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Got fired from a Hagwon... the lowest point of my life?
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ontheway



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Location: Somewhere under the rainbow...

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

f22rahman wrote:
The Floating World wrote:
You're not joking? Okay, I'll assume that's the case.

It wont affect your job prospects in the us one bit and it wont make much of a difference in Korea either. This from a person who just landed a very nice new job in Korea after leaving his previous hakwan job after only 2 weeks. I have also left 3 jobs at around the 6 months mark and it has never really effected my geting another and in fact ironically, each job I've had after being fired was progressively better.


The Floating World, how did you pull this off? Or rather, how did you manage to get jobs after subsequently leaving each one? And even now, couldn't your new employer call the hagwons that you left and as a result, get bad references from your previous hagwons?

There's another poster on here that said a bad reference from a previous hagwon cost the said poster a job.



This is true for any industry in any country:

Some employers don't check references and don't care about your past experiences.

Some employers don't check even though they do care.

Some employers check, but they believe in second chances.

Some employers care and they do check and you could be refused a job or fired based on bad references.

So, it's possible for one person to lose a job based on a bad reference while another person, might scoot from job to job, even though he or she was fired repeatedly.
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kimiki



Joined: 19 Dec 2008
Location: south korea

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZIFA wrote:

Office politics are of extraordinarily high importance in hagwons. Its an intense, self-conscious hothouse atmosphere.


Well said. Why indeed is this so? In fact I've found this describes every language operation I've ever worked for, including 2 universities. I will never understand people who don't simply live and let live. But at last, I can thank Korean culture for teaching me how to smile when I'm dying inside. Which was a huge 'accomplishment' for a tempermental idealist like me. Now, the more miffed I am, the more demurely and sweetly I smile. It's incredible how it kicks in, totally automatic now. There was no other way, absolutely no other way of surviving in this place where everyone seems to be living in a childish fantasy world inside their own heads, and would rather nearly drink themselves to death on a nightly basis than engage in honest, clear communication about anything.
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kimiki



Joined: 19 Dec 2008
Location: south korea

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

myenglishisno wrote:
Thanks for the continued support, everyone. As I said in the original post and what still gets to me is that it was fellow English teachers that did me in as much as anything else. It had nothing to do with corruption though I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I rocked the boat early on and created some kind of chain reaction that I couldn't stop no matter how hard I tried.

The hagwon only hired pretty 25-35 year old Korean teachers and shortly after I was hired, they made a policy of only hiring lightly coloured Americans under the age of 25. That means I was already at odds with my co-workers (having nothing at all in common with them) and upon lots of reflection, I realized that it was gossip and 'cliqueyness' that got me fired, hiding behind a veil of "you're a bad teacher."

It was perpetuated by the fact that I didn't drink with my co-workers and didn't bend over backwards sucking up to the Korean stewardesses--erm, I mean "teachers". I'm at a completely different point in my life than my co-workers so I just ignored them and they didn't like that. When I realized I was on the wrong end of the gossip mill, I started ignoring the Korean teachers too as to not give them more ammunition. That probably just made things worse. The kicker is that I'm actually a normal/kind guy who usually gets along fine with people, I just handle drama and gossip by either hitting it in the face or sidestepping it. That does not fly here.

Right now, two things really bug me. The first thing is that before working at that hagwon, I had told myself I would never work at a kid's hagwon again (I worked at a so-so one for a year back in '07). The reason I even signed the damn contract is because they had foreigners at every level of the company (it has numerous connected branches and a CEO unlike other hagwons) and they assured me that they weren't like other hagwons (also the salary and apartment were A1). They said they were all about real teaching and development. That was complete BS because there was very little "development" beyond "be more entertaining because one kid in one of your classes complained to their parents".

So that really bugs me because they built themselves up into something they're not. Actually, by trying to be "the best" they inadvertently became more suffocating and less educational than even the worst money grubbing hagwons. In retrospect, it should have obvious that their "educational philosophy" was nothing more than a giant circle jerk among a bunch of elitist hotheads (mainly foreigners) that got a modicum of power due to the fact that they weren't that bad in the classroom. I'm not a professional teacher in that I do not hold an education degree yet, in hindsight, even I know that some of their "philosophies" were complete batsh*t. Combine that with the fact that they had no tolerance for anyone who didn't worship the curriculum (which involved one-size-fits-all textbooks that were multiple times more advanced than the average student's level).

The other thing that bugs me is that I want to name and shame this hagwon (or should I say 'company') so bad yet I can't due to libel laws. If any of this sounds familiar, be warned. The only people who seem to really thrive in this company are... how we say, empty vessels. Other people survive by keeping their heads down but they definitely regret signing the contract. It is quite possibly the most soul-sucking hagwon out there because they go so far as to cultivate a culture that implies at every turn that if you don't fit their mold and if you don't work your ass off and essentially degrade yourself, then you're a bad teacher. Of course, the only way to be a good teacher is to blend in and never question the Korean teachers or the curriculum (this is probably why they're actively trying to hire clueless people now--when they hired me they were looking for experienced people).


If any of this sounds familiar, don't sign the dotted line...

I'm doing much better by the way. I found a quiet, low stress job.


Good for you! Glad you've moved on. It sounds like you've learned quite a bit. And it's so comforting to read everyone's support and personal sharing. If my ability to trust other human beings hadn't been completely shattered by my years of working in this treacherous industry, I would invite you all to my home for a drink and a lovely meal.

But anyway, in closing, remember the story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson? Just remember that at some level, humans have a deeply ingrained, essentially primal urge to scapegoat. Someone has to pay for all this mess lol It is fundamentally random but will be justified in various ways. Definitely don't take it personally, you've obviously got a good head on your shoulders, and truth is, the fact that you were ousted from a place like that is actually a very good sign!!!!
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP,

Glad it all worked out for you. It was a tough spot I am sure and you seem to have made it through in fine form.

Best of luck in the future!
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Draz



Joined: 27 Jun 2007
Location: Land of Morning Clam

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kimiki wrote:
ZIFA wrote:

Office politics are of extraordinarily high importance in hagwons. Its an intense, self-conscious hothouse atmosphere.


Well said. Why indeed is this so? In fact I've found this describes every language operation I've ever worked for, including 2 universities. I will never understand people who don't simply live and let live. But at last, I can thank Korean culture for teaching me how to smile when I'm dying inside. Which was a huge 'accomplishment' for a tempermental idealist like me. Now, the more miffed I am, the more demurely and sweetly I smile. It's incredible how it kicks in, totally automatic now. There was no other way, absolutely no other way of surviving in this place where everyone seems to be living in a childish fantasy world inside their own heads, and would rather nearly drink themselves to death on a nightly basis than engage in honest, clear communication about anything.


Have you considered leaving?

You'll find these kinds of attitudes everywhere though. Not just in Korea, not just in language schools. Any thankless, low-paying job has people like this. People whose lives are so small they have to get their thrills trying to push their coworkers around. It makes them feel important, when everything else in their lives tells them they are nothing.
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The Floating World



Joined: 01 Oct 2011
Location: Here

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

f22rahman wrote:
The Floating World wrote:
You're not joking? Okay, I'll assume that's the case.

It wont affect your job prospects in the us one bit and it wont make much of a difference in Korea either. This from a person who just landed a very nice new job in Korea after leaving his previous hakwan job after only 2 weeks. I have also left 3 jobs at around the 6 months mark and it has never really effected my geting another and in fact ironically, each job I've had after being fired was progressively better.


The Floating World, how did you pull this off? Or rather, how did you manage to get jobs after subsequently leaving each one? And even now, couldn't your new employer call the hagwons that you left and as a result, get bad references from your previous hagwons?

There's another poster on here that said a bad reference from a previous hagwon cost the said poster a job.


1. No idea, I just did. Even in todays tough market, having quit my last job after 2 weeks, I just landed a very good position.

2. I did recently lose the opportunity for a SMOE job as they checked my previous references. I currently work at a private company however and in my experience - they don't check.
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happiness



Joined: 04 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nah, I was fired from a job because the owner (who I was and am now very close too), the owners husband didnt like me, because he didnt work in the school, but would pop in and frak things up and then go back to his job. I raised a stink once because he hired this guy who stunk to high heaven of druggie and he hired him anyway because he had a korean wife and he had talked to her (they had just gotten married suddenly I found out). Well, the guy was deported 3 weeks later for some illegal activity.

anyway, i got canned for not respecting him enough, etc, and the real onwer of the school couldnt stop it (she lived with his mother as well, korean MIL).

I got fired, and was shocked and sad for an hour

then, i called a army pastor friend of mine, and he gave me instant perspective


youre free
enjoy it
as long as u didnt do anything wrong, youre free, inside and out

one thing youll learn living abroad is that you cant change peoples opinions of you

it may cost you a month or more in savings or whatever, just go on.

Korea or wherever has alot of opportuinity for those who try.

ALSO! I was asked to come back after a month with more pay, I did go back after a year and a half (of living in Haeundae!), ive been there since (but the husband NEVER comes around since then) lol
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You were too idealistic. If they wanted a dog-and-pony show, then you should have given them that if that was their expectation, and you should have schmoozed in the right way. I know it sounds fake, but that's what it would have taken to not get fired, and if the kids don't get the best instruction because they have more fun, then so be it.
You should have assessed the environment and done accordingly, but I can't really blame you. Be glad that you're out.
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Reggie



Joined: 21 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't stress, OP. A co-worker told me the other day he would like to get fired so he doesn't need a letter of release for a job he lined up since he has been getting screwed out of compensation. Laughing
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Los Angeloser



Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

myenglishisno wrote:
I had one co-teacher that wanted me to essentially fill in textbooks in class. The textbook was full of articles from The Economist. The kids were an apathetic bunch in their first year of middle school and they hadn't the slightest idea what the articles were about, even if it was in Korean.

The textbook was way to high level for the students and teaching in a way that would allow them to arrive at their own answers (when the kids would normally only produce one word at a time) would take more time than I had in the class, even if I simplified the articles to their lowest possible forms as well as the questions they were required to answer.


The OP just might have worked at the hagwon chain in question, was it ELS?

"U.K. Magazine(The Economist) Sues Gangnam Language School for Piracy"
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/01/23/2013012300991.html
"The language school admits using the materials but said it is not fair that it was singled out as the offender. A staffer told the Chosun Ilbo in a phone interview, "We printed and used the Economistís articles without permission to teach our highest level students and sold teaching materials containing those articles." But the staffer claimed that is no more than any other language institute in Korea does."
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you were unlucky this time and all four of your co-teachers were complete turkeys. People will sometimes gang up for no reason at all.
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