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  • blade2001
  • Newgookin

    • 3

    • November 22, 2018, 12:19:19 pm
    • australia
Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« on: May 17, 2019, 10:56:38 am »
Has anyone been asked to clean? Like clean the kitchen in the staff room etc? I didn't expect this so just wanted to see how I should handle it. If I say yes, will this become a common occurrence? Ideally, my time needs to be used lesson planning and not cleaning. Thanks!


  • Datasapien
  • Super Waygook

    • 401

    • February 04, 2012, 09:36:25 pm
    • Chungcheongbuk-do
    more
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2019, 11:33:46 am »
If it's something you use frequently and have made a mess (just assuming here, no accusation whatsoever) then I guess it's just part of being a good co-worker (assuming the Korean staff are also helping / cleaning other areas of the school).

If you don't use it, or you're the only one cleaning, then I'd probably politely excuse myself from doing it. I think it depends on the finer details of the situation, which you haven't mentioned.
"A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." - Jebediah Springfield.


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1505

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2019, 11:47:53 am »
I help clean our classroom and try to keep my desk tidy. Cleaning the staff room, I would once/twice if I saw others doing it at random too, to help out. But you are right to be concerned that it could become expected of you.   I also clean after camps if there is cooking/mess.


Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 12:11:03 pm »
Helping out every so often is something pretty much all Korean teachers do, even if you don't see it happen. If it takes a short amount of time, I am sure it can fit into your infinitely busy schedule :p


  • debbiem89
  • Expert Waygook

    • 507

    • August 30, 2016, 09:42:49 am
    • South Korea
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2019, 12:30:09 pm »
Noo ne has ever asked me. I keep my own area tidy and all the teacher's in my office keep it fairly clean.

The actual "cleaning" is done by students (even in our office).

If they were giving me (and only me) like set jobs to do during my free periods? Not a chance.


  • LIC
  • Veteran

    • 234

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2019, 02:16:28 pm »
It's very simple. What does your contract say? Any language in there about cleaning? If not, don't.

Now, some apologists may say don't throw your contract around, but everybody knows when it's in the school's best interest they are sure willing to.


  • annataleen
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 450

    • May 02, 2014, 01:27:07 pm
    • Incheon
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2019, 02:47:04 pm »
I have never been asked to clean a staff area before. My school has an English room and that is where my desk it. The students clean the floor and straighten the desks, and take the trash and recycling out. Once in a while, my coteacher (who is also a contract teacher) will vacuum. She is in charge of keeping the English room clean and supervising the students. Twice a month, I clean the desks, my desk, the TV, and the whiteboard. A few times a year we will dust the entire room, wipe down the fans, and clean the filter to the air con/heater ... and now the air purifiers.

The contract teacher that is in charge of cleaning the English room is also in charge of cleaning the staff room for the grade she primarily teaches. I don't know what I would do if I was told to clean the staff area, like the small kitchen in the teachers room. I do use the sink and refrigerator sometimes, but I always clean up myself when I was them. Technically it isn't in our contracts to help with clean up, though it is a nice gesture to help out.

I am wondering if the person who told you that you have to clean looks at you in as the same as a contract teacher? They might not know (or care!) that technically this isn't part of your duties. If you start doing it, they will definitely expect you to keep doing it. I would find out exactly what they expect of you before doing anything. It seems odd that another teacher isn't in charge of this.


  • lhelena
  • Adventurer

    • 63

    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2019, 02:48:59 pm »
At my school we have a cleaning ahjumma, but she only does the floors, bathrooms, and stairwells as far as I know. All the homeroom teachers have their students help them tidy up their rooms. Our admin people clean their own messes I'm sure. My coteacher takes care of the library and this year I've taken on keeping up the English room because  she was doing both last year and it was too much. I think cleaning isn't really something you should be arguing about if it's your job or not; it's just cleaning. If there is some kind of rotation of teachers cleaning different areas of the school each year maybe just do your part too. If there isn't then I'd definitely ask why you have to be the one cleaning. A lot of schools think the NETs are lazy and don't actually work, so they might think they're just giving you something to keep you busy. But definitely ask if there is some kind of cleaning duty for the staff that you didn't know about first.


  • SanderB
  • Super Waygook

    • 438

    • June 02, 2018, 06:25:54 pm
    • Burning Oil Be Best
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2019, 11:50:10 am »
I did not study for 8 years to clean. :sad:
Fiat voluntas tua- What you want is allowed


Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2019, 06:18:11 pm »
Depends on what they want me to do and why, and whether or not the other teachers are also expected to clean.

If it's to wipe things down and to sweep a room, and all other teachers are also assigned a room or area to tidy at the end of the day, I've got no problems with it. That's pretty normal here, even when they have students assigned to clean/help. It's not hard, and it doesn't take long. Not all schools require it, but some do because students are just shit at cleaning, and the principal/education board might feel it's a good show of solidarity to clean along with the students.

If they're wanting me to scrub out the toilets while none of the other teachers are ever expected to, I'd refuse. Either we all do it, or they better pay someone else to come in and do it. Probably won't see anything like this unless someone is dumb enough to embezzle the funds meant for the cleaning lady/staff, though. Has anyone been made to clean a bathroom here, lol?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 06:19:42 pm by Chinguetti »


  • NorthStar
  • Super Waygook

    • 487

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Seoul
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2019, 07:49:42 pm »
Quote
Has anyone been made to clean a bathroom here, lol?

Well...not a public school, but, one hagwon tried to.  The owner was too cheap to hire a cleaning lady and once a month ever Saturday, he required his staff to come in and clean the entire place (for free..."unpaid overtime").  I told him to kick rocks as I had not seen anything in my contract regarding janitorial and housekeeping duties.  Then the old "but we are a team " play was tried....he hit a foul ball on that one. 


  • Piggydee
  • The Legend

    • 2570

    • October 15, 2013, 07:32:43 am
    • South Korea
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2019, 08:09:38 am »
Yeah once a year (or maybe not even that) you will be asked to do some helping out around the school (i.e. if there was heavy snow fall you might be asked to help shovel snow or if there is some parents day event you might be asked to help set up chairs ect. )  You're really suppose to just get along and play along on those request.  Sometimes if you have a dedicated English classroom (unlike myself I usually have to travel to different classrooms) then you are occasionally suppose to help out your co teacher and just do some light sweeping of the room.  This year that changed as my co-teacher at my travel school where the are dedicated English classrooms has some of the kids stay after class and do the sweeping we used to do last year.  Which I'm so thankful to her for asking the kids to do that because they are the ones that produced the mess why should we clean up after them when they decided to rip of parts of their book and throw it around class  >:(  So as punishment she has them stay after class and clean up.  Your school asking you to clean up a teacher's lounge everyday sounds a little ridiculous, but I would just pick up a broom drag it around the floor a bit and whip down one counter as so show you did some work and then bounce.  But yeah the way our contract is set up you can say to them "sorry that is not a teaching duty and I shouldn't be asked to do this" but of course the way Korean office politics is set up, you will probably be given a side eye and be counted as someone they don't want to renew with next year. 


Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2019, 09:05:40 am »
If all the other teachers have to do it then I would just do it. If they are only making you do it then that is silly.

In my second EPIK job I had an English classroom all to myself. A few weeks into the term I realized that the cleaning ajumma wasn't coming in there to do any cleaning. All the teachers had to clean their own classrooms (but nothing else). So every few weeks I'd have to vacuum, and every day I'd sweep up all the random pencils and food that the kids would somehow manage to spill everywhere (despite a ban on food in the room). Every few months the cleaning ajumma would at least come in and mop the wooden floors though.

In my first EPIK job there wasn't an English room, and I'd have to go to other teachers' classrooms. I never had to do any cleaning because it was the responsibility of those teachers (and their students). We had an office where my computer was and the students would sometimes come by and mop it, which of course they never did well because they were elementary students. I'd always have to take out the garbage because it would get massively full and nobody would take it out even though there were like 5 Korean teachers using this office every day.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 09:07:42 am by MayorHaggar »
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  • Nokcha
  • Super Waygook

    • 309

    • August 22, 2012, 02:37:27 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2019, 12:01:38 pm »
On a semi-related note: Why don't the English teachers in my office clean the refrigerator, after leaving their leftover 'teachers' meeting food', empty the Sylvia Cythina Stout filled trash cans, or even sweep around their own desks? I've been to plenty of homes and they are generally spotless. Everyone is busy, that I can see. But it takes just a few minutes to clean. I've been in several offices now and it's always the same.


Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2019, 08:15:25 pm »
  In one of my previous jobs I was asked to clean the blackboard, straighten up the chairs, and put paper in the wastepaper basket, even though the cleaners would come later. Their reasoning was that they had to clean the entire school, wash every floor, clean every toilet, dust every table and water every plant.
  I was merely being asked to do my bit. So I did my bit, and everything was hunky dory afterwards. It may be that the Korean teachers are just asking you to do your bit. In Korean schools often the students have to clean as well.


  • blade2001
  • Newgookin

    • 3

    • November 22, 2018, 12:19:19 pm
    • australia
Re: Being asked to clean as an EPIK teacher?
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2019, 08:41:19 pm »
Thanks for the responses guys! It was a once off, which I don't mind at all. I was only curious to see how others have handled a similar situation. Thankfully it didn't grow into a weekly occurrence.