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Living in the land of no expectations

In South Korea, there is very little understanding of the idea of “academic integrity.” It’s readily apparent after spending a month or two studying or working at a Korean uni and I could do a whole series of blog posts about it, but let’s just assume that you take my word for it and we can use it as a working assumption.

Where does this leave me, as a person who is teaching at a Korean uni? It lives me in the land of no expectations. Truly, there are almost no expectations for me except showing up to class most of the time, turning in a minimal amount of paperwork, inputting my grades into the computer at the end of the semester and collecting my paycheck. I do all these things, but even people who don’t might still not get fired. It used to stress me and it’s always something that kind of lurks at the back of my mind, but I don’t think about it much these days. Instead, here’s what I do:

I try to pretend that I actually work in a place where there are expectations. Like people actually care if I’m a good teacher or not. Like I can actually help students improve their English and teach them something about the language and maybe even about life. Like it actually matters if I attend conferences and am active in doing professional development. Like people are actually going to be checking my lesson plans and tests and other things like that. And like if I don’t actually do these things in a quality kind of way, I could get fired.

The easy thing is to just skate through life, just getting by. But doing that in one area leads to apathy in a whole lot of other areas and this is most definitely a road I don’t want to go down. A lot of people live in the land of just getting by when it comes to money. Like if they have enough to pay the bills this month, then all is well. If you’re living like this, I have a suggestion: look at the other areas of your life outside of financial stuff and see where you’re living with no expectations, but doing nothing to excel or improve or get better at what you do. Maybe it’s a relationship. A job. Your health. If this is the case, this apathy could be carrying over into the financial realm. Something to maybe think about.

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