I am resigning from KNUE’s IETTP program.
One more thing you might already have learned. You’ve got problems with a certain instructor who’s had at least two illicit relationships with married trainees [redacted]. If the truth came out to the husbands, I imagine you’d have a huge mess. [Redacted] but it makes working at IETTP unreasonable as a career choice. You do need to make some clear guidelines for these teachers. While adultery is not against the law, it’s certainly not professional or wise.
I thank you for the various help you’ve offered throughout the fall, but the first weeks when I saw that stupid movie script and was told that there was no way the old timers would allow any changes in their cushy jobs, that this was a bad job for me. I like innovation, quality, and excellence. Other people don’t. I’m choosing to find a situation where betterment is seen as desirable.
Jan 9, 2011
Last Tuesday is a good example of the unprofessionalism we endure at Korea National University of Education (KNUE). We taught 7 hours straight and then had a meeting. In 90 minutes the director expects to review some housekeeping issues, e.g. how to fill out our tax forms, and have us plan a new three month course for teacher trainers. Since the Min. of Ed. has okayed this new program to train teacher trainers (which my grouchy, domineering colleague keenly noted requires us to train people to replace us), we should be ready to start this new program in March.
- They have no objectives or curriculum.
- No idea what courses to include.
- No new staff to develop this.
- No partners in the US where the trainees will do co-teaching and take classes starting in mid-March.
Yet since there’s money, they’ll try to start it March 2. There would be two weeks of orientation here for the new group plus new students for the existing program. My guess is that this current staff would have to do double duty, beaucoup d’overtime. It’ll be an 80 hour a week job for chump change.
Quality control is nonexistent. I’m glad my foot’s already been outside the door for some time.