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Horrible Hagwon?
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Sir John Hawkins



Joined: 07 Nov 2008
Location: Ulsan, SK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:12 am    Post subject: Horrible Hagwon? Reply with quote

Ok guys, I have been here for a little less than a month and I am starting to see that it probably isnt going to work out between my Hogwan and I. Today, I was waiting for my class to start (every other day I dont have classes for the first hour because lack of classes) and I was trying to figure out what I was going to teach that day, the secretary came back to the office to check what I was doing (she tried to check if I was on the internet before she talked to me, which I wasnt) then in some sort of weird broken english told me to go sit in on the other teachers class (I was told to do this when I didnt have class, but the other teacher doesnt do it, so I figured that I didnt have to do it all the time). After that, I was called out of class twice (the admin watches via CCTV from her other school) to tell me I wasnt teaching correctly (not enough energy, too much individual study) so, I went back to class. Later that day, one of my classes no showed (1 person class) so the director wanted to talk with me. During this meeting, she got out one of the childrens book and went through it line by line telling me how to teach it (this is a box, draw a box, discuss a box) this went on for about 15 minutes. Then, she asked if I was cold (I had my coat on) I am like, no, I am fine. And she asks why I have my coat on, and I said, well its cold in here without it (most students and the other teachers always have their coats on as our school knows nothing about how heat works I guess) then she proceeds to tell me how many shirts to wear "tomorrow, please wear more shirts...blah blah blah"

So, my questions are,

what do you think of this story

What happens if I want to break my contract and get the hell out?

Whats the midnight run process about

Anything you want to tell me, go for it. Thanks guys.
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VanIslander



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Location: Geoje, Hadong, Tongyeong,... now in a small coastal island town outside Gyeongsangnamdo!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: Horrible Hagwon? Reply with quote

Sir John Hawkins wrote:
...the admin watches via CCTV from her other school) to tell me I wasnt teaching correctly...

I would give my 30-day notice of termination immediately. That is ridiculous.

One has to draw a line somewhere.

I bust my butt to teach the best I can, which wasn't so good at first, but with years of experience and CELTA its gotten much better. I always tried. And that seemed to be good enough.

But no way ever was it worth putting up with video monitor critiques. I haven't had a camera in my classroom and simple wouldn't put up with it. NOT WORTH IT.

I love hagwons based on my only two places of employment having been great but you got yourself a hogwan hell.

You will never for a millisecond regret getting the hell out of there. You might regret wasting a year putting up with their *beep*

Japan, Taiwan and even Vietnam pays more in terms of U.S. currency these days. Give your notice and go. You could always come back to a better job within a year.

Good luck whatever.
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Sir John Hawkins



Joined: 07 Nov 2008
Location: Ulsan, SK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your input man. I am seriously considering bouncing out of here. The thing is, I dont want to go home, I am 30, this was just something to do before I went back to grad school, but with the way the Korean Won is compared to the dollar, I figured out I am making around 11 or 12 an hour and that isnt even before tax. I understand that jobs back home dont come with an apartment, but at the same time, I wouldnt be working a 12 dollar an hour job back home. (I know, I might not even be able to find a job in the poor economy)

Dont I need a TEFL to teach in Nam or Taiwan?
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pest2



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's the thing. You need a TEFL for most other places... not always, but you will have a hard time getting a job anywhere besides Korea with no teaching experience and no TEFL. On the other hand, judging from the job board, there are alot of vacancies now.. but if you give notice and quit and then come back to a new job, it will cost you some more money.

You current school sound pretty anal.. not as if they're dishonest so much but more like they are really controlling. However,... you said a class was canceled because no one showed up.. was that because of your teaching? Im not saying I think it is because maybe its due to some other factor. However, if you are a brand new teacher, it wouldnt hurt to try new things and follow thier advice, at first. They're pretty f-ing stupid, still, to hire a brand new teacher with no experience and expect a confucian English teaching master...

Good luck.
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Sir John Hawkins



Joined: 07 Nov 2008
Location: Ulsan, SK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pest2 wrote:
Yeah, that's the thing. You need a TEFL for most other places... not always, but you will have a hard time getting a job anywhere besides Korea with no teaching experience and no TEFL. On the other hand, judging from the job board, there are alot of vacancies now.. but if you give notice and quit and then come back to a new job, it will cost you some more money.

You current school sound pretty anal.. not as if they're dishonest so much but more like they are really controlling. However,... you said a class was canceled because no one showed up.. was that because of your teaching?

Good luck.


No, the kid was late, so late he missed his FLT slot. It is just a class for 1 student.
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yingwenlaoshi



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Location: ... location, location!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir John Hawkins,

I agree with VanIslander. You don't want to waste time there. I'm guessing that you're a first-time teacher. Whatever. You're paid to teach English using English. If they wanted someone with experience, they would've hired, and sufficiently paid, such a person. And who's to say you aren't doing well? I figure that it doesn't take rocket science in the first place. The students are learning English.

Having someone nitpicking you is not an ideal situation. They obviously don't know how to manage people (which is common in Korea, but your case is an extreme one). In short, they should just be letting you be to figure it out on your own. It's not a bad idea for them to make suggestions or to give you tips, but pulling you out of the middle of a class like that? You knowing they're watching your every move? Those cameras shouldn't be used for that. They should only be used for security reasons and to make sure the children behave. Cameras aren't a bad idea sometimes. The students seem to behave better if they know they're being monitored. But...

Worse is them bugging you about wearing a jacket. No, I won't put more shirts on. YOU TURN UP THE FKN HEAT OR I WEAR MY JACKET.

Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there. I'd get the hell out of Korea and go teach in Taiwan. If you just want something to do and maybe save some coin, it's a good place to go. It's warm right now and you'll have a better time. People are much friendlier. I think they might actually be a little more serious about education though. That's not a bad thing. There are some goofs in Taiwan, too. But here the education aspect is more illogical depending on where you teach. Remember thought that in Taiwan they can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all. But since you're having a bitch of a time with this douchebag, and you want out, it'll be hard to quit that job and get another one. You might be able to cancel your alien card cancelled and get another school to hire you where they have to send you on a visa run. You would need need a sealed transcript for that. If you don't have one, I'd get the hell out. But it is possible to change jobs. Immigration has your criminal report. If you don't have a transcript, you could get one sent to you again. Doesn't take much time. If you get your alien card cancel upon quitting, immigration gives you an exit order that gives you 30 more days in-country.

As far as Taiwan goes, I'm not sure if this is a good hiring season. It's a bit tricky that way. They have a couple of times a year where more jobs are available. Can't remember what months those are. Maybe January is one of them? Or maybe after Chinese New Year. That would be February. I know that they don't have the same winter vacation as Korea. I think they have spring break. Anwyay, check the job boards.

Salaries in Taiwan haven't budged in a long time. Salaries there are lower and they mostly calculate it by the hour, really. So they'll tell you that they hire at however much an hour and how many hours you'll get. They can be tricky, so watch out for that. But Taiwan's much more relaxing. I don't think you'll see too many jobs that are 2-9pm. The school days are longer there for kids past grade 3 or 4. I think they generally finish at around 5pm. A lot of jobs will be 4-9pm, making your pay lower than here. Like 20 hours a week. 25 hours a week in Taiwan is pretty sweet if you're making at least 600 NT/hr. Rent is cheap, especially if you're not living in Taipei. I lived in Hualien on the east coast for two years (2003/4) and you can get yourself a pretty nice place for 10,000 NT/month. I'm talking bedrooms, living room, kitchen, etc.

Food there is way better. Don't listen to the naysayers. Yeah, sure it's good to eat bbq here, etc. Sure was after having lived in Taiwan. But in the end I rate Taiwan higher. Women are nicer too. Not as many good-looking ones maybe, but the ones that look good really look good. And they're way friendlier.

One more thing about teaching. If you want more hours, you'll probably have to supplement your contractual job with kindergarten. That's what a lot of people do. Or you can get privates. Kindergarten is illegal as are privates, but the latter doesn't matter. You will never get busted, nor have to worry about, teaching privates in homes. You don't really have to worry about teaching kindy, but sometimes they get busted (maybe rarely). You don't want to teach kindy anyway.

Go for it!
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Sir John Hawkins



Joined: 07 Nov 2008
Location: Ulsan, SK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, I would love to hear more.

Just to specify, I came here to save money in US dollars, not to live the high life in Korea. I was hoping to save between 9 and 10k over the year with the won the way it is, I dont think that is going to happen, that is another reason I am considering heading back. Honestly, I dont want to go back....but I am having a hard time justifying getting 1,470 a month, 10.50 and hour and getting ragged daily about how I teach. Anymore thoughts would be much appreciated.
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travelingfool



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Location: Parents' basement

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to play hard ball. Give them your 30 days notice and demand a release letter on the spot. Print one out from EFL LAW. Tell them you won't teach another minute until you have the release letter in your hand. That is what I did, and it worked. This is assuming you want to find another job there. In my situation though immigration said that I had resubmit everything over again, including the apostilled background check. That pretty much was the final nail in the coffin for me and I decided to bail from that lovely peninsula.

Being monitored like that is crap. Sorry to be a cynic, but situations like that have a tendency to only get worse.
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yingwenlaoshi



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Location: ... location, location!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

travelingfool wrote:
You have to play hard ball. Give them your 30 days notice and demand a release letter on the spot. Print one out from EFL LAW. Tell them you won't teach another minute until you have the release letter in your hand. That is what I did, and it worked. This is assuming you want to find another job there. In my situation though immigration said that I had resubmit everything over again, including the apostilled background check. That pretty much was the final nail in the coffin for me and I decided to bail from that lovely peninsula.

Being monitored like that is crap. Sorry to be a cynic, but situations like that have a tendency to only get worse.


Why did you have to resubmit the criminal check?
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sharkey



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what hagwon are you in?
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SharkDiver



Joined: 08 Nov 2008

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having enough private gigs can pay for your living and allow you to save most of your salary.....that should allow you to save your 9 to 10 K. Do that before leaving if you can stand being there at that school because as you said it may not be easy now to get a good job back home. And you gotta pay your rent at home too.

A lot of hagwons are totally anal about the teaching practices. Some whine evertime you skip a line in the books. Then they turn around the next day and complain because you are doing all the lines and taking too long. Seems the norm here. Just say yes OK and keep doing your own thing. That seems to shut them up pretty quickly as they get the idea their complaining has no effect.

Just keep wearing your coat until they put up the heat. They should fold.



Good luck!
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yingwenlaoshi



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Location: ... location, location!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SharkDiver wrote:
Having enough private gigs can pay for your living and allow you to save most of your salary.....that should allow you to save your 9 to 10 K. Do that before leaving if you can stand being there at that school because as you said it may not be easy now to get a good job back home. And you gotta pay your rent at home too.

A lot of hagwons are totally anal about the teaching practices. Some whine evertime you skip a line in the books. Then they turn around the next day and complain because you are doing all the lines and taking too long. Seems the norm here. Just say yes OK and keep doing your own thing. That seems to shut them up pretty quickly as they get the idea their complaining has no effect.

Just keep wearing your coat until they put up the heat. They should fold.



Good luck!


Or yeah. Do that. Seriously, you don't want to jump the gun too quickly. As long as they pay you.
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pest2



Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yingwenlaoshi wrote:




Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there. I'd get the hell out of Korea and go teach in Taiwan. If you just want something to do and maybe save some coin, it's a good place to go. It's warm right now and you'll have a better time. People are much friendlier. I think they might actually be a little more serious about education though. That's not a bad thing. There are some goofs in Taiwan, too. But here the education aspect is more illogical depending on where you teach. Remember thought that in Taiwan they can fire you for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason at all.
As far as Taiwan goes, I'm not sure if this is a good hiring season. It's a bit tricky that way. They have a couple of times a year where more jobs are available. Can't remember what months those are. Maybe January is one of them? Or maybe after Chinese New Year. That would be February. I know that they don't have the same winter vacation as Korea. I think they have spring break. Anwyay, check the job boards.

Salaries in Taiwan haven't budged in a long time. Salaries there are lower and they mostly calculate it by the hour, really. So they'll tell you that they hire at however much an hour and how many hours you'll get. They can be tricky, so watch out for that. But Taiwan's much more relaxing. I don't think you'll see too many jobs that are 2-9pm. The school days are longer there for kids past grade 3 or 4. I think they generally finish at around 5pm. A lot of jobs will be 4-9pm, making your pay lower than here. Like 20 hours a week. 25 hours a week in Taiwan is pretty sweet if you're making at least 600 NT/hr. Rent is cheap, especially if you're not living in Taipei. I lived in Hualien on the east coast for two years (2003/4) and you can get yourself a pretty nice place for 10,000 NT/month. I'm talking bedrooms, living room, kitchen, etc.

Food there is way better. Don't listen to the naysayers. Yeah, sure it's good to eat bbq here, etc. Sure was after having lived in Taiwan. But in the end I rate Taiwan higher. Women are nicer too. Not as many good-looking ones maybe, but the ones that look good really look good. And they're way friendlier.

One more thing about teaching. If you want more hours, you'll probably have to supplement your contractual job with kindergarten. That's what a lot of people do. Or you can get privates. Kindergarten is illegal as are privates, but the latter doesn't matter. You will never get busted, nor have to worry about, teaching privates in homes. You don't really have to worry about teaching kindy, but sometimes they get busted (maybe rarely). You don't want to teach kindy anyway.

Go for it!



I just spent a year teaching in Taiwan and I have to mostly agree with the above assessment. I'm pretty sure I can never go back to Korea after having spent a year in Taiwan. People, food, and general fun factor levels are all so much higher there.

However, even with the current shittty exchange rate, you just won't save as much or any money in Taiwan. For one thing, they dont pay your airticket in or out, don't pay a bonus or severance pay, and dont get you a place to live.

You start out with maybe 2000$US per month. After you pay ur tax, rent, and utilities, ur down to 1500$ After you buy food,.. well, for me, it was like 500$ per month... it's down to 1000$. Then, since Taiwan is more fun than Korea, you will always be meeting new people and going out and whatnot, but that's expensive.. figure at least another 300$ per month. Finally, you pretty much MUST buy a scooter (~300$ for a cheap one) and put gas it in (~100$ per month depending on how much u drive) and register and insure it (maybe another 200$).

So, if you were like the normal person there in TW and you didnt travel anywhere and mostly just stayed put in your area but still had a fun time, you could save maybe 5~600$ per month there... Whereas, before the exchange rate tanked in Korea, you could save more like 1500$ with the same lifestyle (except, well, the same lifestyle is worse in Korea because its so lame there).

A good time to find a job, especially if you are a certified teacher and can work in the PS system (but it doesnt sound like ur a certified teacher too bad) is indeed after the Chinese New Year. The other time is at the beginning of classes in late summer (mid August to late August?). But from what I heard, if you want to teach adults, the best time during the summer... most people in Taiwan take time off thier jobs.

Finally, IMHO, working in TW sucks. They really can just fire you for any reason; saw it happen several times. The school owner at my first school there (I only worked there one year) just decided to close the school for 1 month to knock out some walls, paint, and do some other remodeling. She told me the school would be closed for one month. I said, "oh, will you direct deposit my pay for that month, or do I need to come here to pick it up on a certain day?" She laughed as if it was a joke and said, "oh, no, you wont be paid for that month". I gave notice and found a new job.. she acted as if I'd slapped her in the face with a huge monetary insult.

But this kind of thing happens all the time in TW.

Adult students in Taiwan are more demanding that in China at least (can't compare Korea since I never taught adults there) and yet they still want to be taught using the old confucian methods of memorize, repeat, etc OR just walking into class and talking about thier careers and not learning any grammar or specific skills at all (I actually had one student complain about being taught the present perfect tense in class!! He "just wanted to do the have speak" haha).

So, in a nutshell, TW is like a place you can go to have a good time and still earn enough to support yourself.. but you can't expect to save any money there.

Here's a job link for tw : www.tealit.com . Another one is www.esl99.com (both sites not only have jobs but also private tutor opps as well which is nice).


Last edited by pest2 on Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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aldershot



Joined: 17 Jul 2006

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Horrible Hagwon? Reply with quote

Sir John Hawkins wrote:
...and I was trying to figure out what I was going to teach that day...


in some teaching circles we call this "prepping".
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Yu_Bum_suk



Joined: 25 Dec 2004

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Horrible Hagwon? Reply with quote

VanIslander wrote:
Sir John Hawkins wrote:
...the admin watches via CCTV from her other school) to tell me I wasnt teaching correctly...

I would give my 30-day notice of termination immediately. That is ridiculous.

One has to draw a line somewhere.


You need read no more. Just plan carefully how to get your visa cancelled so you can get a new job.
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