Friday, 28 November 2008

Culture clash: Battle on

Right now we are in the middle of Autumn. It's not very cold but from December it will start to get there. However, many of the Korean staff (not children) are behaving as if they have to work in Arctic conditions. One person in particular is being phenomenally ridiculous about the 'cold'. One day this week I counted down her return to the teachers room from class until she turned the heating on. She lasted six seconds, and I will be watching to see if she can beat that one. That included the now mandatory moan of "its cold" before the lunge for the heating. Surely she means "I'm cold", along with all its connotations. I am trying to casually turn down the heating whenever I get the chance so we'll see where that gets me. Things got better on Friday, one Korean teacher yelled it's too hot and turned off the heater, so it's not just me feeling heat.

There seems to be a bit of a divide between Westerners and Koreans. Westerners are saying it's a little cold at times so they dress appropriately. The Koreans by and large constantly say they are cold and don't always dress so fittingly. Their usual approach to the situation is to put the heating on asap and right now its very warm especially if you are me and someone who dresses according to the weather. If they are so cold why are they dressing like its a nice Spring day? It's all in their mind. If you keep saying you're cold, then how else are you going to feel?!

My seat in the teachers room is right next to the heater/air conditioner, so in theory when its cold I get close to the heat, and in Summer I get a lot of the benefit of instant cooling. At the moment all I get is the blast of the heater. The record for the heater so far is 29°C but I'm expecting to reach 30°C some time soon. I know my nemesis is dying to crank it up.

A further thing, the actual classrooms are at times like saunas. They are so hot right now that every class almost begs me to ask for the heating to go off. I am told that some of the classrooms on the lower level are colder than on my level and I think I would enjoy those more. But at least we are getting heating. Almost certainly many smaller schools won't have theirs on right now.

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