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  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1156

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2019, 08:42:57 am »
As far as contacting an EPIK coordinator, I've sadly seen them not do very much to help teachers recently. It seems they're more interested in keeping the schools happy, rather than making sure they are following the contract and treating the teachers decently. I think it is still something you should do if only to have someone else in the know on your situation as well as a more official form of documentation.
    Just want to chime in with the fact that EPIK coordinators have little to no actual authority to do anything.  Their job is essentially to listen to complaints, give advice when applicable (often without any translated resources to draw from),  and to bring any problems that simple advice can't solve to the MOE/POE. The MOE/POE then does whatever it feels like, and then has the coordinator break the news to the teacher. It's a pretty thankless job, honestly, as the teachers inevitably blame the coordinator for all the crap the MOE/POE pulls.  :sad:
Yeah in my POE there were schools, mine and a friend's were some, that literally ignored the renewal bonus agreement from last year's contract and went with the crappy new one on this year's contract to get around paying us 2 mil won. When my friend questioned our coordinator on it (it's an obvious violation of our contracts because the renewal bonus is the final term to be fulfilled from the previous year's contract before the contract period ends and the new one starts) he said they were allowed to go with the new year's contract instead of following the one we agreed on. So yeah they'll basically allow the schools to do whatever because they have no power and the POE will most likely side with the schools. :/ One of many reasons I will be leaving and looking for a private academy job for next year. I know they aren't perfect but I'm done with EPIK trying to make themselves look like the golden child and taking dumps on hagwons whenever they get the chance.

You didn't get your 2 million won renewal allowance?  When do you get it?  At the end? 


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1156

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2019, 08:44:32 am »
The VP won't call as he doesn't know anything about your class or your teaching style.  It would have been your main coteacher who would have asked him and signed off on it.  If they didn't help you or give you guidance, then tell the truth at the meeting and ask why they never gave you any support before deciding to complain about you?  You got nothing to lose now. 

They are just going to deflect and turn blame on the OP....that is all the can do.  There is no reason to think that those people are going to sit down and reflect on how they failed on their part.  It will all be blamed on the OP. 

It is a game of dodge, deflect, rope-a-dope, with these people. 

Yeah, but ass kissing with them won't appease them.  Stick to your guns and tell the truth of how they treated you and ask why they never helped you?  If it's really argumentative ask them if they are racist and just hate foreigners?  You will shock them with this.  But only go nuclear if you are losing anyways. 


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 478

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2019, 08:50:25 am »
The VP won't call as he doesn't know anything about your class or your teaching style.  It would have been your main coteacher who would have asked him and signed off on it.  If they didn't help you or give you guidance, then tell the truth at the meeting and ask why they never gave you any support before deciding to complain about you?  You got nothing to lose now. 

They are just going to deflect and turn blame on the OP....that is all the can do.  There is no reason to think that those people are going to sit down and reflect on how they failed on their part.  It will all be blamed on the OP. 

It is a game of dodge, deflect, rope-a-dope, with these people. 

Yeah, but ass kissing with them won't appease them.  Stick to your guns and tell the truth of how they treated you and ask why they never helped you?  If it's really argumentative ask them if they are racist and just hate foreigners?  You will shock them with this.  But only go nuclear if you are losing anyways. 


I agree (does not mean I"m right, but...).....kissing their ass will only make the OP seem weak and that is what they want. 

This is not an uncommon tale of woe in Korean public schools (despite any counterarguments from those who have simply been lucky).  As said as it is, it is a reality. 

...calling Dr. D, to enter with his usual cultural relativism and blame the OP. 


  • debbiem89
  • Expert Waygook

    • 507

    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2019, 09:19:05 am »
The VP won't call as he doesn't know anything about your class or your teaching style.  It would have been your main coteacher who would have asked him and signed off on it.  If they didn't help you or give you guidance, then tell the truth at the meeting and ask why they never gave you any support before deciding to complain about you?  You got nothing to lose now. 

They are just going to deflect and turn blame on the OP....that is all the can do.  There is no reason to think that those people are going to sit down and reflect on how they failed on their part.  It will all be blamed on the OP. 

It is a game of dodge, deflect, rope-a-dope, with these people. 

Yeah, but ass kissing with them won't appease them.  Stick to your guns and tell the truth of how they treated you and ask why they never helped you?  If it's really argumentative ask them if they are racist and just hate foreigners?  You will shock them with this.  But only go nuclear if you are losing anyways. 


I agree (does not mean I"m right, but...).....kissing their ass will only make the OP seem weak and that is what they want. 

This is not an uncommon tale of woe in Korean public schools (despite any counterarguments from those who have simply been lucky).  As said as it is, it is a reality. 

...calling Dr. D, to enter with his usual cultural relativism and blame the OP. 

Fully disagreeing about it being not uncommon. THIS situation is rare. Sure, it's not a perfect system but this level is by no means common. Hagwon horror stories are ten fold.


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 478

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #44 on: May 15, 2019, 09:28:33 am »
The VP won't call as he doesn't know anything about your class or your teaching style.  It would have been your main coteacher who would have asked him and signed off on it.  If they didn't help you or give you guidance, then tell the truth at the meeting and ask why they never gave you any support before deciding to complain about you?  You got nothing to lose now. 

They are just going to deflect and turn blame on the OP....that is all the can do.  There is no reason to think that those people are going to sit down and reflect on how they failed on their part.  It will all be blamed on the OP. 

It is a game of dodge, deflect, rope-a-dope, with these people. 

Yeah, but ass kissing with them won't appease them.  Stick to your guns and tell the truth of how they treated you and ask why they never helped you?  If it's really argumentative ask them if they are racist and just hate foreigners?  You will shock them with this.  But only go nuclear if you are losing anyways. 


I agree (does not mean I"m right, but...).....kissing their ass will only make the OP seem weak and that is what they want. 

This is not an uncommon tale of woe in Korean public schools (despite any counterarguments from those who have simply been lucky).  As said as it is, it is a reality. 

...calling Dr. D, to enter with his usual cultural relativism and blame the OP. 

Fully disagreeing about it being not uncommon. THIS situation is rare. Sure, it's not a perfect system but this level is by no means common. Hagwon horror stories are ten fold.

No...THIS situation is NOT rare, though it is not necessarily the standard.  It is all a gamble....but it is not rare.


  • debbiem89
  • Expert Waygook

    • 507

    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #45 on: May 15, 2019, 09:33:28 am »
The VP won't call as he doesn't know anything about your class or your teaching style.  It would have been your main coteacher who would have asked him and signed off on it.  If they didn't help you or give you guidance, then tell the truth at the meeting and ask why they never gave you any support before deciding to complain about you?  You got nothing to lose now. 

They are just going to deflect and turn blame on the OP....that is all the can do.  There is no reason to think that those people are going to sit down and reflect on how they failed on their part.  It will all be blamed on the OP. 

It is a game of dodge, deflect, rope-a-dope, with these people. 

Yeah, but ass kissing with them won't appease them.  Stick to your guns and tell the truth of how they treated you and ask why they never helped you?  If it's really argumentative ask them if they are racist and just hate foreigners?  You will shock them with this.  But only go nuclear if you are losing anyways. 


I agree (does not mean I"m right, but...).....kissing their ass will only make the OP seem weak and that is what they want. 

This is not an uncommon tale of woe in Korean public schools (despite any counterarguments from those who have simply been lucky).  As said as it is, it is a reality. 

...calling Dr. D, to enter with his usual cultural relativism and blame the OP. 

Fully disagreeing about it being not uncommon. THIS situation is rare. Sure, it's not a perfect system but this level is by no means common. Hagwon horror stories are ten fold.

No...THIS situation is NOT rare, though it is not necessarily the standard.  It is all a gamble....but it is not rare.

It going to this level isn't rare? I'm gonna respectfully disagree. I've completed multiple contracts in various cities over the years and not only have I never known this situation but I've never known another teacher to go through this situation, can't be all that common.

Most of us have issues of varying degrees but this level? Nah.


Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #46 on: May 15, 2019, 09:58:56 am »
Not much advice here (after my initial post) but I have to say I am stunned that there are coworkers like this.  I mean people who literally say "I think you don't know what to teach", "where did you learn how to do PowerPoint?" and that the school expects you to be a better teacher than the previous person.  To your face!  Unbelievable.

Can I ask about your initial attitude towards your coworkers?  Have you always been polite and friendly?  Smiling?  Approachable?  I think that could have a huge impact on how they started to treat you.

The point I'm getting at is that, in general, if we are one of those foreigners who responds to innocent questions like "How old are you?" with "It's none of your business" or "Why is it important?" (a la Camden), we shouldn't be surprised to be on the receiving end of some catty behaviour.


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 478

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #47 on: May 15, 2019, 10:08:00 am »
Not much advice here (after my initial post) but I have to say I am stunned that there are coworkers like this.  I mean people who literally say "I think you don't know what to teach", "where did you learn how to do PowerPoint?" and that the school expects you to be a better teacher than the previous person.  To your face!  Unbelievable.

Can I ask about your initial attitude towards your coworkers?  Have you always been polite and friendly?  Smiling?  Approachable?  I think that could have a huge impact on how they started to treat you.

The point I'm getting at is that, in general, if we are one of those foreigners who responds to innocent questions like "How old are you?" with "It's none of your business" or "Why is it important?" (a la Camden), we shouldn't be surprised to be on the receiving end of some catty behaviour.

Does not seem like her attitude is the issue...


  • lhelena
  • Adventurer

    • 53

    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #48 on: May 15, 2019, 10:48:57 am »
As far as contacting an EPIK coordinator, I've sadly seen them not do very much to help teachers recently. It seems they're more interested in keeping the schools happy, rather than making sure they are following the contract and treating the teachers decently. I think it is still something you should do if only to have someone else in the know on your situation as well as a more official form of documentation.
    Just want to chime in with the fact that EPIK coordinators have little to no actual authority to do anything.  Their job is essentially to listen to complaints, give advice when applicable (often without any translated resources to draw from),  and to bring any problems that simple advice can't solve to the MOE/POE. The MOE/POE then does whatever it feels like, and then has the coordinator break the news to the teacher. It's a pretty thankless job, honestly, as the teachers inevitably blame the coordinator for all the crap the MOE/POE pulls.  :sad:
Yeah in my POE there were schools, mine and a friend's were some, that literally ignored the renewal bonus agreement from last year's contract and went with the crappy new one on this year's contract to get around paying us 2 mil won. When my friend questioned our coordinator on it (it's an obvious violation of our contracts because the renewal bonus is the final term to be fulfilled from the previous year's contract before the contract period ends and the new one starts) he said they were allowed to go with the new year's contract instead of following the one we agreed on. So yeah they'll basically allow the schools to do whatever because they have no power and the POE will most likely side with the schools. :/ One of many reasons I will be leaving and looking for a private academy job for next year. I know they aren't perfect but I'm done with EPIK trying to make themselves look like the golden child and taking dumps on hagwons whenever they get the chance.

You didn't get your 2 million won renewal allowance?  When do you get it?  At the end? 

So I came in Spring 2018 and on that contract the agreement for staying a second year was 2mil won to be paid by the end of March 2019. Well the contract for my second year now says 1.3mil won by the end of March/the first month of the contract and the rest if you re-sign. My understanding of legally binding contracts is that terms agreed upon at the time of signing must be carried out in order for the contract to be completed, but I could go on about the shady way these contracts are written another time. I was going to argue and talk to a coordinator but another teacher in the same city already had and was told the school can ignore the 2018 contract and follow the new one if they want to. So I said screw it. I'm not staying a third year with EPIK anyway what's the point. They don't have our backs at the end of the day so I have little faith in them or our contacts at the POE. I recently got married and am working on the F6 visa anyway so I'll be able to do whatever I want as far as work by next year.
Edit: I got the 1.3mil won in March. So I wasn't completely screwed over but it still isn't what I signed for on the original contract and was promised when hired.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 10:51:41 am by lhelena »


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 478

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #49 on: May 15, 2019, 10:55:51 am »
As far as contacting an EPIK coordinator, I've sadly seen them not do very much to help teachers recently. It seems they're more interested in keeping the schools happy, rather than making sure they are following the contract and treating the teachers decently. I think it is still something you should do if only to have someone else in the know on your situation as well as a more official form of documentation.
    Just want to chime in with the fact that EPIK coordinators have little to no actual authority to do anything.  Their job is essentially to listen to complaints, give advice when applicable (often without any translated resources to draw from),  and to bring any problems that simple advice can't solve to the MOE/POE. The MOE/POE then does whatever it feels like, and then has the coordinator break the news to the teacher. It's a pretty thankless job, honestly, as the teachers inevitably blame the coordinator for all the crap the MOE/POE pulls.  :sad:
Yeah in my POE there were schools, mine and a friend's were some, that literally ignored the renewal bonus agreement from last year's contract and went with the crappy new one on this year's contract to get around paying us 2 mil won. When my friend questioned our coordinator on it (it's an obvious violation of our contracts because the renewal bonus is the final term to be fulfilled from the previous year's contract before the contract period ends and the new one starts) he said they were allowed to go with the new year's contract instead of following the one we agreed on. So yeah they'll basically allow the schools to do whatever because they have no power and the POE will most likely side with the schools. :/ One of many reasons I will be leaving and looking for a private academy job for next year. I know they aren't perfect but I'm done with EPIK trying to make themselves look like the golden child and taking dumps on hagwons whenever they get the chance.

You didn't get your 2 million won renewal allowance?  When do you get it?  At the end? 

So I came in Spring 2018 and on that contract the agreement for staying a second year was 2mil won to be paid by the end of March 2019. Well the contract for my second year now says 1.3mil won by the end of March/the first month of the contract and the rest if you re-sign. My understanding of legally binding contracts is that terms agreed upon at the time of signing must be carried out in order for the contract to be completed, but I could go on about the shady way these contracts are written another time. I was going to argue and talk to a coordinator but another teacher in the same city already had and was told the school can ignore the 2018 contract and follow the new one if they want to. So I said screw it. I'm not staying a third year with EPIK anyway what's the point. They don't have our backs at the end of the day so I have little faith in them or our contacts at the POE. I recently got married and am working on the F6 visa anyway so I'll be able to do whatever I want as far as work by next year.
Edit: I got the 1.3mil won in March. So I wasn't completely screwed over but it still isn't what I signed for on the original contract and was promised when hired.

This shows why people are going elsewhere...



Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #50 on: May 15, 2019, 11:07:20 am »
OP, I'm sorry that you have to go through this. Please keep us updated on what's going on.

For my own piece, the way that you describe your coteacher and the situation in general doesn't really have anything to do with your teaching abilities, especially since you've been open to suggestions and help. Your coteacher's behavior is the problem here. She is both critical and unhelpful, and all of the interaction you've had with her as described is clear hostility. This is not a cultural difference you're experiencing (methods and reasons might be affected by cultural differences, but the actual act is not), so don't accept any excuses that it is. It's classic office bullying.

For whatever reason, your coteacher took a disliking to you. It could be that she doesn't like the way that you look or how you dress, it could be she's a closeted racist or xenophobe, it could be that you remind her of someone she doesn't like, it could be that she feels like you didn't pay her the right amount of respect the first time you met her... you'll likely never learn the reason for her hostility unless you're really good at controlling the direction of an argument, but, the point is, it's not going to be about your teaching (she's just using that as her excuse) so much as it is about a personal issue she has with you. She started making jabs at you, took your acceptance of her behavior as a sign of weakness, and escalated from there. She wanted to make your working situation unbearable, and she's more than likely been complaining about you to the rest of the school from day 1 to help build up a case against you, basically taking advantage of the fact that you're foreign and unable to communicate effectively in the local language. And this is where it's ended up.

Do as many of the others have suggested -- contact your coordinator and explain the situation in detail to him or her (if you haven't already). They can at least help establish a more even ground of communication between you, the school, and the education office so that your coteacher won't be able to get away with "miscommunicating" details. Do not believe anything that the coteacher has said or claimed about the situation, she's more than likely going to be mixing in lies with the truth to help keep the power balance in her favor, and will be using the language barrier to get away with it, which is another reason you should get your coordinator involved. Don't expect her to behave honorably, how she went about this indicates that she is not an honest person. Ignorance is definitely your enemy here.

Keep detailed notes, dig up any old emails or text messages that she might have sent that indicates an unfair bias against you (any unprofessional comments and criticisms, records of you asking for help and feedback and whatever responses she's had towards them, etc.). Stay calm and level-headed while talking to anyone about the situation, and keep it cool whenever you're talking about anything to her in general. Record any conversations you have with her in secret (this is legal here as long as you can be heard on the recording as part of the conversation). Keep detailed records of any interaction you have with your coteacher -- dates and times, what was said, etc.

DO NOT TAKE AN APOLOGETIC ROLE DURING THE COURSE OF THIS SITUATION. It implies that you did something wrong and worthy of your coteacher's behavior. You need to be on the defense, albeit professionally, and be confident that whatever problems that your coteacher had with your teaching, it doesn't justify how she behaved towards you OR how she decided to address it. Explain how she made you feel uncomfortable and that she was never helpful, and that you tried to accommodate her but that she did not put in the same amount of effort for you. Do not be afraid to reveal details about things she's said and done, and exactly how unhelpful she has been. If she's done anything to sabotage you or your lessons, and you have evidence of that, be sure to show it. She'll probably argue that it's not her job to teach or help you (that's kind of a go-to excuse for a lot of unprofessional and irresponsible office behavior here), but you can just argue back that she should not criticize if she's not willing to provide helpful feedback, and that to do otherwise is just a form of bullying. So why does she feel the need to bully you? Call her out on that if it gets to that point. Also, it is, in fact, the responsibility of coworkers to help provide constructive feedback and information to each other. This is true even in Korea, although cultural norms have established that senior coworkers should instruct and teach junior coworkers -- many abuse this norm, however, and use it as an opportunity to bully others below them, often in the form of criticism without providing any useful advice or direction (because, the way they argue it, it's your responsibility to figure it out for yourself -- they only need to tell you that you're doing it wrong... which, in cases of bullying, NOTHING you do will ever be right, and they will never acknowledge the efforts you put in to try to improve).

A lot of us coming here have no teaching experience, and the KTs all know this. They don't expect good teachers coming from overseas at all. So the biggest worry most of them have is in how "crazy" the NET might end up being. If you're normal, as in you don't do any weird shit that might embarrass them or the school, they'll be okay with you. Your teaching methods are normally the last thing on their minds because they don't expect you to have any, really. They just want the students to hear English as spoken by a native, and to have the opportunity to practice their English with a native. When a KT takes serious issues with a NET's teaching methods, enough so that they feel justified about bullying them about it without being helpful in any way (as in your case), it's often just being used as a scapegoat for other issues (racism, unhappy life or is just generally unhinged and wants an easy target to take it out on, feels threatened by or is jealous of the NET or the NET's abilities -- especially if the NET turns out to be very experienced or talented in the classroom --, is unhappy/jealous with how popular the NET may be with the students, etc... it could be literally ANYTHING). In most cases if a KT is actually interested in the NET's ability and wants to help the NET to improve, they go about it respectfully. As in, they'll be very diplomatic about it (usually won't be directly critical, but will offer you insight into what works and what doesn't work), and they will actually offer helpful advice (most often in ways of expressing from a student's perspective... like, "Well, the students have a hard time understanding sometimes, you speak a little too fast." OR, "They're usually very tired after lunch, so it's hard to focus." -- i.e. you're talking too much and need to engage them in activities sooner).

In the future, respectfully listen to coteacher's concerns, but PROFESSIONALLY push back if you sense any disrespect coming from them in their feedback as a show of disrespect is usually an attempt to test you. If they ARE testing you to see what you will put up with, they'll begin taking giant leaps rather than small steps in that direction, too, and it can get out of hand very quickly.  Learn to SNIP, and start documenting the moment you sense that a coteacher or KT has a personal problem with you that might lead to a future situation. Make sure that you subtly address concerns you have about a coteacher to another coteacher (if available) that is more senior (could be in the form of seeking advice, like, "So-and-so said this to me and it made me uncomfortable. What do you think about it? Do you think it was okay? What do you think I should do?"). Don't keep yourself isolated, and make it a point to interact with any KT who seems okay and open with it, even if they don't speak much English.

To help improve your methods and abilities to create your own materials, spend time experimenting during your desk-warming periods, observe how students react to different parts of your lessons and make changes (through trial and error, and general observation, you'll eventually figure out what works and what doesn't), and join teaching groups online. They've got groups dedicated to this that also meet up irl and have conventions and speakers.

Again, OP, I'm sorry that you have to go through this. Just stay calm, take detailed notes, go over the details of your case by making lists and outlines that you can refer to during any meetings, don't make any assumptions about what has been or is currently being said (guaranteed, there's going to be some inaccuracies that you'll need to clear up, and that can't happen if you assume that everyone knows all of the details and that everything is on the up-and-up), and make sure they can see things from your point of view, not just hers.


  • lhelena
  • Adventurer

    • 53

    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #51 on: May 15, 2019, 11:10:34 am »
As far as contacting an EPIK coordinator, I've sadly seen them not do very much to help teachers recently. It seems they're more interested in keeping the schools happy, rather than making sure they are following the contract and treating the teachers decently. I think it is still something you should do if only to have someone else in the know on your situation as well as a more official form of documentation.
    Just want to chime in with the fact that EPIK coordinators have little to no actual authority to do anything.  Their job is essentially to listen to complaints, give advice when applicable (often without any translated resources to draw from),  and to bring any problems that simple advice can't solve to the MOE/POE. The MOE/POE then does whatever it feels like, and then has the coordinator break the news to the teacher. It's a pretty thankless job, honestly, as the teachers inevitably blame the coordinator for all the crap the MOE/POE pulls.  :sad:
Yeah in my POE there were schools, mine and a friend's were some, that literally ignored the renewal bonus agreement from last year's contract and went with the crappy new one on this year's contract to get around paying us 2 mil won. When my friend questioned our coordinator on it (it's an obvious violation of our contracts because the renewal bonus is the final term to be fulfilled from the previous year's contract before the contract period ends and the new one starts) he said they were allowed to go with the new year's contract instead of following the one we agreed on. So yeah they'll basically allow the schools to do whatever because they have no power and the POE will most likely side with the schools. :/ One of many reasons I will be leaving and looking for a private academy job for next year. I know they aren't perfect but I'm done with EPIK trying to make themselves look like the golden child and taking dumps on hagwons whenever they get the chance.

You didn't get your 2 million won renewal allowance?  When do you get it?  At the end? 

So I came in Spring 2018 and on that contract the agreement for staying a second year was 2mil won to be paid by the end of March 2019. Well the contract for my second year now says 1.3mil won by the end of March/the first month of the contract and the rest if you re-sign. My understanding of legally binding contracts is that terms agreed upon at the time of signing must be carried out in order for the contract to be completed, but I could go on about the shady way these contracts are written another time. I was going to argue and talk to a coordinator but another teacher in the same city already had and was told the school can ignore the 2018 contract and follow the new one if they want to. So I said screw it. I'm not staying a third year with EPIK anyway what's the point. They don't have our backs at the end of the day so I have little faith in them or our contacts at the POE. I recently got married and am working on the F6 visa anyway so I'll be able to do whatever I want as far as work by next year.
Edit: I got the 1.3mil won in March. So I wasn't completely screwed over but it still isn't what I signed for on the original contract and was promised when hired.

This shows why people are going elsewhere...



Oh for sure! They make the contract super vague and then allow the schools to interpret it however they like. I got curious and showed my current contract to my husband to read the Korean sections and compare it to the English translation. He was like "why does this make no sense. It's so vague they can just say whatever they want to mess with you." This was mostly in reference to the housing section where it says something along the lines of "if you leave the school provided housing mid-contract you have to pay an costs incurred by the school" which basically means the school could make up a random amount and ask you to pay it even if it isn't true.

This makes me really scared for OP too because it seems like they could just make some crap up to be allowed to get rid of them. On the other hand seeing as how their school has acted so far, I'm also really worried about how the school will treat OP if the MOE/POE sides with them and not the school. There's not much they can do about them just being plain old spiteful and mean. :(


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1156

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #52 on: May 15, 2019, 12:28:43 pm »
Yeah, might be time to go finally. 


  • cattato
  • Explorer

    • 9

    • January 16, 2019, 05:12:45 am
    • South Korea
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #53 on: May 15, 2019, 07:09:30 pm »
Hi,I'm back. So to summarize how the meeting went. I guess you can say the MOE was more so on the school's side.  And the whole meeting was dumb. Everything they told me were minor MINOR problems the school should have told me in the beginning but my schools are too much of a coward to talk to me directly. Basically my schools just wanted to bitch.  They did give me some good advice to deal with that super critical co teacher I have. So im gonna try that and see how it works. I feel like they didn't really hear what I was saying.  but they didn't give me a warning or anything.  They didn't really complain about my teaching style.  I feel like they just complained about well....me personally.  Even if I tell them why, they don't care.   We will see if anything changes or not. But either way I'm not staying at these schools.  Also the vice principal was the one who called, the MOE told me. And yes it would seem like these people have been complaining and gossiping  and judging about me for quite some time if they held me in that room for almost 2 hours. Actually my main said today? yesterday? that my reputation at school is bad. I just thought to myself hmm I wonder why because you like to talk smack is why. you all do.   No one has my back here, I get it. I'm on my own.


  • CO2
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Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #54 on: May 15, 2019, 07:40:25 pm »
I got fired from my first job here and thought my references would put me dead in the water.

I explained my unique situation in the interview I got and he asked, "Is your old boss crazy?"

Your words, not mine, MJ.

Got the job.
The joys of fauxtherhood


Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #55 on: May 15, 2019, 07:43:57 pm »
Hi,I'm back. So to summarize how the meeting went. I guess you can say the MOE was more so on the school's side.  And the whole meeting was dumb. Everything they told me were minor MINOR problems the school should have told me in the beginning but my schools are too much of a coward to talk to me directly. Basically my schools just wanted to bitch.  They did give me some good advice to deal with that super critical co teacher I have. So im gonna try that and see how it works. I feel like they didn't really hear what I was saying.  but they didn't give me a warning or anything.  They didn't really complain about my teaching style.  I feel like they just complained about well....me personally.  Even if I tell them why, they don't care.   We will see if anything changes or not. But either way I'm not staying at these schools.  Also the vice principal was the one who called, the MOE told me. And yes it would seem like these people have been complaining and gossiping  and judging about me for quite some time if they held me in that room for almost 2 hours. Actually my main said today? yesterday? that my reputation at school is bad. I just thought to myself hmm I wonder why because you like to talk smack is why. you all do.   No one has my back here, I get it. I'm on my own.

Yeah, this is fairly typical, I'm afraid. Once a meeting is called to "discuss" a problem (and it wasn't on your terms), the people involved normally already have their minds made up about you, and they're usually not going to really hear anything you say. Like, literally, they either won't understand you and won't make any attempt to understand you, or they'll dismiss everything you say as nonsense because, clearly, YOU'RE the one with the problem here. Other times they don't really care, they just want to get through the meeting and say that they "spoke" with you. The meeting is more of a formality to address complaints so that they can say they did something about them, but it can lead to further action depending on what's said or comes to light in them (or if too many of them are made).

Rumors and gossip spread pretty fast in general, people tend to believe them without any evidence, confirmation bias sets in, and in Korea they'll almost always take the word of a Korean over a foreigner. This goes triple if the Korean is a colleague. To avoid that kind of problem, you have to establish a rapport with enough of the others (especially the more senior staff) to give them something more than possible future hearsay to think about, and to force enemies and frienemies to be more careful when dealing with you. You have to keep all personal details about your life to yourself, and be as vague about them and your plans as possible. And you have to learn to pick up on signs that a particular teacher might have a problem with you so that you can act early enough to hopefully and sufficiently smother any attempts they make to damage your reputation. It's possible that the shittalking started somewhere else and that your problem coteacher was just reacting to that, but chances are higher that the problem coteacher is the source, given the shit that she's been saying and doing to you since very early on.

Do what you can to get through the year, but keep everything documented. Don't trust the problem coteacher, she does not have your best interests in mind, and she's likely not finished with you, so don't even bother asking her for anything. In fact, make it a point to go to basically anyone else. Record all conversations you have with her, and if her behavior continues or escalates, you can be the one to start submitting complaints about harassment. SNIP. Be firm, but stay professional and friendly. Also, observe your own behavior and mannerisms while speaking with others. They don't read dry humor and friendly sarcasm very well here, and I've seen this go very badly for some people who didn't realize that until it was too late.

Your next experience at different schools will be better. Just chalk this up to bad luck that you ended up with such a malicious coteacher your first year.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 08:02:11 pm by Chinguetti »


  • cattato
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    • January 16, 2019, 05:12:45 am
    • South Korea
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #56 on: May 15, 2019, 08:51:50 pm »
adding one more thingy to what I said, but I tried to tell them I've only been here for 3 months but they don't care. They were like it's midway and because of summer vacation I don't teach for a month or something. So It's really just 9 months or something so that's why it's bad. I'm rolling my eyes because it doesn't matter skills take time to develop. It's like me starting to learn the piano and expected to play a really complicated piece in only 3 months when I still can't even read music. Epik is just a heartless company at the end of the day as well as MOE's.


  • Cyanea
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    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
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Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #57 on: May 15, 2019, 11:21:03 pm »
I have worked at two public school jobs before and I can tell your situation is common among waygooks. The system virtually ensures it.

seriously?  no, it isn't common.  this kind of treatment is rare. 

I will re-state what i said:

Quote
They like to select greenhorns and then bully them.

And yes, this is the case at many public schools.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 11:45:41 am by kyndo »
Catch my drift?


Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2019, 08:05:27 am »
I hate to sound overly negative, but I think a big problem is that you are trying to use logic and reason with them. Take a good look around you and where you are at. It simply won't work. As we have pointed out to you, if they wanted someone experienced they should have hired someone with experience. They don't want to do that because they don't want to pay someone more qualified a few extra hundred thousand won a month. They will never examine themselves and say " You know maybe this is our fault that we willingly hired someone new and green so that we could pay them less. Maybe we should have hired someone with experience if that is what we wanted.  " 

I can almost guarantee you that the people complaining have a miserable life and you just happen to be low hanging fruit that they can take their frustrations out on.  I am engaged to a Korean lady so I have little choice but to stay here, but I am baffled when people who don't really have strong ties here choose to put up with this kind of abuse and breathe in this cancer dust for 1800 bucks a month.  There are other countries to teach in and with better air quality. I think another part to this equation is that they can see that they can push you around with very little pushback from you. Never be too afraid to walk away.


  • debbiem89
  • Expert Waygook

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    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Coteacher conflict advice?
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2019, 08:23:19 am »
You are most definitely "on your own" that is the case with ALL public school jobs and I'm not just referring to being literally the only foreigner in the school.

Push on as much as you can. Ignore the idea that people are gossiping about you, that won't make anything better. Keep trying your best to teach and take their advice but like someone mentioned SNIP, SNIP, SNIP.

I get you've only been here 3 months and have no teaching experience, but so have 90% of foreign teachers who come here. I would let that "excuse"  go immediately, holding on to that is not helping..it's actually knocking your confidence.  Reframe it.... be like I've been here THREE months I CAN do this.

Do you have a lot of teacher friends in your city? Throw yourself into your life outside of school. Rant to them when you need to and see what they are doing that's working well in their classes.....then try to SNIP.  Make an effort to smile and be confident around the school, the other teachers will notice. The less stressed you are the better your lessons will likely become :)