Read 8989 times

  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1490

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2018, 07:13:30 pm »
Did you have an interview? If not it could have been that they called your former employer and she didn't give a positive review.
This right here is probably why the OP was rejected. Somebody they called probably didn't give you the glowing recommendations that you thought would be assured.


  • grey
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1502

    • April 08, 2011, 04:47:11 am
    • USA
    more
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2018, 01:14:37 am »
I think it is worth it, especially if you are comparing it to other stuff that's out there. If you have some connections, better stuff exists, but if you're like the majority of applicants, EPIK is probably one of the better choices for ESL in Korea.

I applied when the demand and supply were much more favourable. The benefits have diminished and competition increased.

Whether you want to re-apply in six months is up to you. Just don't put EPIK on a pedestal. Take a step back and re-evaluate your options.
Ko fills half his luggage with instant noodles for his international business travels, a lesson he learned after assuming on his first trip that three packages would suffice for six days. “Man, was I wrong. Since then, I always make sure I pack enough.”
-AP


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2018, 07:50:53 am »
I think it is worth it, especially if you are comparing it to other stuff that's out there. If you have some connections, better stuff exists, but if you're like the majority of applicants, EPIK is probably one of the better choices for ESL in Korea.

I applied when the demand and supply were much more favourable. The benefits have diminished and competition increased.

Whether you want to re-apply in six months is up to you. Just don't put EPIK on a pedestal. Take a step back and re-evaluate your options.

I totally agree with this. There are other options out there; even public sector options. Despite what others might tell you, there are direct hire positions available. You just have to be willing to get out there and do the footwork to find them. Usually, they're posted through recruiters, and typically they have a city budget rather than a provincial budget. The contract is typically relatively the same as EPIK; though, depending on the job, you may have slightly different working hours. Also, depending on the job, you may have a better opportunity to earn overtime pay. I will say... the major downside is that these jobs usually don't start looking to hire until 1-2 months before the start date, and they typically want someone who is already in the country (though that isn't always the case).


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2019, 01:40:08 am »
  Well the rejection e-mail pointed out that rejection was NOT necessarily a reflection on my qualifications and ability as a teacher. That's a positive approach. Both my references wrote nice letters about me. It's possible that EPIK called one of them, and he did not say what they wanted (or didn't reply-he's very laid back). The other reference was quite  strict but she had absolutely gone out of her way to praise my hard work, ability, enthusiasm and energy at school. In any case, I was rejected almost as soon as my application was taken, and people can be rejected in various ways. Anyway, there are other jobs outside EPIK.
  With regard to JET it's not structured like EPIK. If memory serves me correctly, you apply to JET in September or October, but the interview is in late January or February, and it has to be in a Japanese consulate in your own country. There are events you attend to before leaving for Japan in August. But you have to wait until August, and stay in your own country. That's not ideal if you're already teaching abroad. JET is mainly aimed at new graduates.  Furthermore, it's called the Japan EXCHANGE and teaching program. It was set up as a program for new graduates to come to Japan as cultural ambassadors, so they like it if you have a charismatic personality, or have great musical ability or sports prowess. It also helps if you have a practical interest in contemporary Japan. However, it's not really about teaching, just assisting the real teacher, and being a kind of cheerleader-or so people have told me.
   It does pay more than EPIK, so people can save money (more than with most other teaching jobs in Japan), and it has or used to have, a more glamorous reputation. I can see how people might put JET up on a pedestal, and be devastated if rejected. But for me JET doesn't just seem a practical option. It can be for some people.
   I am now asking if EPIK is a practical option for me. Yes, I can apply again, but I'll clearly not be with EPIK soon.
  Some of the other jobs might be quite good.

 

 


  • CallinIn
  • Waygookin

    • 14

    • January 30, 2018, 01:57:54 am
    • USA
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2019, 08:09:02 am »
Honestly, I think EPiK is great for noobs (like me). The orientation and the social support it generated was really key to me being this comfortable here. I do not plan to stay with EPiK forever though, since the support is pretty basic.

EPiK itself is fine. They give you training and a good support system. But if you're outgoing enough, you can do that on your own.

As to your rejection, it is really small things that can get you rejected and I doubt that it was your recommendation letter. I had to have one of mine fixed twice. If you list anything of substance under mental-illness, I believe they reject you outright. Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar disorder, etc. Anything that might make you 'unstable' and possibly result in a midnight run.

Try applying through a recruiter if you aren't confident in being accepted by EPiK. You'd have more options that way.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2019, 07:51:07 am »
I did two years with EPIK...honestly it is a lot of BS. Schools mainly see you as a mascot to make the school look good. Most of the time it's impossible to teach your kids much because you don't get any useful support from the Korean staff, most of the kids are too low level to learn anything, and the school administrators keep making schizoid management orders like "just let the kids play and have fun" at the same time as "please make the kids study diligently for this standardized test." It's a great way for a teacher to make good money without putting in much effort, but that is about it. It's a massive waste of money. Hagwons provide way more English education than public schools.

I'm sure people will chime in with "well at MY school everything is perfect" comments...and that is the problem. EPIK presents itself as a centralized program where every school is the same and they all have great Korean staff and great students who love English. The reality is that EPIK is a glorified recruiter that stops having anything to do with you when you start work, and every school is completely different. If you're in a big city then yeah your students probably go to hagwons and already know a lot of English by 3rd grade, and the Korean staff is probably young and career-driven. But most EPIK jobs are in rural areas, where most kids don't go to hagwons and the Korean staff is unmotivated.

There are a lot of politically-connected EPIK lifers who spend years in EPIK jobs, they're usually married to Koreans and are friends with the provincial EPIK coordinator. These people think EPIK is the best thing ever and they never get non-renewed, because of their connections. They don't care about teaching, they just care about protecting their jobs.

You can give EPIK a shot if you want but the length of the application process is absurd. Most teachers are happy to work at a hagwon, it's not that much more work, the pay is almost as much, and you're able to choose where you work and live, which means you can probably live in a big city like most people want to. Rural life in Korea is pretty awful and I say that as someone who doesn't really like big cities. After a couple years at a hagwon a lot of teachers will get a job at a non-EPIK local publicly funded program.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 07:53:31 am by MayorHaggar »
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32 PM

    Trump is a liar and a con man.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2019, 08:33:51 am »
I did two years with EPIK...honestly it is a lot of BS. Schools mainly see you as a mascot to make the school look good. Most of the time it's impossible to teach your kids much because you don't get any useful support from the Korean staff, most of the kids are too low level to learn anything, and the school administrators keep making schizoid management orders like "just let the kids play and have fun" at the same time as "please make the kids study diligently for this standardized test." It's a great way for a teacher to make good money without putting in much effort, but that is about it. It's a massive waste of money. Hagwons provide way more English education than public schools.

I'm sure people will chime in with "well at MY school everything is perfect" comments...and that is the problem. EPIK presents itself as a centralized program where every school is the same and they all have great Korean staff and great students who love English. The reality is that EPIK is a glorified recruiter that stops having anything to do with you when you start work, and every school is completely different. If you're in a big city then yeah your students probably go to hagwons and already know a lot of English by 3rd grade, and the Korean staff is probably young and career-driven. But most EPIK jobs are in rural areas, where most kids don't go to hagwons and the Korean staff is unmotivated.

There are a lot of politically-connected EPIK lifers who spend years in EPIK jobs, they're usually married to Koreans and are friends with the provincial EPIK coordinator. These people think EPIK is the best thing ever and they never get non-renewed, because of their connections. They don't care about teaching, they just care about protecting their jobs.

You can give EPIK a shot if you want but the length of the application process is absurd. Most teachers are happy to work at a hagwon, it's not that much more work, the pay is almost as much, and you're able to choose where you work and live, which means you can probably live in a big city like most people want to. Rural life in Korea is pretty awful and I say that as someone who doesn't really like big cities. After a couple years at a hagwon a lot of teachers will get a job at a non-EPIK local publicly funded program.

Brilliant post as usual from MayorHaggar and I really, really agree with the part I bolded.

Even though I know I do my job as expected, tow the line etc... I still feel like I've never done so little work for so much reward in my entire life.  In the short time EPIK can be amazing (depending on your school), but long term I think it can be a trap (getting too comfortable as MayorHaggar says).

I have to say too that I'm always a bit suspicious of people who take the EPIK job really seriously.  I mean people who believe we are actual teachers.  I can never get my head around that.


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1486

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2019, 08:38:13 am »

I have to say too that I'm always a bit suspicious of people who take the EPIK job really seriously.  I mean people who believe we are actual teachers.  I can never get my head around that.

Some of us actually teach. It's nice if you only ever have to play the role of parrot/tape recorder while the KET does all the work, but not all of us are so lucky.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #28 on: January 04, 2019, 08:49:20 am »

I have to say too that I'm always a bit suspicious of people who take the EPIK job really seriously.  I mean people who believe we are actual teachers.  I can never get my head around that.

Some of us actually teach. It's nice if you only ever have to play the role of parrot/tape recorder while the KET does all the work, but not all of us are so lucky.

Well yeah I actually teach too but I'm under no illusion that I'm a real teacher.

I suppose I compare my job to a teacher in their home country (or who I would call an "actual" teacher).  That person studied teaching, got certified, has lots of responsibilities like syllabus planning, marking, giving feedback to students and parents, pastoral responsibilities etc...

I don't have to do any of that so I can't put myself in the same category as that person.  It's all semantics I suppose  ;D


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1486

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2019, 08:59:44 am »


Well yeah I actually teach too but I'm under no illusion that I'm a real teacher.

I suppose I compare my job to a teacher in their home country (or who I would call an "actual" teacher).  That person studied teaching, got certified, has lots of responsibilities like syllabus planning, marking, giving feedback to students and parents, pastoral responsibilities etc...

I don't have to do any of that so I can't put myself in the same category as that person.  It's all semantics I suppose  ;D

You've struck upon one of my pet peeves, I'm afraid. Far too often people look at the work we do here disdainfully, and condescend to us by telling us we aren't real teachers, and it's always bothered me. I work hard and try to do a good job, and when I'm in the classroom, I'm teaching. Fair play if that alone doesn't make me a "real teacher" to some people, but given that it's generally brought up in a derisive manner, it tends to rub me the wrong way.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2019, 09:18:05 am »


Well yeah I actually teach too but I'm under no illusion that I'm a real teacher.

I suppose I compare my job to a teacher in their home country (or who I would call an "actual" teacher).  That person studied teaching, got certified, has lots of responsibilities like syllabus planning, marking, giving feedback to students and parents, pastoral responsibilities etc...

I don't have to do any of that so I can't put myself in the same category as that person.  It's all semantics I suppose  ;D

You've struck upon one of my pet peeves, I'm afraid. Far too often people look at the work we do here disdainfully, and condescend to us by telling us we aren't real teachers, and it's always bothered me. I work hard and try to do a good job, and when I'm in the classroom, I'm teaching. Fair play if that alone doesn't make me a "real teacher" to some people, but given that it's generally brought up in a derisive manner, it tends to rub me the wrong way.

Yes that's a fair point, totally.


  • oglop
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1903

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2019, 09:35:04 am »
mayorhaggor is pretty much right. i had a generally good time working in the public school system, but i don't feel i had any real impact. luckily my school was pretty english-centred, so the kids liked being there and learning english. a couple still email me 4 years later, which is great. but they learnt pretty much nothing. how could they with a single 40-minute class, with multi-leveled students?

at the end of the day, it was an easy job with pretty much zero responsibility or hard-work. in fact, hard-work was discouraged due to the complete disorganisation of the school in general (classes always canceled, schedules changed, co-teachers not letting me know which lesson they had completed, etc), the utterly crap textbooks, and the emphasis on just "making it fun". it was pretty much glorified babysitting and no progress/outcomes were expected. after all, the test scores were completely faked

n.b. just to point out, i always make sure my lessons were fun and interesting, and i did the best i could, just like mister tim said. however, planning three 40-minute classes a week isn't hard work, and didn't take a lot of time. i also never *really* felt that welcome at school, so if there's anything that made me feel like i wasn't a "real teacher", it was being actively ignored and excluded from most things by the korean teachers



  • plan b
  • Veteran

    • 226

    • March 22, 2013, 11:53:06 am
    • Korea
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2019, 09:38:21 am »

On the topic of "real teaching".... let's not forget that teaching here is an undergraduate program straight from high school here. Unlike back home where people complete a bachelor's degree and THEN go to Teacher's College or a Bachelor of Education program, for another 2 years. You end up having really young and immature teachers here. Let's not make the Korean teachers out to be some high and mighty "professionals"


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2019, 03:07:45 pm »

I have to say too that I'm always a bit suspicious of people who take the EPIK job really seriously.  I mean people who believe we are actual teachers.  I can never get my head around that.

Some of us actually teach. It's nice if you only ever have to play the role of parrot/tape recorder while the KET does all the work, but not all of us are so lucky.

As if NETs have a choice about being a tape recorder. You could be the greatest teacher in the world and if your school's principal or VP or your co-teacher wants you to be a tape recorder, you're going to be a tape recorder. Just because you are at a good school doesn't mean everyone else is, every EPIK school is different and most of them suck. Llifers develop a face-saving Koreanesque tunnel vision attitude where they think every school in Korea is just like theirs, and if other people have a bad experience it must be their fault.

And most "real teachers" (i.e. teachers who are trained as qualified/registered teachers back home) I've met in Korea hated working in public schools, because they weren't able to "teach" the way they were taught to. Some of them preferred to work at hagwons because they had more control of the classes and teaching didn't revolve around tests.

I feel like I was a decent teacher during my time with EPIK but there was just too much Korean public education shit going on for me to feel comfortable. Too many tests, textbooks that were aimed at the 2 kids in a class of 30 that went to hagwons, zero help from Korean staff when I really needed it (my 1st graders were running around on top of desks like feral wolf children, and the Korean staff just ignored it)...I could go on.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 03:09:41 pm by MayorHaggar »
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32 PM

    Trump is a liar and a con man.


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1486

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2019, 03:26:59 pm »
As if NETs have a choice about being a tape recorder. You could be the greatest teacher in the world and if your school's principal or VP or your co-teacher wants you to be a tape recorder, you're going to be a tape recorder. Just because you are at a good school doesn't mean everyone else is, every EPIK school is different and most of them suck. Llifers develop a face-saving Koreanesque tunnel vision attitude where they think every school in Korea is just like theirs, and if other people have a bad experience it must be their fault.

I didn't say anyone had a choice, or that I think any schools are any certain way. I was just pointing that some people might consider themselves real teachers because they really teach.

Similar to the tunnel vision of the people who ignore the existence of bad schools, I think the pendulum swings back the other way. There are people who had a shitty experience and they think every school in Korea is just like theirs.

Some schools suck, some are great. Some people are tape recorders, some are given freedom. I wasn't making any attempt to imply otherwise. I was just commenting on the whole "real teacher" thing being bandied about.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 04:15:02 pm by Mister Tim »


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2019, 07:34:30 pm »

Similar to the tunnel vision of the people who ignore the existence of bad schools, I think the pendulum swings back the other way. There are people who had a shitty experience and they think every school in Korea is just like theirs.

Nah pretty much everyone I've met who taught at rural schools had the same problems. Sweet students who didn't go to hagwons yet were expected to do textbooks at the same level as urban kids who spend all day at hagwons, crumbling schools held together with duct tape, Korean staff bitter and checked-out because they didn't get a job in a big city, and widespread rural social problems besetting the kids like abuse, alcoholism, and neglect.

And everyone I met who taught at a big city school had the same attitude: I'm the greatest teacher ever because my students are so smart clearly because of my great teaching (nevermind that they all go to hagwons), my school is so amazing and high-tech, all of my students have great families because Korea is such an awesome country.

There's a massive urban/rural divide in Korea. It's easy to ignore this if you're in a big city, but most EPIK jobs are in rural areas.
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32 PM

    Trump is a liar and a con man.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2019, 08:23:30 pm »
  I got rejected by EPIK. I applied for a hagwon job and got an answer within minutes. They want to set up an interview! I'm shocked  :shocked: at the speed! This is good news.
  Recently I read about a guy who had been selected by EPIK under the current criteria. He passed. But when he went to school the coteachers kept comparing him negatively to the charismatic NET who had just left. He had been a total rock star[think of Nick Jonas with muscles]. The new teacher was held up to impossible standards yet kept in the dark about most stuff. So he left after 4 months. EPIK may think its selection criteria are going to prevent problems such as this. But not if the problemm isn't the foreign teacher.
  Lastly, about the "lifers" that MayorHagger mentioned.
 
Quote
[There are a lot of politically-connected EPIK lifers who spend years in EPIK jobs, they're usually married to Koreans and are friends with the provincial EPIK coordinator. These people think EPIK is the best thing ever and they never get non-renewed, because of their connections. They don't care about teaching, they just care about protecting their jobs. /quote]. Some of the good friends I met in Seoul were in that category. I would have loved being in that category for a few yers, though I also care about teaching. But if it's really about office politics and Korean  spouses...


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1486

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2019, 08:30:27 pm »

Similar to the tunnel vision of the people who ignore the existence of bad schools, I think the pendulum swings back the other way. There are people who had a shitty experience and they think every school in Korea is just like theirs.

Nah pretty much everyone I've met who taught at rural schools had the same problems. Sweet students who didn't go to hagwons yet were expected to do textbooks at the same level as urban kids who spend all day at hagwons, crumbling schools held together with duct tape, Korean staff bitter and checked-out because they didn't get a job in a big city, and widespread rural social problems besetting the kids like abuse, alcoholism, and neglect.

And everyone I met who taught at a big city school had the same attitude: I'm the greatest teacher ever because my students are so smart clearly because of my great teaching (nevermind that they all go to hagwons), my school is so amazing and high-tech, all of my students have great families because Korea is such an awesome country.

There's a massive urban/rural divide in Korea. It's easy to ignore this if you're in a big city, but most EPIK jobs are in rural areas.

Have we changed the topic here? I've only been talking about how NETs are utilized, and whether or not their role in the classroom can be considered "real" teaching. I haven't been talking about any other aspect of Korean schools. I realize you've got a chip on your shoulder about Korea, but let's at least try to stick with the topic that started this whole exchange.

Also, I don't know if you're just speaking in generalities or making assumptions about me based on what I've said about my teaching experiences here, but if it's the latter, let me clarify something: I don't teach in a big city. My seven years here have not only all been at rural schools (nine of them so far), but they were at rural schools in the same province you worked in when you were EPIK.

I'm well familiar with how rural schools are, and how many problems they can potentially have. I'd never claim they're perfect, nor would I describe them as the nightmarish hellscape you seem to have experienced. I can, however, say that some of them made good use of their NETs, and some of them didn't. There were schools I definitely felt like my presence in the classroom was a waste of time and money, but there were also schools where I'm absolutely comfortable describing what I did as "real" teaching. That's why I chimed in in this thread: Someone mentioned not being able to get his head around NETs here who talk like they're "real teachers," so I gave reason why.


Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2019, 11:40:01 pm »
   One more thing. In my research about EPIK, I read comments by an American guy who had applied to EPIK under the current stringent system, produced an excellent lesson plan, and so on. He had gone through the whole detailed process. But he ended up leaving after 4 months. His explanation was that the Korean teachers would never tell them about last minute changes to the time table, and  sidelined him whenever possible, and this made him look like a fool.
Apparently, that still happens! Now, even though he had produced a great lesson plan, EPIK might think the problem was that the application is not strict enough!

 But what if that's not the problem?

 

 


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1490

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: IS EPIK STILL WORTH IT-OR IS IT A CRAZY WASTE OF TIME?
« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2019, 12:31:09 am »
Korean staff bitter and checked-out because they didn't get a job in a big city
In public school teachers are rotated every few years. And it's a tenured job, so they're bitter because most people complain about their jobs, not because it wasn't in a big city.

In those 'private' public-schools, where teachers teach under the same 'school ownership' their whole career. But again, for most it's a tenured job.