On 17 December, GEPIK, in all its infinite wisdom, held a follow-up workshop for about 500 native-English teachers. I assume this was a “follow-up” to the Orientations held earlier in the year. It was a day-long event at Dankook University, on the other side of Seoul from where I live.
To summarise the workshop: a waste of time.
It took me four (4) hours to get there from my town, and about the same to get back. So let’s say eight (8) hours of travel time. This was to attend an event that lasted from 10:30 to 17:30. So eight hours travel for seven hours of workshopping. And of those seven hours, only two and a half were of any use. The rest consisted of ceremonies, lunch and Korean traditional games.
Although the event itself was a bit of a waste, it was a great chance to catch-up with some people I haven’t seen in a while. But I really feel like our time could have been better spent. I really don’t think this workshop was well thought out or implemented. At lunch, for example, there was a huge line to get food. I ended up paying for a sandwich just so that I wouldn’t have to sit in line for an hour.
The only part of the workshop that I was interested in was the talk by Darren Ng. He spoke about “Behavioral Management Essentials” – basically how to handle discipline in the classroom. Darren was entertaining, as always, though this time I didn’t find what he had to say as applicable as before at the June/July Orientation. But it was still worthwhile for some tips and tricks for later in life.
Also, the quick review of the 2009 GEPIK contract by Dain Bae was very interesting, since there are a couple of improvements. These include longer standard vacation (20 days), extra pay for non-teaching overtime work (7,000 won per hour), and a larger housing allowance (400,000 won, up from 300,000 won). Also, they have created more pay levels to differentiate different qualifications and experience. However, these changes only applies to new recruits (who obviously weren’t at the workshop) or for people renewing, which from what I heard was a small number of current teachers.
I’m just glad that this was probably the last time that I will have to attend a GEPIK event, since my contract ends in February. I’ve got some pics on my cellphone, and as soon as I can work out how to transfer these to my computer, I’ll post them.