Read 3545 times

  • aisy
  • Adventurer

    • 65

    • March 27, 2012, 05:08:33 am
    • New York, USA
what would you do?
« on: February 04, 2013, 11:34:00 pm »
Ive been working at a hagwon since november 10th and ive had mixed feelings about it. my co-workers are all very nice but i really dislike working there.

first off, many of the kids are monsters. yes, some of them are cute but many of them have severe behavioral issues. recently, one 12 year old walked to the front of the class and screamed in my ear.meanwhile, his 16 year old sister insults me every class and tells me how boring class is, and mimics me as a child does. i work with a wide range of ages from 7-16. i really enjoy the younger kids but the older ones are just too much.

so far i also havent been receiving medical or any deductions for my pension. taxes are paid, but according to the director i cant receive medical until ive been here for 3 months. is this normal? should i be panicking about this?

the other thing that i dont like is that my schedule changes all the time. it is not uncommon for me to have 6 classes in a row with only 5 minute breaks in between. i hate not having a set dinner break as by the time the 4th class rolls around i am usually grumpy and starving.
if there were a set time every day i would be able to feel more relaxed.

i thought about looking for a kindergarten job and heard about one that is starting in march. if i give a month's notice in advance it is likely that i will get a LOR as a month in advance is stipulated in the contract. however, i would have to pay back the full airfare as it would be before 6 months. otherwise i could just wait until april to look for a new job.  my question is, is it worth it to stick it out at a job that i cant stand just to save on airfare or should i just pay the $1,000 or whatever it is and start a new job in seoul?
im very conflicted so any input would be appreciated  ;D


  • JL5205
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • March 05, 2012, 11:02:50 am
Re: what would you do?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 07:21:10 am »
Hard to say without knowing your qualifications but  I would say go home if the airfare isn't much to you.


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 07:34:18 am »
There are monster kids in every grade level. If you don't have them with your younger kids now, you will certainly have some when you transfer to an all kinder position. If I were you, I would look at some dicipline tactics that you could incorporate into your classroom. You will need to know how to handle a class where ever you teach.

Also, schedule changes are pretty normal. I don't know why a lot of schools operate that way, but it's something that many many ESL teachers have to deal with on a weekly and daily basis. It is something you will also likely encounter at your new school.

I don't know about the medical, pension, and tax questions that you ask of, but in 5 days it seems that you will have gained these benefits. You could wait and see what happens in 5 days. If they are paying you on time, your manager is fair, and your co-workers are sane, I say keep the job.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 07:37:34 am by cutieturtle07 »


  • SBracken
  • Expert Waygook

    • 579

    • March 07, 2011, 07:41:22 am
    • Pohang, S Korea
Re: what would you do?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 07:38:46 am »
-hakwons are businesses, not educational institutions. Talk to your supervisor about the students' behavior. If they refuse to back you up, give you the authority to discipline the students, or refuse to discipline themselves (ie one 'discipline teacher' for the whole school/hakwon), don't put up with it.

- That 3-month limit sounds suspicious. Check your contract first.

- Your schedule will change. That's part of being in Korea, and part of their right as your employer. It SUCKS, but they can do it. Unless you have a medical concern though, I'd say just try to plan your meals more carefully (ie eat as close to the beginning of your first class as you can, so you're not starving by the end), and pocket snacks for those 5-minute breaks.


Personally, I'd keep my eyes and ears open, and start looking in earnest at the 5-month mark, and quit at 6 months one day. Be quiet about it though, if your director knows you want to quit, he (or she) might try to force you out earlier for the sake of your flight money (or just stop paying you because funds have mysteriously disappeared). But look into that medical if you can. I've never heard of that 3-month limit before.


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 07:50:40 am »
They are lying about medical and pension.  Those things start as soon as you get your ARC (which you have up to 90 days to get from your arrival in Korea).  Even if you get your ARC after a month or 2 or 3, you're still due to pay back on insurance and pension to when you started.

If your boss still refuses, call the insurance and pension offices immediately.  You may also want to check in with the tax office to make sure everything is being paid to them on that end.  Make sure to collect pay slips.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 07:59:45 am »
CHECK your contract. Standard is one month for health. If it is in your contract threaten to go to the labor board. Any expenses you can get retroactively reimbersed from the locations once the payments have been made (IMPORTANT: you only have 7 days from when the payments have been made to get the money back... my old hagwon screwed me over before!) Pension is the same... that they will get a huge problem with labor.

However it's important to check your contract. If they snuck something in about no insurance or pension then I say cut your losses and get a letter of release. If your students are complaining you are probably close to getting fired hon. :(


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 08:31:54 am »
As far as I know, the standard contract for any native English teacher (whether public schools, hagwons, or private schools, etc.) is that they need to provide you medical and pension as soon as your contract starts. You shouldn't have to wait until 3 months. Look in your contract to see what it says because if it doesn't say that in your contract, then you shouldn't have to be waiting.

As for your kids, no matter where you work and no matter what kind of school it is you are going to have students who will be a challenge (or as you put it "monster kids"). It is up to you how you handle it. If you set rules, consequences, and procedures early on (and follow through with them), behavioral issues will most likely be minimized. If there are no rules or consequences, then of course they will think whatever we do, the teacher will do nothing about it because it was not established that it is wrong. I will warn you that you need to be firm and tough skinned the first couple of weeks you set rules because they will oppose them since they were not introduced early on, but after a couple of weeks when it becomes a routine, they will most likely change. Its all about conditioning students. A perfect example would my co-teacher and me. I teach at a public school in the country side. We  teach separate classes except for 1st grade and 2nd grade, we teach those classes together. When I first came, the 1st grade and 2nd grade were a mess. My co-teacher was a newbie and has no experience teaching, so she doesn't have any set rules or any form of discipline, except to hit the students with a stick and yell at them (which has be proven to be not effective). Although, when the students work with me or when it is my turn to teach the other half of the lesson, the classroom atmosphere changes dramatically. Why? Because I established rules with them and taught them what is acceptable behavior and non-acceptable behavior. (Although I still don't understand why my co-teacher won't do set any rules. I know, it's complicated.) Just find what suits you and what you imagine how you would like your class to operate and with a little time and effort, you should be able to see results.

As for thinking about switching schools or sticking with your job a little longer, that is all up to you and what you want. Weigh out your pros an cons. If money isn't really a big issue with you and you are alright with paying the $1,000, then sure. But I say give it a month and try to make changes to the way your class runs. If it isn't working out for you, then go look for another job. If money is a concern to you, then wait a little while, but still make changes to your class because that will also help the next foreign teacher when they start working.


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 08:50:42 am »
CHECK your contract. Standard is one month for health. If it is in your contract threaten to go to the labor board. Any expenses you can get retroactively reimbersed from the locations once the payments have been made (IMPORTANT: you only have 7 days from when the payments have been made to get the money back... my old hagwon screwed me over before!) Pension is the same... that they will get a huge problem with labor.

However it's important to check your contract. If they snuck something in about no insurance or pension then I say cut your losses and get a letter of release. If your students are complaining you are probably close to getting fired hon. :(

It's all about when you receive your ARC (which can be any time within 90 days of arrival).  Before you get the ARC, it's impossible to get insurance or pension.

Pension is not an issue the Labor Board deals with; it's dealt with by the Pension Office (a gov't body that actually has some teeth).

A contract mentioning no insurance or pension is irrelevant.  Those are rights that can't be signed away under Korean law.  The employer MUST provide those.  However, such clauses are indicative that other deceit may be going on.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 09:15:19 am »
As far as I know if it is in the contract you can take it up with the labor board.... but I will say maybe it's the pension office. I have worked for bad hagwons and coworkers have just dealt with the labor board with anything that was in the contract that was not provided.

As for the ARC... I never dealt with that but my directors always handled getting my ARC pretty quickly.


  • newb
  • Newgookin

    • 0

    • November 20, 2012, 10:38:27 am
    • South Korea
Re: what would you do?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 09:41:22 am »
As soon as you file a complaint to the labor board, NPS, or NHIS, your hagwon is preparing to fire you while withholding your last months salary.
HEY CAN YOU FILL THE OIL AND CHECK THE GAS PLEASE!!!!


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 10:04:11 am »
As far as I know if it is in the contract you can take it up with the labor board.... but I will say maybe it's the pension office. I have worked for bad hagwons and coworkers have just dealt with the labor board with anything that was in the contract that was not provided.

As for the ARC... I never dealt with that but my directors always handled getting my ARC pretty quickly.

Labor board deals with pay, leave, severance, working conditions etc.  They don't deal with pension and insurance etc, regardless of the contract.  Those are dealt with by the respective offices.  Other things, like housing, aren't dealt with by the labor board, also.  Those are issues to be brought to a civil court if need be.

The Labor Board is not there to enforce all aspects of the contract.  (I have experienced dealing directly with the Labor Board, National Pension Service, NHIC and National Tax Service about disputes.)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 12:43:02 pm by justanotherwaygook »
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


  • aisy
  • Adventurer

    • 65

    • March 27, 2012, 05:08:33 am
    • New York, USA
Re: what would you do?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 11:31:00 pm »
They are lying about medical and pension.  Those things start as soon as you get your ARC (which you have up to 90 days to get from your arrival in Korea).  Even if you get your ARC after a month or 2 or 3, you're still due to pay back on insurance and pension to when you started.

If your boss still refuses, call the insurance and pension offices immediately.  You may also want to check in with the tax office to make sure everything is being paid to them on that end.  Make sure to collect pay slips.
i think ill take your advice and make sure that is dealt with.my boss has told me that the rules have changed and that i need to wait but i cant say that i believe him.
As far as I know, the standard contract for any native English teacher (whether public schools, hagwons, or private schools, etc.) is that they need to provide you medical and pension as soon as your contract starts. You shouldn't have to wait until 3 months. Look in your contract to see what it says because if it doesn't say that in your contract, then you shouldn't have to be waiting.

As for your kids, no matter where you work and no matter what kind of school it is you are going to have students who will be a challenge (or as you put it "monster kids"). It is up to you how you handle it. If you set rules, consequences, and procedures early on (and follow through with them), behavioral issues will most likely be minimized. If there are no rules or consequences, then of course they will think whatever we do, the teacher will do nothing about it because it was not established that it is wrong.

As for thinking about switching schools or sticking with your job a little longer, that is all up to you and what you want. Weigh out your pros an cons. If money isn't really a big issue with you and you are alright with paying the $1,000, then sure. But I say give it a month and try to make changes to the way your class runs. If it isn't working out for you, then go look for another job. If money is a concern to you, then wait a little while, but still make changes to your class because that will also help the next foreign teacher when they start working.
the thing is, ive tried that with my other classes and ive seen huge improvements with most of my students. what i am talking about are kids that are sociopaths who cannot be disciplined. the korean teachers dont really back us up and there is not much that we are allowed to do. i asked one student to leave because he was being so disruptive and i got admonished for it. another student has to take pills and randomly sings throughout class. she is a nice girl but should be in a special needs classroom which i am not trained to handle.

thank you all for your advice!


Re: what would you do?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 11:17:15 am »

the thing is, ive tried that with my other classes and ive seen huge improvements with most of my students. what i am talking about are kids that are sociopaths who cannot be disciplined. the korean teachers dont really back us up and there is not much that we are allowed to do. i asked one student to leave because he was being so disruptive and i got admonished for it. another student has to take pills and randomly sings throughout class. she is a nice girl but should be in a special needs classroom which i am not trained to handle.

thank you all for your advice!

Ah, those type of students. Well, as for the student who is taking medication and randomly sings. I feel bad for you and for that student because it is not fair for you since I have a feeling that student has some form of special needs and I feel bad for her since her needs cannot be met. That's the sad thing about the Korean school system here. They have special needs programs, but only for students with down syndrome or a physical disability leaving all the other students with special needs to be left in classes where their needs cannot be met. The other students like the one you mentioned being very disruptive. I wish I could just take those students off your hands. ;) I have so much patience with mischievous students that the ones I had when I first started are completely different people now. Hahaha! My theory of why really misbehaved students act a certain way is because they are written off all the time from other teachers that since no one cares about them, they can do whatever they want since they get no attention and find a "different" way of getting some form of attention. It's sad that the norm for Korean teachers is to write off students that do fit under the "good and smart" student classification.  So I think you'll need to find a different approach with them. Maybe get to know them a little more to show that you "care" about them and they are just as equally important. If that is not your style, then maybe find new school...In the end, if your job is stressing you out and you've tried to make it different, it's going to wear you out and that's not healthy.