Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Thank you to the teacher who left a surprise for me in the printer this morning. 

At the start of the year I made a promise to all my students that I would be in class ready to start when the bell sounded. So far I have done a pretty good job at keeping that promise which is something I am proud of. I made the promise to emphasise the importance of being on time and that I expected them to be on time too. You respect me, and I will respect you kind of thing. 

I slept in a little today and arrived at school a little later than usual. I was still 15 minutes early so I set about booting my laptop and copying the worksheet for my first class this morning to my USB key so I could print it on the office printer. I then raced to the printing computer, opened the worksheet and hit print. The printer started to spool up…. and then….. nothing. I checked the printer to see it was flashing a red light and displaying a message saying “paper jam”. I frantically started ripping the printer apart, looking for where the paper was stuck. I finally found the jam hidden behind a panel on the back of the printer that would pop off if you held your tongue out while standing on one leg doing the hokey pokey. Now that the problem was fixed it churned out a copy of the worksheet and I photocopied it (luckily there was paper in the photocopier today, that is a story for another day) before racing off to class. 

I arrived at the classroom to find it was still locked (not unusual) and that there were no students waiting outside it (a little unusual, but not out of the ordinary). I unlocked the door just as the bell rang and proceeded to get ready for my students. 

I sat and waited a couple of minutes. No students arrived. Now, this was not the first time I had found myself in this situation. There have been numerous occasions where a class has been cancelled and nobody has told me of the cancellation. I went for a walk to find another English teacher who confirmed my suspicions. 

The moral of the story? I’m not sure. Whenever things like this happen I remember one of the lecturers at my EPIK orientation telling me “Korea is dynamic”, meaning things change without notice and you will be presented with unexpected challenges. Once you accept this and go with the flow your life will here be much easier. 

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