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Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #160 on: July 28, 2021, 09:34:25 pm »
I'm so sorry to hear that you had to go through this :(
The best way to summarize almost anything about professionalism in this country would be "UNPROFESSIONAL, BIASED, and DISCRIMINATORY," but as foreigners, we basically don't have the right to protect ourselves from any of this. It is absurd that they are calling you "Emotional," when it is them who are EMOTIONAL in their handling of this situation because they are allowing their personal emotions and disappointment of your Korean ability to cloud their judgement and take away objectivity from this situation regardless of how much evidence you have against this woman. 


Yes, I felt as though all my evidence wasn't enough at all.  In fact I felt as though that their judgement was set as soon as I said that I didn't speak Korean well.  Especially from the one man (there were three....one man, one woman *who apparently was an expert in English education, and the Gepik coordinator who was fluent in both English and Korean).  Even though I read Korean, speak Korean not well, yet understand it well, he was just so disappointed.  He remarked that I had been here so long that I should understand how things are run in Korea as well as understand it!  How does my Korean ability have anything to do with the problem at hand?


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #161 on: July 28, 2021, 09:45:54 pm »
I'm so sorry to hear that you had to go through this :(
The best way to summarize almost anything about professionalism in this country would be "UNPROFESSIONAL, BIASED, and DISCRIMINATORY," but as foreigners, we basically don't have the right to protect ourselves from any of this. It is absurd that they are calling you "Emotional," when it is them who are EMOTIONAL in their handling of this situation because they are allowing their personal emotions and disappointment of your Korean ability to cloud their judgement and take away objectivity from this situation regardless of how much evidence you have against this woman. 


Yes, saying that my claims were emotional totally dismissed me.  Even though I had proof!  I have a feeling that if they admitted that this woman was in fact bullying me that they could be held liable.  I don't rightly know.  When you think about our rights.....we have none!  We have a person in charge of our sensitive docs and pay and workload and our general wellbeing in the school, and we are AT THEIR MERCY! 

When I say workload let me clarify...Even if you have taught your camps and your 20 hours hasn't been fulfilled, they can make you work additional hours.  Normally I do 3-5 days of camp, at various hours within each camp.  But if you have a coteacher who rigorously looks through your contract and reads..."the school can make you work up to 20 hours"....you could be made to do this.  Before I had never been subjected to that.  Cause after camps my coteachers were like ...go home at lunch.  Not a coteacher that is on your tail.  And if they really are on your tail they will make you work the other hours...even if it's one on one teaching a student for many hours *which I have been made to do.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #162 on: July 28, 2021, 10:02:41 pm »
Yeah, I'm so sorry, dipped. It was incredibly unprofessional of them, and saying someone is "emotional" is a very overused excuse for dismissing someone's grievances and claims. Guaranteed, if they had experienced even one of the things your coteacher had done to you, they would have turned the school upside down to get her dismissed or transferred. Everything your coteacher had done is considered waaaay disrespectful in Korean culture. The guys who attended the meeting just didn't care because you're not Korean enough for them, lol. I'm pretty sure they have it in their heads that if you don't care enough to learn Korean, then why should they care about your problems? It's ironic how their decision on the matter was very much an emotional one itself.

I'd start recording my classes with her, honestly, until I could leave the school. And I submit a scathing complaint while going out the door.

As for the coordinator, I'm so sorry that he was also so uninvolved. Unfortunately, there are no real credentials for becoming a coordinator (outside of knowing the language and being in Korea), and most of the coordinators that I have personally met aren't actually qualified for the job. Like, at all, lmao. I actually know of a case where a guy who would have been perfect for the job was passed over because the adjusshi in charge wanted the pretty young thing with zero experience instead. Didn't even look at either of their applications, just made the decision based on their pictures. So most if not all of EPIK/GEPIK coordinators don't have the management or PR skills that this position actually requires, and they're also easily manipulated by the people in charge. The position also doesn't come with the pay that someone with the skills and experience to navigate all of that should have, either, so there's not a large pool to pick from in that regard. And even when someone with that background steps forward, they're usually passed over for someone younger.

So when you combine that with the working culture here and with different people on top constantly putting up walls that these guys have no idea how to get around, you can end up with someone who chooses the path of least resistance. Or, worse, someone who buys into the bullshit and blames the foreigners for every issue that they experience, like that racist gyopo who shall remain unnamed but I'm sure some of us know exactly who I'm talking about.

I try to sympathize with coordinators because it is a tough job with very little to no support network, but it's stories like this one that can make that really hard sometimes. The ones who seem to have given up like the one you have (or who never really try to begin with) really should step down and let someone else give it a shot.

It's frustrating, and your feelings on this are 100% valid.

Chingu, when I read your post I was tearing up!  Thank you for your sweet words!!!!  THE ONLY REASON the consulting occurred was because my other coteachers had fights with her.  And they were totally to do with their objections on how she addressed them and her attitude!!!!!!  If she hadn't have disturbed them nothing would be done.  All of her shittery would still be in motion *I just made up a word SHITTERY....not to be confused with FUCKERY~ haha

Like you said, it's funny how their judgement of me had to do with the fact that I couldn't speak Korean well enough for them....Which had NOTHING to do with anything.  Especially since they brought the Gepik coordinator with them. 

Personally I don't feel sorry for this coordinator.   This is the second encounter I have had with him *first was over the phone in dealing with the fact that my city was kicking a bunch of us out of our homes and not giving subsidies (the schools in my city kicked us out of our homes with less than 2 month's warning and said if we wanted to stay at our schools for the next year we would be rehired, provided that we didn't ask for rent from city hall the people who fund us)  If our schools could muster up the coin for subsidized rent, then we could stay.  Otherwise....basica lly a **** u...  Thankfully I had some money saved up, but mostly people left.




Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #163 on: July 28, 2021, 10:03:31 pm »
My main co-teacher, who is a contract worker, is so careful and polite and always takes extra caution when writing messages and asking something of other teachers so that she doesn't offend anyone in any way. The way your temporary co-teacher behaved is waaaay out of line! Before leaving Korea you should go to the doctor with the translated 9 pages of your report and ask for a medical note for sick leave due to the mental and emotional trauma that you have experienced due to this lady and ask your other co-teachers to back you up ( or ask for photocopies of their reports in Korean). Take the doctor-approved extra sick leave (doctors can provide notes for extended sick leave and the MOE has to follow it, I believe). Collect your last few paychecks peacefully and severance, and threaten to sue her for the emotional trauma that her bullying has caused youdamages that caused you. Also, if you can, with the help of your co-teacher write to the MOE and complain against the committee for their mistreatment and dismisal of the harrassment that you experienced.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #164 on: July 28, 2021, 10:13:39 pm »
My main co-teacher, who is a contract worker, is so careful and polite and always takes extra caution when writing messages and asking something of other teachers so that she doesn't offend anyone in any way. The way your temporary co-teacher behaved is waaaay out of line! Before leaving Korea you should go to the doctor with the translated 9 pages of your report and ask for a medical note for sick leave due to the mental and emotional trauma that you have experienced due to this lady and ask your other co-teachers to back you up ( or ask for photocopies of their reports in Korean). Take the doctor-approved extra sick leave (doctors can provide notes for extended sick leave and the MOE has to follow it, I believe). Collect your last few paychecks peacefully and severance, and threaten to sue her for the emotional trauma that her bullying has caused youdamages that caused you. Also, if you can, with the help of your co-teacher write to the MOE and complain against the committee for their mistreatment and dismisal of the harrassment that you experienced.

That's awesome for you Hidden!  In my experience the contract workers who are in charge of the NET's are the worst!!  They flex that they are in charge of you and that you are BENEATH them.  Also love to bring up the fact that they get all of summer and winter off and YOU DON'T!  I've had 3 contract workers do that to me. 

I have a whole other semester left on my contract.  I don't know how much difference a note from a doctor would do.  Perhaps it could take all my 11 days paid sick leave in a row off?  And then what?  Go unpaid? 
I do love your idea of contacting the MOE....although wasn't the MOE involved in this situation?  They came and did their assessment.  I'm fully on board for taking this to the next level though.  I have never been bullied as much as I have in Korea.  The workplace for a lot of waygooks is toxic and unhealthy and we have one EPIK/GEPIK etc coordinator to complain to?  This person can do diddly squat. 

Who else can foreigners turn to when it becomes unbearable?  Seriously I wish to know.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #165 on: July 28, 2021, 10:27:50 pm »
So you have had the consulting and it doesn't sound as if you were 'heard' - despite your efforts.  Hopefully something is being done and you won't have to work with her next semester.  (I think you are a February/March start?).  If you are lucky they will change the teacher.  If not and you still have to 'co-teach' with her you may need to seriously consider your own mental health.  I had a teacher a few years ago (only for 6 months) and had she remained my co-teacher I would have had to leave.  I was a bit of a mess at the end and was unable to get a doctor to sign me off sick for the last week I had with her.  I just needed 3 days to complete the year but I couldn't do it.  I was at school but in the nurses office in tears (sobbing not just tears) and didn't teach with her but had to be at school.  They don't understand and do see it as a weakness if we can't cope.  Your teacher sounds like the one I had but I know it isn't because she is still at my school - as a homeroom teacher!

Anyway I hope you can relax and enjoy your vacation time (time off from co-teaching).

Good luck

Oh my gosh that's awful!  Your experience must have been so terrible~  You must have felt so alone and in despair in that moment and I can totally sympathise!  It truly gives you trauma when you have to deal with your abuser/bullier everyday and there isn't any one to help.  Sobbing in the nurses office!  Poor thing, but I completely understand your tears.  I have cried silently and alone in the bathroom stall so many times at my school.  But these days my tears have dried up and I am just angry and bitter. 

How can we work in these conditions?  I know I give so much into my teaching...I plan for hours each week for all my lessons...and to have some piece of shit, no talent (seriously the classes she teaches on her own are a joke) asshole attack me over and over again.....like i said I just wanna mosey on from Korea.  Cause we have no people to actually help us here with our legitimate claims of bullying and harrassment.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #166 on: July 28, 2021, 11:08:06 pm »
The good news is that it is vacation now and you don't have to deal with her. 

But, the attitudes of most Koreans towards us is becoming rather flippant, arrogant, and dismissive.  I had to debate whether I would renew or not.  I guess I stayed put due to covid and watching some crypto investments rebound.  I will go case by case now.  If it's better next year, maybe limp on for another.  I've been here a long time, but I seriously doubt staying too much longer.  There is no freedom in this job (more and more rules and more and more micromanagement nowadays)  and no matter how long you have been here, racist attitudes previal where the Korean is always right and the foreigner is always wrong.  Even though I wanted to leave and really wrestled and debated with myself, I very reluctantly stayed.  Korea has really gone downhill.  I like the country okay, but bad work environments with low pay really cancel out anything about a place you may like.  I have one nasty coteacher out to get the foreigner it seems.  She will call to check where I am and whip out the contract and rule book reading it line by line.  For the first ever, when I went for a renewal interview at the POE (they actually make you re interview and re aply for your job which is ridulous), one of teh interviewers actually read a couple of negative comments back to me and I know it was this one demanding extreme co teacher.  Honestly, I have never met anyone like this before.  Thankfully a couple of the interviewers I knew from along time ago.  So, they may have brushed it off.  I tried for renewal though a side of me was hoping to fail it. 

Anyways, my point is I understand how you feel.  Lately there is stagnant pay, work conditions have gone downhill, and a foreigner is a dime a dozen.  It's not like the welcome guest of honor treatment we recieved long ago.  To most people Korea honestly isn't worth it anymore.  I rememebr I use to talk to some of the supervisors at the POE, then they hired these useless coordinators.  Though most came and went so we still talked to the supervisors and the co ordinators at the same time.  You could actually have a conversation with them.  Then over the last few years, they started using these coordinators as a mouth piece and blocking all contact with anyone else in the office.  It became a wall of stubborn inflexibility and gradual impostion of micromanagement.  Now, we don't even know who the supervisors are.  These coordinators are used as gate keepers and they always quote the company line and take their side no matter what. 

If a foreign teacher is much older and near retirement, I can see them staying around till the bitter end.  But lots of F visa long termers in my area have quit and are going to quit.  The work environment has gotten worse and worse.  Since you are done in August, just stay and desk warm at your school. Use some sick days too. 

I always get slammed here when I say this and I will again too.  But seriously look into China public schools if you want to keep teaching esl abroad.  You can do Vietnam too though China pays better and often has more laid back work conditions the way Korea did years and years ago.  I almost went myself but am waiting to see what the covid deal is by 2022.  Otherwise, go home after this contract is done and just take a break.  It is easy to like Korea itself, but not the work environment and the contracts nowadays. 

I totally agree with you with the fact that you like Korea, just fine.  So many things to like.  Including fast transportation, fast everything and convenience.  Especially if you come from Canada, like I do.  It takes so long to get from point a to b in Canada and it is expensive.  If you order something on the internet, it is fast.  And that's about it for me.

But...these days everything is expensive especially in Korea, and paying for convenience with the price of my sanity, peace of mind, happiness, love of fresh air and natural beauty, family, freedom and a lot more social equality, etc.  I can't do it anymore. 








Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #167 on: July 29, 2021, 07:49:01 am »
You could go to the media since nobody is helping you.  CNBC might write about your story since they just covered another teacher's story about working here. I'm not sure if it would count as slander if you don't mention your specific teacher or school's name. https://www.cnbc.com/video/2021/07/15/24k-a-year-in-seoul-south-korea-millennial-money-michaela-cricchio.html You could also gather statements from other teachers who were bullied and try to get a local newspaper to write a story. It might not make your situation any better, but it might be cathartic.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #168 on: July 29, 2021, 07:51:34 am »
You can go to the doctor and complain of stress and bullying. They may give you 2 weeks off from work. Also gives you a paper trail for a lawyer.


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #169 on: July 29, 2021, 09:35:39 am »
Chingu, when I read your post I was tearing up!  Thank you for your sweet words!!!!  THE ONLY REASON the consulting occurred was because my other coteachers had fights with her.  And they were totally to do with their objections on how she addressed them and her attitude!!!!!!  If she hadn't have disturbed them nothing would be done.  All of her shittery would still be in motion *I just made up a word SHITTERY....not to be confused with FUCKERY~ haha

Like you said, it's funny how their judgement of me had to do with the fact that I couldn't speak Korean well enough for them....Which had NOTHING to do with anything.  Especially since they brought the Gepik coordinator with them. 

Personally I don't feel sorry for this coordinator.   This is the second encounter I have had with him *first was over the phone in dealing with the fact that my city was kicking a bunch of us out of our homes and not giving subsidies (the schools in my city kicked us out of our homes with less than 2 month's warning and said if we wanted to stay at our schools for the next year we would be rehired, provided that we didn't ask for rent from city hall the people who fund us)  If our schools could muster up the coin for subsidized rent, then we could stay.  Otherwise....basica lly a **** u...  Thankfully I had some money saved up, but mostly people left.

Yeah, sounds like that entire district has some major problems. I hope that you choose to go somewhere else, even if you don't have a problem with your school in and of itself. There's such a lack of respect for you as a person that they don't deserve to have you at all. They can go **** themselves.

As for the coordinator, I understand where you're coming from. I understand that these coordinators often have their hands tied, but there's a right way to handle things and there's a wrong way to handle things. So yeah, I don't sympathize with him at all, either. The bare minimum he could have done was to set your expectations beforehand and to let you know what your options were, but it doesn't sound like he did even that. Someone with the relevant background skills would have handled this much better. And I get that the ones who're hired for these positions aren't qualified for what this type of position entails, and that the offices aren't paying for someone who is qualified -- they just want a mouthpiece -- but when you take this type of position, there is still an expectation, same as a person who's hired to be a teacher even though they don't have an education degree. So yeah, maybe you won't know what to do or how to navigate these issues as well as someone with the relevant skills and experience would, but you do the best you can with what you have. I've watched as some coordinators give it their all while others put in zero effort, and there's a big difference between the ones I've seen who at least try and the ones who never try to begin with.

So with respect to people who try to excuse it, I stand by my earlier comments. I don't blame the coordinators for not being qualified for the position, it's a systemic issue, and the offices are getting exactly what they want and pay for. But yawning through a meeting that you are specifically meant to take part in, and not saying a goddamn thing while someone who isn't able to communicate as effectively as you can is getting ripped apart right in front of you makes you an ass. This person should NOT be a coordinator, I don't ****** care what his excuses are.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 10:03:14 am by Chinguetti »


Re: Resigning from Gepik
« Reply #170 on: July 29, 2021, 12:16:17 pm »
That's awesome for you Hidden!  In my experience the contract workers who are in charge of the NET's are the worst!!  They flex that they are in charge of you and that you are BENEATH them.  Also love to bring up the fact that they get all of summer and winter off and YOU DON'T!  I've had 3 contract workers do that to me. 

I have a whole other semester left on my contract.  I don't know how much difference a note from a doctor would do.  Perhaps it could take all my 11 days paid sick leave in a row off?  And then what?  Go unpaid? 
I do love your idea of contacting the MOE....although wasn't the MOE involved in this situation?  They came and did their assessment.  I'm fully on board for taking this to the next level though.  I have never been bullied as much as I have in Korea.  The workplace for a lot of waygooks is toxic and unhealthy and we have one EPIK/GEPIK etc coordinator to complain to?  This person can do diddly squat. 

Who else can foreigners turn to when it becomes unbearable?  Seriously I wish to know.


Are you working at an elementary school by any chance? There are some rumors among Korean teachers that It is usually the elementary schools that have the worst bullying type of co-workers.
They tend to be the most unprofessional, competitive, and undermining as well. I wanted to add, that it is not only foreigners going through this, but some Kyopo (overseas Koreans who came to teach through EPIK), and they are bilingual, have had some nasty treatment and experienced some severe bullying.... like having to fill out hundreds of reports cards instead of the student's homeroom teachers, had rumors spread about them, had extremely low evaluations after they've promised to give them stellar scores :(.

 There really should be an orientation for all public school Korean teachers on cross-cultural communication, respect, and how to work with a foreign teaching assistant and how to treat them ect. In addition, the Native teachers should be able to rate/score their Korean co-workers regarding their attitude, open-mindedness, and respect, tolerance, and adaptability. Every instance of bullying in the classroom should be recorded and used for training purposes for Korean teachers on what "NOT" to do when working with a NET. And honestly, I think that the training programs for the Korean teachers should have basics like..... 1) The Foreign Teacher is a Human Being Just Like you! No, they are not Korean, but they are not any less valuable than us just because they don't understand our language and culture does not give us the right to mistreat or ignore, because they are coming to contribute/ assist with expanding globalization, language!  2) Don't be jealous of the foreign teachers or worried that they can take your jobs because ... They Can't!!! We are this country's civil servants, and they are guests coming in to assists us. So be don't be hostile towards them, they are our guests! 3) We will ask the foreign teachers about how well you Korean teachers treat them as hosts in this county! And if there are any reports of intentional hostility or bullying.. there will be demerits towards your teaching career (This would really, really make the teachers think twice before bullying a foreign worker)..,
The only way to change this problem going forward is having global training and cross-cultural training and workshops for future teachers and current teachers. And also clear demerits, fines, and loss of privileges need to be set for anyone who deliberately mistreats foreign co-workers.  That is the only way to stop all this non-sense.

Again, I'm sorry to hear you have to face this idiot co-teacher next semester.
Please go to get that doctor's note of severe mental trauma, send it to the MOE higher-ups (ask your coordinator about the hire-ups are and whether you can make an appointment to see them). Or ask  other nice Korean co-teachers to assist you to reach the higher-ups. Strongly demand a transfer for your next semester! Tell them you can not put up with it!  If they do not transfer you, tell them you need 2 co-teachers in the classroom, because a teacher is needed to monitor your Co-workers because she is emotional, unstable, and therefore, not able to work with a Native Teacher on her own without supervision. Even tell them that you've been contemplating taking your own life because of this bullying (over exaggerate by a lot if you need to) do whatever it takes to get to a new school and have a nice quite last semester of life in Korea. As a last resort, go with your nice co-teachers and talk to your principal and vice-principal that you are thinking of taking legal action against your co-teacher if the situation continues. No principal wants to have this escalating at their school as it can reflect badly on them and their inability to manage the teachers, so they will have to fix this (if not for your, but for their own sakes).

Korea is at least 50 years behind the west when it comes to professionalism at the workplace and not just when it comes to foreigners, but also Koreans. The workplace is just now (in the past decade) has been transforming for the better for its own citizens (not allowing physical violence towards employees by bosses, 2014 - anti-corruption-bribery laws for civil servants (so no more major gifts for the Principal and Vice Principals or teachers accepting anything from students' parents... not even a meal), extended materinty leave for women ect. Since things are just starting to improve for this country's people... foreigners will probably have to wait another 10 years.. until there are more and more international marriages, students, and workers in the society.

(Edit) I just wanted to added something more,
Please don't feel bad about yourself or feel that you have wasted the last decade of your life in Korea.
You didn't! You came here as a young adult and grew, and developed, and learned more about who you are and got to explore the world around you!
(As ordinary as this may sound, and as terrible as some experiences can be in this country, you've been able to come to Korea when it was relatively cheap and travel and enjoy so many opportunities, that many are dying to have, but never will because they don't have the privilege of holding a passport and higher education from a prestigious Western country...) And maybe, just maybe, the exact reason that the nasty co-teacher is bullying you! She could be jealous that as a young person, you had the privilege to come abroad and work and save and experience the opportunities that she herself (and probably even her children will never have in the same capacity as Westerners). Think of the young Koreans going abroad ... non of them have an equivalent opportunity to what EPIK provides to us.
I read earlier in the post that you're from Canada? (I don't know where in Canada you're from), but your skills in ESL can be very valuable... and if you're interested in continuing working in this when you return, why not take a Post-Graduate Certificate course from a local college for 2 semesters and get certified to teach adult immigrants/ refugees classes run by the Canadian government?
 


« Last Edit: July 29, 2021, 12:33:05 pm by HiddenInKorea »