December 18, 2018, 07:24:12 PM


Author Topic: Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?  (Read 499 times)

Offline shabbiz98

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Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?
« on: November 24, 2018, 06:38:30 AM »
Hi,

    So I'm a new teacher and I just got accepted to work at a hagwon in a mid sized city. Since this place is new I am unable to request to speak with a current teacher working there now, as they have only hired foreign teachers recently. I have checked the contract and everything standard is written there, like pension, severance, airfare, tax, housing, salary, hours, vacation and insurance, overtime. For anyone who has worked at a new hagwon, how risky is it if I accept the job? There are also a few things that bother me:

1) The working hours are listed as 7 hours but counting lunch (40 min) and 1 hour of daily lesson planning, etc., total adds up to is 8 hours a day. Is it shady that exact hours are not listed?

2) If it is a new hagwon, will I end up bearing a heavier responsibility for lesson planning, even though director says that they provide books from other programs?

3) There is no location listed on the contract (except 'Korea') OR the level of learners I will be teaching, even though it was discussed

4) It does not list when and how airfare will be reimbursed. Do these details need to be in the contract?

5) Tax rate is listed as 3.3%, at the most basic salary, which makes me worry about them listing me as an independent contractor. Does being a new hagwon have anything to do with this?

I would appreciate the advice. It's my first time teaching abroad and I don't want it to be a nightmare.

Thank you so much!

Online SuperDoodle23

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Re: Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2018, 03:02:59 PM »
I would strongly recommend avoiding working at a hagwon that doesn't have a good track record. This combined with you being new is going to be a recipe for disaster. Hagwons in Korea are all over the place. They are constantly opening and closing. There is absolutely no need to take such a gamble like this. Some people in Korea open up hagwons and they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I think it is a bit risky to work at any hagwon and a newly opened one just compounds that risk. Part of what you should look for in a hagwon is making sure that the owners and management are not complete idiots when it comes to managing the business. You are basically going into this blind. My advice is give it a pass and go with one that has a good record.

This is just a shot in the dark here, but is this school in Songdo by chance?

Online mikeycknowsrnb

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Re: Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2018, 05:52:01 PM »
I think you answered your own question. Don't take it if you have to ask so many questions. Trust your gut and pass this one up.

Offline Cyanea

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Re: Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2018, 07:10:09 PM »
2) If it is a new hagwon, will I end up bearing a heavier responsibility for lesson planning, even though director says that they provide books from other programs?

A. If they provide books then you will likely have to choose books for each class and devise a schedule for the coming months. New hogwons are typically not so well organized. Wherever you work though, you will have to do lesson planning anyway.


I have worked at two new start-up hogwons in my time. This is what I noticed.

1. Lack of experience. The managers often lack experience. Koreans tend to start businesses even if they have no qualifications and little know-how. So this increases the chance of them being out-competed by the established chains.

2. Isolation. Often start-up hogwons are small operations that can only afford one waygook. Thats fine if you're used to being on your own in a foreign country. If you're new to Korea you're better off working in a chain school with several other FT's that know the ropes.

3.  High expectations. You might be their first waygook, a big investment. They will expect you to be their magic bullet. they will want you to be "charismatic", high energy, always smiling, popular, entertaining etc etc.

4. Pay problems. This is more likely at a startup academy. If they struggle, they will expect you to demonstrate your loyalty by helping bear the strain and putting up with late, delayed, or non-payments.

5. Non-completion of contract. New hogwons are more likely to fold so you might find yourself jobless before your year is up. No, this doesn't mean you get pro-rated severance.
Catch my drift?

Offline Bulldogs12

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Re: Is it risky to work at a newly opened hagwon?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 06:08:56 PM »
Don't do it! I did it and lasted for 11 months as the English part of a new YBM ECC in Asan was losing money (the maths section made a lot of money in comparison). It think there was a lot of competition there for a quiet area and less younger children. I did get paid a return flight, severance and my pension, just not my last month as I didn't work so I was lucky compared to most in the end (I had also been in Korea before so I also reminded the boss from time to time what was owed to me when I knew things weren't going well for the business).