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Warning: Excessive Reading May Cause Second Thoughts
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BlueFish



Joined: 23 May 2017

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:41 am    Post subject: Warning: Excessive Reading May Cause Second Thoughts Reply with quote

I've been reading and researching and now I'm not so sure about all this.

Yellow Dust Season
Typhoon Season
Oppressive humidity
Extremely cold winters caused by Siberian weather systems
Potentially abusive work environments

Keep reading and you start to wonder why anyone would want to do this. Negative reviews/posts greatly outnumber the good ones. Is this the result of people being more likely to write about the negative than the positive? Is Korea really that bad?
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Coltronator



Joined: 04 Dec 2013

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extremely cold winters?..... Mild winters caused by not having a real winter... well maybe Gangwondo and Seoul have Winter
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BlueFish



Joined: 23 May 2017

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was referring to Seoul.
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Coltronator



Joined: 04 Dec 2013

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But it isn't extreme. It is like half a winter....
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goat



Joined: 23 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The winters are nasty here, but not that cold. Other than that, the list is accurate.

/
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tophatcat



Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Location: under the hat

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm here for the money. When I shut down for retirement, I'm out of here.

I have lived in and visited other places in the world to know that there are much better places to hang my hat.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Warning: Excessive Reading May Cause Second Thoughts Reply with quote

BlueFish wrote:
I've been reading and researching and now I'm not so sure about all this.

Yellow Dust Season
Typhoon Season
Oppressive humidity
Extremely cold winters caused by Siberian weather systems
Potentially abusive work environments

Keep reading and you start to wonder why anyone would want to do this. Negative reviews/posts greatly outnumber the good ones. Is this the result of people being more likely to write about the negative than the positive? Is Korea really that bad?


    Yellow dust... close the windows. It's not an every-day thing.
    Typhoons.... only along the south coast. If you want typhoons then try Taiwan, Luzon, Okinawa, Guam... The chances of actually experiencing a typhoon in Seoul are about the same as NYC.
    Oppressive heat/humidity... try Vietnam.... Seoul is dry in comparison - NYC in the summer is worse.
    Cold winters... maybe if you are from Arizona or Florida. Mostly Seoul is about the same as NYC.
    Potentially abusive work environments.... not nearly as bad as working in the US. Different, yes ... but abusive, not so much.


.
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Chia Pet



Joined: 23 Jun 2013

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ttompatz, I read once that you came to Korea after the dot com bubble burst, and that you already had your retirement funds taken care of by then. At least you got paid well in your past career. I wonder if you've ever really experienced being financially dependent on a hagwon director, or had to worry about getting a release letter.

My first hagwon was my best one. I would go back if it were still around. In the past few years I've seen (through jobs and lots of interviews) that the majority of hagwon directors have issues, sometimes with honoring the contract, and sometimes emotionally. A lot of academies are emotionally abusive, with management constantly treating the foreign teachers with less respect. It might be easier for newbies to play the subservient role that's often required (or be oblivious) since they truly don't know how to do the work that well. It might also be easier for backpackers who aren't really that into the work. Though I have been cheated out of money a few times, I have not experienced any hagwon that forced lots of overtime or anything like that, so I agree most hagwons are not abusive in that way.

There are some good academies out there, like my first one was. Most of the others aren't places I want to work.

About the weather... I really don't understand the complaints people have made. The weather is like Northeastern U.S. weather, but with less snow. Let's see them live in Minnesota for a year and see if they complain about Korea's winters.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chia Pet wrote:
Ttompatz, I read once that you came to Korea after the dot com bubble burst, and that you already had your retirement funds taken care of by then. At least you got paid well in your past career. I wonder if you've ever really experienced being financially dependent on a hagwon director, or had to worry about getting a release letter.


When I moved to Korea I came with 1 suitcase and a laptop.
My first 2 years were in hagwons before I moved to the public schools so to answer your question, yes, I was dependent on my hagwon income for those couple of years. Funds from my previous life were tied up in hard assets and were not liquid.

While I was in Korea I also started working at the foreigner help center. That is where the bulk of my base knowledge initially came from. Since that time, it has all been based on my experience helping many hundreds of foreigners over the last 16 years.

I have never had to worry about a release letter because I completed all of my contracts. Decent employers aren't that hard to find after you get the stars out of your eyes and do a little background checking.

Additionally, on-going professional development has led to other opportunities. I have done just about as well in my career as an educator as I did in IT and SAP/ERP.

As to abusive employers... nope.

Far too many of the EFL teachers who ended up in the help center brought on their problems themselves. Treated with less respect... you are younger and an employee... respect is not something you get. That is a cultural issue... Put the ethnocentrism away and you will do just fine. This isn't home, you are NOT your boss's peer and Korea IS a G20 country.

If you want respect from your boss or your co-workers ... earn it.
It will NOT be given freely.

.
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Chia Pet



Joined: 23 Jun 2013

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I disagreed with you about something. Geez...

Quote:
Treated with less respect... you are younger and an employee... respect is not something you get. That is a cultural issue... Put the ethnocentrism away and you will do just fine. This isn't home, you are NOT your boss's peer and Korea IS a G20 country.

I was referring to automatically being treated with mild disrespect/disdain for being a foreigner at the hagwon. It happens at some hagwons and not others. It's up to the director's own emotional health and maturity, not just the culture, though the culture may cause a lot of people in this heirarchical and homogeneous society to have complexes. Sorry to say that but I think it's OK to state my observations. Disrespect is not something I want to deal with, whether or not such behavior is culturally acceptable. If you want to label that as ethnocentrism, so be it. And I never said my boss should treat me like an equal to him.

Quote:
If you want respect from your boss or your co-workers ... earn it. It will NOT be given freely.

I disagree and think two adults should freely treat each other with respect unless there's a conflict.

Quote:
Korea IS a G20 country.

By mentioning that you seem to be insinuating that I must feel superior because of my home country. That's not the case and don't go there.

Quote:
As to abusive employers... nope.

I appreciate the legal information you bring to these forums, but you're risking your credibility if you insist that there are no/few abusive employers in Korea. Anyone with reasoning skills would realize that every country in the world must have some abusive employers. Judging by the large number of complaints about Korean ESL employers on the Internet, from people whose experiences were just as real as yours, "even" Korea must have some abusive employers.
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think ttompatz was saying he didn't have abusive employers,
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
If you want respect from your boss or your co-workers ... earn it. It will NOT be given freely.

I disagree and think two adults should freely treat each other with respect unless there's a conflict.


I think there's a difference between treating people with respect and treating people with normal human decency. They tend to get confused and some teachers demand respect when they haven't earned it and some hagwan owners fail to treat people decently.

E.g. treating people with decency would include not making them work the next morning after a 12 hour flight across time zones, providing them with a proper bed, not lying to them about changes, respecting the contract, not withholding pay etc.. etc..

Not showing respect for someone as a teacher would include things like not consulting them on changes, making decisions about students without asking them, not deferring to them in matters of language etc...

I agree that the second one needs to earned, if the teacher is inexperienced and unqualified but should probably be shown if they have a decent teaching background. Treating people with normal human decency may differ from culture to culture but maybe hagwan owners as well as teachers should do a bit of homework on the topic to avoid bad feeling.
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J.Q.A.



Joined: 09 Feb 2017
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of which brings us to a common narrative....Korea, generally sucks.

The ways in which Korea does suck, have already been listed and proven time and time again.

Korea wants to be seen as an equal to the major players in the world but at the same time, considers everyone else inferior....whilst not really every having contributed much of anything to the world.

Sure, you have your apologists but normally, they have some other form of luck in which leads to an alternate path. Often times, they think that just because they had a fair deal or did not have a cowardly, passive aggressive, abuse employer that makes Korea wonderful and the ones that speak out are the ones at fault.

Find a decent school/offer...take the money...and let Korea be for the Koreans...it's all they have...it is all they will every be. Let its reputation speak for itself.

Though...taking the money may be a problem as more and more jobs only offer 2.1 for a 2-10 teaching day. It really may not be worth a one -way, or more commonly, a reimbursed air-ticket, less vacation, higher costs of living, people thinking they deserve to be worldly but are still hermits themselves....you know, perhaps "the money" is not even worth it, anymore.

Not in Korea.


Last edited by J.Q.A. on Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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tophatcat



Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Location: under the hat

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J.Q.A. wrote:
All of which brings us to a common narrative....Korea, generally sucks.

The ways in which Korea does suck, have already been listed and proven time and time again.

Korea wants to be seen as an equal to the major players in the world but at the same time, considers everyone else inferior....whilst not really every having contributed much of anything to the world.

Sure, you have your apologists but normally, they have some other form of luck in which leads to an alternate path.

Find a decent school/offer...take the money...and let Korea be for the Koreans...it's all they have...it is all they will every be. Let its reputation speak for itself.


1 0 0 %

…take the money

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BlueFish



Joined: 23 May 2017

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was originally looking into teaching in other countries, but Korea pays very well. It is certainly an incentive for choosing Korea over another country.

I currently live in New York City. Is the consensus that Seoul's weather isn't any worse than NY's? I saw other posts on this forum complaining about the rainy season, the humidity (which then causes mold) and the winter. Who to believe??

ttompatz: Is the foreigner help center still around? Where is it?

Everyone should be treated with common decency and courtesy. That is what makes reading about other people's stories so disturbing. There are more bad stories than good ones on this forum. Am I throwing myself to the wolves?

J.Q.A.: You seem to have a less than favorable opinion of Korea. Do you think the money is worth the potential grief and aggravation?


[/quote]
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