Now saying this, I am not trying to put down school teachers. Far from it. In part, the reason I am a university lecturer is for the very reason that I would not be able to be a school teacher. I am not good with children at all. I don't know how to relate to them. People that can work with children have a gift that I do not possess. In my opinion, teaching children is a calling, not much different from a calling to the ministry.
I'm thankful for the promotion in title from "gangsa" to "jo-kyosu" because it fits better. However, becoming an assistant professor brought no additional benefits. No pay in raise. No fringe benefits. No chip on my shoulder.
Well this morning when I went to my office, a small but cozy little room with everything a young lecturer could ask for (except for a very slow computer which will not be replaced for another year), the English Department chairperson cornered me just as I was about to unlock the door.
"O hi, professor," started he. Korea follows the American custom of calling all university faculty "professor" even though that is not their official title. "Professor Jang is moving out of his office," he continued, "so his office is opening up. It is much bigger and you are next in line for a bigger office." Guiding me two doors down, he made me look at the bigger office. All the furniture had been removed, plastic canvas covered the floor, and there was a man busy painting the walls. "So what do you think, do you want to move here?"
I usually like to think big decisions over before making a final decision, but my X's mother once told me something that has become very handy. Her advice was:
If somebody offers you something good, always accept it immediately. You can always change your mind later.
So I headed her words and said yes. Unfortunately I will not get any new furniture for my freshly painted bigger office. I have to move over my old furniture from my old office and then the new lecturer will get new furniture. It is going to look a little silly sitting in that big office with my humble few furnishings.
Today I spent much of the afternoon packing all my books into bags so that I can more easily move the bookshelves tomorrow. Apparently the paint ought to be dry by the afternoon and that is when they want the new lecturer to move into my old office.
It seems that my promotion six month's ago is slowly starting to bear some fruit after all -- a bigger, more airy office with large windows being the first. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there may be more in the works. A man can dream.