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2 Months in and Stressed out
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SeoulNate



Joined: 04 Jun 2010
Location: Hyehwa

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dog Soldier wrote:
There seems to be some advice that registers on the harsh side here, but then maybe that's just the way I'm reading it.

As for the OP, maybe you do like to know 'why' things are the way they are, but in Korea you are pretty much unlikely to be told why, and even if you are, you will probably disagree with the reasons. But you'll never be able to change it...so stop 'needing' to know why. Your director isn't going to clue you in on his decision making process.

You said the classes are going well, so just turn up, do what is asked of you and enjoy your life and stop adding the stress where there doesn't need to be.

Just let it go


This was probably the most level headed response here, most others were way over the top.

Here is what you can do in a Hakwon:

1. Hone your teaching skills. Practice becoming a better teacher. Learn what motivates Korean students and gets them to become better English speakers.

That is it. There is no #2. Work on becoming a better teacher in the classroom and pretty much ignore the other duties or put the bare minimum into them as they wont be looked at/commended on/respected at most places.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sukisho wrote:
You make it sound like I wanted to totally break down in front of them. I admit I am used to the American way of doing things, so being super sick and still working for 2 weeks straight has only made the stress worse. I am asking for advice to prevent a situation like this from ever happening again. While, I understand your comment, it is not helpful.


Please tell me you're a girl. If you're a man and started crying in front of your co-workers over something like that, lord help.

Look, I'm American and when I had an appendectomy last May, that was the first time I had missed a day of work since one day in 1992 when I had a severe case of nicotine poisoning caused by hanging wet tobacco all day and I couldn't even stand up because of the extreme vertigo nicotine poisoning causes. Last year, I taught classes two hours after a vasectomy. That's how most Americans roll. I've managed thousands of them and have seen the dependable ones work through sickness they could work through. Nobody in Korea or elsewhere is expecting you to work through open heart surgery. They do want you to do your job. That's why they hired you.

Play the hand you're dealt. Or go home, join the Marines, ask your drill instructor "Why?" and see how well that goes over.

If you're getting screwed on salary, pension, health insurance, or if it's late, those are legitimate complaints. Most teachers on here are getting screwed out of at least some pay or get apartments piled halfway to the ceiling with garbage that includes used condoms. If that isn't happening to you, it sounds like you have a cake job. I normally sympathize with the foreign teachers on 95% of the stories posted on here, but it sounds like your hagwon is okay, based on what I have read in your post.

I don't advise pulling a runner, because your problems are going to follow you everywhere you go until you get them straightened out. Straighten yourself out. Straighten up. You're an adult now. Stop crying and do your job.
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chill.sung99



Joined: 20 May 2014

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea's office and work culture includes vastly different standards and expectations than America, as I'm sure you know by now.

Some things to get used to in Korea: Koreans rank very high in Conflict Avoidance. Even though studies show that Koreans are the most stressed out workers of OECD countries, with average weekly work hours far higher than other industrialized nations, they continue to work hard just for the sake of appearing to work hard, and to show loyalty to their company or organization. If anyone were to threaten the legitimacy or authority of a higher-level manager by questioning the status quo, then that is usually a big no-no in Korean society.

Koreans are not as obsessed with productivity and efficiency. Characteristics they look for in employees are obedience, loyalty, and acceptance of authoritarian management practices.

Rather than respecting your individual needs and differences, they are looking for foreign teachers who try to conform to Korean standards.

If these cultural differences bother you, then I would leave asap. If not, then enjoy all the great things available in Korea outside of teaching.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nicwr2002 wrote:
It is sad to say, but hagwon owners won't use your ideas because it isn't their ideas. If they were to use your ideas then they wouldn't seem like an owner in the owner's eyes. So, while he/she will listen to you about ideas for class, the owner will ultimately choose their ideas even if it is stupid. Also remember that a hagwon isn't a school, it is more like a Sylvan Learning Center type thing or a SAT prep course in the States. It is a business and unfortunately most hagwon owners only care about $$$$ and not the quality or even the improvement of the students.


Sounds like a lot of big companies back home if you're at the bottom. You're a cog in the wheel and the CEO cares nothing about what you think even if he's making stupid decisions that will cause a loss of market share. With some companies, short term quarter profits are all that matter. Long term as long as they've cashed out with their bags of money, who cares?

Anyhow, not all companies in the west or workplaces here are equal. Find one that recognized your intelligence, ideas, and work ethic or move on.
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sojusucks



Joined: 31 May 2008

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Re: 2 Months in and Stressed out Reply with quote

Sukisho wrote:

One issue was about my class schedule. it seemed all over the place, seeing some of my classes only once a week. There is only one other foreign teacher here, and he agreed that it didn't make sense. All I wanted to know was WHY it had to be that way, and why he adn I couldn't switch classes. It took a lot of talking and a lot of frustration with the responses before it came down to "parents". I decided I couldn't let it bother me and just accepted that eh schedule was going to suck.


Schools in Asia are like this. Many of the students don't even know their schedules until a bit before it happens. I double the entire system will change for one non-Korean teacher. It is best to "roll with the punches".

Sukisho wrote:

Three weeks ago, my manager came to me about needing ideas for the classes like a reading class, a diary writing class, a phonics class, etc. I went to work and designed the classes, looking at the materials that Langcon provided if available, and deciding if we should use it or how to use it. It was a little stressful, but I thought about my extra money and making the classes fun. When we finally had a meeting with everyone to talk about the summer special class, my manager had ignored the opinions we had given her about the books and wanted to use the books for the class. There are many other examples of times I have done work, only to be told after that the manager was going to redo said work herself, or that she wanted to do it a completely different way.


When new students come, they look at the text book. It is a must to have a book, which it seems you put forth great effort to select a good one and to adapt it for your purposes. Remember that many (but not all) of these Korean teachers have the students repeat then as they read from the book. Your supervisor disagrees so there is not much that you can do. This may be something to look into for your next job (before accepting it).

Sukisho wrote:

Any suggestions on how to make the next 10 months bearable?


South Korea has a completely different culture and yes, there is a lot of stress here. A lot of people leave before their contract has finished. Others may find a hobby to distract them. Scuba diving is pervasive. I hope that you find the best choice for yourself and follow through.
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maximmm



Joined: 01 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

le-paul wrote:
nicwr2002 wrote:
Sukisho wrote:
sweetrevenge wrote:

Thats pretty scary, I wouldn't wish this on anyone. What triggered this did a student say something to you or one of your coteachers?


I was upset because I didnt understand why we were REdoing some flyers that were made, and when the conversation finally ended, one of my coteachers kinda went off on me for being frustrated, she was very rude about it and treated me like a child, saying things like, "Just stop it." and "This is work, you just do it."

Like I said most of the issues arise because of miscommunications and misunderstandings about what is wanted/expected of us.


Also to add, Koreans don't question anything at work. If they are told to do something by the owner, they just do it. So, if you were to complain or continuing asking, "Why do we have to do this?" The coworkers won't and can't understand that attitude and will feel like you are just complaining. They are thinking the same thing as you, but they won't voice it except at an after work drinking get together.


+1

Id also say it would make a person look like a trouble maker


It's actually true. During my first year in Korea, I was told by my co-teacher that in Korea people do not question or complain about their superior's orders. They just do what they are told, and they question/complain only after the deed is done. She also told me to do the same.

I fear, however, that I have not learned to keep my mouth shut - though I do not talk to my co-teachers as often as I used to^^

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here. You are looking at military training (when it come to men) combined with Confucianism.

Confucianism, by the way, trumps all, because when Korean people get older, they seldom obey any rules at all.

Should we adhere to the same ideology? I say no, but you should pick your battles wisely, and complain only when absolutely necessary. Try to remember that obeying every order given by your boss will get you working 12 hours a day including Saturday and Sunday - so don't fall into that Korean trap^^
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Kepler



Joined: 24 Sep 2007

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.
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Lucas



Joined: 11 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.


If it wasn't for a Korean, there would be no astrology, being that they invented the first telescope!
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maximmm



Joined: 01 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kepler wrote:
maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.



I think the West still has a long way to go in that regard, wouldn't you say?


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Morris Berman quotes survey results that show currently some 20% of the U.S. population believe that the sun goes around the Earth (geocentricism) rather than the Earth goes around the sun (heliocentricism), while a further 9% claimed not to know.[43] Polls conducted by Gallup in the 1990s found that 16% of Germans, 18% of Americans and 19% of Britons hold that the Sun revolves around the Earth.[44] A study conducted in 2005 by Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University, an expert in the public understanding of science and technology,[45] found that about 20%, or one in five, of American adults believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.[46] According to 2011 VTSIOM poll, 32% of Russians believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.[47]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucas wrote:
Quote:
maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.


If it wasn't for a Korean, there would be no astrology, being that they invented the first telescope!


Astrology! Yeah, that's some pretty hardcore science there, mate. Very Happy
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maximmm wrote:
Morris Berman quotes survey results that show currently some 20% of the U.S. population believe that the sun goes around the Earth (geocentricism) rather than the Earth goes around the sun (heliocentricism), while a further 9% claimed not to know.[43] Polls conducted by Gallup in the 1990s found that 16% of Germans, 18% of Americans and 19% of Britons hold that the Sun revolves around the Earth.[44] A study conducted in 2005 by Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University, an expert in the public understanding of science and technology,[45] found that about 20%, or one in five, of American adults believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.[46] According to 2011 VTSIOM poll, 32% of Russians believe that the Sun orbits the Earth.[47] ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model


That's outrageous. Those people should not be allowed to vote, hold a driver's license, or reproduce.
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Ralph Winfield



Joined: 23 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kepler wrote:
maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.


Word up!
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Ralph Winfield



Joined: 23 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smithington wrote:
Lucas wrote:
Quote:
maximmm wrote:

The idea that orders from superiors should always be obeyed, regardless of how illogical they are, is widely practiced here.

The West, unlike Korea, went through the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. We decided, for example, that it wasn't good enough that someone in authority told us that the universe revolved around the Earth. Things actually had to make sense.


If it wasn't for a Korean, there would be no astrology, being that they invented the first telescope!


Astrology! Yeah, that's some pretty hardcore science there, mate. Very Happy


Him funny!
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KimchiNinja



Joined: 01 May 2012
Location: Gangnam

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maximmm wrote:
During my first year in Korea, I was told by my co-teacher that in Korea people do not question or complain about their superior's orders. They just do what they are told, and they question/complain only after the deed is done. She also told me to do the same.


Yep, that's how it works here.

Here's another one of my fun office stories (not teaching profession). We had some American Harvard chick come manage operations. She told all the Koreans their opinion mattered, that they should question things, and to speak up in meetings.

IT WAS A FLAT OUT DISASTER AND WE HAD TO FIRE EVERYONE.

What happened? The young inexperienced office girls gave their foolish opinions about everything. They questioned management, showed disrespect to management and to men, and wouldn't do their job. They got cocky and claimed they were being discriminated against because they were women (nope, their ideas just sucked). All the same garbage that happens in the USA. We had to admit that these employes were all rotten now, ruined (due to this Harvard chick's dumb idea), and we had to fire almost all of them.

We fired Harvard chick too.

Welcome to Korea. These people are animals, one must rule with an iron fist. Korea functions only because these people are kept in line. Do not naively think there is not a reason for the way things are...
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maximmm



Joined: 01 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KimchiNinja wrote:
maximmm wrote:
During my first year in Korea, I was told by my co-teacher that in Korea people do not question or complain about their superior's orders. They just do what they are told, and they question/complain only after the deed is done. She also told me to do the same.


Yep, that's how it works here.

Here's another one of my fun office stories (not teaching profession). We had some American Harvard chick come manage operations. She told all the Koreans their opinion mattered, that they should question things, and to speak up in meetings.

IT WAS A FLAT OUT DISASTER AND WE HAD TO FIRE EVERYONE.

What happened? The young inexperienced office girls gave their foolish opinions about everything. They questioned management, showed disrespect to management and to men, and wouldn't do their job. They got cocky and claimed they were being discriminated against because they were women (nope, their ideas just sucked). All the same garbage that happens in the USA. We had to admit that these employes were all rotten now, ruined (due to this Harvard chick's dumb idea), and we had to fire almost all of them.

We fired Harvard chick too.

Welcome to Korea. These people are animals, one must rule with an iron fist. Korea functions only because these people are kept in line. Do not naively think there is not a reason for the way things are...


Bah - you have erred in a major way and I can only hope that you've learned from that mistake. We in the apologist brotherhood hire only mute females - ones who are unable to verbally deny our requests, nor voice their opinions.
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