Read 4438 times

  • mel647
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • March 04, 2012, 12:54:27 pm
    • seoul
I have co-teachers that do not like me, so the work environment isn't the greatest one.

The reason is that they like to go out and drink each week. I have Korean classes after work, so I tell them "No" everytime they try to drag me along. I do my job, I smile and greet them, but the time after work is when I get away from everything work related, including my co-teachers.

What do you do when you don't get along with your co-teachers?


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!


  • mel647
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • March 04, 2012, 12:54:27 pm
    • seoul
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!

They invite me out so they can get free English practice. They've told me to only speak English around them, because I can practice Korean anywhere, but they can't practice English as much.

If I have to choice between learning Korean afer school, or teaching more English, then I will definitely pick Korean.

I am courteous to everyone at my school, even the maintenance men, but I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time.


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!

They invite me out so they can get free English practice. They've told me to only speak English around them, because I can practice Korean anywhere, but they can't practice English as much.

If I have to choice between learning Korean afer school, or teaching more English, then I will definitely pick Korean.

I am courteous to everyone at my school, even the maintenance men, but I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time.

Wow! I wish my co-teachers wanted to practice their English with me. Then they might be confident enough to use it in the classroom.

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. "I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time." = "I won't let my colleagues buy me dinner and alcohol, socialise with me when they obviously want to and embrace one of their few possibilities to practice English with a native speaker. I'm unwilling to improve relationships with my colleagues outside of school."

Just go out with them every now and then. If you go out with them once and it's a like real classroom scenario but in a bar, then tell them the next time you go out you don't mind speaking with them in English but you're not there as a teacher. If they try getting a proper lesson out of you again then don't go. Simple.

So you go out once a week with your co-workers and practice Korean every other night of the week. It's hardly the end of the world and could actually be quite fun. Just tell them that you will do all the ordering and speak all the Korean in bars and pubs while they can speak only English. Then you can all practice. In fact, insist they only speak English so that they can't speak Korean to anyone.

Why are you being so negative about being taken out by your co-teachers before you've given them a chance? Or have you already gone out with them and given them a chance?

Quote
What do you do when you don't get along with your co-teachers?

Make an effort to go out eating and drinking with them.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


I test my worth at the company by making ultimatums and throwing my wieght around. 

Usually I get away with it and the message is sent by up top to Korean co-workers thus :  The waygook makes us money, you have to differ to him on these few issues.  Talk about him behind his back by all means, but he'll flee if you do this in class / wont let him use aircon in summer / etc.

If I don't, new workplace.

Now, I'm not saying Im unreasonable, rather some of the issues I encountered were just not things I could let lie and still work productively or with self respect.


  • JahRhythm
  • Fanatical Supporter!

    • 1122

    • May 25, 2011, 12:49:41 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Obviously there is more to the situation/relationships than you've described or we can understand.
But to me, this sounds like just grasping for something to complain about.
Them wanting to hang out and speak English isn't necessarily them taking advantage of you. As I'm sure you know, socializing, at least occasionally, with coworkers is totally the done thing here.
If you have the right attitude it could actually be enjoyable and improve your work environment.
You don't need to go every time, but no one likes to have their invitations declined every time.
You have Korean class every day after work?
We teach EFL not ESL. Hagwon and "Private School" are not synonymous. Not everyone works in either a hagwon or public school. Immigration Question? Call 1345.


  • mel647
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • March 04, 2012, 12:54:27 pm
    • seoul
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!

They invite me out so they can get free English practice. They've told me to only speak English around them, because I can practice Korean anywhere, but they can't practice English as much.

If I have to choice between learning Korean afer school, or teaching more English, then I will definitely pick Korean.

I am courteous to everyone at my school, even the maintenance men, but I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time.

Wow! I wish my co-teachers wanted to practice their English with me. Then they might be confident enough to use it in the classroom.

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. "I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time." = "I won't let my colleagues buy me dinner and alcohol, socialise with me when they obviously want to and embrace one of their few possibilities to practice English with a native speaker. I'm unwilling to improve relationships with my colleagues outside of school."

Just go out with them every now and then. If you go out with them once and it's a like real classroom scenario but in a bar, then tell them the next time you go out you don't mind speaking with them in English but you're not there as a teacher. If they try getting a proper lesson out of you again then don't go. Simple.

So you go out once a week with your co-workers and practice Korean every other night of the week. It's hardly the end of the world and could actually be quite fun. Just tell them that you will do all the ordering and speak all the Korean in bars and pubs while they can speak only English. Then you can all practice. In fact, insist they only speak English so that they can't speak Korean to anyone.

Why are you being so negative about being taken out by your co-teachers before you've given them a chance? Or have you already gone out with them and given them a chance?

Quote
What do you do when you don't get along with your co-teachers?

Make an effort to go out eating and drinking with them.

I went out with them a few times before starting my Korean classes. Everytime I spoke Korean, they would say "Please speak English." I, abd members of my family have had issues with alcohol, I do my best to avoid situations where I am exposed to alcohol. Each time I went out with my co-teachers, they pressured me to drink. I explained to them why I didn't want to drink, but they still pressured me.

This topoc is about how to deal with work when you don't see eye-to-eye with them, not about going along to get along.


You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!

They invite me out so they can get free English practice. They've told me to only speak English around them, because I can practice Korean anywhere, but they can't practice English as much.

If I have to choice between learning Korean afer school, or teaching more English, then I will definitely pick Korean.

I am courteous to everyone at my school, even the maintenance men, but I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time.

Wow! I wish my co-teachers wanted to practice their English with me. Then they might be confident enough to use it in the classroom.

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. "I won't let them take advantage of me and my free time." = "I won't let my colleagues buy me dinner and alcohol, socialise with me when they obviously want to and embrace one of their few possibilities to practice English with a native speaker. I'm unwilling to improve relationships with my colleagues outside of school."

Just go out with them every now and then. If you go out with them once and it's a like real classroom scenario but in a bar, then tell them the next time you go out you don't mind speaking with them in English but you're not there as a teacher. If they try getting a proper lesson out of you again then don't go. Simple.

So you go out once a week with your co-workers and practice Korean every other night of the week. It's hardly the end of the world and could actually be quite fun. Just tell them that you will do all the ordering and speak all the Korean in bars and pubs while they can speak only English. Then you can all practice. In fact, insist they only speak English so that they can't speak Korean to anyone.

Why are you being so negative about being taken out by your co-teachers before you've given them a chance? Or have you already gone out with them and given them a chance?

Quote
What do you do when you don't get along with your co-teachers?

Make an effort to go out eating and drinking with them.

I went out with them a few times before starting my Korean classes. Everytime I spoke Korean, they would say "Please speak English." I, abd members of my family have had issues with alcohol, I do my best to avoid situations where I am exposed to alcohol. Each time I went out with my co-teachers, they pressured me to drink. I explained to them why I didn't want to drink, but they still pressured me.

This topoc is about how to deal with work when you don't see eye-to-eye with them, not about going along to get along.

Well, people were just trying to help by getting to the root of the issue.

So, I'll give you some advice on how to deal with work when you don't see eye-to-eye.

Be professional.  Go in, do your job, and leave.  Tell them pertinent information and request that they do the same.  Don't let your emotions get involved.  It's what you have to do when you have a job that you don't like.  I've had no issue doing in the past when I disliked my co-worker.  Do the job and get out.  You're getting paid to provide a service.  You just go ahead and provide the service, and you'll get paid.  That's what a job is, after all, isn't it?  Why bother getting upset if you don't want to form a bond with your co-workers?
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


Hi there

I just wanted to share my experience too...

I find that my co-teacher can be really pushy with me.  sometimes it can come across in kind of a negative way, but i just try to continually tell myself that a) there is a language barrier present and b) things are different from back home.  once i began putting those negative thoughts behind me, I just started looking at things in a different way, and refuse to take anything personally.  I get along great with my co-teacher now, and have such a great time when I hang out with her and her family outside of school.  I hope that you can say the same thing one one day!


  • 0mnslnd
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • June 03, 2011, 08:10:01 am
There are a gazillion amount of Koreans outside the workplace. I'd say, keep your distance with people you work with. Not limited to, but especially in Korea. Who cares what they think. Don't let other people make you feel guilty for not wanting to hang out and drink with your coworkers after work.

Their friendship is very conditional." Come and drink with us and give us a free English lesson. Then we will like you."

In my opinion, a  free meal and a bottle of Soju aren't worth the time and effort.
Even worse.. friendships with coworkers here have the tendency to backfire. You do them once a favor... the rest is history.

Also, if you search this thread, you will learn that more than 90% of language exchanges with Koreans don't ever last.

I repeat: keep your distance. You don't owe them anything

Out. Never been happier


  • 0mnslnd
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • June 03, 2011, 08:10:01 am
I meant "search the site". Not the thread."

Anyways... good luck.

Sometimes I get really upset when I read this section. All the nonsense we have to put up with  :).
Other times, I feel lucky. Like in this case, where my colleagues leave me alone, during and especially after work.

Out. Never been happier


  • jamasian
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • December 05, 2011, 03:02:00 pm
    • Suncheon, S. Korea
Hilarious. Then something you need to ask yourself is "Do I want a relationship with my co-workers?" "Does having a bad relationship ruin my work/Korea experience in anyway?"

If the answer to #1 is no, then by all means be that guy.
If it's yes, then you should skip a class a week or bi-weekly to hang with them.
New question "Do I cave easily to peer pressure?" If yes, then don't go to bars with them. I have no qualms with firmly denying alcohol when I don't want it. If no, then decline the alcohol. They will not throw a tantrum because you don't want to drink. They may ask but you can always decline.

If the answer to #2 is no then by all means be that guy.
If it's yes, then you should do what the first suggesters said about trying to speak only Korean to them and having them reply in English. Be stubborn about it. In fact, unless they are basic English learners, you could refuse to speak in English if it's not to clarify how to pronounce something or correct a sentence. Then you've got a good exchange going.


  • Lyn
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • May 04, 2012, 01:03:37 am
    • Thailand
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!


What if you don't drink?    Once I taught at a university and a British colleague always bragged about shagging his female students for grades.  Being the new guy on the block I did not want to confront him directly.   So I secretly recorded one of his rants and discreetly gave it to the director.   One week later the perv was gone and I was happy.   


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
You say that your co-teachers don't like you but that they invite you to go out with them.  By constantly turning them down, you're probably aggravating the situation.  Try to go out with them once in a while - it can really help to make the overall work environment a lot more pleasant!

What if you don't drink?   

Then you tell them that you simply don't drink alcohol.  It's not rocket science.

Quote
Once I taught at a university and a British colleague always bragged about shagging his female students for grades.  Being the new guy on the block I did not want to confront him directly.   So I secretly recorded one of his rants and discreetly gave it to the director.   One week later the perv was gone and I was happy.   

This is a completely different kettle of fish...


  • bb
  • Super Waygook

    • 284

    • October 20, 2010, 08:19:17 am
    • korea
OP, I'm with ya. Missing a class I paid for to teach an unofficial class for free? That's being used. Stick to your guns and go to Korean class.

It is possible to be a friendly co-worker without being a friend co-worker. It's a perfectly good ideal to shoot for.



Don't let anyone in this thread make you feel obligated to do things with your free time that you don't want to do. The occasional hwaeshik is one thing, but them scheduling English practice sessions (which is clearly what it is, since they told you not to speak Korean -- that is incredibly rude) is another thing altogether. It's easy enough for the people who are just hanging out for a year to say you should just go and you're blowing it out of proportion, but once this becomes your Real Life, you no longer feel obligated to hang out with people who want to practice English just because they decided you should.

Dealing with it is easy enough, once you learn how to smile and be insanely friendly, no matter what's coming out of your mouth. If you are always bright and sunshiney and greeting them pleasantly and making chit chat with them throughout the work day, then they won't have a chance to jump to the conclusion that you're avoiding them after work because you're a bad person. Just always be as pleasant as possible at work, and then continue to explain that learning Korean is very important for your life here, because you actually live in a foreign country and need to speak the language to function. For you, it's not just a job or a hobby. And then smile your face off and say how sad you are not to have more time with them. And walk away.


  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Don't let anyone in this thread make you feel obligated to do things with your free time that you don't want to do. The occasional hwaeshik is one thing, but them scheduling English practice sessions (which is clearly what it is, since they told you not to speak Korean -- that is incredibly rude) is another thing altogether. It's easy enough for the people who are just hanging out for a year to say you should just go and you're blowing it out of proportion, but once this becomes your Real Life, you no longer feel obligated to hang out with people who want to practice English just because they decided you should.

Dealing with it is easy enough, once you learn how to smile and be insanely friendly, no matter what's coming out of your mouth. If you are always bright and sunshiney and greeting them pleasantly and making chit chat with them throughout the work day, then they won't have a chance to jump to the conclusion that you're avoiding them after work because you're a bad person. Just always be as pleasant as possible at work, and then continue to explain that learning Korean is very important for your life here, because you actually live in a foreign country and need to speak the language to function. For you, it's not just a job or a hobby. And then smile your face off and say how sad you are not to have more time with them. And walk away.

Agreed 100%.  Especially the second paragraph--that is exactly how to handle it. 

Your overall demeanor and behavior is going to be the most important thing in a Korean workplace for a foreigner, more so than going along with every little thing your co-workers want you to do.  Koreans are used to putting a certain level of social pressure on each other--I think they do it more without really thinking it through or with the intention of being manipulative.  Resisting it in a very very nice way might take them aback and seem weird to them, but it hasn't been taken as offensive, in my experience.  A lot of NETs interpret the social pressure as "a part of Korean culture I must always go along with to show I respect the culture."  I'd argue this is something of a misinterpretation of the entire social dynamic.  It's all about group harmony here, and you can still have that while putting your foot down sometimes. 

What you want to avoid is being grumpy/looking like you hate your life/students/other teachers during work.  Or at teacher events.  Not going to ever dinner or hang-out, but making sure you are OBVIOUSLY enjoying yourself when you do is generally going to go over well here. 
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 08:44:38 am by woman-king »


I don't go out with my coworkers either. In the beginning I did a few times, but it was a hassle. I am a vegetarian, I don't drink, and I live a lot farther away then they do... So, they were always worried about me and didn't get to have much fun (I didn't either). I started saying that I couldn't come for this reason or that reason and eventually they just stopped asking:) Honestly, I think that we get along better when it is all kept professional between us.