Co-teacher


Co-teacher wants to contribute.
Co-teacher wants to team teach.
Co-teacher wants to write lesson plans.
Co-teacher’s English is only mid-level.
Co-teacher feels worthless, and I don’t blame her.
Co-teacher feels her only value is to keep order.

My lessons are jam-packed and media rich, and I’m really making a difference with their phonics. I only need the co-teacher for a little help with order. Because I can not give test scores or grades, the only power I have to keep the kids in line – besides in-class work – is the co-teacher. But I would be bored out of my mind as a co-teacher too.

I would welcome team teaching but it doesn’t make sense with the way in which the schools are structured – we can’t both bring in our expertise in only 50 minutes, and especially not with a class of 40+ which has three levels of students.

Someone told this poor girl that we would be a team.  Even the book of sample crappy lesson plans is entitled, “working together.”  Except for making her translate (which totally negates the whole idea of immersion teaching) and keeping the kids on task, I don’t really understand what role she can play.


I told her would be willing to change my lesson plans to follow the Korean English teacher’s lessons more closely, and she got all excited.  “To be honest, when it comes to the speaking portions of our lessons, the Korean English teachers just skip that part.”

Great.

I wonder if the ministry of education is aware of this.

My other co-teacher is AWOL, so even if we do work out some system of coordinating lessons, then the lesson plan must fill out the missing co-teacher’s place when he doesn’t show.   And btw, he’s a math teacher who was ill last year.  In my conversations with other foreign Native English Teachers, it seems like this co-teacher assignment is similar to disability duty, and it is common for the co-teachers to bail.  On the other extreme, it appears my female co-teacher was honored with this assignment, was told it was important, did it to get in good with the vice principal, and the job is beginning to reveal itself as the job nobody really should want.  So this is what you get when you go for the glory…

This system sucks for all involved – the poor co-teacher, the students, and for us.

Aside from having to establish my boundaries every day as a foreigner who looks Korean but doesn’t deserve to be treated as if I were Korean, and as an a-religious person placed unknowingly in a private institution that is devoutly religious, on top of all that I must deal with the extremes of an overly conscientious teacher and an overly un-conscientious teacher, who I am supposed to have an intimate working relationship with.
My only solutions are both painful – speak with the Vice Principal about this situation (and his English comprehension is only intermediate) find a way to make my co-teacher understand that what she wants is impossible in the current situation, and perhaps call a meeting of all the Korean English teachers to see what we can do to re-structure this fatally flawed system, independent of the school district.

My preferred solution would be to ignore this, were it not for the co-teacher continually mentioning it.  It’s going to be a long year.   And I think I will be moving on next year.


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