School has started again. Apparently the start date was changed from Sept. 1st (which is what is has been for the last however many years) to the week of Sept. 1st, which this year began on August 29th.
For some reason, not one of the foreign teachers I know (except one) was told about this, so when we got the text message on Friday — yeah, on Friday — we were all shocked. I’m sure it was on a calendar somewhere — in fact, I’m told it was — but as for actually communicating the change, well: communication is not a strong point here.
Anyway, I can’t complain too much: I was talking to another guy I know who is teaching at a university in Seoul, and who told me that in addition to classes, he has to attend two faculty meetings a week. (One in English, and one in Korean with English translation.) Every week. I fail to see how there could be enough business to necessitate weekly meetings within a department, let alone faculty-wide. (I suspect it’s just another kind of endurance test, especially since the meetings are first thing in the morning, ie. at 8:30 am.)
The funny thing is, even with meetings that often, he is in a position similar to mine in terms of being in the dark about things: I was telling him how I got the text message about the faculty meeting being on Friday morning — on Friday afternoon. (I’d thought it was happening on Monday.) He laughed, and said, “You should be used to last-minute everything by now, after so many years in Korea!” And then he told me a story of his own most recent, “Drop everything and come now,” notification from work, for a meeting everyone else obviously knew about beforehand.
Ah well. My schedule this semester looks okay, and the classes are not overwhelming so far. I’ll be busy this week, trying to get a story revised and out, as well as preparing for a couple of the classes. There are familiar faces in some classes, and a lot of new folks; the problems that have never been fixed still aren’t — and obviously never will be, because nobody seems motivated to get a faculty-wide movement going to fix those problems. But I know I can’t do anything about them except tell the students to be sensible and register wisely. (Stop taking classes out of order, stop turning COURSE 2 into COURSE 1 by not taking them in the correct sequence.)
Beyond that, my limited energy and time will be going to things I want and need to do. So there.