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Anyone know information about Kaylee English academy?
« on: October 19, 2017, 10:27:56 am »

I have an interview with Kaylee English academy tomorrow. There is little information on the academy on line, so I was wondering if anyone know anything about this particular school?
It's located in Cheonan-si, and I found it through ATOP recruiting.

If you know anything about the academy or ATOP, I would so appreciate it if you could tell me more about them! Thanks!

  • SPNIAN005
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • December 13, 2016, 02:44:29 am
    • Korea
Re: Anyone know information about Kaylee English academy?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2017, 08:46:59 pm »
I'm guessing this is a little late but they started out in October 2016 and I started working as the school opened. I only worked there for two months and had to leave due to personal issues.

I can't say I was particularly happy for the 2 months I was there. Being recently opened, I was the only teacher at the school. There wasn't really a solid curriculum in place. I found myself creating a lot of the materials which was tedious because I couldn't simply get materials off the internet, I had to make it from scratch to match other materials in the lesson. This took up a lot of my time in the evenings which I was not paid for. The lessons were 1.5 hours long and based on reading and listening in the first half, then textbook work in the second half, but again, there was no schedule to advise what textbook work should be done when. I felt that she was also disorganized with quite a few things, sometimes only telling me about tests or special lessons the day before which was inconvenient as I was the one who had to work into the morning to design them.

Moreover, I was promised a furnished apartment. When I got there, there wasn't a bed and the gas wasn't connected to the stove. I was sleeping on the floor on a duvet that I had to buy for the first three nights I stayed there. She eventually bought a small and hard single bed for me which was slightly more comfortable than the floor. She took two weeks to get somebody to come and connect the gas.

I was also promised a week of training which turned out to be a 5 minute video of the trainer giving instructions on how to run through the lessons which was absolutely useless. The trainer, who was a university student based in Seoul, did come for two training sessions after I had already worked there for a few weeks.

I did not have an assistant until the last 2 weeks which made the younger classes (ages 5-9) more difficult.

She said that there would not be any weekend work, but she pressured me on multiple occasions to do weekend work and would look annoyed if I advised that I was going away for the weekend.

There was little to no support in getting setup with things like my bank account. I had to struggle with bank employees for two days who spoke no English. She was very slow to get my work permit, which before I left, was not ready. This meant that I couldn't open a permanent bank account with full services like overseas transfers and I couldn't get a SIM card or phone package which made things difficult in terms of not having a mobile internet connection. She also had not arranged for my medical aid in the two months I was there but still took off money from my salary which she said was going towards that, never mind that it is illegal for a foreigner to work without medical aid.

I felt her communication skills were substandard. I remember getting into an argument with her over something she miscommunicated and she was trying to force me to take the blame for it, even after I pointed out the mistake to her. I'll be honest, we had several arguments that followed the same theme in which she would try to dump all responsibility on me when I felt that it was due to her being disorganized. I felt she was very disrespectful, condescending, degrading and threatening in these arguments to try and silence me. She told the trainer to give me a warning after the first argument for "talking back to her" which I think shows her insecurity. I know this hierarchy may be commonplace in Asian culture and I know a lot of people will say that if you go work overseas that you shouldn't try to impose your culture on a different country and to just suck it up or go home, but I only agree to this up to a point where your rights are respected, in this case, my right to speak my mind. I'm all for integrating cultures in the workplace, but not integrating aspects that I feel encroach on human rights.

Some of the positives: The apartment was right above the school which was convenient. It was also right above a 7-11, but it was far away from the centre of the city and any big department stores. Cheonan is 1 hour from Seoul which is great if you want to go there for the weekend. It is also on the KTX line which is useful for going to Seoul, Busan or anything in between. She paid for the airfare upfront which not many schools do in Korea.

I will say that Kaylee was quite vocal about making her school a success, but I just didn't feel like she was capable to manage a school on her own, and this really showed in her being very disorganized from the get go and not having a solid curriculum in place. The classrooms were ok, probably too small if you ask me. There wasn't a good flow in the classroom or the classroom was just too small. No shelving which I think would've helped. No computer provided, so I ended up using my laptop. There were TVs in the classrooms, but they were so small, I felt that they were just a waste of money. The boards weren't magnetized. So not really the classroom of a premier school as she advertised.

In conclusion, it has been a year since I worked there, so perhaps things have changed and she has straightened things out, but taking everything into consideration, I would not recommend working for her. She may have sorted things out like the curriculum, but I don't think her attitude to her workers will ever change. Compared to other schools I have worked for, I feel that Kaylee School was extremely disorganized in terms of communication and curriculum and the classrooms could have been better.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 08:49:48 pm by SPNIAN005 »

  • KSTeacher
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • January 18, 2018, 11:14:15 pm
    • Cheonan, South Korea
Re: Anyone know information about Kaylee English academy?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 11:35:44 pm »
I came across this post recently and thought I would give some light on the school. I read the previous post and saw that there was a great amount of misinformation that the previous instructor tried to spread in order to paint a very negative picture about the school. I have had a very positive experience so far and I will explain why.

First, I will comment on the previous poster’s comments and the truth of the situation, and then about the school.
I have been a teacher the school since it opened, and although he claims that he was the only teacher there, that was not the case. I was the first teacher there. I was hired as the head instructor as I had already taught in Gangnam for half a decade. Besides me, the school hired a fresh university graduate from South Africa. I’m not sure what his real name is as he used a different name on his ID and again another name on his SNS, and yet another name in his email.

In his post, he refers to me as a “university student based in Seoul.” At that point in time, I was working on my PhD thesis. I’m not sure if that makes me a “university student” as he claims. As I was working on my dissertation, we had separate schedules, and I had requested weekday and weekend classes as it fit my schedule better.

As for a 5-minute video, we actually had an hour long Skype session explaining how to run classes for the first few days. This was because the new instructor came to Korea extremely late, the day before classes began. This should have raised red flags for me, but I didn’t say much to the director as I like giving people the benefit of doubt.

The poster claims to have worked for two months and decided to leave for personal issues. Although this is what he claims, what really happened was he decided to stage a midnight run the day after he received his paycheck. I still remember this clearly because all of his classes were shifted onto me. Over the weekend, the teacher went on a snowboarding trip, received his pay on Monday night, and then on Tuesday AM (when everyone is sleeping) sends a text saying that he is on an airplane going home for “personal issues.” Interestingly enough, he did exactly the same as what you would be instructed to do so when you google “midnight run”.

The poster talks about making materials for class. I will say that this is false, as the curriculum and materials were already made. In fact, I was already using them in my classes and I did not have to make anything extra. The only thing that we were responsible for was vocabulary quizzes and review tests. As the school just opened, it is understandable that some things were disorganized but we had more than enough material for classes.

Actually, I want to emphasize the fact that as the school opened recently, we did not have full schedules. In fact, we taught on average 3-4 hours a day, which is half of what we were supposed to. Although we only taught half, the director paid us full salary. If we assume for a moment that there was not enough material for class, that means that the instructor could have used the remaining 3-4 hours of the working day looking for materials for class. Actually, I remember seeing this instructor come in and eat kimbap/rice cake while playing on his computer before classes and after classes instead of preparing for classes or looking over the material he was given to teach that day. This was another red flag, but I want to think that he was preparing for classes although I saw him just surfing the internet. This irks me as his behavior ruined it for us and the future instructors.

As for apartment, I also remember hearing the conversation that the instructor and director were having. The director ordered a new bed for the instructor before he arrived as the previous one was old and disgusting. The director constantly asked if there was anything uncomfortable or anything he needs help with, and the answer would always be the same, that everything is fine. As for a “work permit”, there is no such thing. That’s the VISA that you get before even coming to Korea. The teacher must be referring to the ARC, the Alien Registration Card, or your ID. The director and the instructor went to the immigration office the first week to register for the ARC. The director and the instructor went to make a Bank account and phone plan as soon as they got the ARC. The health insurance as sent in as soon as it was possible. If there were delays it’s because the Cheonan office takes some time to do this, so this was not the fault of the director.

The instructor talks about having an assistant. As most teachers already know, there are no Korean “assistants” in classrooms unless it’s a kindergarten, public school, or some special schools like POLY. We were expected to teach in the class without needing an assistant, and this was made clear to us at the start. However, the previous instructor showed that he was unable to handle the younger classes nor the older elementary students. I want to emphasize that as the school started recently, there were only 3-5 students per class. The previous instructor was unable to control 3-5 students in the classroom. This is why the poster wrote that there was no good flow in the class. That’s because he was unable to control or lead 3-5 students. I also want to state again that we taught on average 3-4 hours a day, out of an 8-hour working day, but still received full pay. This was another red flag of someone who was not fit to be a teacher, especially in a different country.

Actually, the “assistant” that went into his classes was the part-time worker, and we had no choice but to put her in as he was unable to control the classes. In fact, at that time the school got many parent phone calls about the classes and the teacher unable to “feel emotion” and is “like a robot.” In fact, the students just used Korean in class and spoke a lot of profanity. It was obvious that the students had no respect for this instructor. So, as the head teacher, I wanted to look out for him and wanted to have some training sessions together. So, every week (we met way more than just “2” times) I would try to help him with his classes when the classes ended on the weekday. As the instructor lived (literally) above the school, we asked him to come for training twice on Saturday.

Finally, the instructor comments about “speaking his mind” and “encroaching on human rights”. To this, I will say that yes, it is very important to adapt to a new culture and environment and it is good to integrate cultures. However, I had to give him a warning about “talking back” because he would just say “No” to the director or argue, on multiple occasions. For example, the director wanted to start writing for the young kids (teaching the ABCs and simple sentences to 1st kindergarten/1st graders) but the instructor said “No. They still need another month before they can learn to write.” Another example, the director wanted the teacher to focus on phonics (this was already in the curriculum/material and the students were unable to read) but the teacher just said No. This is coming from a first-time English teacher. In other cases, the teacher would agree, but will just ignore what the director requested. I am sure that there are other cases that I was not able to witness. I think that having to take that kind of attitude and be patient for nearly two months was really a struggle for us. The instructor showed no respect and no sense of responsibility. He also showed no effort in accepting Korean culture or learning about Korean culture. 

Another serious red flag for me was when designing the tests (we shared half and half) his tests would be made for high-school level students. But these were for elementary school students who were barely learning how to read.

In fact, I believe that it was he who was, in his own words, “very disrespectful, condescending, degrading, and threatening.”

In the end, I think it all worked out for the better. I understand if the previous poster had a negative experience. He was a first-time teacher straight out of university. He had no interest in learning about Korea or the culture. He had no interest in being a teacher. He was in a foreign country and unable to speak the language. I think that these are things that teachers should already think about before coming to teach in Korea. I hope that this instructor was able to find something that fit him better and hope that his midnight run did not affect him employment opportunities too much.

Personal Experience with the School:
I think that these experiences can highlight many of the positives about working at the school. Again, I have been working here since the school opened and am still working here (although not every day as I am still working on my PhD dissertation.)

First, I will mention about the “communication issues” with the director. Unlike most academies in Korea, the school director is able to speak English (maybe not 100% fluently, but able to communicate without any issues.) There are very little communication issues with the director if you are able to understand and adapt to Korean culture and work environment. I will say that instructors who held the double standard of wanting to receive Korean work benefits while expecting to be treated like an employee in America have had a hard time. This is the case for almost all academies in Korea. I think it's not really a communication issue, but class expectations. I think that as long as you are serious about the job then it's a good opportunity. If you are not then the school might not be right for you.

As a side note, it is for this reason that most academies in Korea usually pick either white (purely for image) or Korean-American teachers. In fact, the boutique (aka very high paying SAT/AP or English) academies in Gangnam and Bundang prefer hiring half to mostly Korean-American teachers as they already know Korean culture, can adapt to society well, and take the job and their responsibilities seriously.

But I will not say that communication issues arise purely because of Korean society. I will probably receive a lot of flak/criticism for this but it is true that the vast majority of English teachers in Korea come because they are unable to find a job in the US. Yes, there are teachers who come to experience Korea/new culture. Yes, there are teachers who come to Korea because they can make 80k/year teaching. But this is the minority and not the majority. Unfortunately, I think that the vast majority of teachers who come to Korea to teach aren’t really interested in teaching. They are more interested in having a very easy lifestyle in Korea. Thus, this leads to friction: many teachers just want to live in a relaxed way and don’t see teaching English as a real job while employers want their employees to take their job seriously.

Although there is nothing wrong with wanting a relaxing lifestyle, it is my personal opinion that you should only come to Korea to teach English if you are serious about the work as well. Not just at this school but all schools around Korea.

Second, I will comment about “disorganization”. I agree that at the start some things were disorganized as the school just opened and we were still trying to adapt to Cheonan’s education standards and the parents. We have our own textbooks and workbooks for our classes. The only hectic thing in the school is the constant parent phone calls that come in or the school buses being late.

Third, I will comment about the director. I think that she is very patient and has always been trying to give the benefit of doubt. Unfortunately, teachers have tried to abuse this or take this for granted and really killed it for some of us. She would frequently buy us meals, let us out early, or give us bonuses before holidays but some teachers took this for granted and thought it was their right and something they were entitled to.

She also cares a lot about the students and really cares about their learning. So, she has higher expectations of the teachers to provide good quality education. In turn, we are compensated well (relative to what we teach) and given many benefits. I think that this could be either good or bad. It is good if you are serious about teaching and want to be a good teacher. You will get a lot of job satisfaction. But, I don’t think the school will fit you if you are more interested in just having a relaxing job with no responsibility.

Working Hours and Location
One thing that I really like are the early work hours. In my experience, there are many horror stories about split schedules (working in the morning and then at night) or having to work until late or on the weekends. Actually, a great number of academies are from 4pm-10pm as that’s the only time students can come. The director wanted the teachers to have a life outside of the school and try to end all classes by 7:30 or 9. So, the working hours start earlier and end earlier than most academies in Korea (aside from kindergartens, etc.) We have no split schedules and no weekend work unless we request it for some extra pay.

The working hours are 8 hours a day, and we are expected to teach about 6 hours and the other two hours can be used to prepare for classes or make some tests. Often, the director lets us out early on Fridays when there are no classes (so no seat warming.)

We get a 5-minute break about every 45 minutes. In my experience, most academies only got breaks after every hour, so we get more breaks than other places.

As for location, the school is located in a suburban area of the city. It is about 5-10 minutes by car/taxi to the hotspots in Cheonan (I’m not sure why the other poster thinks this is far away.) Cheonan is 25 minutes away from Gangnam/Seoul by train and the train station only takes about 10 minutes to get to by taxi/car. If I time everything correctly, sometimes I can get to Seoul in 35 minutes from walking out my door, usually takes about 45 minutes though.

Cheonan is close to the center of Korea, it I think it’s a really nice place to live if you are interested in working on the weekdays and then exploring Korea on the weekends. If you are more interested in “big city” and not very interested in travelling in Korea, then Seoul might be better.

I hope this helps in making your decision. Best of luck.

« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 12:51:20 pm by KSTeacher »

  • SA2017
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • June 12, 2019, 08:26:33 am
Re: Anyone know information about Kaylee English academy?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2019, 04:07:31 am »
Just so you know, the only positive response is from one of the directors. He has made different accounts to leave positive reviews when 80% of it isn't true. I will say that their curriculum has potential. The school is beautiful and in a decent location. The director also does everything legally, so you don't have anything to worry about when it comes to that. Everything is pretty standard for an English hagwon. The only difference is how I was treated as an employee and a human being. Unfortunately, as time went on, my opinion about the directors changed. There's so much I could say, but I won't. Good luck. The choice is up to you.

  • KSTeacher
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • January 18, 2018, 11:14:15 pm
    • Cheonan, South Korea
Re: Anyone know information about Kaylee English academy?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2020, 01:41:37 pm »
In response to SA2017: I’d like to share a story about when we hired one of the most blacklisted teachers by all the recruiters. Despite multiple warnings from the recruiter and even from her previous employers, we decided to give this teacher the benefit of doubt and to take a chance on her because she seemed nice, she had a few years of previous teaching experience, she had a degree in Early Childhood Education, and because she was, in her own words, a “real” teacher. Unfortunately, as time went on, we realized why she was so blacklisted.

Within the first few months, most of the 1st and 2nd graders started to send in complaints because she was so mean to them. Most of the older students didn’t pay attention in her class because they felt that they weren’t learning anything. Eventually, her students felt that being in her class was such a waste of time that they just slept instead. This teacher lost all of their respect one day when she ran out of her own class crying because they didn’t want to listen to her. It wasn’t only in her relationship with her students, but also in her relationship with her fellow teachers. This teacher even tried to outcast one of her fellow teachers from both the workplace and from her social circle. 

Despite all this and the fact that many of her students dropped her class and many more were sending in complaints and getting ready to quit, she wasn’t fired because we wanted to give her a chance to improve. Unfortunately, she was unwilling to receive training, was unable to accept constructive criticism, and felt that everything was a personal attack against her. Once she finally left, the other teachers and students were relieved because they thought she was extremely mean, negative, difficult to work with, unprofessional, and toxic. Unfortunately, almost all of her students fell so far behind that they had to repeat an entire semester. There’s so much more I could say, but I won’t. Good luck.