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Career Venue => Contract, and Job Related Issues => Topic started by: Sagi Keun on March 04, 2022, 03:08:43 pm

Title: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Sagi Keun on March 04, 2022, 03:08:43 pm

What in your view is the main mismanagement issue at hogwons?
To me that's easy.

1. The middle manager. Most schools appoint a manager on the cheap, who must answer to the owner and get results. I know its a difficult position but almost invariably they are in it for theri own ego. This means they either bully or oppress the staff while having little or no management experience or ability.

2. Obsession with paperwork. Many Koreans think work = typing everything onto paper.. which nobody ever reads. Often poor managers make up for their lack of skills by resorting to excessive paperwork. They don't seem to get that writing lengthy lesson plans and daily reports every day is mostly unnecessary, exhausting and time wasting. Its simply the wrong focus for a school.

3.  A reliance on rules. Once again, a long list of rules does not make a good school. Teaching young people is a dynamic environment that needs flexibility and adaptibility. There is no one size fits all. Usually it is inexperienced and unskilled management that thinks a rules system is all they need.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Savant on March 04, 2022, 05:20:57 pm
There are no mistakes in communism…um, I mean…communication.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: VanIslander on March 05, 2022, 05:33:47 pm
... uh... uh... uh...

I have been teaching in only hagwons here since December 2002 and NONE of those 3 apply.

If you work in a smaller hagwon, there is no middle manager. There is a receptionist who also takes on office manager duties, but she (has always been a woman where I've worked) is a fountain of help, a real trooper in times of need. Paperwork? I never had to put ink on paper until my 15th year (other than the yearly contract), but this hagwon needs two-line prep and review notes, and coronovirus negative symptoms checks. Rules? ... I rule my classroom. No one has ever told me what to do or not do, other than finish on time (am sometimes late) and give - or don't give - homework (different hagwons have different such preferences).

I was told at my first hagwon on Day 1 to use the audio cassette and computer DVD (this was 2002) and I said flatly "Thanks but I'll only use the book" and acted out the scenes with myself and the more courageous students (as the only foreigner they had just paid to fly overseas, i knew i had leverage).

I visit every hagwon BEFORE accepting a job (except my first, which i interviewed on phone the previous foreigner, a famous ESL Cafe/book author who later went to China and supposedly fell off a building to his death). It is important to find a great match between employer and employee.

My beef with hagwons? ...   ... The dinner break is sometimes 10 minutes long. ... Can't think of anything else (based on my experience - i have had beers over horror stories, but in each case, the teacher has been a bit oblivious to the culture and added fuel rather than water to fire.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kyndo on March 07, 2022, 08:23:54 am
What in your view is the main mismanagement issue at hogwons?
To me that's easy.

1. The middle manager. Most schools appoint a manager on the cheap, who must answer to the owner and get results. I know its a difficult position but almost invariably they are in it for theri own ego. This means they either bully or oppress the staff while having little or no management experience or ability.

2. Obsession with paperwork. Many Koreans think work = typing everything onto paper.. which nobody ever reads. Often poor managers make up for their lack of skills by resorting to excessive paperwork. They don't seem to get that writing lengthy lesson plans and daily reports every day is mostly unnecessary, exhausting and time wasting. Its simply the wrong focus for a school.

3.  A reliance on rules. Once again, a long list of rules does not make a good school. Teaching young people is a dynamic environment that needs flexibility and adaptibility. There is no one size fits all. Usually it is inexperienced and unskilled management that thinks a rules system is all they need.

These three issues brings to mind a situation that I somehow got wrapped up in while working for an eikaiwa in a resort town near Nagano.
These big corporations typically treat their branch school managers (who are invariably young women) like total crap. The manager at my school would, after phone calls from headquarters, be a mess for the rest of the day. Her job was brutal, so it wasn't a huge surprise when she left on zero notice (zero notice to upper management, that is: we'd spent a lot of time figuring out and completing the student visa application process to Aus lol).

This meant that my branch was effectively without a manager, and seeing as I was the only teacher there, it was also without a native Japanese speaker.
I basically showed up to work as usual, got a set of keys from the mall security, and taught lessons until closing time, when I looked it up behind me.
When students had to renew, I had their parents help me figure out which papers they had to get, and let them sort it out with the regional HQ while I just kinda rubber stamped everything. Needless to say, for those months, the parents of renewing students probably gave themselves some seriously sweet deals.
  I "did" crap tonnes of paperwork -- soooo much paperwork! -- none of which I understood or even could read, all with the help of various parents (who were all awesome, all seemed to know each other, and all did things together outside of the school, including, probably, colluding to rip off the franchise during that period lol).

  It was a surreal bunch of months, for which I got paid a lot of money for doing all sorts of things that I did not and still don't understand.
  But yeah, paperwork, excessive regulations, and poorly treated lower management.

(https://edutechniques.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/e8df23cc-9bfe-4776-ae54-22d67d47f15a-6442-000008859e923c5f.png)
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Augustiner on March 07, 2022, 11:21:18 am
This was accidentally deleted.  Surely, mods can't just delete posts because they don't like being contradicted.  We follow the T.O.S., correct? 

Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: kevingrabb on March 07, 2022, 12:11:11 pm
Why the hell was that deleted?
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Augustiner on March 07, 2022, 12:16:21 pm
Why the hell was that deleted?

I'm sure it was just a glitch or technical malfunction.  I'll go with benefit of the doubt here.  I'm sure no one could be so sensitive as to delete posts just because they argue against their own posts.  If that's now against the T.O.S. there are whole threads that are going to get wiped out. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kyndo on March 07, 2022, 12:18:17 pm
Because "hakwan". Hurts the eyes, it does.

(https://thumbs.gfycat.com/ElectricDarkDormouse-size_restricted.gif)
NB: I'm not being serious. I don't know the answer.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Augustiner on March 07, 2022, 12:36:29 pm
Because "hakwan". Hurts the eyes, it does.

(https://thumbs.gfycat.com/ElectricDarkDormouse-size_restricted.gif)
NB: I'm not being serious. I don't know the answer.

Off topic, but on a related note, this being brought up again for the 473rd time in a Korean ESL Forum is even more painful.  Hakwan, hagwan, hogwon...The only people that care are those foreigners you tend to duck from when you spot them because they want to tell about how much of the Korean language they've mastered.  You know, the ones that when someone says Latte Mart they pretend they mean a coffee shop so that they act surprised when they "get" that you mean Lotte Mart.  That literally happened to me in my second year.  This tool kept trying to pretend he didn't know where I was talking about so I just pointed to the Lotte Mart across the street and he was like "Ohhh, Lotte Mart."  Needless to say I made no attempt to hang out with that douche. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kyndo on March 07, 2022, 12:43:04 pm
Yeah, hahah, what a douche! *nervous laughter*
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Augustiner on March 07, 2022, 12:55:53 pm
Yeah, hahah, what a douche! *nervous laughter*

HaHa, I knew you sounded familiar.  Anyways, now that I've moved up in the world I do all my grocery shopping in the food basements at ShinShingay Deparment Stores so you won't catch me out again. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: WhenInRome... on March 07, 2022, 01:24:56 pm
... uh... uh... uh...

I have been teaching in only hagwons here since December 2002 and NONE of those 3 apply.

If you work in a smaller hagwon, there is no middle manager. There is a receptionist who also takes on office manager duties, but she (has always been a woman where I've worked) is a fountain of help, a real trooper in times of need. Paperwork? I never had to put ink on paper until my 15th year (other than the yearly contract), but this hagwon needs two-line prep and review notes, and coronovirus negative symptoms checks. Rules? ... I rule my classroom. No one has ever told me what to do or not do, other than finish on time (am sometimes late) and give - or don't give - homework (different hagwons have different such preferences).

I was told at my first hagwon on Day 1 to use the audio cassette and computer DVD (this was 2002) and I said flatly "Thanks but I'll only use the book" and acted out the scenes with myself and the more courageous students (as the only foreigner they had just paid to fly overseas, i knew i had leverage).

I visit every hagwon BEFORE accepting a job (except my first, which i interviewed on phone the previous foreigner, a famous ESL Cafe/book author who later went to China and supposedly fell off a building to his death). It is important to find a great match between employer and employee.

My beef with hagwons? ...   ... The dinner break is sometimes 10 minutes long. ... Can't think of anything else (based on my experience - i have had beers over horror stories, but in each case, the teacher has been a bit oblivious to the culture and added fuel rather than water to fire.

You lie to my face! My very face! My very hairy, scary face! How dare you!

Your happy-go-lucky attitude doesn't quite add up. We know. The deletions give you away. They wore you down, and no matter how many times you put on this happy face, you know deep down we are the same, you and I. We got in daily. Oh boy, did we ever get it. How they laughed as we cried. In your case you had a Korando, but I had no such luck. At first it was the woods, where only the small animals heard my yelps. Then it was my shoebox. It muffled my cries, but the neighbors heard. Did they help? Were they concerned? Of course not. They merely turned up the volume of the tv, so the people on screen eating food only munched louder. I cried and they ate. They ate so much. Now I'm almost back in the woods. But at least there I'm away from the ears of the people who never listened. They heard. They heard much. Never listening, though.

Keywords: Korando, Hagwon.

Come at me, bros.

  8)
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kayos on March 07, 2022, 02:00:14 pm
Off topic, but on a related note, this being brought up again for the 473rd time in a Korean ESL Forum is even more painful.  Hakwan, hagwan, hogwon...The only people that care are those foreigners you tend to duck from when you spot them because they want to tell about how much of the Korean language they've mastered.  You know, the ones that when someone says Latte Mart they pretend they mean a coffee shop so that they act surprised when they "get" that you mean Lotte Mart.  That literally happened to me in my second year.  This tool kept trying to pretend he didn't know where I was talking about so I just pointed to the Lotte Mart across the street and he was like "Ohhh, Lotte Mart."  Needless to say I made no attempt to hang out with that douche.

In my second year in Korea, I went to Myeongdong in Seoul, and there was a 50 something year foreigner walking around a busy area, and he'd go up to other foreigners asking why they are in Korea, if they stated living here, he'd ask if they teach English, if they confirmed it, he started screaming and berating them and would follow them screaming until they ignored him enough, then he'd go back to the area and look for the next foreigner.

On topic: My experience with a hagwon-like place, was management being extremely greedy and screwing over teachers. They bait and switched contracts for people coming in overseas. I think, out of all the people in my training group, only 2 people stayed past the orientation, everyone else walked out on the last day after they gave us the terrible contracts that cut out the things we negotiated. Of the 2 people who stayed, 1 person left after a year, the other done multiple years - she was clinically diagnosed with depression and couldn't get public school work and was finding hagwon work hard to find, and her boyfriend, now husband, was a native to the country. But yeah, the revised contract gave no sick days, you had to pay the company if you were sick and missed work, you had to rent their teaching materials to use in class - you weren't allowed to make and use your own and had to use the rented materials, the pay was reduced by about 20% compared to what they sent in the email / on their job ad, vacation was slashed, was like 2 days summer and winter, and they scheduled them on your weekend
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: T_Rex on March 08, 2022, 05:29:46 am
I visit every hagwon BEFORE accepting a job (except my first, which i interviewed on phone the previous foreigner, a famous ESL Cafe/book author who later went to China and supposedly fell off a building to his death).
I remember hearing about a teacher who jumped off a building. I think he had been cyberbullied by other teachers.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Renma on March 08, 2022, 09:34:46 am
I'm sure it was just a glitch or technical malfunction.  I'll go with benefit of the doubt here.  I'm sure no one could be so sensitive as to delete posts just because they argue against their own posts.  If that's now against the T.O.S. there are whole threads that are going to get wiped out. 

Classic Van

  8)

 :shocked:
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Mr.DeMartino on March 08, 2022, 01:35:31 pm
What in your view is the main mismanagement issue at hogwons?
To me that's easy.

1. The middle manager. Most schools appoint a manager on the cheap, who must answer to the owner and get results. I know its a difficult position but almost invariably they are in it for theri own ego. This means they either bully or oppress the staff while having little or no management experience or ability.

2. Obsession with paperwork. Many Koreans think work = typing everything onto paper.. which nobody ever reads. Often poor managers make up for their lack of skills by resorting to excessive paperwork. They don't seem to get that writing lengthy lesson plans and daily reports every day is mostly unnecessary, exhausting and time wasting. Its simply the wrong focus for a school.

3.  A reliance on rules. Once again, a long list of rules does not make a good school. Teaching young people is a dynamic environment that needs flexibility and adaptibility. There is no one size fits all. Usually it is inexperienced and unskilled management that thinks a rules system is all they need.
Doesn't this describe pretty much any bureaucracy and most corporate structures? I don't think obsessive record keeping is unique to Korean academies.

"Why are they so obsessed with rules? Gets in the way."
"Why aren't they following the rules? It creates chaos!"

"Why are they having us keeping records of everything?"
"Why are there no records? Who is organizing things here?"

Middle management is indeed a problem, but you have to have someone in charge...
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Mr C on March 08, 2022, 04:02:01 pm
Doesn't this describe pretty much any bureaucracy and most corporate structures? I don't think obsessive record keeping is unique to Korean academies.

"Why are they so obsessed with rules? Gets in the way."
"Why aren't they following the rules? It creates chaos!"

"Why are they having us keeping records of everything?"
"Why are there no records? Who is organizing things here?"

Middle management is indeed a problem, but you have to have someone in charge...

Couple this with the Peter Principle and it explains a lot. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: 745sticky on March 10, 2022, 09:40:51 am
Doesn't this describe pretty much any bureaucracy and most corporate structures? I don't think obsessive record keeping is unique to Korean academies.

depends on the corporate structure, i guess. some of those silicon valley types like to get weird with it.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: hangook77 on March 14, 2022, 12:07:47 pm
What in your view is the main mismanagement issue at hogwons?
To me that's easy.

1. The middle manager. Most schools appoint a manager on the cheap, who must answer to the owner and get results. I know its a difficult position but almost invariably they are in it for theri own ego. This means they either bully or oppress the staff while having little or no management experience or ability.

2. Obsession with paperwork. Many Koreans think work = typing everything onto paper.. which nobody ever reads. Often poor managers make up for their lack of skills by resorting to excessive paperwork. They don't seem to get that writing lengthy lesson plans and daily reports every day is mostly unnecessary, exhausting and time wasting. Its simply the wrong focus for a school.

3.  A reliance on rules. Once again, a long list of rules does not make a good school. Teaching young people is a dynamic environment that needs flexibility and adaptibility. There is no one size fits all. Usually it is inexperienced and unskilled management that thinks a rules system is all they need.

Well, that is why they are paying too low.  I remember my friend and his Korean wife had one years ago.  They had no manager.  They just had a Korean teacher and a foreign teacher.  They even paid a little more due to being in a small town.  The Korean teacher wrote some stuff down.  The Korean wife did some consultations with parents once in a while.  But except for a monthly lesson plan for the parents, I don't recall them doing too much.  The Korean and the foreigner had to prep some slightly extra material for class.  But they were paid a bit above average for the time and made a decant pay.  Owner still had plenty of profits.  I never understood a manager, receptionist , nor all these other ad ons.  No wonder they can't pay the teachers what they are worth.  Take the money saved and beef up the salaries. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kyndo on March 14, 2022, 12:25:11 pm
What with the new president's suggestion of scrapping the minimum wage and drastically increasing work-week hours (https://www.businessinsider.com/koreas-new-president-people-work-120-hours-a-week-2022-3), we can expect more low-ball slave job offers soon.
In three or four years we'll all be like "Remember back in the day when all the new ESL teachers were being paid 2.1 million? And for only 40 hours a week! Man, they just didn't know how good they had it!"
 :laugh: :sad:
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: hangook77 on March 17, 2022, 12:12:34 pm
What with the new president's suggestion of scrapping the minimum wage and drastically increasing work-week hours (https://www.businessinsider.com/koreas-new-president-people-work-120-hours-a-week-2022-3), we can expect more low-ball slave job offers soon.
In three or four years we'll all be like "Remember back in the day when all the new ESL teachers were being paid 2.1 million? And for only 40 hours a week! Man, they just didn't know how good they had it!"
 :laugh: :sad:

You know Koreans, bold suggestions, controversy, duck and retreat.  There will still be a minimum wage then but it will be lower than if the other guy had of won. 
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Kyndo on March 17, 2022, 01:13:40 pm
You know Koreans, bold suggestions, controversy, duck and retreat.  There will still be a minimum wage then but it will be lower than if the other guy had of won. 
It's absolutely a par for the course kind of thing in politics in general.
Still, it does show the direction this administration wants to take things, and it's not a direction most of us ESLers would be terribly happy with.  :sad:
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: L I on March 17, 2022, 05:28:26 pm
Future ESLers Anthem?: ‘2.1 Blues’

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HSDBq2NpabA

There once was a time when everything was cheap
But now prices almost puts a man to sleep
When we pay our grocery bill
We just feel like making our will
Tell me how can a poor man stand such times and live?
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Geonuts on March 21, 2022, 01:50:17 pm
In my case, having a manager that...

1. Speaks horrible English
2. Is never present half the time
3. Habitually makes mistakes and expects everyone to understand it's "normal"
4. Ironically intolerable of other people making mistakes, even if it's only twice a year
5. Very emotional

She makes life hell. The adult students are angels, and they keep me here.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: Sagi Keun on March 22, 2022, 10:19:32 am
Well, that is why they are paying too low.  I remember my friend and his Korean wife had one years ago.  They had no manager.  They just had a Korean teacher and a foreign teacher.  They even paid a little more due to being in a small town.  The Korean teacher wrote some stuff down.  The Korean wife did some consultations with parents once in a while.  But except for a monthly lesson plan for the parents, I don't recall them doing too much.  The Korean and the foreigner had to prep some slightly extra material for class.  But they were paid a bit above average for the time and made a decant pay.  Owner still had plenty of profits.  I never understood a manager, receptionist , nor all these other ad ons.  No wonder they can't pay the teachers what they are worth.  Take the money saved and beef up the salaries. 

Indeed. Most schools here are top-heavy. Sometimes there are more managers than actual teachers, its absurd. Because the Korean obsession with status.

My school downsized over the course of two years. They shed a director, 2 supervisors, a manager and a receptionist.

The school actually started to run better, because the teachers were able to just get on with it without interference from management.

I was amazed to realize that most workers simply do not need to be told what to do.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: VanIslander on April 06, 2022, 11:12:44 am
I ignore every form reply: "we have received your application" or "thank you for your..."

I cut threw the noise and reply by email asap.
(I talk like an expert but i only got positions in 2002, 2006, 2009 and 2017.) I went to Seogwipo and interviewed in person, seeing the classroom and apartment and meeting the director/owner.

Use your leverage. If it is timing: tell them you want to interview tomorrow morning. If it is distance, tell them you can drop by asap. If it is timing, tell them you can start tomorrow! If it is education, go to Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong ior other ESL destination that g.a.f. about CELTA or experience.
Title: Re: The classic management mistake at academies?
Post by: hangook77 on April 08, 2022, 11:53:03 am
Indeed. Most schools here are top-heavy. Sometimes there are more managers than actual teachers, its absurd. Because the Korean obsession with status.

My school downsized over the course of two years. They shed a director, 2 supervisors, a manager and a receptionist.

The school actually started to run better, because the teachers were able to just get on with it without interference from management.

I was amazed to realize that most workers simply do not need to be told what to do.


That makes sense, plus the money they save they can pay you teachers better.  I never understood all the layers.  It just leads to micromanaging and needling.  It would be better for you to do the book and prep some of your own materials, maybe grade a test or two - Some slightly more work) if they are actually willing to pay you. 

I remember the Korean teachers at that time were at 1.6 million to 1.8 million and the foreign teachers were at 2.3 to 2.5 million due to being in the country (normally it would have been 2.1 to 2.3).  Minimum wage fulltime was under 800,000 a month (over 1.9 million in 2022), migrant factory workers made 1.4 to 1.5 million a month (now 2.7 to over 3 million), taxis drivers and unionized bus drivers were around 2 million and now over 3 million.  My friend had no management layer in his academy just a Korean teacher and a foreign English teacher.  His wife did some consultation and some of the paperwork stuff herself.  They were raking in the money and paying slightly above average at the time. 

I would have to assume Korean teachers now are over 2 million to be over minimum wage?  In 2008 in the countryside (different in Seoul), I was told the bare minimum acceptable salary was 1.5 million won for a guy to be able to get married.  So, a teacher in the 1.6 to 1.8 mil range would be okay.  A waygook like me at 1.9 my first year was over the moon.  Ha ha.  (Public use to start out lower than hakwons then and they hired level 3s through a recruiter or whome ever.)