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Is Avalon a good wagwon to go with for a newbie?
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nwiley



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: usa

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Is Avalon a good wagwon to go with for a newbie? Reply with quote

As a first time poster, I would just like to say thanks for all of the helpful posts I have already read on the message boards.
I am a recent college graduate with a BA in English and Philosophy. I recently had an interview with Avalon for a private school gig. I was hoping people would have any feedback on what their experiences were with Avalon, positives and negatives and also which regions are the best to take Avalon jobs. Any feedback is welcome.
Thanks again
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bundangbabo



Joined: 01 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No - heard some right horror stories about the one near Ori station - keep away.
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nwiley



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: usa

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks a lot. I have heard a couple bad stories. Thanks for the again for the advice.
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climber159



Joined: 02 Sep 2007

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't worked there myself; but, I know a few who have.

The good:
-They're a large hagwon and there's less of a chance they'll go under or not pay you.
-There's a set curriculum in place for the most part.

The bad:
-They have recently been imposing stupid rules on the teachers of the H1N1 flu scare. Things such as taking your temperature everyday using the same thermometer, telling teachers to hand over their passports (illegal), and tell teachers not to go to Itaewon, Hongdae, or other public places.
-They have a set curriculum in place.
-Dresscode.
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polonius



Joined: 05 Jun 2004

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an Avalon above my school, and I often talk to one of the teachers. He always seems to be positive about his job and experience. He worked at other schools before and enjoys this experience more.

As for the impositions placed by the school, he said most of them were untrue, except for them not being allowed to leave Korea. Crappy. They weren't forced to hand over their passports nor told not to go to certain places. Just to be cautious.
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Smee



Joined: 24 Dec 2004
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'd hold off. In response to the swine flu panic, Avalon has implemented a mandatory quarantine, daily temperature checks, has banned foreign travel, made its employees cancel their vacation plans and even tried to take away foreigners' passports (illegal illegal ILLEGAL).

See here: http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/2009/05/avalon-hagwon-franchise-to-take-away.html

Regardless of the pros and cons of the franchise for a newbie---and there are certainly pros to go with the cons---I can't imagine why any teacher would willingly walk into there knowing what they tried to pull.
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Smee



Joined: 24 Dec 2004
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The passport thing was repealed the next day after backlash. And the other measures seem to vary depending on location. Nevertheless, total b.s.
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tenchu77491



Joined: 16 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hated Avalon and left.
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ahsieee



Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Location: Yongin, South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i work for avalon now, and almost at my 1 yr mark.
if the teachers value you, you'll have a good time as a newbie. if you're not, then maybe not so much.
avalon has different levels to teach- elementary, middle school, ivy, and nokjiwon.
elementary 3-6th grade, middle: 1 & 2nd graders, ivy: 3rd graders, nokjiwon: smart kids who have studied abroad for at least a year (~85% of the students have anyway)
i hear elementary is all about discipline.. middle is alright... i work for nokjiwon- a lot of work but the kids are great. they actually understand you.
there's no dress code at my campus... as long as we're clean, it's pretty much okay.
i have heard horror stories about avalon as well.. a few of my friends hate it here, but i think it really depends on your coworkers.
i hope it helps? if you have any questions, feel free to PM me
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tenchu77491



Joined: 16 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On that note, stay away from Avalon in Yeonsu-gu, Incheon.
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bobbybigfoot



Joined: 05 May 2007
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked at Avalon for my first year, at a branch in Bundang. It wasn't that well run, had poor communication, and more than its fair share of morons. The kids were not well behaved and nobody really cared what went on in the classrooms. It was all about making cash.

Despite having done a decent job, Avalon was indifferent to whether or not I stayed or went. I got offered the standard raise and I when I expressed my interest in having a better teaching environment, the manager just nodded. Sign or don't sign, but enough with giving feedback. Making the school a better place was of no interest to her. Us foreigners are a dime a dozen. And the 200,000 monthly raise merely offsets the cost of flying another foreigner over here. Since she wasn't going to be the one to track down another whitey, why would she care?

I know firsthand that Avalon ran into troubles this past year, particularly the branch I worked at. Numbers dropped and alarm bells were rung.

Would I recommend it? To cut your teeth, it's alright. It's straightforward. Avalon has low expectations from its teachers. Essentially, you just need to show up and not do a really bad job. They will even tolerate a bad job (this I know this for a fact). So you can learn in a "nothing really matters" environment. Avalon is probably best for teachers coming here to party and have a good time. If you are serious about teaching, I'd avoid. Avalon will only suck the life out of you.

The turnover rate is very high. Few teachers sign a second year (those who do re-sign are generally the people who are too lazy to find better work or those who relish the "nothing really matters" environment.) Anybody worth his/her salt moves on.

The biggest pro for Avalon is that you will always be paid on time. The second would be the relatively decent accommodation you will get (although mine wasn't great, most were decent).

Avalon did cheat me out of some money. They used creative accounting to shortchange me 100,000 on my severance, and they stole 50,000 from my housing deposit. But considering how widespread hagwon theft is, 150,000 is pretty good.

Considering the gig I have now and the pay I'm getting, I'm grateful that manager made no effort to keep me. Smile

Good luck.
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nwiley



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: usa

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks bigfoot,

I have heard similar things about Avalon and while I am certainly new to teaching, their seeming lack of interest in teaching scares me. While going to Korea to make money is a motivating factor I think as you said a bad teaching environment would "suck the life out of me". I will be sure to keep looking around and only take Avalon if it is a last resort, and the only option for me to go over to K-town. I am still considering public school, but the class size and the lack of experience of my self scares me a bit.
Thanks again, for the advice.
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nwiley



Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Location: usa

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the passport policy seems ridiculous. No matter what I would never in my right my give up my passport.
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turkishlover25



Joined: 15 Mar 2009
Location: Illinois; USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just moved to Seoul to work for Bundang-branch of Avalon, in the R&D. Can anybody on here speak to how the points raised in this post are true or untrue for this particular spot? Thanks.
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wakingup



Joined: 20 May 2009

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Bundang, I've never heard great things about them. I don't work there - and, honestly, you never can tell (sometimes the problem is the school, sometimes the problem is people forget they came here to work) - but I think it comes down to them being really, really corporate, which doesn't mesh well with a lot of the personalities that come to Korea in general.

Neither the good, experienced teachers, nor the academic travelers, nor the young kids wanting to party want to work in a corporate setting - that's why they're not working corporate jobs back home (maybe not true now, with the economy tanking). As long as you remember all hagwons are a business at their heart, even if they value good teaching, it helps a bit, but some are more rigid than others.
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