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  • jocko6418
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • October 05, 2015, 10:50:22 am
    • Busan, Korea
EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« on: October 02, 2019, 02:29:45 pm »
Hi, I'm looking for input from anyone who's had experience negotiating their summer vacation schedule while working for EPIK.

As of 10/2/19, I asked my co-teacher if it would be possible to schedule summer camp to take place mid-late August, instead of late July- early Aug.  One of my friends in America asked me to attend his wedding on 08/1/20 as a groomsman, so I wanted to take my initial ~10 days off immediately after the semester ends.  I talked to my co-teacher as soon as the date was settled, to try to give the school as much advanced notice as possible.

However, my co-teacher has been very... meek and unhelpful about the situation.  She told me that summer camp usually takes place immediately after the semester ends (which would make it impossible for me to attend the wedding).

When I asked that she take into consideration my plans when the school schedule is to be made in next year in February, she just repeated that it's not possible if the school wants to schedule summer camp during the first 2 weeks.

When I spoke to a different co-teacher, co-teacher #2 told me that #1 was in charge of scheduling the camp.

So I have a few questions for anyone who's had experience altering their summer camp schedule for their vacation...

Did you talk directly to your principal/vice principal, or did you do it through your co-teacher?
How many months in advance did you make the request?
Did you have to struggle and fight to get your camp rescheduled, or was it a simple process?

Just to note, I'm not requesting additional time off.  I just asked that my standard vacation time be used at the beginning of summer vacation instead of at the end.   Advice or input is appreciated!


Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2019, 02:43:10 pm »
The camp issue is kind of difficult and really depends from school to school, and also what it says in your contract, and also your relationship with your school. 

Are you working in an elementary or middle school?

-I ask, as when I was in middle school, my school had summer classes for the students for two weeks, which would have meant that I would only get a week off after the classes actually finished.   I really didn't want to work for two weeks as my holiday is important to me, so asked if I could squeeze all my classes into the first week.  All the teachers participating were expected to teach a total of twenty hours and they wanted me to teach 2 hours a day for two weeks but I said I'll do 4 hours a day for one week.  They were fine with that as I was still doing my 20 hours.

I think as you've planted the seed in your co-teachers mind this early, that can work in your favour.  There won't be a camp meeting until, crikey, June next year maybe.  So you can constantly drop hints the whole time so they get used to the idea of you not being there for that whole time. 

There is a problem with you moving dates as it may be that the students are just not there, especially if it's an elementary camp.  I've never really heard of a special camp being arranged when there are no other teachers or staff in school, as in, after the original camp period.  It's possible but I'm sure it's rare.

I hope it works out for you!!


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1306

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 03:10:03 pm »
You don't negotiate with EPIK.  You work with your school or the local education office.  Schools use to try to gyp teachers on vacation days by loading them with camps and some co teachers being retards claiming you don't care about the kids or some nonsense in order to take less vacation than entitled to.  Most education offices have asserted themselves into that issue.  You are entitled to your vacation days though you may shift them around from summer to winter and vice versa.  In 2018, I went to Canada and pulled some days from winter and took them in summer.  I don't think I did any camps last year for any of my elementary schools. 

Cause really, who goes to all that trouble to travel all that distance through airports for a week or a few days.  Gimme 3 weeks or near to it at least.  Anyways, I insisted and told them I'd do more camps for them in January.  I took a small amount of remaining vacation in late February when there was no school or camps.  I insisted.  You insist and stand your ground.  If you ask and have a timid co teacher, good luck with that.  You insist and tell them you'll do camps next vacation and make it up to them. 

Oh, just re read that.  Your contract finishes in Sept?  Take less vacation in winter 2020 and do more camps this winter and shift more vacation to the summer and tell them you'll do a week at the end of summer.  I did that with one school a few years ago.  I had to politely insist and went to the principal directly but it was the same school year.  He said no problem.  I even missed the last 2 or 3 days of the semester since the kids were watching movies.  (But I had to get principal and education office approval for that though.) 


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 2611

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2019, 03:15:04 pm »
I wanted to take my honeymoon holiday when camp had been penciled in. Nothing planned, just preliminarily penciled in. I asked if the dates could be swapped, otherwise I couldn't go on my honeymoon (wife has a specific week off). Principal said no, for no reason. I asked 3 times (and got my vice principal, Co teachers, head of English teachers) all to go and ask politely to ask him (as it wasn't any effort to change the dates). Still no, was told it was "impossible". I had had enough and just booked it. Said they could fire me... or just change the dates. Oddly, the principal agreed straight away to change the camp dates. Sigh.

I'd just book the wedding flights, as its obviously important to you. They can just work around the schedule. No biggie.

"it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission"


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1306

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2019, 03:24:34 pm »
I wanted to take my honeymoon holiday when camp had been penciled in. Nothing planned, just preliminarily penciled in. I asked if the dates could be swapped, otherwise I couldn't go on my honeymoon (wife has a specific week off). Principal said no, for no reason. I asked 3 times (and got my vice principal, Co teachers, head of English teachers) all to go and ask politely to ask him (as it wasn't any effort to change the dates). Still no, was told it was "impossible". I had had enough and just booked it. Said they could fire me... or just change the dates. Oddly, the principal agreed straight away to change the camp dates. Sigh.

I'd just book the wedding flights, as its obviously important to you. They can just work around the schedule. No biggie.

"it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission"

Bingo.  You hit the nail on the head.  Just make sure your school likes you otherwise.  Korea doesn't seem to favor or respect the too meek or timid. 


  • jocko6418
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • October 05, 2015, 10:50:22 am
    • Busan, Korea
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 03:34:28 pm »
The camp issue is kind of difficult and really depends from school to school, and also what it says in your contract, and also your relationship with your school. 

Are you working in an elementary or middle school?

-I ask, as when I was in middle school, my school had summer classes for the students for two weeks, which would have meant that I would only get a week off after the classes actually finished.   I really didn't want to work for two weeks as my holiday is important to me, so asked if I could squeeze all my classes into the first week.  All the teachers participating were expected to teach a total of twenty hours and they wanted me to teach 2 hours a day for two weeks but I said I'll do 4 hours a day for one week.  They were fine with that as I was still doing my 20 hours.

I think as you've planted the seed in your co-teachers mind this early, that can work in your favour.  There won't be a camp meeting until, crikey, June next year maybe.  So you can constantly drop hints the whole time so they get used to the idea of you not being there for that whole time. 

There is a problem with you moving dates as it may be that the students are just not there, especially if it's an elementary camp.  I've never really heard of a special camp being arranged when there are no other teachers or staff in school, as in, after the original camp period.  It's possible but I'm sure it's rare.

I hope it works out for you!!


Thanks for the response!

I'm working at an elementary school.  I thought the problem was,
"English camp during week 3/4 will conflict with other camps," and not "We want all camps to occur during week 1/2"

Although I"m not sure why it would be a big deal.  I have 0 interaction with the staff/other teachers when I do camp, so I"m not sure why it would be necessary to have camp during that period.  There's been 1 teacher on "duty" during last year's deskwarming time, so the school isn't deserted.


  • jocko6418
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • October 05, 2015, 10:50:22 am
    • Busan, Korea
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 03:39:45 pm »
You don't negotiate with EPIK.  You work with your school or the local education office.  Schools use to try to gyp teachers on vacation days by loading them with camps and some co teachers being retards claiming you don't care about the kids or some nonsense in order to take less vacation than entitled to.  Most education offices have asserted themselves into that issue.  You are entitled to your vacation days though you may shift them around from summer to winter and vice versa.  In 2018, I went to Canada and pulled some days from winter and took them in summer.  I don't think I did any camps last year for any of my elementary schools. 

Cause really, who goes to all that trouble to travel all that distance through airports for a week or a few days.  Gimme 3 weeks or near to it at least.  Anyways, I insisted and told them I'd do more camps for them in January.  I took a small amount of remaining vacation in late February when there was no school or camps.  I insisted.  You insist and stand your ground.  If you ask and have a timid co teacher, good luck with that.  You insist and tell them you'll do camps next vacation and make it up to them. 

Oh, just re read that.  Your contract finishes in Sept?  Take less vacation in winter 2020 and do more camps this winter and shift more vacation to the summer and tell them you'll do a week at the end of summer.  I did that with one school a few years ago.  I had to politely insist and went to the principal directly but it was the same school year.  He said no problem.  I even missed the last 2 or 3 days of the semester since the kids were watching movies.  (But I had to get principal and education office approval for that though.) 

I'm negotiating with the school, I just wanted to state the background information that it's for an EPIK contract.
And my contract finishes in February, and I plan on renewing, hence the request for 2020's summer vacation.

I totally agree with you about the meek co-teacher.  I get the feeling that she's just too scared to ask the principal/vp for anything, so I told her if she's uncomfortable I can just ask them myself (even though managing the foreigner is technically supposed to be her duty).   Although they don't really speak English, I think if I write an explanation, I can get by with broken Korean.


  • m.corless
  • Super Waygook

    • 260

    • August 30, 2011, 02:55:14 pm
    • Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2019, 11:13:38 pm »
Also keep in mind that March 1st, 2020 = the day of change, so you might not even have the same co-teachers or vice-principal and principal after that date. Unfortunately not much you can do until the new school year starts and then try to get them to nail down the dates. It's definitely not an issue of conflicting camps, it's just the school not wanting to do anything extra or different than what's worked in the past because that's easiest. Try again with your co-teacher at the beginning of the school year and lay out what you need (dates for vacation, dates for camp) and see what they say. You shouldn't be going to the VP or principal yourself.


Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 06:59:01 am »
Also keep in mind that March 1st, 2020 = the day of change, so you might not even have the same co-teachers or vice-principal and principal after that date. Unfortunately not much you can do until the new school year starts and then try to get them to nail down the dates. It's definitely not an issue of conflicting camps, it's just the school not wanting to do anything extra or different than what's worked in the past because that's easiest. Try again with your co-teacher at the beginning of the school year and lay out what you need (dates for vacation, dates for camp) and see what they say.

This also.  It's still really early and a lot can change from this year to next.  Knowing how duties change within elementary school, it's very possible that you could be assigned a new co-teacher in the new year.  Also, what I used to do around contract renewal time was when I was offered my contract, knowing that my school really liked me, was that I always asked for Christmas and new year off so that I could go home and spend it with my family.  Always, I got positive responses from my school, and therefore renewed.

Also, in hindsight, as there are levels of importance to certain familial responsibilities in Korea, it would have been better to say it was a brother or sister getting married and your parents need you to be there.  White lie?  Yes.  But would have been more likely to succeed without more questioning from them.  :wink:


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2684

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 08:44:13 am »
Also, what I used to do around contract renewal time was when I was offered my contract, knowing that my school really liked me, was that I always asked for Christmas and new year off so that I could go home and spend it with my family.  Always, I got positive responses from my school, and therefore renewed.

Interesting -- at every public school job I've held in Korea in the past, the fall semester didn't finish until after Christmas, so it was never possible for me to take vacation/travel back to my home country for Christmas while I was working as a public school teacher. As a result, I've never spent a Christmas back in my home country since moving to Korea.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 10:25:14 am by Mezoti97 »


Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 08:57:29 am »
Also, what I used to do around contract renewal time was when I was offered my contract, knowing that my school really liked me, was that I always asked for Christmas and new year off so that I could go home and spend it with my family.  Always, I got positive responses from my school, and therefore renewed.

Interesting -- at every public school job I've held in Korea in the past, the fall semester didn't finish until after Christmas, so it was never possible for my to take vacation/travel back to my home country for Christmas while I was working as a public school teacher. As a result, I've never spent a Christmas back in my home country since moving to Korea.

Same.  The semester would finish at the beginning of January and as we know after the final test there is no actual 'teaching', just relaxing time/film time etc for the students, so my school saw no harm in it.  Having a lovely co-teacher that you have a great relationship with really helps.  My main middle school that I worked at (2007-2013) was a small countryside one, so for each of those six years, I went home for Christmas and was eternally grateful to them for letting me.  The principal signed it off, no problems.  Then I would come back and have two weeks of winter classes, so I was not really affecting the 'teaching' schedule.  My thing is, if you don't try, you'll never know.  It'll probably be different now, but due to certain circumstances, I fancy going home this year for Christmas, so am toying with the idea.   :undecided:


  • Colburnnn
  • Veteran

    • 173

    • August 10, 2015, 05:52:37 pm
    • South Korea
Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2019, 09:31:03 am »
Also, what I used to do around contract renewal time was when I was offered my contract, knowing that my school really liked me, was that I always asked for Christmas and new year off so that I could go home and spend it with my family.  Always, I got positive responses from my school, and therefore renewed.

Interesting -- at every public school job I've held in Korea in the past, the fall semester didn't finish until after Christmas, so it was never possible for my to take vacation/travel back to my home country for Christmas while I was working as a public school teacher. As a result, I've never spent a Christmas back in my home country since moving to Korea.

Same.  The semester would finish at the beginning of January and as we know after the final test there is no actual 'teaching', just relaxing time/film time etc for the students, so my school saw no harm in it.  Having a lovely co-teacher that you have a great relationship with really helps.  My main middle school that I worked at (2007-2013) was a small countryside one, so for each of those six years, I went home for Christmas and was eternally grateful to them for letting me.  The principal signed it off, no problems.  Then I would come back and have two weeks of winter classes, so I was not really affecting the 'teaching' schedule.  My thing is, if you don't try, you'll never know.  It'll probably be different now, but due to certain circumstances, I fancy going home this year for Christmas, so am toying with the idea.   :undecided:

Did you keep this under wraps when you were doing it? I'd imagine everyone else would be borderline pissed to see someone taking time off for Christmas when the term is still in session. Wasn't that the whole reason deskwarming got put in?


Re: EPIK Negotiating Summer Camp/Vacation Schedule
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2019, 09:38:54 am »
Also, what I used to do around contract renewal time was when I was offered my contract, knowing that my school really liked me, was that I always asked for Christmas and new year off so that I could go home and spend it with my family.  Always, I got positive responses from my school, and therefore renewed.

Interesting -- at every public school job I've held in Korea in the past, the fall semester didn't finish until after Christmas, so it was never possible for my to take vacation/travel back to my home country for Christmas while I was working as a public school teacher. As a result, I've never spent a Christmas back in my home country since moving to Korea.

Same.  The semester would finish at the beginning of January and as we know after the final test there is no actual 'teaching', just relaxing time/film time etc for the students, so my school saw no harm in it.  Having a lovely co-teacher that you have a great relationship with really helps.  My main middle school that I worked at (2007-2013) was a small countryside one, so for each of those six years, I went home for Christmas and was eternally grateful to them for letting me.  The principal signed it off, no problems.  Then I would come back and have two weeks of winter classes, so I was not really affecting the 'teaching' schedule.  My thing is, if you don't try, you'll never know.  It'll probably be different now, but due to certain circumstances, I fancy going home this year for Christmas, so am toying with the idea.   :undecided:

Did you keep this under wraps when you were doing it? I'd imagine everyone else would be borderline pissed to see someone taking time off for Christmas when the term is still in session. Wasn't that the whole reason deskwarming got put in?

Not really.  I suppose at that time, teachers had different things they wanted from their holidays.  I had a Canadian friend who would have loved to have gone home but couldn't but there were no grudges held, and then my other really good friends used their holidays in January and February.  It was no real biggie.  My American friend always used to call me the 'Golden Child'  :laugh:  I suppose once you miss Christmas once or twice, it loses a bit of meaning.  This year will probably be me alone, which I'm ok with.  It's only one day off anyway.  Fine.  Even now, I think it's up to your school, to be honest.  I think most schools don't consult the contract on every tiny detail, which is a good thing, as long as you're not taking the piss, then usually it's okay.