Thursday, July 14, 2011

Desk Warming Is Killing Me...Literally

For those unfamiliar with Guest English Teacher (GET) jargon here in South Korea, desk warming is the act of sitting at one's desk during the obligatory eight hours at school for reasons including cancelled classes, test days, etc. and not teaching. A GET literally sits in her/his desk chair and must find something to occupy her/his time and wait out the clock. Why subject us to this cruel and unusual charade? I have heard a myriad of reasons, from inspectors from the Office of Education (of whom no one I know has seen heads or tails) inspecting schools to ensure Korean tax money is not "wasted" to co-teachers getting jealous and inciting a mutiny. Whatever the reason may be, desk warming is, for me, the greatest hardship of living here. When I have to deal with one day of desk warming, I usually enjoy catching up on reading blogs, reading a book, playing guitar in the broadcasting room adjacent to the teachers' office, taking a nap (how is this not wasting tax money again?) and generally minding my own business. Desk warming is indeed a double-edged sword and when stretches of time, such as finals week arrives (and the week of review preceding it), I can anticipate at least a full two weeks of sitting at my desk, staring at the clock, thinking to myself, "if only I could be cleaning my bathroom".
I have always harbored a suspicion that desk warming will be the end of me (read Sean's Bane). I found this infograph which beautifully illustrates and substantiates my suspicion. Indeed, sitting for eight to nine hours a day can literally shortening our lifespan up to 40%! Credit for this infograph is listed at the bottom.

Credit and hyperlink for infograph removed due to content provider's request - 6/3/2013
And for those who have made it to the end of the infograph, here is a video of Hitler having to desk warm.