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Is this the Devil's Work? SLP-Seodaemoon

 
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 7:27 am    Post subject: Is this the Devil's Work? SLP-Seodaemoon Reply with quote

I've been trying to get over to Korea since June but stopped during July and early August when life over here in Canada blindsided me. Now I am back in the hunt and trying to get over asap. I have friendfs that will be living in central Seoul so I needed to get a position close by. So far most offerings had no single apartments available or were too far away or had a school 40 minutes from the apartments. Then my favorite recruiter, the only one who is candid and whom I have some degree of confidence in, finds this for me today:

*72 x 80 min classes per mo.
*2.0 Million moth
*Located in Seodaemun - very central.
*Studio apartment, single, with Air Conditioner! BUT they do take $200,000 per month for the first 3 months as a utility deposit and I have to pay the monthly utilities and maintenance fee.
*I am expected to devote no less than 2.5 hours per day to lesson planning though at the institute so in the end they are getting a 40 hour work week.
*Overtime is at 1.5 times the normal rate and capped at 88 x 80 min sessions unless both parties agree i.e. they do own my azz carpet but they will have to pay for it
*No Kindy anywhere in the building.
*No weekends
*noon to 8:30 hours - perfect I hate getting up early.

SO I'm loving it. I have talked to the irector and one teacher there and so far everything is perfect for what I wanted - too perfect.

But the catch is that it is the dreaded SLP!!!

And it has only been open 1 year - though that may be good here for some perverse reason. In any event it hasn't shown up on any black lists or disparaging posts - yet.


Not that this is uber-job or anything but for what I was looking for, short notice, and the start time it was pretty well a custom fit. But all I hear about SLP is that it is to be avoided like the plague - any SLP. I also hear that unless one has crazy credentials and experience, perhaps one should wonder how it is that they managed to seemingly luck into the kind of postion that on paper should attract those more qualified, who applied earlier, or are more experienced. Why has it not been filled by those better than me?

So is the Devil tempting me with this little SLP job that seems so lovely and innocent? I am unsure what to do. As far as I can tell I cannot do anything more to investigate. I have checked all the websites, talked to the teacher, director, and the recruiter. I can't actually go there myself ahead of time. So I am not sure what my next step is.


Last edited by Voyeur on Mon Aug 18, 2003 9:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Son Deureo!



Joined: 30 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 8:47 am    Post subject: Re: Am I being tested by tempation? Is this the Devil's Wor Reply with quote

Quote:
*72 x 80 min classes per mo.


Works out to 96 hours per month. Sounds OK. 80 minute classes sound looooong, though. Much longer than the average kid's attention span. This could be an ongoing annoyance.

Quote:
*2.0 Million moth


Good enough. Don't settle for less.


Quote:
*Located in Seodaemun - very central.


Sweet location, I'm jealous.

Quote:
*Studio apartment, single, with Air Conditioner!


Good.

Quote:
BUT they do take $200,000 per month for the first 3 months as a utility deposit and I have to pay the monthly utilities and maintenance fee.


I hope you mean a W200,000 per month deposit, right? Wink Yeah, this is BS, and probably illegal, but way too common. It has nothing to do with your utilities, it's to discourage you from pulling a runner, and defrays their cost of recruiting the next sucker. Try to get rid of this nonsense if you can. In and of itself, though, I don't think I'd consider it a dealbreaker, but that's just me.

You being responsible for your own utilities and maintenance fee is pretty standard, I think. I live in an "a-pat-eu" style complex (modern buildings that look like their made of legos, ugly on the outside but nice on the inside, you'll know what I mean once you get here). I pay 50000-70000, and this includes my electricity and water. Phone is an extra 10,000 or so, gas is about 2000 (just for cooking). When I lived in a "villa" (shoddier small apartment building), I paid no maintenance fee, but electric and water were separate. It worked out to be about the same. No big deal, really. Since you're not paying rent, it's peanuts.


Quote:
*I am expected to devote no less than 2.5 hours per day to lesson planning though at the institute so in the end they are getting a 40 hour work week.


This is probably unpaid, too, isn't it? 2.5 hours onsite unpaid mandatory prep time is more than a bit excessive. IMHO, this is the biggest sticking point in this contract. Unless the stories about SLP paperwork I've heard are true, you'll probably spend a lot of this time sitting on your thumbs anyway. Sorry, but the average Korean hogwon ESL classes just don't need 2.5 hours of preparation every day.

Quote:
*Overtime is at 1.5 times the normal rate and capped at 88 x 80 min sessions unless both parties agree i.e. they do own my azz carpet but they will have to pay for it


That's a good overtime rate. Korean labor law only requires 120%, so this is of course the industry standard. Overtime should always be at your discretion, though.

Quote:
*No Kindy anywhere in the building.


Since you don't want kindy, this is good.

Quote:
*No weekends


Make sure this is in the contract

Quote:
*noon to 8:30 hours - perfect I hate getting up early.


This is actually a long spread for no kindy, especially for the number of classes you are teaching. Obviously it could be worse, but these hours are nothing to get all that excited about. Even a teacher who does kindy is often in at 10 and out at 7.

All the same, guaranteed hours in your contract are a good thing.

Quote:
SO I'm loving it. I have talked to the irector and one teacher there and so far everything is perfect for what I wanted - too perfect.

[snip]

So is the Devil tempting me with this little SLP job that seems so lovely and innocent?


This job doesn't sound perfect or lovely. The hours are a bit long, it has that obnoxious security deposit, and a ridiculous amount of unpaid, onsite prep time. You may be able to do better, but you could also do a whole lot worse. Those downsides may be worth accepting for you, since this job seems to fit everything else you want. I'm also not sure about your timetable, so you may not have any time left to risk losing this job offer. I'm assuming this is your best offer so far, but I also don't know what else you have on the table. If everything else sounds a lot worse, maybe this is the best you can do.

No job will be perfect, especially since you're essentially flying blind here. The only way to get a dream job in your first year when you're looking from your home country is dumb luck.

Also, the school having been open for only a year isn't that big of a deal. New schools are opening up all the time.



Quote:
I am unsure what to do. As far as I can tell I cannot do anything more to investigate. I have checked all the websites, talked to the teacher, director, and the recruiter. I can't actually go there myself ahead of time. So I am not sure what my next step is.


I can only think of two more things you can do:

A) Try to speak to another teacher, preferably a former teacher. Also, if you called him, try to make another surprise phone call to see if he was actually calling you from the hogwon. If he was calling from the hogwon, you can bet dollars to doughnuts the director was in the room, listening to the conversation.

B) Change the title of this thread (if you can) so that it has the words "SLP-Seodaemoon" in the title, or post a new thread with the name of your school in the title, and do so on other boards. That way you have a better chance of getting info from another current or former teacher of this school.

SLP like all of the larger chains has a less than perfect reputation, but most chains vary a lot from franchise to franchise. I used to know teachers at an SLP (not Seodaemoon) that were very happy, and teachers kept re-signing for multiple years. I never met hogwon teachers with so many positive things to say about their hogwon. But there have also been horror stories on this board about that chain, I think you already know that. You've probably seen the Slave Labor Program joke, too.

Sorry, I just don't know enough about SLP to tell you more than that.

I had the exact same problem with my first job since I was searching over the internet from the US. These are small businesses in a foreign country thousands of miles away. Research hits a brick wall. All you have left to go with is your gut. This is the unavoidable risk you have to deal with when you're looking for your job from home.

All I can do is wish you luck, and offer you my sympathy. No matter what job you take here, you'll have to take a bit of a leap of faith.
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Am I being tested by tempation? Is this the Devil's Wor Reply with quote

Son Deureo! wrote:
This is actually a long spread for no kindy, especially for the number of classes you are teaching. Obviously it could be worse, but these hours are nothing to get all that excited about. Even a teacher who does kindy is often in at 10 and out at 7.

All the same, guaranteed hours in your contract are a good thing.


I'm not worried about the spread. WIth the 2.5 hours mandatory time at the institute that means basically I am on-site 40 hours - 8 hours a day. Even a tighter class spread would still mean the same thing with my prep hours just falling more consistently at the ends of days.


No, this is no uber-job to be sure but it meets my requirements. I'll try to follow more of your advice and see if I can change the title.

The security deposit is obnoxious but liveable. I can live without total control of the overtime given the high rate of pay for it. Really it is just the 2.5 hours mandatory prep but I just came from working 80-100 hour weeks in a brokerage so I guess I sort of am a bit numbed to the distinctions between a few hours a day here or there - though you are right to say I should not be. But 40 hour weeks seems like something I can handle and I will never have to bring my work home given all of the forced prep.

I had the exact same problem with my first job since I was searching over the internet from the US. These are small businesses in a foreign country thousands of miles away. Research hits a brick wall. All you have left to go with is your gut. This is the unavoidable risk you have to deal with when you're looking for your job from home.

All I can do is wish you luck, and offer you my sympathy. No matter what job you take here, you'll have to take a bit of a leap of faith.[/quote]
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lala



Joined: 20 May 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must say that Dave's scared me quite a lot before I came over here to teach at an SLP...but it's great! The Korean teachers are great, the director is so nice and treats us to dinners and kareoke together regularly. I work long hours, but still not as long as I did when I worked full time in Canada....so chill out. Some SLP's are really ok!
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