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Author Topic: Why do people stay working at hagwons?  (Read 13845 times)

Offline DingALing

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Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« on: March 18, 2012, 04:08:12 PM »
You hear people claim that public schools are far easier than hagwons, do why do people continue to work at hagwons after their first year in Korea?

Yes, you are more likely to find a position in Seoul, but if you find a public school just outside of Sepul, then you can just ride the subway/bus to wherever in Seoul you want to go. You will also likely be done work earlier than a hagwon, so the transportation time shouldn't be an issue.

Offline travelista

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2012, 04:21:36 PM »
I think it really just depends on your preferences and experiences. I worked for two years at a hagwon and am at a public school now. I loved the hagwon I was at, got along great with my co-workers and enjoyed working the afternoon hours. The only reason I came to public school is for more vacation time. I think I actually do much more work and have longer hours working in the public school system, but I am still really enjoying it.
I know some friends who worked in public school and then switched to hagwons because they liked the hours better and got paid more. For me, I really want the vacation time, otherwise I would have had no reason to change:)

Offline Rusty Shackleford

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 04:26:23 PM »
The best hagwon is probably better than the average PS. My buddy's new GF works at a crapwon with a turn over rate of 90% a year. Even the K teachers do mid night runs. She just re-signed because she is American and couldn't be bothered getting an FBI check. So, there's that.

Online VanIslander

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 04:51:38 PM »
8 to 12 students per class;
classes divided into advanced, intermediate and beginner rather than mixed together;
in and out of the building in six hours flat;
never work mornings;
little office politics 'cuz no coteachers, no meetings;
pre-visit classroom and apartment (and boss!) prior to accepting position to ensure everything meets one's conditions;
start new jobs any time of the year, taking as many months off between positions as desired;
easy as hell to get by simply walking in and expressing interest.

I'm in my 10th year of hagwoning with no end in sight.  :D
« Last Edit: March 18, 2012, 04:55:39 PM by VanIslander »

Offline JahRhythm

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 05:06:04 PM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.


We teach EFL not ESL. Hagwon and "Private School" are not synonymous. Not everyone works in either a hagwon or public school. Immigration Question? Call 1345.

Offline master pandemonium

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2012, 06:58:10 PM »
Van Islander is right on the mark. I've worked in Korea a long time(with many 6 month breaks between contracts) and I only work hagwons. Next to porn, it is probably one of the easiest jobs in the world..if...and it is a big if...you work for a good hagwon. You get a good hagwon, stick with it. The only thing that a public school beats my hagwon is the vacation time...and that is okay because I don't really need a lot of vacation time...just as long as I can take a week long vacation to Thailand or someplace, that is good enough for me. I would rather have an afternoon schedule, small classes, only being at work for 6 hours a day, better pay, etc than just getting more vacation time. I guess it just works for me. Some people can't stand hagwons, but I enjoy them. I will never work public school in Korea. How do you guys deal with getting up so early in the morning? That's a deal breaker for me.

Offline travelista

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2012, 08:06:27 PM »
I'm getting paid slightly more at public school now, but that's due to my work experience at a hagwon.

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2012, 09:49:27 PM »
There's advantages to hagwons like have been highlighted.

I stayed at a kindy/hagwon for two years, despite some difficulties with management (I was a sucker for the perks).

M/W/F I worked 10-5
T/TH I worked 10-4
That included 45 minutes for lunch everyday with the choice to bring lunch, go out to eat, or eat the school's lunch for free (not that great, but was occasionally ok).

That's 33 hours a week at work.  I made 2.2 million my first year, 2.4 million my second year. 

I taught straight through in the morning for 2 hours, had lunch, then taught in the afternoon with limited breaktime.
My kindy classes were 20-30 minutes, and hagwon classes (elementary) were 50 minutes or 90 minutes (the 90min was three times a week).
The kindy was a breeze, kids were fantastic, the teaching was very straightforward with little planning required and room for movement.
The hagwon classes were pretty good, too.  Kids were high-level and well-behaved.

All of the classes, except one, were less than 10-12 students. I saw most kids everyday, so I knew all their names and personalities.

So, the work itself was low-stress and rewarding, the hours were low and I made pretty good money for someone with only bare-minimum qualifications.  I also got to live in a very nice city.  14 days of vacation wasn't too shabby.

Why did I go to public school.  Let's just say the process of getting the money I was owed in a hagwon was not so low-stress.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Offline Jrong

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2012, 02:50:13 AM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.
What about Afterschool programs? I've heard only bad things about them online...but only good things about them from people face to face :). Interesting how that is. I guess I'll find out really soon.
"When in doubt...ask Troglodyte" ~0mnslnd

Offline Cereal

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 10:52:11 AM »
The thing I like about the Public School system is that so many classes, and at times entire days, get cancelled.

Also, I'm a morning person and usually in bed by 9-9:30pm, read for a bit and asleep at 10'ish  :-[ I never party on a work night because I hate working feeling under the weather at work, unlike many of my male K colleagues!

Plus my PS is very rural and relaxed.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge."
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Offline Jeff619

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 11:11:32 AM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.
What about Afterschool programs? I've heard only bad things about them online...but only good things about them from people face to face :). Interesting how that is. I guess I'll find out really soon.
I started an after school program this year and so far it has been really good.  I've worked hakwons and public school as well.  I really liked all of my experiences, with good things and bad things about each.  I loved my hakwon but I worked a split shift....from 6:30am-11:00 then again from 7pm-10pm.  The hours were hell but everything else was good.  I liked it in the summer because I had the afternoons free.  Public school has a lot of vacation, but I didn't like dealing with a lot of the regulations and constantly changing schedule everyday.  I like the after school program because I'm working from 1-5:30 and making much more money than I did at any of my previous schools.  I can sleep in late and still be home before my wife finishes work so we can spend much more time together. 

Offline Andyroo

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2012, 11:37:32 AM »
You also are likely to work with other foreigners and probably more importantly work for an organisation that is quite experienced with dealing with them.

The other staff are friendly enough at my public school but unless Soju is involved it's mainly very shallow conversations.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 08:19:16 AM by Andyroo »

Offline Lurch

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 07:43:09 AM »
Public school classes are much larger than hagwon classes and at hagwons you generally see those students more often as well.  I saw more student progress in my two years at a hagwon than I have in my five years in public school.  In public school, there are some students I've taught three years straight, and still know little about.  That never happened in the hagwon.  In some ways, teaching in hagwons is a much more rewarding teaching experience.

Offline Yu_Bumsuk

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 08:07:39 AM »
Also, I'm a morning person and usually in bed by 9-9:30pm, read for a bit and asleep at 10'ish 

My students think it's hilarious that I usually go to bed around ten. 'You are like child' one of them told me. Most of mine go to bed around 12-2AM.

Offline Andyroo

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 08:20:14 AM »
Also, I'm a morning person and usually in bed by 9-9:30pm, read for a bit and asleep at 10'ish 

My students think it's hilarious that I usually go to bed around ten. 'You are like child' one of them told me. Most of mine go to bed around 12-2AM.

Korean TV prime time seems to be 10pm - 11 pm.

As in that's when the shows start.

Offline reb3444

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2012, 08:44:36 AM »
I find that working at public school is better for me personally.  I worked at a hagwon for two and a half years, and it was good for the most part.  I have to agree that they are more use to working with Americans and know how Americans think and how to present Korean Culture to the Americans that were working at the hagwon.  I found the hagwon to be very good and the Korean staff always interested in knowing more about where I was from. 

Now, besides that, I thought working a split shift and teaching 33 hours a week was a little too much.  I didn't have any chance to expand on the lessons nor make my own lessons.  I found it to monotone for me.  I like Public School, because I interact with the teachers more and I get to plan my own lessons and make materials that I want.  I also think that I have the chance to make more money than at hagwon.  I can do after school classes, which is basically more money for me. 

I will say, I enjoyed hagwon, but I prefer public school.  I think it is really the person, and what they like and don't like. 

Offline Mountain Crocodile

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2012, 08:47:07 AM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.

+1

Though I would understand why people would want to stay in a hogwan, you need to really consider that your employment history in a non-accredited educational institution has little to no weight for your career.  With thousands of horror stories, it's easier to just pass on you and go for someone with more reputable experience.

It's tempting to stay for the money, but over time you are stuck in a dead-end job, with little to no chance for any real professional development.  You have enough to 'play' with your salary, but you can't really develop much as a person (buy a house, car, future study) without having to count your pennies and such.  You're also worked like a line worker.  Go teach, dance and keep the kiddies happy.  It's somewhat similar to those people wearing cartoon costumes on the street.  Extremely sad.

IF you are able to stay here for a long time, get into a proper institution.  There ARE lots of professional positions for REAL companies as stated above.  But the mom & pop shops are great for short term, but the real cost can be damaging.  10 years in a hogwan may sound admiralbe because you love it, but when you get older, need more and realize you have little to nothing to show for it you realize that later in your 30's you've missed the boat teaching fruits and animals.

Very sad.

MC

Offline matieu

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2012, 08:57:55 AM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.

+1

Though I would understand why people would want to stay in a hogwan, you need to really consider that your employment history in a non-accredited educational institution has little to no weight for your career.  With thousands of horror stories, it's easier to just pass on you and go for someone with more reputable experience.

It's tempting to stay for the money, but over time you are stuck in a dead-end job, with little to no chance for any real professional development.  You have enough to 'play' with your salary, but you can't really develop much as a person (buy a house, car, future study) without having to count your pennies and such.  You're also worked like a line worker.  Go teach, dance and keep the kiddies happy.  It's somewhat similar to those people wearing cartoon costumes on the street.  Extremely sad.

IF you are able to stay here for a long time, get into a proper institution.  There ARE lots of professional positions for REAL companies as stated above.  But the mom & pop shops are great for short term, but the real cost can be damaging.  10 years in a hogwan may sound admiralbe because you love it, but when you get older, need more and realize you have little to nothing to show for it you realize that later in your 30's you've missed the boat teaching fruits and animals.

Very sad.[/b]
MC

V[Very true indeed, I've just been thinking about this a lot recently and it's why I will leave Korea after 3 years teaching here. It's good whilst you're here, a comfotable lifestyle etc etc however I think ultimately you end up in a comfortable rut. There isn't much room for advancement and I feel and worry that after a certain amount of time you are only damaging your chances at making it in the real world later in life. You can't really make a career out of teaching esl in Korea unless you plan on working here for life and retiring here  :o

Offline Jeff619

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2012, 10:07:51 AM »
Ugh. Just want to point out for the umpteenth time that there are many teaching positions outside of hagwon/public school gigs for those with qualifications and/or experience.

+1

Though I would understand why people would want to stay in a hogwan, you need to really consider that your employment history in a non-accredited educational institution has little to no weight for your career.  With thousands of horror stories, it's easier to just pass on you and go for someone with more reputable experience.

It's tempting to stay for the money, but over time you are stuck in a dead-end job, with little to no chance for any real professional development.  You have enough to 'play' with your salary, but you can't really develop much as a person (buy a house, car, future study) without having to count your pennies and such.  You're also worked like a line worker.  Go teach, dance and keep the kiddies happy.  It's somewhat similar to those people wearing cartoon costumes on the street.  Extremely sad.

IF you are able to stay here for a long time, get into a proper institution.  There ARE lots of professional positions for REAL companies as stated above.  But the mom & pop shops are great for short term, but the real cost can be damaging.  10 years in a hogwan may sound admiralbe because you love it, but when you get older, need more and realize you have little to nothing to show for it you realize that later in your 30's you've missed the boat teaching fruits and animals.

Very sad.[/b]
MC

V[Very true indeed, I've just been thinking about this a lot recently and it's why I will leave Korea after 3 years teaching here. It's good whilst you're here, a comfotable lifestyle etc etc however I think ultimately you end up in a comfortable rut. There isn't much room for advancement and I feel and worry that after a certain amount of time you are only damaging your chances at making it in the real world later in life. You can't really make a career out of teaching esl in Korea unless you plan on working here for life and retiring here  :o
I'm going through that now.  I got married here and of course there are no regrets about that at all.  But when I got married I was sure I could stay here forever and eventually open my own school.  It's still a possibility but lately I'm worried that I just won't be happy teaching ESL forever.  At least if I went back to the US I'd have a better retirement plan and maybe a job that would be more fulfilling.  After being here, though, I wonder how well my ESL teaching skills would translate into something back home. 

Offline Mountain Crocodile

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Re: Why do people stay working at hagwons?
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2012, 10:13:30 AM »
That's if you worked in non-accredited institutions.  If you worked for a proper company, gov't agency (not EPIK, but something that requires real work), or university (not unigwon) then you can use that as real experience since it's not super easy to get and requires some degree of qualification, you can use that to your advantage.

You *should* upgrade your credentials while here.  I cannot emphasize how important it is to do that.  Otherwise you're just spinning your wheels from season to season with nothing to really show for it.  Over time, people leave towards home for other opportunities and you're 'stuck' witht the same credentials and relevent experience aswhen you first arrived.  Your savings spent on holidays to recover from stress.

I'm actually finishing this August my studies.  After that, I have to seriously think of what I'd like to do for the next 25 years.  There's so much opportunity to consider, that my wife is somewhat worried as to what she'll do herself.  It's sort of that feeling you get as described in the movie of when you throw the dice with that moment of time before you see what comes up.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes next.

MC