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  • architype
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • November 02, 2010, 11:47:00 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Can they make me work against my will?
« on: November 17, 2010, 04:54:05 pm »
When I first arrived at my school several months ago, they told me I'd be replacing two teachers, both regular and after school. Apparently this was because they couldn't find anyone to replace the after school teacher. I was okay with it, though, because I wanted overtime and extra money.

But now I'm seeing that doing both is just way too much work. I teach 30 classes a week, and I have to make about 18 lesson plans a week. Both of the teachers I replaced had years of teaching experience, while I had none. Also, they recently told me that I wouldn't get any winter vacation days, because the overlap between after school classes and winter camp left no free days for me.

When I told the school I wanted to quit after school, they basically told me I had to do it anyway because they couldn't find a replacement teacher. They think it's fair because I get paid extra for the extra work.

So my question is, can they actually make me do after school if I don't want to, as long as they pay me for the extra work? I teach 21 hours a week for regular school classes, so I'm only contractually bound to teach one more, and I teach an extra nine for after school.


  • asabranca
  • Veteran

    • 85

    • October 05, 2010, 08:55:29 am
    • Gangwon-Do
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2010, 05:12:27 pm »
Wow.  Kudos to you for sticking it out this long!  I think that your situation really puts things into perspective for a lot of us.  I don't have any advice in terms of contractual obligation, but either way, I'd say that you're entitled to at least -some- "you" time!  Best of luck in cutting your hours down for the sake of your health and sanity...


  • Davey
  • Moderator - LVL 3

    • 1820

    • February 01, 2010, 01:36:20 pm
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2010, 05:23:32 pm »
When I first arrived at my school several months ago, they told me I'd be replacing two teachers, both regular and after school. Apparently this was because they couldn't find anyone to replace the after school teacher. I was okay with it, though, because I wanted overtime and extra money.

But now I'm seeing that doing both is just way too much work. I teach 30 classes a week, and I have to make about 18 lesson plans a week. Both of the teachers I replaced had years of teaching experience, while I had none. Also, they recently told me that I wouldn't get any winter vacation days, because the overlap between after school classes and winter camp left no free days for me.

When I told the school I wanted to quit after school, they basically told me I had to do it anyway because they couldn't find a replacement teacher. They think it's fair because I get paid extra for the extra work.

So my question is, can they actually make me do after school if I don't want to, as long as they pay me for the extra work? I teach 21 hours a week for regular school classes, so I'm only contractually bound to teach one more, and I teach an extra nine for after school.

EPIK, right?

"⑤ If the Employee agrees to teach instructional hours that occur outside the Work Hours specified
in Article 8, clause ① and that total more than 22 hours per week, the Employer shall pay
according to Article 8, clause ③. If the Employee agrees to teach instructional hours that occur
outside the Work Hours specified in Article 8, clause ① but that total less than 22 hours per
week, the Employer shall have the authority to determine the appropriate supplementary overtime
pay."

the contract doesn't explicitly say you must continue to work extra hours after initially agreeing, but based on what i know about korean work culture, they expect you to continue your commitment.

keep trying and worst case scenario, talk to the POE.

you're not getting any of your entitled days of vacation? that's just wrong. fight for your life!
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Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2010, 05:38:27 pm »
30 hours a week is a lot and I am concerned that you are not gettting your vacation time. Talk to the Education Board. Vacation time is written into the contract. If you don't get the winter vacation then that means youll take all your vacation in Summer, point that out to the school.

Bottom line, explain your situation to the Education Board.


  • architype
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • November 02, 2010, 11:47:00 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2010, 06:14:11 pm »
EPIK, right?

[...]

the contract doesn't explicitly say you must continue to work extra hours after initially agreeing, but based on what i know about korean work culture, they expect you to continue your commitment.

Sorry, I should've specified, I was typing the post up in a hurry. I'm an SMOE-EPIK teacher.

I signed a contract with the school for the after school program for this term/marking period, which ends in November. This is why I'm trying to quit now, since I haven't signed a contract for next term yet. But basically they're saying I have to teach after school next term anyway, even though I haven't signed the contract and I don't want to.

According to the school, it's perfectly understandable that I don't get vacation because after school is separate from regular classes and I earn extra money for it. My co-teacher told me that if I wanted my vacation days, I would have to quit after school. But when I later told them I wanted to quit, they told me I couldn't. They seem generally sympathetic about my situation, but are kind of "Oh well, what can you do," about it.


Thanks to everyone for the support and advice! :) I'll try to figure something out.


  • suzettec
  • Veteran

    • 113

    • June 28, 2010, 03:20:45 pm
    • Nakseo, South Korea
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2010, 09:33:24 pm »
If you signed a contract for the after school teaching and it ends in November then you should not be obligated to teach the next term.  There is nothing signed that can be legally enforced.  You might try telling them that you will sign another contract but only after you get your vacation time.


  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 07:38:56 am »
I feel your pain. I'm at 28 hours a week and 11 lesson plans for my middle school boys. 4 before school, 4 after school, 20 regular with 3 grades in those regular classes. Being a new teacher, it certainly is a drag, right?

I don't really mind my situation too much, but you... no vacation? That's just crossing the line. You need to put your foot down and make it ABSOLUTELY clear that you are taking your vacation, and you are not negotiating. You will not be showing up to teach after school or desk warm during your vacation time. You will have to say this repeatedly, and they will likely still try to brush you off thinking you 'just don't understand.' Tell them you understand, and have fun finding a teacher to replace you while you're on vacation.

If I were you, I would write out and give the following options to the Vice Principal and your Co-T:
1) I will continue teaching after school classes, but only if I am allowed to take my vacation days. If I do not get my vacation days, I will quit teaching the class. I will not show up to teach the class, as I am not contractually bound to do so.
2) I will continue teaching after school classes, even during the break, but only if you pay me a boatload of money for my vacation days you refuse to give me, in addition to never having me deskwarm for the breaks. This means I will show up to teach my class, and then go home. I will not be there the entire 8:30am-4:30pm day when I do not have regular classes. I want this in a contract form.

Just some ideas/compromises!


Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010, 07:47:29 am »
Like you have heard earlier if the extra class contract ends in November and you have not signed anything saying you must teach extra class after November, then you are not obliged to continue the class.  If they threaten with retribution explain to them the situation. If the do not listen take it to a higher up, the education board. 

As far as Winter Vaca you are entitled to whatever amount of days your contract says and they should not be able to withhold those from you.


  • Dyl
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 403

    • November 04, 2008, 11:54:50 am
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2010, 08:02:55 am »
If I were you, I would write out and give the following options to the Vice Principal and your Co-T:
1) I will continue teaching after school classes, but only if I am allowed to take my vacation days. If I do not get my vacation days, I will quit teaching the class. I will not show up to teach the class, as I am not contractually bound to do so.
2) I will continue teaching after school classes, even during the break, but only if you pay me a boatload of money for my vacation days you refuse to give me, in addition to never having me deskwarm for the breaks. This means I will show up to teach my class, and then go home. I will not be there the entire 8:30am-4:30pm day when I do not have regular classes. I want this in a contract form.
Just some ideas/compromises!

It's not smart to antagonize a superior. As previous posters have advocated, I think it would be wiser to have a third party mediate.
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Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 08:10:23 am »
i'm working 33 hours a week, with regular and after school classes. i ran into the same problem last year. the after school manager told me i HAD to work, but it went against my gepik contract. i'm not sure how your afterschool program works, but the parents pay for so many classes per session, so i had to teach a certain amount of classes. i told the principal that i would make up the classes during the summer/winter vacation after camp classes. i started doing this worked out fine.

so,  my advice is decide when you want your vacation and look at the calendar and figure out when you could do some make-up classes. it will be much easier to get what you want if you have a solution for the problem.

also, have a look at your contract and make sure that it was for just one term. i have 4 different afterschool contracts and they're all for a year. if it is for a term, bring it to the principal and stress that you just can't handle all the classes. goodluck!


  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2010, 08:18:21 am »
It's not smart to antagonize a superior. As previous posters have advocated, I think it would be wiser to have a third party mediate.

We are short term temporary employees, and most of us will eventually be phased out of the education system. They are testing your will, and if you let yourself be walked over and be taken advantage of, then you will have a miserable stay. I think it is smart to put your foot down and take a stand, you might even gain a bit of respect.

A third party mediation is going to be difficult to find. Who is really a "third party" here? Maybe the labor board, but certainly not any of your school contacts.


  • Janitor
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 956

    • June 14, 2010, 02:01:32 pm
    • Ulsan
Re: Can they make me work against my will?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2010, 09:10:58 am »
You may want to give them some options. I know it may not seem like your place, but I would poke around and try to find a teacher. It is probably impossible but you may find some one willing to work in your area. A couple of the schools around where I am did that. If you give them a replacement they will let you off the hook, if they go for it.