Yesterday I had an interview with SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Education Office). It went well, and I think I got the job.
During the interview I was asked if I had any questions. My only real question was about how SMOE intends to manage the mass influx of foriegn teachers fresh off the plane and packed into one location for an entire week with H1N1 making its global rounds . . . all it takes is one infected person and things begin to get interesting . . .
My sense of what I heard is that the orientation is going to double as a quarantine. That the foreign teachers attending the orientation will be under a 24 hours a day lock down . . .
I also learned that there will likely be Korean medical staff present at the orientation to do medical checks for all the foreign teachers (instead of later after the orientation, though I'm also betting that some schools will still try to force their teachers to get another done anyway) at the orientation. The medical staff may also be staying for the duration of the orientation to do daily temperature checks of the foreign teachers to see if anyone is getting sick . . .
I imagine that a fair number of the foreign teachers at the orientation will be people who have already been living and teaching in Korea for a while so they won't be too shocked by the differences in medical treatment culture . . . but for the newbies I wonder how they'll react when they're still jet-lagged and suddenly get to experience the very open and very public style of medical checks that usually happens.
With all this in mind I've begun making a mental list of what I'm going to bring with me,
1. lap top
2. movies and TV shows on DVD
3. snacks: chocolate, crackers, etc.
4. a ton of books: novels, and a few academic books to exercise my brain
5. hand sanitizer
6. cans of tuna, ramyeon noodles
7. my camera
8. meds: tylenol, gravol, etc (though from other foreign teachers postings on quarantine it seems like they might not let me use them . . . we'll see about that)
9. decks of playing cards
10. my Xbox .. . maybe ....
And the brainstorming continues . . .
If hundreds of teachers fresh off the plane are packed into an orientation . . . I think we can pretty much expect that at least one of them is going to be an H1N1 carrier . . .
I'm sure I'll have some pretty interesting posts during the last week of August . . .
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