Midterms and Deskwarming

Deskwarming (v).

  1. The act of sitting at one’s desk for an unreasonable number of hours, doing nothing, due to the fact that the school has other events and classes are cancelled, but the contract specifies that the NET must complete the 8-hour workday.
  2. The bane of an ESL teacher’s existence.
  3. Alternately, the joy of an ESL teacher’s existence (depending on personality, workload, how rundown she is from teaching classes, and whether or not she has anything better to do with those 8 hours).

Midterms are in full swing here at my middle school right now. Their commencement was marked by a flurry of unusually frantic activity (it’s always a little frantic, but today was especially so) before the bell rang, with teachers running back and forth, papers flying, copiers beeping, hurried instructions given.

Now… it’s eerily quiet. Usually, even during class time, there is a constant murmur of noise – the rise and fall of teachers’ voices, the occasional shout from a student, the monotone of textbook CD dialogues, the cheers and military-drill-like counting and whistle-blowing from the P.E. class out in the courtyard.

But today, it’s quiet enough to hear the ticking of the clock, the drip of the sink, the hum of the printers and computers, and the occasional bird song outside.

As for the deskwarming, I’m not the type to mind. I enjoy the quiet, and I can always find something to do, whether it’s prepare future lessons or blog and surf social media (okay, more so the blogging and surfing than the preparing lessons…). Would it be nice to have the day off, since I literally can’t do anything to help with the exams? Sure. But hey, I’m getting paid to sit at my desk. That’s pretty nice.

My principal came in earlier to chat and told me I can go home after lunch like the students and the Korean teachers will, but I’m pretty sure that’s against my contract. We’ll see what happens. If not, I’ll have the whole school to myself for about 3-4 hours. Weird.


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