How to Make Your EPIK Job AWESOME #3 – Make Your Office Comfortable
This is the 3rd post in a 5 part series about how to make your EPIK job awesome. This tip is more straightforward but surprisingly causes new teachers a lot of grief, especially if its unexpected. You will be spending a lot of time during the hottest and coldest days of the year sitting at your desk. Here are some tips to help make your office more comfortable!
There are a few things about working at a public school that make it uncomfortable. Temperature control and hygiene are the two biggest concerns. There is no temperature control in most of the country, but public schools are generally really really hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. It varies by school but if you do have a heating and cooling unit, and if you can control it, more often than not they will tell you not to use it that much, or only using it during specific hours. In my current office there is no installed heating unit, so we have a small electric heater that barely works. You just kind of have to accept this and make the best of it. Don’t be afraid to get comfortable, especially during the deskwarming days of winter. Bring blankets to leave at your desk, buy handwarmers, buy warm slippers for your inside shoes, and you could even buy a heated seating pad! We go over how to stay warm in detail in our How to Survive Korean Winter video! In the summer I have a desk fan that you plug into the USB on my computer and it honestly saves my life.
You may also be surprised to find no soap or toilet paper on your first trip to the bathroom, that is after you notice the squat toilets. I did make a separate video about how to use the squat toilets, but a general tip for life here is to always have tissue on you. I personally always have dry tissues and wet tissues, and both always come in handy! In my office we have toilet paper delivered by the janitor every day, so we have lots of it stockpiled in a cabinet that we all share. We also all contributed money for hand soap, but this is just something you have to wait and see how it’s done at your school. I’d bring some on your first day just to be safe. I also like to keep hand sanitizer in my bag and in my desk–kids carry a lot of germs and you’re going to spend your 1st year getting sick a lot! It’s best to wash and sanitize your hands often.
Every School is Different
Keep in mind that every EPIK teacher’s experience is unique, and every school is run differently. While most public schools have squat toilets, and no soap or toilet paper, others I’ve heard have western toilets for teachers and always have soap and toilet paper provided. Your school also may be very generous with the heating and air conditioning, and if so you’re super lucky! My only purpose here is to share my experiences and the general consensus about public schoools. There are always exceptions. If you want to hear more, watch the video!
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