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How accurate are the black lists?
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Circus Monkey



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: In my coconut tree

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Gord brings up a good point. While the blacklists serve an important function they are not regulated. That is, anyone with a grievance can file something and what kind of follow-up is done? It's not like the guys who made the blacklists have the resources to verify the claims.

Having said that, it's very telling that the Korean government does not have some form of information for foreigners regarding the hagwon industry. Is there a monitoring system that the Korean government has? It seems to be non-existent. If all else fails, the embassy sites provide some general information - much like the kind you will find on many Korean ESL boards such as this one.

The blacklists are a stop-gap measure relying upon the honesty of the people filing the report.

CM
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Harvard Material



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 7:11 pm    Post subject: Blacklists? Reply with quote

What Gord?? It is impossible to be fired for no reason? Working at a hakwon??? Shocked
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The Bobster



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another reason that blacklists should be looked at with a wary eye is that, especially when combined with the heavy annoyance factors of culture shock etc, a lot of new teachers who have problems don't even realize how much their own behavior contributed to the problems they had at a particular school ... and sometimes it boils down to temperament of an individual, the particular environment of the workplace and their attitudes about how to approach the educationals tasks.

Therefore, somebody says a school is a bad one, you gotta ask them exactly why and often you find out this teacher's personal style did not mesh with the style of the school - and you also might realize the same would be true in your case, so avoid it, but you also might realize that it sounds exactly like the kind of place where you'd fit right in.

But usually blacklists don't allow you to have any kind of in-depth conversation with the person making the charges. If the poster includes an email address and you're considering that school, get in touch and listen, but listen with an open mind. If not, I agree with someone who said that one or two complaints are something but 15 are really something.

(On the other hand, a really dedicated individual with a grudge can easily post 15 gripes under 15 different names ...)

Also, as mentioned a school can turn itself around very quickly. I've seen it happen. Still a crapshoot.
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Gord



Joined: 25 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 9:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Blacklists? Reply with quote

Harvard Material wrote:
What Gord?? It is impossible to be fired for no reason? Working at a hakwon??? Shocked


First time on the Internet?
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok the one firing I have ever seen the 'bad teacher' thing was just a cover for the boss to get rid of employee who made her follow the letter of the law in terms of severance payments for two teachers who's contracts had finished. He stuck his neck out for the teachers and got fired.

Fired for 'no reason.' I don't beileve it No there's always a reason... your in the 10/11th month of your contract, personality clash etc. Are reasons.

That said I'm sure that there are many bad teachers out there. Didn't realise that they made a commitment for a year... culture shock... drunks.. perverts.. freaks... geeks.

CLG
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PatrickSiheung



Joined: 21 May 2003

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boster I agree with what you said about personality and hagwons.
I feel that that is exactly the problem between myself and my employers. Even though I believe I have done an excellent job teaching, never missed a class and NEVER taken a holiday in all my 7 months, they still feel the need to yell at me and threaten me when I make a small mistake (ie: forgetting to wear my tie to work one day.)
When I work at a place, I expect a little understanding when I make a small mistake. I work my butt off and make sacrifices for the good of the business and in return I expect them to cut me some slack. I guess Korea isn't the place to find that kind of job LOL
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Circus Monkey



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: In my coconut tree

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harvard,

I think what Gord means when he says "no reason" is that when people are fired, demoted, or whatever, they often tend to think it's unfair, can't necessarily reflect upon their own performance, and hence, there was "no reason" - from their point of view.

That being said, there are hagwon owners who fire people for invalid reasons.

CM
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Harvard Material



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 7:17 pm    Post subject: Dismissal's... Reply with quote

Yes Circus Monkey; that I can accept and appreciate. That was my point to Gord actually, but I didn't word it accurately enough for him/her.

Many teachers are released prematurely to avoid the high cost of flights and any contract end bonus expectations. The reason could be anything under the sun; literally. "We got a complaint from a parent(s)." "Your students don't like you." "Things just aren't working out for you here." "You refused to work extra classes without overtime payment." "You complained that you didn't get paid on time, or in full."

Of course there are teachers here who could care less about anything outside of partying and getting laid. Uneducated and disrespectful. What else is new? That isn't unique in this country, anymore than it is in Canada or the U.S..

You should get fired for valid reasons at an appropriate time...not a month before your contract ends, unless you have done something very serious. I saw more than 20 teachers/management come and go during my first hakwon job. To my knowledge none of them received their salary and were basically teated like cattle heading for slaughter.

Gord. This is my 2nd time on line.
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SaraDevil



Joined: 24 May 2003
Location: Daegu and beyond the infinite

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 6:01 am    Post subject: Accuracy? Reply with quote

Essentially I agree with Gord. Many of the blacklists come from Baby Angst and grudge holding than anything else.

Is there something to what a person posts on the blacklist? Absolutely. Someone felt bad, or felt they got the short end of the stick. Feeling powerless they act in the only way they can by name calling which is pretty effective. Blacklists are an excellent place to vent that final vent before moving on. A feeling of "I've been wronged and now I've done something" can be vindicated by a blacklist.

What you have to consider while reading a list is this "How often have you hated a job someone else loved?" or "How often have I loved a job someone else hated?" People who post to blacklists generally hate their job and for whatever reason feel a deep need to badmouth it in public. All working people are guilty at some point of bad mouthing their job. It's work, no one likes to do it, and sometimes you get sick of it and need to vent. Most people just vent and get over it, some don't. Some need to be a little vindictive too, but that is there prerogative as well.

What a blacklist says about a school is that the school, like any other work environment, has pros and cons and both should be explored. Honestly if I were seriously considering a job with a blacklisted school I would mention that in the interview as part of my questions to the school.

When I came to Korea I listened as the employee praised the school every which way to Sunday for 15 minutes. After he had finished I asked him straight up "What do you hate about your job?" That lasted for about 15 minutes as well. When he was finished I asked him one more question: Would you do this job at the same place again? He said yes. That's how I knew it was a school I could work at. I could love it or hate it, but I would still feel comfortable doing the job and have no regrets.

Rule of thumb, if the person interviewing you has nothing bad to say about the school (or any job) then there is probably something a little fishy and you should ask around for more information. As a rule, there is always something that someone will dislike about a job, be it the hours, the pay, the smell, the looks, the language, the copier, the bathrooms, the food, the work, etc. A person with no complaints is more questionable to me than someone with complaints.

For the accuracy of the record I'm working at a school that was recently blacklisted, which I will maintain, is one of the best jobs I've ever had, and which I have just begun my second year at. Ask questions. If you don't get answers be concerned, my two cents.
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GirlFromMars



Joined: 15 May 2003
Location: Corea do Sul

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the OP I just want to add I've now been offered a job from a different school but one which has also had the occasional mention on black/grey lists but after getting (uncensored) emails from their teachers listing what they liked and DIDN'T like I'm definitely accepting (better the devil you know?).

The disparaging reports I've read were almost certainly written by someone with a personal grudge and not reflective on the school as a whole. If that turns out not to be the case I'll keep you posted.

But in the meantime... Read the blacklists but keep a very objective mind and talk to teachers at the school to make up your mind.
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Corvid



Joined: 21 Apr 2003
Location: Suwon

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't really a beef, because I totally understand, but posters here aren't willing to share their good experiences. My guesses as to why are 1) they don't want hundreds of new teachers applying at their secret, really great hagwon, and 2) they don't want to lose their anonymity.
But, really, other than not advising great places to apply, the information here is really great, and I thank you all for the info on this unbelievable and risky step off the precipice of anything and everything I am familiar with. I feel a lot better prepared than I could hope to be by reading a book on the subject of ESL in Korea.
cheers Smile
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SaraDevil



Joined: 24 May 2003
Location: Daegu and beyond the infinite

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or three, it would take a really long time to read through all of it. If you are interested though, you can read all about my little school at http://www.saradevil.com/travellog.htm. The entire first year, not less.
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