The QiRanger Adventures


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I rarely have to rely on ultimatums to get a point across, but last night I had to such a thing. Over the past two weeks, things at work have been getting progressively worse, from a management prospective. Each day the Owner rolls out a new policy that hasn’t been thought through and that once it has been implemented wreaks havoc on the teaching schedule and work flow. This then causes parents to become upset.

Rather than acknowledging that the root cause was the policy, he blames the teacher and schedules staff meetings. This, in turn, takes away from teacher prep time, and causes more problems. The cycle is endless.

Here are some great examples from the following week. The deadline for producing new lesson plans (Stories 3 and 4) is today. However, everyday for the past week, they’ve changed the teaching requirement for the lesson plan, so we can’t put to bed a final draft. Also on this front, they decided to send away the Master Teacher’s Edition of books to be copied. This is great, since we need more. The only problem is that we not only need these books to teach from, we also need them to write the lesson plans that are due today.

In addition, due to the number of changes in daily expectations and the ineffective way of transmitting the news, a large number of complaints have come in regarding some teachers not knowing how to teach a class. This is understandable, since everything changes on a daily basis. So rather than address the cause, they have created forms for everyone to fill out that takes so much time, that you no longer have time to prepare for class… which then leads to complaints that the teacher isn’t prepared to teach their classes.

There’s been a lot of other things going on as well… like not getting paid on time.

But last night was the epitome of stupidity.

Without staff input, the owners thought it would be a good idea to have all teachers to wear ID badges with their names and pictures. Now, I’m not against nametags if they serve a purpose (security, safety, etc.). However, this was not the case. Let me explain.

Every classroom is equipped with a CCTV camera for safety and so that parents can watch their children in class. In addition, there is an 8×10 photograph of every teacher in the lobby with their name under it. Furthermore, on every classroom door, there is another 8×10 photograph with the teacher’s name under it. Since there is no Teacher’s Prep Room anymore, it means that the teachers spend all their time in their classroom or, if they are out of it, are going to the toilet on a 5-minute break between classes.

The reason provided was “so that a mother dropping off a student (or picking one up) would know who <insert name here> teacher was.” I told the boss that his argument held no water. Not only because of the reasons above, but because all the teachers are white, so we stick out, and because the size of the name tags he wanted to hang around our necks are only visible if you’re standing in front of someone being introduced. There’s no way that the nametag could be used to identify me by name from across the hall.

I shared with him that I had no problem wearing a name tag at a special event, like Parent’s Day, but on a day-to-day basis, the name tags served no purpose and equated to the school labeling me as a piece of property rather than a valued employee. I made it clear that I would not wear the nametag and if such a policy were implemented, I would leave right then and there.

We had a very short discussion afterwards… but needless-to-say, they were surprised about my reaction and didn’t take into the cultural differences between Koreans and Westerners. How can that be when you “pride yourself” on having a completely Western teaching staff?

At this point, we will not be wearing nametags. I still have a job. I also have a shit-load of word to do this weekend to re-edit 5 stories (70 pages) by Monday.


Written by Steve Miller

September 26, 2008 at 12:42 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I generally don’t have a problem with the concept of name tags… especially since I have a memory like a goldfish, and routinely forget people’s names on being introduced to them for the first time. But by the same token, when I was compelled to wear one by my then-employer, I resented it and ultimately did not comply with this request.

    My question to you, though, Steve is how can you have 8×10″ photographs published everywhere and NOT feel like a celebrity? LOL

    Next time supply your own.. and sign them with Silver Sharpies!

    Each day the Owner rolls out a new policy that hasn’t been thought threw [sic] and that once it has been implemented wreaks havoc on the teaching schedule and work flow.

    You’re obviously quite stressed. Do the best with what you have. Stay the course!

    John Lacey

    September 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

  2. […] it was the infamous name-tag incident. Enough […]

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