Posts Tagged ‘teaching


They made me play sports

Hello friends. I realise I previously said here that I’m not interested in any more personal blogging, but I figured one or two posts are justified, just to let you know what’s going on.

First of all, the new blogs are coming (two, at the moment). I’m working the format and on a couple of initial posts. When I first moved here there was no internet access in my apartment, but this has been sorted now so things should be moving along swiftly.

As for Korea, it’s all working out rather nicely. It will surely not have escaped notice that I’ve been very vague about the job I’m doing here. This is because I wasn’t entirely sure myself. Of course it’s teaching English. Let’s face it, it’s is the only skill an Asian company would look to the West for. However, I wasn’t being hired by any kind of school or college, but a power plant, and I wasn’t certain what they’d be doing with an English teacher. As it turns out, this particular plant has an in-house academy for teaching new recruits, and this is where I fit in. My fellow teachers (or “instructors”) are all engineering and energy geniuses, and then there’s me. I feel like Homer Simpson. They gave me my own office, which I’ve dubbed Sector 7-G.

Anyway, you might be aware of the value many Asian companies place in recreational activities in the workplace. This is not like the beanbags and game-consoles that places like Google and Pixar are known for. They like to organise team activities that encourage physical development and teamwork skills. And so yesterday we were given the afternoon off to partake in some sporting activities together.

For those of you unaware, I hate sports. To me its little more than effort wasted on activities that solve nothing and that nobody should really care about. Why kick a football when you could be figuring out how to change the oil in your car? It’s an attitude I’ve found to be problematic here. When I’m being introduced to people, they tend to ask what sports I like. No one even thinks to ask if I like sports to begin with, that’s just assumed, and because I’m terrified of offending my host culture I have to lie and name some game I haven’t even thought about since I was fifteen.

And so yesterday I found myself forced onto the playing fields. I honestly wouldn’t have minded as much if I was playing soccer or something that normal people play (and would also allow me to hang around in full-back doing nothing). But no, we had to tennis. TENNIS, for fuck sake! I’ve already pointed out that I hate all sports so it’s probably redundant to mention my hatred of tennis, yet there’s something particularly loathsome about this game. Whenever an ardent sports fan takes offence to my prejudice, I simply make reference to tennis and somehow my stance feels justified. Since golf was largely democratised, tennis remains the last pursuit of smug, upper-middle class twits. It’s also the only sport that can be legitimately described as creepy. I mean, what’s with those cultish white uniforms professional players always wear, like they’re all shooting a boyband video or something? You can’t tell me that’s right. After tennis, the only ignominy left is cricket.

Needless to say, I didn’t do very well. The only thing I could hope for was that I’d be so bad that they’d never ask me to play again. No such luck. Comments afterwards centred my potential and how much better I’ll do next time, platitudes I hope are bullshit. I really don’t want to be good at tennis.

So that’s my new job. I’m polluting the environment and playing tennis. It’s a good thing the PDs broke up our I’d joining them next.