I don’t recall much teacher bonding going on in my schools back home in America. Of course, some teachers became great friends and spent time together outside of school but I don’t remember any group trips being planned for the entire teaching staff.
When I was told there would be a teacher outing at my city school, I assumed maybe a few teachers would go. I didn’t realize the principle, vice-principle, and just about every teacher was going.
It was an optional trip, but apparently the last native English speaking teacher was not liked by the other teachers because she never interacted with them and never tried Korean food at lunch.
I’d rather not have a similar legacy so I went.
Since we only had a half-day at school, we left after lunch. I was told we would be spending some time out in nature and have a barbeque dinner at the end so we could all get to know one another.
Now I’m definitely the type that often rolls their eyes at team-building workshops but when there is free barbeque involved, I’m up for anything.
We took a bus out into the countryside to a herb garden. It’s been raining lately and the mountains are lush and green.
It’s hard to say whether this means that everyone at the school is now best buddies. After all, there are over 40 teachers at this school, and it’s impossible that everyone would become close friends.
But I had a blast and got to spend some time with co-workers I usually don’t get a chance to talk to. We communicated in my poor Korean and they tried speaking English. I’ve talked to other American teachers here who have said they feel isolated at their schools since their co-workers don’t try to talk to them.
I feel lucky that I actually feel welcome and included, and I do try to make an effort to learn Korean.
I’m assuming this trip is all part of the school budget, which is another thing I don’t think would fly in America. Or maybe this will come out of my paycheck and they just didn’t tell me.
Oh well, bonding with co-workers over grilled meat is priceless.