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  • jpa09cem
  • Newgookin

    • 3

    • November 26, 2012, 08:21:33 am
    • Seoul
Job Advice Please
« on: November 29, 2012, 09:18:05 am »
Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

I would greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks

I started working in Korea at a hagwon a month ago. In my first week while observing classes the school seemed great. The kids were having fun and learning, the teachers were having fun and enjoying their job. I was told my role was not so much a teacher, but an entertainer with a bit of education stuck in the middle. I was also given the low down on disciplinary procedures. Basically there are none. Detentions are not given, phones cannot be taken away. Instead a reward system was in place to bribe the kids into behaving: teachers were encouraged to give sweets, stamps and have a game at the end of class if the kids were good. The previous teacher for my classes spoils them rotten but they behaved.

Recently it has started to change. I was told that the school was overstaffed with foreign teachers and that they will be looking to cutting down numbers. Now everything I do is being inspected, literally. Next week the students rate my teaching and I can't get a low score. All forms of rewards, even educational games are banned. How can you discipline kids when there are no procedures? Or motivate them when the fun stuff has been taken away? We can't remove them from the room either.

Turns out sign up for next semester is low too. So the pressure really is on. My gut feeling says that this is a bad school and I would love to leave. Problem is, not only do I have to give 3 months’ notice, but I will be kicked out of my flat, fined for breaking contract, have to repay flight and they will keep deposit money which is being taken from my salary. It seems the magical 6 month mark is realistically my only option. Should I wait until the magical 6 month mark when I can escape with a bit more freedom? Flights back home are expensive and I can't afford to be here without a job that pays.

My family back home want me to stay unless I'm fired as at the end of the day I'm getting money. But the stress has started to make me ill. If I stay, what ways are there to keep a class motivated without doing fun stuff, or disciplined? There are no breaks between classes to make the students write lines etc. 

I really do feel sorry for the kids. I would not want to have to spend all day at school then be forced to go to another school to study a hard language. I would want to go home and rest. So I understand why they are being naughty. But the way I'm being treated also makes me feel like I'm in jail.

Anyway, any advice would be great, whether it's how to control the class with so many restrictions or the best way to go.

Oh forgot to add, each week we have to write self criticisms on what we do wrong. Also, the fingerprint scanning thing has not been working, the machine doesn't keep some logs and they're threatening to take our pay away to match the hours that the machine has logged because it's our fault.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 10:21:50 am by jpa09cem »


  • 0mnslnd
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • June 03, 2011, 08:10:01 am
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 10:42:31 am »
Im starting to suffer from secondary trauma after reading all these threads here.

Quit .before getting fired.go EPIK.you will get your flight money back .youre already in korea so u dont need to buy flight tickets again
Out. Never been happier


  • LiamO
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • November 12, 2012, 07:28:30 am
    • Canada
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 12:28:47 pm »
"Problem is, not only do I have to give 3 months’ notice, but I will be kicked out of my flat, fined for breaking contract, have to repay flight and they will keep deposit money which is being taken from my salary."

What does your contract stipulate you can be fired for?
It seems your contract is not the norm if you have to give three months notice.

What do you mean "fined" for breaking your contract, losing your housing deposit?


  • jpa09cem
  • Newgookin

    • 3

    • November 26, 2012, 08:21:33 am
    • Seoul
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 09:30:43 pm »
It doesn't give the reasons for firing in the contract. I have been told by my co-teachers since that you will be fired if you rate badly with the students and parents (this is the main reason for going). And now they've added, if you can't control the class, if you do activities other than the work book, if when they're viewing your CCTV of the lessons, if they aren't happy then you will leave.

They didn't clarify the fine either. Losing the housing deposit was listed separately.


  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2012, 10:53:00 pm »
My advice is start preparing new documents, because you'll probably be looking for a new job soon.


  • skippy
  • Expert Waygook

    • 873

    • January 12, 2011, 04:08:17 pm
    • Daejeon
    more
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 11:03:23 pm »


Quote
I started working in Korea at a hagwon a month ago. In my first week while observing classes the school seemed great. The kids were having fun and learning, the teachers were having fun and enjoying their job. I was told my role was not so much a teacher, but an entertainer with a bit of education stuck in the middle. I was also given the low down on disciplinary procedures. Basically there are none. Detentions are not given, phones cannot be taken away. Instead a reward system was in place to bribe the kids into behaving: teachers were encouraged to give sweets, stamps and have a game at the end of class if the kids were good. The previous teacher for my classes spoils them rotten but they behaved.

This is common practice. Hagwons are businesses first and educational centers, second.  OP get the idea of you being a professional educator out your mind.  Well not totally,  just change the role of you are part edutainer and educator.  Your school leans more towards edutainer.   The bribes and that are to keep one of two customers the children happy.

Quote
Recently it has started to change. I was told that the school was overstaffed with foreign teachers and that they will be looking to cutting down numbers. Now everything I do is being inspected, literally. Next week the students rate my teaching and I can't get a low score. All forms of rewards, even educational games are banned. How can you discipline kids when there are no procedures? Or motivate them when the fun stuff has been taken away? We can't remove them from the room either.

Why do some hagwons do this.   Find a good medium, but nooo lets over stock the teachers and then cause stress.   It is a possible ploy by school to use as an excuse to get rid of teachers they do not like.   It might be sort of quasi-illegal.  Even if they are to fire you, they need to give notice themselves.  Sort of you have been working less then 6 months, so they can maybe let you go without notice.

Quote
Turns out sign up for next semester is low too. So the pressure really is on. My gut feeling says that this is a bad school and I would love to leave. Problem is, not only do I have to give 3 months’ notice, but I will be kicked out of my flat, fined for breaking contract, have to repay flight and they will keep deposit money which is being taken from my salary. It seems the magical 6 month mark is realistically my only option. Should I wait until the magical 6 month mark when I can escape with a bit more freedom? Flights back home are expensive and I can't afford to be here without a job that pays.

Wow,  what once used to be 30 days/1 month went to 2 months.  Yet you have to give 3 months notice.  Actually by labor law, you do not have to give notice.   You could walk in tomorrow and quit.   True figuring out what you owe in supposed owed fees might come up.   Still they can not fine you for quitting.  Against the law.

You can not be fined for breaking contract.   You might have to back plane ticket and some other costs.  Plus you will lose the deposit. Which is how much and for what. 

I agree try for the six month mark.  Hope for the best and plan for the worst.   Yet, the way the school is operating I see a much earlier exit.  I would try harder, but start looking for another job.   Try to get extra paperwork now for any future transfers.  Maybe you can get a LOR when/if they let you go and avoid some of that paperwork.

Quote
My family back home want me to stay unless I'm fired as at the end of the day I'm getting money. But the stress has started to make me ill. If I stay, what ways are there to keep a class motivated without doing fun stuff, or disciplined? There are no breaks between classes to make the students write lines etc.
I feel for ya.   Read some of the other threads on class your management.  Hopefully you can find something that will work.

Quote
I really do feel sorry for the kids. I would not want to have to spend all day at school then be forced to go to another school to study a hard language. I would want to go home and rest. So I understand why they are being naughty. But the way I'm being treated also makes me feel like I'm in jail.

You seem to understand the kids plight.  Good.  Now, you need to develop a level of apathy.     Find a level.   Think if a kid is doing something wrong, do you really really need to do something about it. For example.  Kid is quiet and doing other homework, let it go.  Kid is playing with handphone,  stop it.

Quote
Anyway, any advice would be great, whether it's how to control the class with so many restrictions or the best way to go.

You need to see what the restrictions really are.   Building up proof of your wrong doings so they can have legal proof to fire you or let you go.  Still if you want to continue,  learn to SNIP.  Smile, nod, ignore, proceed as normal.   Well try a bit harder, but do not work yourself or stress yourself for naught.

Quote
Oh forgot to add, each week we have to write self criticisms on what we do wrong. Also, the fingerprint scanning thing has not been working, the machine doesn't keep some logs and they're threatening to take our pay away to match the hours that the machine has logged because it's our fault.

After reading this.  I am going to say.  F*ck em!   Start preparing now for an early.  It might be you or might be them but I see more troubles in the future.   Self criticism every week is complete BS.   Plus that is handing them proof once again of your supposed incompetence.  Plus threatening to take away pay for missed hours due to malfunctioning machine.   Are you not a monthly salaried employer?   They can not deduct pay for missed work.  Maybe you are a contractor?   Still I think if the place does deduct money for a time you actually worked, a nice visit to the labor board will get things going.  Do actually keep your own records.  Get a diary and record your own hours of entry and exit.  Get another Korean teacher to sign or initial said entries.

Man Good Luck.  Please read some more threads here.   Do some research in doing a midnight run.  Job transferring.  Plus classroom management.
Please consider adding some info to your "Personal Text"  Like type of school, visa status, county of origin.  These little bits of info can help people help you.


  • LiamO
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • November 12, 2012, 07:28:30 am
    • Canada
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2012, 02:20:17 am »
yeah maybe start negotiating for LR, based on the fact their having financial problems.
If they are not up for that a runner is seeming more and more likely in your future. Especially if all the deductions are going to leave you with no money.


  • 0mnslnd
  • Expert Waygook

    • 677

    • June 03, 2011, 08:10:01 am
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2012, 06:40:51 am »
I am also thinking about the r-word here. Get your pay, and go away
Out. Never been happier


Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2012, 09:04:14 am »
Never work for a Hagwon...... Never work for a Hagwon...... Never work for a Hagwon.....
« Last Edit: November 30, 2012, 09:09:21 am by psJohnny7 »


  • JamesBondGibbon
  • Veteran

    • 120

    • March 12, 2012, 06:19:35 pm
    • O-dee-eh?
    more
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2012, 09:25:46 am »
^^ Nice advice


  • LiamO
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • November 12, 2012, 07:28:30 am
    • Canada
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2012, 10:58:27 am »
Trog that should be a sticky:

I have a question about this part:
"Let's look at what you lost so far. If you got paid on the 10th, you lost a third of a month's salary. You also lost those "deposits" the school took from your salary (i'm guessing about 200,000 or at most 300,000/month). Right? You lost the money you paid for rent where ever you're staying. Return flight to Japan - about 300,000 or maybe 400,000 because you're booking it last minute. If you're in Busan, just take the ferry for (at most) 300,000 Won. What else? Anything? No. Why didn't you lose the flight money or the other penalty money? Because YOU quit (without advanced notice). How can they even try to take those penalty fees from you if you're not there? But still, you lost a third of your salary and those deposits, right? No. You MIGHT have lost them. You don't HAVE them but you might GET them. But don't worry about those for now. After you get your new job, you'll have time to pay the labor board a visit and report your ex-boss. Quite often just a call from the LB will get that sack of dung off his backside and off to the bank to pay you. If he goes on file with the LB for something like not paying, it will hurt him later if he's ever accused of something by an employee. Also, if you're willing to fight for it, you can take him to court over it. The only out of pocket expenses for you will be rent and the trip to Japan. Your monthly salary will cover both."

If op takes the ex boss to the labour board over the deduction, won't he/she have to pay for the flight over. So even if you get the deductions back you have to pay them for the flight?



Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2012, 07:22:56 pm »
OP Is this school an Avalon school or one of the franchises?


  • jpa09cem
  • Newgookin

    • 3

    • November 26, 2012, 08:21:33 am
    • Seoul
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 10:45:32 am »
Thanks for all the advice. Have lots of thinking and planning to do now.

It is an Avalon campus, not sure if it's one of their franchises though.


  • lbcloud
  • Veteran

    • 90

    • June 22, 2012, 05:05:05 am
    • United States
Re: Job Advice Please
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 01:29:26 pm »
Thanks for all the advice. Have lots of thinking and planning to do now.

It is an Avalon campus, not sure if it's one of their franchises though.

You should also update us on what you end up doing - Troglodyte's advice for you seems like it could be out of a TAKEN movie.

So naturally, I expect a car chase.  8)

Good luck!