It's been a difficult week. One of our teachers is leaving. She came to Korea the same time I did and we are close friends.
While our teaching schedule isn't difficult and the culture is loving and accepting (we once got stuck in a town about 30 miles away after the public transportation had shut down and a Korean family saw us in our situation and offered to drive us home ... 60 miles round trip!)there are certain difficulties.
Our students have a lot of school related stress. Parents put a huge emphasis on grades and academic performance, but our kids are still kids - they would rather be outside running around and having fun. They feel pulled in many directions and often come to class tired, unhappy, or worse.
Our school is new and doesn't quite have its act together. There is always a sense of deep confusion regarding teaching policy, visa issues, and power structure.
We didn't recieve any training before we started teaching, but we got yelled at by korean teachers every time we made a mistake. After 2 months and a trip to Thailand to obtain my English teacher's visa, I'm still on a tourist visa. Although I have all of my paperwork in, the school can't seem to get it's act together and I will have to travel overseas again in a few months for another visa trip*. The Pastor is the director of the school, but beyond that we have no idea who holds what positions. Different people yell at us for different things, but we never know if they are actually our superior or not.
Add into that some very serious internal issues with the foreign staff and you have the recipe for some stressful weeks. I'm very sad to see my friend leave, but can't wait to see what God has next for her life.
Please continue to keep all of the foreign staff in your prayers. Love, Michael.
* I'm not complaining about traveling to different countries. I take full advantage of every opportunity God gives me to see new and interesting places. I plan on visiting General Board of Global Ministries missionaries in Mongolia in October if that plan can be pulled off. Nonetheless, having the proper visa would be best for everyone.