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  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1112

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« on: May 15, 2019, 10:59:47 pm »
Just wondering.

Catch my drift?


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 438

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
    • Burning Oil Be Best
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2019, 06:47:45 am »
In my experience it was the bujang, kind of an operational manager.
Fiat voluntas tua- What you want is allowed


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2570

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019, 07:20:55 am »
The parents who pay.  If you are a boring teacher that is losing students for the school that could be a factor as to wither you fulfill you contract or not.  Back in the day it used to be hakwons couldn't fire us because it wasn't easy to get a replacement right away.  Now a days, there are so many foreign instructors in Korea that if you really  suck and they need someone quick it's very easy to reach out to a recruiter to fill your shoes.  Worst comes to worst they will even get a teacher for a traditional non-native English speaking (Philippines, Indonesia preferably but I did sometimes see some South Americans filling a temp gap)  country just to fill in the gap till they find a N.American, UK, Aussie, Saffer to fill in the void. 
So yeah it's the parents who really run the show.  They are the customers after all.  If you are lucky to not have a spineless director who doesn't bend at the every whim of the outrageous request of the parents then that is a blessing.  Otherwise, the staff follows the money.   


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4025

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2019, 07:53:21 am »
The head of the mother’s Naver cafe group.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3837

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2019, 10:16:35 am »
The education office (though they rarely use that power), followed by parents, students/owners (depends on how much of a spine the owner has), after them managers, then older teachers, followed by younger teachers, next the cleaning lady, the bus driver, the building caretaker, and finally the foreign ESL teacher.


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2570

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2019, 11:53:58 am »
The head of the mother’s Naver cafe group.

Yep, the cafe mother mafia is in full effect near any hakwon. 


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2019, 09:28:01 am »
Has anyone here ever worked at a hagwon in which the owners did NOT tolerate the coffee-house mothers?  The school focus on teaching, learning and respect int he classroom...employee development, communication and not allowing problem students and their parents to bring  everyone else down.

Has anyone worked in an academy like that or is it a myth?


  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1112

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2019, 02:42:24 am »
Has anyone here ever worked at a hagwon in which the owners did NOT tolerate the coffee-house mothers?  The school focus on teaching, learning and respect int he classroom...employee development, communication and not allowing problem students and their parents to bring  everyone else down.

Has anyone worked in an academy like that or is it a myth?

Sometimes you get a decent and effective manager that does not tolerate nonsense from students and supports her teachers.

Its rare, but I had one such boss. Her priority was work and learning. The kids were scared witless of her because she had a nasty temper that she could pull out of the hat at any time. So if any students were misbehaving you had only to make them stand in the hallway and they would be berated by the boss on sight. It helped a lot and many potential problems were nipped in the bud.  At other schools the troublemakers would've been pandered to indefinitely until they had basically ruined the school.

Unfortunately, very unfortunately she fell victim to power politics. She had bad chemistry with the new personnel manager, who was also jealous of her and made up stories about her to the owner.. and managed to get her vanquished.

Quote from: JNM
The head of the mother’s Naver cafe group.

Its the worst-behaving kids who control their mothers though. And it is always the most degenerate kids that (surprise surprise) have the most vocal and tyrannical mothers. Descending the hierarchy you will find even the principals of govt. schools indirectly accepting the demands of the most delinquent ten year-olds.


So the worst-behaved students are ultimately the puppet masters.


« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 02:53:18 am by Cyanea »
Catch my drift?


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2019, 08:59:54 am »
It seems like such an easy path start on.

1.  Have an interview with the parents and student (before starting) politely explaining the way of the land.  Their child is there to learn and there are standards for behavior.  If these standards are not met (after three warnings), the student is gone.  After all, mom and dad are paying money for their precious one to gain an educational advantage...and the the school will provide the opportunity.  However, if the student does not do his/her part by following simple rules and does not show progress...gone.  Of course there will be times for fun, celebration and a field trip or two.  But...the institution is not a baby-sitting establishment. 

2.  During this interview, explain to the parents that the teaching staff is not there to entertain their precious one and present the fact, that there IS work and practice involved.  The staff is to be treated with respect and if not, their precious one is done.  The owner explains to the parents that while the staff are not there to juggle markers, they do promote a safe learning environment and as long as their precious one(s) are following the rules, all will be fine.  Additionally, the owner will explain to the parents that while the teaching methods of the staff, which promote actual speaking, may not fall in line with traditional Korean ways, he/she has full confidence in his/her staff and their abilities.  And, as the staff is committed and puts the work in, they are rewarded with trust, a good salary and vacation time.  So...they will receive at least 10 working days of paid personal holiday.

3.  At the end of the interview, if both parties wish to proceed, the parents and students sign a code of conduct agreement.  If the parents don't wish to proceed...no problem.  There is an LCI Kids Club down the street and they will take anybody. 

4.  The school owner meets with the Korean staff and makes it clear that no petty office politics are tolerated.  They are to do their job, speak English while at the school and work to promote a harmonious atmosphere in which the foreign staff feel welcomed and needed.  This may mean to hire less women, as it is shown that the gals create the most problems in this arena.  They are also well paid and rewarded with time off and the necessary support. 

A good foundation leads the way...and will eventually be successful.  Sure, there will be parents who will snub their noses at such accountability but they will notice why, after enrolling their precious one at LCI Kids Club, their precious one still cannot complete a full sentence and constantly talks of new foreign/Korean teachers, coming and going.  So, when they finally realize the money they are throwing away could have been better used at the previous school, they will go back....only to find there is a waiting list. 

« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:01:27 am by NorthStar »


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 438

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
    • Burning Oil Be Best
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2019, 11:42:05 am »
There are just too many schools and too few students to make such demands of them. They could leave on a whim.
Fiat voluntas tua- What you want is allowed


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2019, 12:08:32 pm »
There are just too many schools and too few students to make such demands of them. They could leave on a whim.

The good schools say "Not our monkey, not our circus".

"Demands"...right. 


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4025

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2019, 07:08:10 pm »
There are just too many schools and too few students to make such demands of them. They could leave on a whim.

The good schools say "Not our monkey, not our circus".

"Demands"...right. 
This requires outstanding reputation to work.

Very few could do it.


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2019, 07:45:53 pm »
There are just too many schools and too few students to make such demands of them. They could leave on a whim.

The good schools say "Not our monkey, not our circus".

"Demands"...right. 
This requires outstanding reputation to work.

Very few could do it.

That's why there are so few....just look at the industry and the ones who open/run common hagwons. 


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3837

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2019, 03:06:44 am »
Has anyone here ever worked at a hagwon in which the owners did NOT tolerate the coffee-house mothers?  The school focus on teaching, learning and respect int he classroom...employee development, communication and not allowing problem students and their parents to bring  everyone else down.

Has anyone worked in an academy like that or is it a myth?

I worked at one such place for a few yrs. Classroom discipline was never an issue, and I had a strict discipline routine for students who didn’t do their homework.

I know for a fact that a few parents wanted me replaced because I wasn’t the dancing English-speaking monkey their children wanted, but the owner stood firm.

That was because I was helping to transform middle school kids who could barely comprehend a kindergarten storybook into into kids who could mostly comprehend UK-level teen articles. Towards the end we had special classes doing IELTS-level (level 1) material for the highest achieving students. I had to edit and simplify a lot of the articles, but it was satisfying seeing those kids go from strength to strength.

Especially watching kids who could barely write 2-3 sentences at the beginning articulating their thoughts and opinions on an article a year later. Marking their essays (short, usually 7-14 lines) was a labour of love (it wasn’t necessary or required)...but I spent many extra hours doing so.

A good bunch of those parents who took their kids out brought their kids back after a few months.

After a few years, the hagwon managed to poach a headteacher from one of the local “premium” English kindergartens (where kids learned other subjects in English), and a bunch of parents brought their kids with her (about 25 in total)...and after about 6 months of these new kids and their parents complaining about “no games” and “no fun”, the owner informed me it would be my final year with them as the pressure from those parents was too much.

The other big change around this period, was when they started flooding the middle school classes with new students. So much so that classes that used to have 6-10 students now had 18 students on average...and guess where the behavioural problems and complaints were coming from.

Kudos to the director though, he did give me a 6 month heads up...but he knew my teaching style and personally wouldn’t allow me to cave in to the new parent and student demands.

I know and worked for a foreign guy who runs his own hagwon. He’s a straight shooter, as honest and blunt as can be. He thoroughly screens kids and parents before admitting anyone. If he feels the parents might be one of those overbearing types, he lets them know their kids wouldn’t fare well at his hagwon and advises them to seek elsewhere. He’s turned away a ton of business, but he also gets to run his place the way he sees best.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 03:20:24 am by waygo0k »


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2019, 12:36:57 pm »
Quote
After a few years, the hagwon managed to poach a headteacher from one of the local “premium” English kindergartens (where kids learned other subjects in English), and a bunch of parents brought their kids with her (about 25 in total)...and after about 6 months of these new kids and their parents complaining about “no games” and “no fun”, the owner informed me it would be my final year with them as the pressure from those parents was too much.

The other big change around this period, was when they started flooding the middle school classes with new students. So much so that classes that used to have 6-10 students now had 18 students on average...and guess where the behavioural problems and complaints were coming from.

Yep...leave it to surrendering business autonomy to coffee house moms, who probably cannot speak a lick of English themselves.  Thus, having a good thing squander over to the norm...


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2019, 12:41:21 pm »
Quote
I know and worked for a foreign guy who runs his own hagwon. He’s a straight shooter, as honest and blunt as can be. He thoroughly screens kids and parents before admitting anyone. If he feels the parents might be one of those overbearing types, he lets them know their kids wouldn’t fare well at his hagwon and advises them to seek elsewhere. He’s turned away a ton of business, but he also gets to run his place the way he sees best.

As do I.  The kids work (albeit, perhaps a bit too much but...), have homework sheets parents need to sign, vocabulary tests, speaking tests....you name it.  They don't allow the coffee house mafia or their brats to ruin what they have.  They are a one school operation with an excellent curriculum and schedule...with plenty of resources.  The Korean teachers all speak English to the kids, the boss can actually teach and lead by example (when I say "boss", I am referring to the expat husband). 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 12:47:28 pm by NorthStar »


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3837

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2019, 05:55:55 pm »
Held out for as long as he could. I don’t blame him in any way. Looking back, it was the right time to leave as I’d become way too settled there, and it was either make me head of something or let me go. I won’t go too much into the office dynamics other than I was the only foreigner out of about 13 teachers (and 18 staff in total).

He even told me he was planning to move his family to the US and start a business there (something the other teachers didn’t know)...But this plan rested on his wife going from literally non-English speaker to IELTS level 6-7 in a very short time...while also studying for her nursing qualifications.

I’m guessing even he’s going to sell up anytime from now and leave the NAVER mums brigade problem to whoever the new owner will be.

I’ve heard from k-teachers in public schools the new breed of parents are even more demanding compared to the past...so much so that a lot of the teachers in their schools who have either reached retirement age or are approaching it are clocking out at the earliest opportunity.

Interesting bit of info: PS teachers who reach retirement age and retire are officially given the title of “vice principal” upon their retirement. I don’t know if they receive the VP pension package though.


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 438

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
    • Burning Oil Be Best
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2019, 08:21:02 pm »
Is there anyone around here who is aware of the actual educational validity of the gaming, dancing monkey approach, especially at elementary school level? Or simply not teaching any grammar at all? https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/02/the-wrong-way-to-teach-grammar/284014/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gpvdtz5Wic
Fiat voluntas tua- What you want is allowed


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3837

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2019, 08:36:52 pm »
Quote
Researcher Marcia Hurlow has shown that many errors “disappear” from student writing when students focus on their ideas and stop “trying to ‘sound correct.’

I strongly believe in this and have witnessed it first hand.

I’ve had students who wrote (in nearly perfect sentences) about some of the most bizarre things unrelated to the topic at hand and they shockingly (in their eyes) got very high scores. They thought they were being cheeky by not focusing on the topic, but I was just interested in them expressing themselves in English.

Other students would write about how they couldn’t fully relate to the topic (understandable), but they’d use an experience of theirs to compare or juxtapose with it, and then say what they’d learned in the process.

Kids are a lot more perceptive and smarter than we give them credit for...all we have to do is give them the confidence to believe they can actually tackle difficult tasks, and leave them to it while providing a guiding presence.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3837

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Who actually holds the power in Hogwons?
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2019, 08:38:45 pm »
Quote
Researcher Marcia Hurlow has shown that many errors “disappear” from student writing when students focus on their ideas and stop “trying to ‘sound correct.’

I strongly believe in this and have witnessed it first hand.

I’ve had students who wrote (in nearly perfect sentences) about some of the most bizarre things unrelated to the topic at hand and they shockingly (in their eyes) got very high scores. They thought they were being cheeky by not focusing on the topic, but I was just interested in them expressing themselves in English.

Other students would write about how they couldn’t fully relate to the topic (understandable), but they’d use an experience of theirs to compare or juxtapose with it, and then say what they’d learned in the process.

Kids are a lot more perceptive and smarter than we give them credit for...all we have to do is give them the confidence to believe they can actually tackle difficult tasks, and leave them to it while providing a guiding presence.