I had a bad, bad day. On top of a pretty crappy week.
I've been feeling really lousy about my teaching ability. And today, I got in an argument with my boss. Nominally, it was about the fact that I have this very low-ability 6th grader who has been placed into a class of slightly higher-ability 2nd through 4th graders. My concern is that – given Korean social dynamics, especially – he's setting a really bad example to the younger students. And frankly, I personally have no idea how to control him, or what to do with him.
But it turned into an argument about me complaining "all the time." I don't think I complain all the time. So that made me angry, that he would accuse me of that. And then the last straw was when my boss said something to the effect of, "well, it's the job of a good teacher to manage this kind of situation." The obvious implication was that, in complaining about this situation and insisting it was insoluable within the classroom, I was… a bad teacher.
This is not something I take well, even on good days. But in the light of my recent insecurities regarding my teaching, it was a brutally unpleasant blow.
I've been toying with the possibility that I may not renew at Karma, despite everything I've said in the past, and despite my intense desire to remain in Korea. This was a further nudge in that direction. Leaving Karma would be a big decision, not to be made on a whim. I have to realize that, all said and done, it's the best job I've had since coming to Korea, and one of the best jobs I've had, in general. It's really mostly my own insecurities, along with my frustration with a feeling of "stasis" in the non-work-aspects of my life, that are driving this desire… this restlessness.
It's not a restlessness to travel. Even a year after I made a renewed commitment, last March, to never "travel" alone, again (in the touristic sense, I mean), I'm still steadfastly uninterested in being a wanderer, anymore. I have a huge level of a weird kind of comfort with my corner of the world, and if I were to leave Karma, that corner would be hugely destabilized – I can't say I would feel anything but dread about that. It would probably result in my returning to the US, because if I can't be satisfied with the "best job" in Korea, my prospects for other Korean jobs would be quite poor. Returning to the US has about the same level of appeal for me as entering a mental hospital – given the US media's self-portrait, as seen from here, my home-country is going patently off the deep end.
The fact is, though… I'm becoming painfully disillusioned with respect to my teaching ability, these days. I like teaching. I love the children, I get so much from them. But if I can't be a decent teacher, then… for everyone's good, I should get out of it.