If you work with your guy or girl, leave the love at home

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If you work with your guy or girl, leave the love at home

Many English teachers come to Korea as couples, and they and their spouses (or significant others) get jobs at the same school. This is a bad idea. I did this when I came here -- my girlfriend and I taught at a children's school in Banpo-dong, Seoul. I learned that love and work don't mix. That girlfriend is long gone.

But I didn't know how dangerous mingling love and work was until I heard a story from an American friend. He and his Canadian girlfriend were working at the same institute, another children's school in Seoul. I don't want to use their real names here, so I'll call them "Steve" and "Sue."

The manager of their school was a friendly and considerate Korean man who really liked both of them, so he arranged their schedules so they could have breaks at the same time. During their 45 minutes off, Steve and Sue would usually step out for a cup of coffee and a breath of fresh air.

But one day Sue had something else in mind. She had been reading those women's magazines that are getting so raunchy these days, like Cosmo or Elle, and had happened upon an article telling girls how to spice up their love life.

One tip was to have a romantic experience in a public place. So you can guess what happened: Sue told Steve that they should go to an empty classroom during their break and, well, see what happened.

Steve, like a fool, agreed.

So their break time came. They went into an unoccupied classroom. They locked the door. And they commenced their little experiment.

Don't worry; I won't tell you how far they got.

But before long their little tryst was interrupted by the manager, who unlocked the door and charged in, smoke coming out of his ears. He fired Steve and Sue on the spot. They never taught at that school again.

What Steve and Sue had forgotten was that all of the classrooms at the school had closed-circuit TV cameras. Those electronic eyes into the rooms were there so the ajummas, the mothers of the students, could observe the classes. So while Steve and Sue were in a passionate embrace, several mothers out in the lobby were observing the action on television monitors.

Evidently the ajummas alerted the manager as soon as they noticed Steve and Sue engaged in the extracurricular activity. But who knows? Maybe they waited a while.

Where are Steve and Sue now? Sue is long gone; chastened, she's back in Canada, trying to be an upstanding citizen. Steve is still here; but has a different girlfriend now, so he doesn't particularly appreciate it when somebody reminds him of that incident at the hagwon.

by Mike Ferrin
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