Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Making an impression

In the cafeteria last week Miss Hwang (황숭미) told me about Joe, the previous Native English Teacher that Idong High School had employed. He was in his fifties, introverted, something of a recluse. He never ate lunch with the other teachers, only an apple or a sandwich at his desk, and he rarely went out for group teacher dinners (a major points-scoring event in Korea, but more importantly a good time just to get to know people). The vice principal - arguably the most important person in the school - disliked him because Joe never bowed to him in the hallway nor even said hello. Joe wanted to come back to teach another year, but the VP wouldn't allow it.

I asked Miss Hwang what I could do to ensure a good relationship with the school veep. "Just smile at him," she said. "And stop by his office once in a while to greet him." So a couple of days ago, on the way out of the school building, I stopped by the teacher's office on the first floor. The VP greeted me. "What do you need?" "Oh, I was just stopping by to say goodbye. Have a good night!" He and the other teachers at his desk smiled and said goodbye. The next morning Soon Yung, my co-teacher (and the other most important person, for me, anyway, in the school), said she heard that I stopped by his office. "They were VERY happy."

A little bit goes a long way.

1 comment :

  1. Anonymous2:14 AM

    Awesome - it is true that sometimes just small gestures of appreciation, acknowledgement go a long way in smoothing relationships. Well done, Jonathan! :-)


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