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  • lisadream
  • Veteran

    • 104

    • July 23, 2008, 08:03:57 am
    • Suncheon, South Korea
Is your school asking you to work in Febuary?
« on: November 25, 2008, 09:33:23 am »
Hey Everyone,

This was discussed at the teachers meeting on the 21st, I am one of those lucky folks who's school is saying that I need to work from Febuary 9-13th. When I brought up that I am supposed to have 26 days in Febuary my co-teacher sweetly replied "Yes, according to this contract you have 26 days of holiday in Febuary, but also according to this contract you have to work in January but you do not, so you have no complaint." I have to admit, at first I thought she was threatening me, but I'm taking it in stride that its the cultural thing: in Korea contracts are viewed as a negotiable (she's sees 4 days of work in Febuary as a fair trade for the month of January off). At any rate, I'm wondering if anyone else here is in the same boat? Are you pushing for your time off in Febuary? Has anyone's school changed their tune (I don't know if Mr Yang has sent that memo or not yet)? It doesn't really bother me to work in Febuary, but I don't want to be a total pushover. I just want to stay on good terms with my school because I'm consider staying for a couple of years.


  • Arsalan
  • Site Programmer

    • 2011

    • September 18, 2006, 02:00:00 pm
    • Alberta
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Re: Is your school asking you to work in Febuary?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 06:27:39 pm »
I understand your concerns.  I was in a similar situation, but I managed to get away with 2 months off by simply giving them a white lie.  The only reason I did this was because my co-teacher was well aware that I planned on doing something, and had already paid for it and asked several times if it would be fine, but they changed their tune last minute.  In my case, they just didn't like the idea of me being out of the country for too long, so I stated that I would be going to Seoul (to use the Airport nonetheless).  By February you get some sick days alloted to you as it's past the 6 month point (that's how it was for me), and I think you can conveniently take those 4 days off as sick days.  Although, I don't want to get anyone in trouble, it happened to work out for me... 8)
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  • Virginia
  • Featured Contributor

    • 93

    • September 19, 2006, 01:20:41 pm
    • Suncheon
Re: Is your school asking you to work in Febuary?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2008, 03:53:51 pm »
Lisa, you need to get in touch with Andrea and see if anything can be changed.

We were told in orientation etc that "in Korea, contracts are negotiable", but my personal experience has been *very* different. I've seen more like this: You are asked to do something outside of your contract (is that the flexibility part?) and you do, to be nice, or perhaps with a spirit of doing a favour now to get something in return later, and your extra bit simply becomes an expectation, until another thing is added on.

If your school isn't having a camp or doesn't need you to work, that is not your fault. You are entitled to the month of February.

If you've gone ahead and told them that you are traveling during January, it might make things a bit more difficult to negotiate, but as Arsalan says, a wee white lie might be your best friend here (as in, the less said, the better!)

I am not proud to say that I learned to lie - a lot - in Korea.
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  • Brian
  • Featured Contributor

    • 735

    • September 19, 2006, 01:07:56 pm
    • Pittsburgh / Jeollanam-do
Re: Is your school asking you to work in Febuary?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2008, 08:15:37 am »
Quote
We were told in orientation etc that "in Korea, contracts are negotiable", but my personal experience has been *very* different. I've seen more like this: You are asked to do something outside of your contract (is that the flexibility part?) and you do, to be nice, or perhaps with a spirit of doing a favour now to get something in return later, and your extra bit simply becomes an expectation, until another thing is added on.


Pretty much.  Or, the contracts are negotiable when they want something from you, but become fixed in stone when you want some flexibility. 

In spite of having 26 days in February, I asked my school if I could use most of that time in January and it was no problem.  I will be going on for a few days of graduation---I don't mind, it forces me to be productive---but won't have to be in front of my desk for the rest of break, unlike some public school teachers. 

The thing that gets me is that schools and teachers often have no ideas what these contracts are about to begin with.  I use the term "foreigner owner's manual" a little tongue-in-cheek, but shouldn't they have meetings and stuff to go over what our contracts say?  That's unlikely, I know.  Yesterday I did manage to get my requested time off, but people at my school were arguing that although the contract said 26 days, public servants (i.e. Korean teachers) are only allowed to take 20 days for international travel, and have to use the rest for professional development.  I mean, the schools all signed off on these things, right? 

That's another thing I'll add . . . teachers are often forced to come in during winter break when there are no classes because they're told to prepare lessons for the next semester.  Korean teachers are expected to prepare materials over break, too, but can do this from the comfort of their own home.  There is no reason for you to not try and get this time off to work from home, or do whatever at home, so give that angle a try.  Don't get me wrong, you should plan ahead for the next semester, but being the only teacher in the office while everyone else is doing their work at home is unnecessary and ridiculous.  There is a form Korean teachers fill out before each break which lays out what they'll be doing and where.  The name of the form escapes me---it has "연수" in it---but I'll try and find it.  I'm "한국문화 공부," or studying Korean culture, during my break. 
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  • goulash
  • Veteran

    • 160

    • September 19, 2006, 01:41:40 pm
    • Yeosu
Re: Is your school asking you to work in Febuary?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2008, 09:49:30 am »
I got almost the exact same thing. Asked for Feb off, was told that since I didn't have any schools camps "I think you must take your holidays in January."

I don't really mind, since each year I've been here, I've had to do a 2 week camp at Damyang, so this will be the longest holiday so far... but still, if they are going to change the contract, they should be willing to stick by it.

Goulash
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