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  • koreanstar
  • Veteran

    • 105

    • April 07, 2011, 02:35:08 pm
    • seongnam, south korea
A terrible situation?
« on: March 04, 2015, 02:00:25 pm »
First off, I wanna say I'm glad to be back to waygooK.org full-time as a native teacher in Korea after  year and a half away back home in the good ol' US of A. i  am happy I will be seeing old friends again and Korea again as well.
BUT After getting to my public school here in a tiny town I feel jipped; I have taught at 2 middle schools before around Seoul so my gripes comes from my past experiences.
To begin, the place I got to live in is crazy small with terrible water pressure and peeling paint. It came with no microwave,  fan or vacuum as I am forced to apparently buy all these things myself. The school only has a spot for me in the English room where I am supposed to stay all day long with nobody to talk with, even my co-teachers who are all homeroom teachers. I seriously think I am the last man on earth except when I go to lunch where I see the other teachers sitting with their kids.
IDK but I've never seen a class schedule where I have 5 classes back to back 3 days in a row with 5 minutes between classes, not even 10. Throughout the week I only have 4 period with no classes.
I heard elementary was easier than middle or high school, did I hear wrong or did I just land in a bad school for natives?
Or is it just getting rougher for us native teachers after all the cuts? Because from my previous experiences at the 2 other schools at least there I never felt like a mule or so uncared for.
If my co-teachers cared to help me in regards to my housing or even with getting me a desk for me I wouldn't be feeling this bad.
Sorry for venting, justified or not


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 02:08:44 pm »
Apartments come with what's written in the contract. And most often, that doesn't include a microwave or a vacuum. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 02:15:32 pm »
My apartment came with crappy wallpaper and sans vacuum and microwave as well. Didn't buy the latter, but I did get a broom and dust pan. It's easier sweeping up a small apartment than a large one.

Is your schedule over 22 classes per week? If so then you are entitled to overtime pay.

The grass is always greener at the other guy's school . . .  :undecided:
Dropbox is the BEST way to coordinate files between home and school. Click here to get it --> https://db.tt/JSMXsrdm


  • Nivea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1644

    • September 02, 2011, 11:23:30 pm
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 02:16:14 pm »
Who needs a vacuum when they have hard floors?

My apartment came with a vacuum but I never use it. It also came with a coffee machine and a rice cooker which I never use.


  • koreanstar
  • Veteran

    • 105

    • April 07, 2011, 02:35:08 pm
    • seongnam, south korea
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 02:28:46 pm »
The Gepik contract for this year states that a microwave would be provided and it was always stipulated as so since as far back as 2008 as I know it.


  • koreanstar
  • Veteran

    • 105

    • April 07, 2011, 02:35:08 pm
    • seongnam, south korea
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 02:32:22 pm »
i teach 21 hours for now excluding the after school class which will be coming soon I am assuming. But the only thing that bugs me is the back to backs, don't we all need a break to cool off and make some changes to out lessons for the next class? I feel like a student who has to talk for the whole day instead of taking sitting down and taking notes all day.


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 02:46:10 pm »
i teach 21 hours for now excluding the after school class which will be coming soon I am assuming. But the only thing that bugs me is the back to backs, don't we all need a break to cool off and make some changes to out lessons for the next class? I feel like a student who has to talk for the whole day instead of taking sitting down and taking notes all day.

Push the work onto the students, don't be standing and talking all class every class, make them stand and talk, or else you will burn out very quickly.


  • nimrand
  • Super Waygook

    • 489

    • April 07, 2013, 07:40:28 am
    • Lawrence, KS
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 02:55:48 pm »
My experience is that elementary school is way easier than high school (and probably middle school as well).  It's not because of the work load, though, rather, students in elementary school haven't been beat down by the rigid school system yet, and they are generally eager to learn and engage.  High school students are tired out of their wits most days.  Furthermore, only a few, by this point, have really managed to acquire much language, and the rest are just drilling tons of vocab and grammar so they can pass the test, but they aren't really learning these things in a communicative sense anymore, and lack essential skills to do so at that level.

Schools are luck of the draw.  You got a kinda sucky one, but I've heard of much worse.  Also, it seems like a lot of Seoul schools have it better than the rural ones.


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1529

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 02:56:29 pm »
One way to look at it is that having all your classes for the day in one block means that you'll have the entire day after that to do whatever. Of the 22 classroom hours I have this year, 18 of them are before lunch. That means my mornings will be crammed, but I'll have the entire afternoon to decompress and work on lesson materials at a leisurely pace.

If it's your first time at a small school, you'll probably soon discover that the kids won't be in any hurry to get to class anyway, and their homeroom teachers won't be in any hurry to correct any issues with chronic tardiness. I'd be pretty surprised if your classes are all seated and ready to go five minutes after the previous class ended. Roll with the punches.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 02:58:14 pm by Mister Tim »


  • Horsey
  • Adventurer

    • 44

    • October 01, 2014, 02:21:08 pm
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 03:31:11 pm »
All the items for your flat can be bought from gmarket although I recommend using your Korean bank account, and getting help from a Korean to ensure everything is entered correctly the first time.

You get a 300,000 settlement allowance right? This should cover any purchases.

As for being alone in the office, it could be much worse, e.g. noisy, hot/cold, etc. If you want to socialise with teachers or make friends you'll just have to be a little more proactive due to  circumstances.

21 classes isn't a heavy workload - pretty standard for an EPIK elementary school teacher.

Anyway, good luck!


  • 한소로
  • Expert Waygook

    • 783

    • March 20, 2012, 07:50:46 am
    more
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2015, 03:36:10 pm »
Yeah, I love when all of my classes are pushed together. I get more done in the long spans of extra time I have later. When the classes are spread out it's harder for me to concentrate an hour here or there because i'm winding down from one class and then winding up for the next.

I had 7 classes in a row last year (but with a lunch break) and it made me love the other days even more.


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2666

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2015, 05:21:07 pm »
I've never gotten a vacuum at any of the school-provided apartments where I've lived in Korea, although I was provided a microwave; only one place didn't include a fan.


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2015, 06:34:54 pm »
sucks that you're in a small apartment, especially out in the sticks were the apartments are usually bigger. but with so many budget cuts it seems that the apartments are getting smaller and smaller these days. there are some people i know who have been in Korea a while who's schools have actually moved them to smaller apartments once the lease is up so that they can save cash. it's becoming almost essential these days to take the housing allowance if you can.

and yeah having your classes blocked can blow, but like others have said having the whole afternoon free is good to get stuff done. last year my classes were dotted all over the place and it was almost impossible to get any lesson planning done during the week because it seemed like as soon as i'd settled at my desk after class it was time to go teach another class again.

as for feeling like the last man on earth at your school, it could just be your school. but if you speak to some of the old-timers here they'll tell you that almost across the board attitudes towards the NETs have changed in the last couple of years. before NETs used to be seen as an asset and schools were happy to have them around; but now a lot of schools just see them as a burden that causes extra work and headaches for them, and as something to be tolerated rather than valued.


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 06:55:34 pm »
First off, I wanna say I'm glad to be back to waygooK.org full-time as a native teacher in Korea after  year and a half away back home in the good ol' US of A. i  am happy I will be seeing old friends again and Korea again as well.
BUT After getting to my public school here in a tiny town I feel jipped; I have taught at 2 middle schools before around Seoul so my gripes comes from my past experiences.
To begin, the place I got to live in is crazy small with terrible water pressure and peeling paint. It came with no microwave,  fan or vacuum as I am forced to apparently buy all these things myself. The school only has a spot for me in the English room where I am supposed to stay all day long with nobody to talk with, even my co-teachers who are all homeroom teachers. I seriously think I am the last man on earth except when I go to lunch where I see the other teachers sitting with their kids.
IDK but I've never seen a class schedule where I have 5 classes back to back 3 days in a row with 5 minutes between classes, not even 10. Throughout the week I only have 4 period with no classes.
I heard elementary was easier than middle or high school, did I hear wrong or did I just land in a bad school for natives?
Or is it just getting rougher for us native teachers after all the cuts? Because from my previous experiences at the 2 other schools at least there I never felt like a mule or so uncared for.
If my co-teachers cared to help me in regards to my housing or even with getting me a desk for me I wouldn't be feeling this bad.
Sorry for venting, justified or not

a desk is only for working. get a couch



  • JPinegar
  • Adventurer

    • 52

    • September 03, 2014, 10:02:02 pm
    • Suncheon
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2015, 08:04:21 am »
It seems like you're pretty naive if you're basing your expectations on previous experiences at a different school.  You should know how different schools here can be and how unreliable contracts in Korean schools are.   As far as the rest of the post is concerned I find it a bit comical and melodramatic.  I doubt your school is treating you like a mule - they're probably just tired of having to deal with the token foreigner who doesn't really contribute to much other than being an obligatory stand-in for pictures for the parents to gawk at. 

The real question you should be asking isn't "why don't i have a microwave" but rather "why was i forced to did i come back here"?


  • Morfee
  • Super Waygook

    • 477

    • August 23, 2014, 03:51:54 pm
    • Gangwon-Do
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2015, 08:43:09 am »
First off, I wanna say I'm glad to be back to waygooK.org full-time as a native teacher in Korea after  year and a half away back home in the good ol' US of A. i  am happy I will be seeing old friends again and Korea again as well.
BUT After getting to my public school here in a tiny town I feel jipped; I have taught at 2 middle schools before around Seoul so my gripes comes from my past experiences.
To begin, the place I got to live in is crazy small with terrible water pressure and peeling paint. It came with no microwave,  fan or vacuum as I am forced to apparently buy all these things myself. The school only has a spot for me in the English room where I am supposed to stay all day long with nobody to talk with, even my co-teachers who are all homeroom teachers. I seriously think I am the last man on earth except when I go to lunch where I see the other teachers sitting with their kids.
IDK but I've never seen a class schedule where I have 5 classes back to back 3 days in a row with 5 minutes between classes, not even 10. Throughout the week I only have 4 period with no classes.
I heard elementary was easier than middle or high school, did I hear wrong or did I just land in a bad school for natives?
Or is it just getting rougher for us native teachers after all the cuts? Because from my previous experiences at the 2 other schools at least there I never felt like a mule or so uncared for.
If my co-teachers cared to help me in regards to my housing or even with getting me a desk for me I wouldn't be feeling this bad.
Sorry for venting, justified or not


You only have four periods with no classes? So you teach 31 classes per week?

If you're doing that many classes, then you're probably making insane overtime. I'd count myself lucky. Do it for a year and then peace.

If she's at a middle school with only 5 mins between lessons, it's likely AT LEAST a 8-9 period day. Multiplied by 5, minus the 4 free periods, meaning she's doing at least 36-41 periods per week.

That'd 14-19 hours of overtime PER WEEK, or something like 50-70 per month. 20,000w per lesson x 50/70 = 1,000,000 to 1,400,000 in overtime. Add that to her lvl 1/1+ salary and she must be pulling well over 4mil per month. Happy days!

I'm sure this isn't the case anyway, there's some missing information.

OP: There's no mention of any of the missing amenities in your contract, why did you expect them to be provided? They're a bonus. Having lived in Korea before, you should be pretty adept at getting hold of something simple like a table?

Ask the landlord to replace the wallpaper - I heard that they're supposed to do it between tenants, someone might know more on this.

FWIW, I enjoy my time at one of my schools where I have to work in the English classroom. I can control the temperature, the cleanliness, the noise and can just work without distraction. This can't be said for crowded offices.


  • truongt
  • Veteran

    • 108

    • August 30, 2010, 06:51:00 pm
    • South Korea
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2015, 08:48:55 am »
5 classes a day back to back for 3 days in a row is typical for elementary.  The 5-minutes between classes is rough though. Last year, I had 3-3-5-6-5 classes each day. It just depends on how your school works out your schedule.

And a microwave or fan has never been in my EPIK contract (although, thankfully Daegu guarantees aircon in the contract).


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2015, 08:59:08 am »
You only have four periods with no classes? So you teach 31 classes per week?

If you're doing that many classes, then you're probably making insane overtime. I'd count myself lucky. Do it for a year and then peace.

since they're teaching at an elementary school there will only be 6 total periods per day. so class periods will end around 2pm maybe. so the OP will still have 3 hours in the afternoon where they have no teaching at all. by 4 periods free i think they meant that they're teaching all periods except 4, but they'll still have that free time in the afternoon, so it's  not too bad.


Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2015, 09:37:11 am »
Yeah, I'd agree with most of the responses. You had it really good in your previous schools. To be honest the living conditions of your situation suck (remote, small place, lack of maintenance, etc). The solitary nature of situation in your school could be a blessing imo. You have a lot more privacy and it will probably be easier to maintain good relationships with your co-workers because you have some more distance from them.

If being alone and isolated are not your style, and you don't like your living conditions and work schedule, I can see you suffering through this contract.


  • Haibrok
  • Veteran

    • 245

    • January 21, 2015, 01:24:37 pm
    • Jorvik
Re: A terrible situation?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2015, 09:41:21 am »
You have to do five classes back to back without a break???? Slave labor!  Exploitation!

*sarcasm*