Monday, May 18, 2009

Saint Elsewhere

Heeduk's mother, Mrs. Kim, is based, along with Doctor Kim, the founder and educational leader of the enterprise, at the Samduk school, the heart of the LIKE operation, and takes care of all the business operations, such as hiring, negotiating contracts, allocating teachers to individual campuses, and packing as many commas as possible, as I have done here, into one sentence.

The other day, she approached me on behalf of Heeduk and asked me to sign up for another year at LIKE. I told her that it isn't final yet, but I expect to be working at the St. Paul Preparatory Academy in the Seoul suburb of Bundang, starting in the fall. I've actually sent back the signed contract to SPPA; now the only thing left is jumping through the world-class red-tape obstacle course set up by the South Korean government. It's not entirely clear, for example, whether I need to get another criminal background check done in Tallahassee, complete with apostille, despite the fact that I've been in Korea ever since I got the last one nine months ago. But all systems should be go.

Mrs. Kim and Heeduk were disappointed to hear that I'm planning to leave (which, I must admit, is good for my ego), and she said that they could offer me a raise but couldn't match St. Paul's offer, which is for 500 bucks more a month than I'm making now. It's more than the money, though; St. Paul will let me be an English teacher, not primarily a foreign language teacher, again, with classes in American and British literature, writing workshops, and so on. It's a career, not a stopgap. It's what I'm trained for and what I'm good at. (Sorry: at which I am good; damned ending-a-sentence-with-a-preposition rule.)

Also, the Korean operation is part of a network based in Minnesota (St. Paul; this is not a religious school), with schools in Europe, so perhaps I could eventually transfer to France or Germany; I'm not in love with Korea. I've taught at St. Joseph Academy and St. Johns Technical High School, which is part of St. Augustine High School, in St. Augustine, St. Johns County, and now I hope at St. Paul Preparatory Academy.

The Saints have preserved me. Perhaps I should change my name to St.ephen.

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