There is even a post on Reddit and another on Waygook discussing the illegality of their contracts. Seoul is the capital – and largest city – of South Korea. Exciting public & private school teaching opportunities countrywide, from Seoul to Busan. One midnight runner is a rogue instance, multiple midnight runners equal a screaming red flag. The Chungnam Office of Education (CNOE) in South Korea is looking for 2 Japanese Native Teachers to teach Japanese in an International Public High School starting March 1st 2021. We were really treated like petulant children as opposed to professional adults. However, they knew how miserable working there was making me so I am sure that they could understand. They didn't happen to me, but just curious what people's experiences have been or even horror stories that might have happened to your friend. They can imply that these teachers are just “irresponsible” or “can’t handle the culture” or whatever. I could go on, but this is all pretty standard stuff if you're with a large chain. I’ve just spent the most wonderful year teaching English in a private kindergarten in China, only for my follow up gig to be an abhorrent experience which has seen me leave China and come home. However, no-one ever found it in themselves to stand up for me. Teaching English in Japan: real stories from Tefl teachers. In total, I lost more than $1000 to Lykeion – in lost salary, lost pension, and lost security deposit. After my first day at the Hagwon, I was asked to perform a mock lesson in front of the other teachers. The bulk of English teaching jobs are in hagwons, private language institutes. I heard some horror stories about teaching in Korea: not getting paid on time. I had given up a great job in strategic procurement, with a respectful salary, generous vacation time, and wonderful perks. Truly the worst kind of timing considering they were enjoying themselves. Where did you work next? A few horror stories shouldn't deter someone from a good experience. If you do find yourself approached or offered a role at Lykeion Language Forum, Suwon, then I urge you to avoid it at all costs. Thanks for that. My name is Melissa and I’m a full time Travel Blogger from the UK . I was also made to go to the school to apologise for being ill every day that I was sick. After spending almost a year teaching English in Korea I decided to call it a day. The school advised that I had to give three months’ notice if I wanted to leave, and should I leave ahead of that time, I’d have to pay a fee for every day missed. Even my coworkers were shocked at the situation. So that one school that was raided had their teachers deported and now teachers from 3 schools were asked to leave (but not deported and banned from Korea?). However, in Korea, there are no government bodies enforcing fair treatment laws for foreign workers at hagwons. Yeah, I’m still based in Italy at the moment (though I’ve been travelling a lot recently). It is illegal and unethical to charge this to the Teacher. I call BS. When I first moved here, two friends I knew had been here a month max. They didn't happen to me, but just curious what people's experiences have been or even horror stories that might have happened to your friend. This is about my personal experience working at ILCE (I Love Clover English) academy in Daejeon, South Korea. Hagwon is just the Korean word for private institute but you can find them in other countries too. This was also illegal since the notice period is 30 days. Since they operate as businesses and are not managed by the government, they have a pretty bad reputation for not really giving a damn about either their teachers or students, provided that they are in the green. Unfortunately, of the many Westerners that fly halfway around the World to teach English in South Korea, a number of them have a “Hagwon Horror Story”. You did the right thing. Did you work in Italy? WANT TO AVOID A HORROR STORY TEACHING IN KOREA? I was teaching English at first but unless you have a teaching degree, then TEFL/CELTA teachers in Italy are somewhat restricted in what they can do – schools prefer those with a teaching degree or bilingual Italians so I was effectively freelance, working for two agencies and covering classes or tutoring here and there so I was literally running all over the city working in various places for a couple of hours… Not the most stable or ideal schedule! She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post. I didn’t want to be trapped in my situation any longer so I felt that running away was the only alternative. I guess the reason that Lykeion felt the need to watch and monitor us like this was because they were terrified of Teachers leaving. ban from visiting Korea again. I did have kind of a similar experience once. However, my Hagwon situation became unbearable and I decided that for my own well being it was better to just leave rather than stick out something that was making me miserable. My boss was clearly abusing her power. Probably the certified teachers who were working at a BC offshore school with the wrong visas who got deported and have a 1 year (or was it 2 year?) I had a bad time working there and it made me depressed. This hagwon horror story article was one of the early posts I wrote on my blog. The only person that I got along with at the Hagwon, a fellow British Teacher, came in distraught one day. I would have sat down with the Head Teacher, and the Professional Smile Checker and came to an agreement, but I felt depressed in my situation and afraid of the hagwon. Korea … You're own your own. Oh my god this sounds awful, I don’t know how you coped as long as you did!! I lived in Korea for over 7 years. My experience in a public school was worse actually. Apply for English teaching jobs in Korea with a leading agency. Have you thought about Japan? ILCE (I Love Clover English), Daejeon, South Korea Thu, Mar 12 at 1:15 AM. on quitting your job in South Korea. The class giggled. However, I think that it’s important for me not to gloss over my experience. It transpires that she would scream at him and give him warnings over outrageous things like a student’s pencil breaking while he was sharpening it. Because many Teachers have fled over the years. After my first day at the Hagwon, I was asked to perform a mock lesson in front of the other teachers. I was straight into teaching 6 classes on my first visit to the campus. The headteacher came in to check up on me every ten minutes or so and her scrutiny on my writing bordered on clinically insane. Pros of teaching with EPIK. English Education in Korea: Unrealistic Expectations. Looking to teach English abroad? I left because it was having a damaging impact on my mental health and wellbeing and honestly, I am surprised I stuck the conditions at Lykeion Language Forum for as long as I did. More About Seoul and Sungdong-gu. Subscribe I would also like to receive the Early Bird Books newsletter which features great deals on FREE and discounted ebooks. During this mock, the headteacher noticed the sheer. So happy that I left and regret not doing so sooner. “Those small t’s don’t look like small t’s… Make them more like t’s!”. School! I would not believe it unless I experienced it for myself. A Teacher fled the Suwon campus in October 2018 on account of unbearable/borderline abusive working conditions at the school. When I told her that I had to leave, because I had another class waiting for me she pulled me back into the office by my wrist and twisted my arm. We also didn’t have a pension or healthcare (a legal requirement in Korea). It was more like a lunatic asylum. I’m dreaming up where to go after Korea, I want a stable job. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Anyways, good for you. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss your situation with someone. A community for teachers in Korea. I was moved into the girl’s former apartment (schools and Hagwons in Korea provide foreign staff with accommodation) and the place had not even been cleaned before I moved in. What data was stored on these spreadsheets? - www.highheelsandabackpack.com. To do so would mean that they are losing half a month’s pay. that was my handwriting and warned me that I had a month to improve it or else I’d be sent back home. The Korea Blog. I told them that I would think about it and look to complete my contract but I knew I couldn’t face doing so. Do you want to continue teaching? I ended up hugging my English teacher from the back because I thought she was my mom." Their hagwon closed completely. I believe in pushing the boundaries of solo female travel and I want to encourage you to do the same! I have been teaching English in Japan for 2 years and have had the complete opposite experience. Why? In light of what I know has been happening at this academy lately, I feel it is my duty to let others know of my experience. Additionally, it contains details and messages from those who fled the school more recently. Over the space of about 15 minutes, she lost her shit. However, the school is not allowed to make any deductions from your paycheck. Get hired with a TEFL certification. Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. Some gave accounts of being thrown into a classroom within the first few days of their arrival with no training, preparation time or resources. I didn’t want the stresses of a legal battle with the labour board. Agency fees are agreements between the hagwons and the school, nothing to do with the teacher. Many members of this group will be happy to discuss and assist you with your specific problem. I travelled to Korea to teach English and make a difference. Big Brother is always watching. To qualify for an E-2 visa there are four minimum requirements that you absolutely must meet: Possess a bachelor’s degree/diploma from an accredited institution. I also believe that it is difficult to truly convey a bad situation in your life to others (through writing or otherwise) without coming across as a Debbie Downer or seen to be exaggerating. Cookies help us deliver our Services. I was appalled at the lack of empathy. As I passed through the gate at Seoul’s Incheon airport and boarded my flight to Italy, I felt nothing but relief…. It contained simply my personal experience at. It seems to be a way for the school to pocket teacher’s pensions themselves, as they did with mine. I thought mine was a horror story, and then I realised that the entire hagwon industry is a horror show. I was given zero training/company induction (very large company) - Nothing. If you want to teach English in Korea, you will need to apply for an E-2 (teaching) visa through your nearest Korean embassy or consulate. Are you teaching English in Korea? College jobs are plums. Now, this isn’t to scare you, I know plenty of people that work in Hagwons in Korea and haven’t had the bad luck that I did. In the blacklist post, I have tried to be more informative and have provided evidence of the hagwon’s illegal operation – including excerpts from the contract. I’ll let you draw your conclusions if you let me share my story. I would have given my notice period. If you’re interested in teaching English in Korea, you've come to the right place! Not nodded off, fell asleep on his desk, in front of 6 or so business English students. By Colin Marshall. The visa run one sounds bad. Soon after I began celebrating my first "real-world" job, red flags started coming in. Reality: It hasn’t. Various other teachers that have fled the school have contacted me since this post was initially published in 2016 and have said the same thing. As such, I urge you to review this post if you are considering working at that particular hagwon. Although the labor board is in place to mediate situations where a Hagwon tries to exploit a foreign worker, the process can be long and arduous. Unable to find any related work in the UK, he took the opportunity to travel and teach English in Japan. In English, we refer to the spread as “preserves,” so I tried to turn that into something that at least sounded French. Yep. No problems but I've had friends at other places have general hagwon problems (illegal contracts, no pension, terrrrrible working hours, ect). I totally hear you. Like for example in Taiwan they are called buxibans so you could do a search for buxiban horror stories. For anyone considering teaching English in South Korea, one option is the EPIK program, a government-sponsored program that recruits native English-speakers from English-speaking countries to teach on a 1-year contract. I trust anyone that sees his malicious post can see it for what it is: online trollin’ at its saddest. I heard some horror stories about teaching in Korea: Stuff like that. I have recruited one from this community and I'm hoping there will be another? I've also had two coworkers in hagwons that were so incompetent I'm surprised they made it into their twenties let alone got hired somewhere. It rings alarm bells to me when you consider the fact that there are numerous forums online discussing the illegal contracts, and numerous teachers who have fled over the last few years. We would later be given a talking to by the management to reassert to us about how much people were paying to attend the Hagwon, and that image was everything. I wanted to leave this behind me. The Korean businessman in the green suit covered his mouth with his hands. It contained simply my personal experience at Lykeion Language Forum. There is actually a term for Teachers that flee Korea and that is called a “, Feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss your situation with someone. Oh yeah....it's called woorking abroad...only a few are lucky enough to get themselves into good working conditions!!! Since so many of them are continually opening up left, right, and centre (education is big business in Korea), it is not uncommon for them to just suddenly go out of business either. https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/06/09/BC-Offshore-Schools-in-South-Korea-Probation/. The results as stated above are not representative of the costs: The Japanese government pays over 4,400 participants of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) over three million yen annually, totaling $130 million in salaries alone. It makes no sense to bring up the horrors and re live them again and again--time better spent curving out some joy even if it's mediation. However, I feel obliged to provide an update considering the fact that several other teachers have contacted me to tell me that they have experienced equally terrible conditions at the Lykeion Language Forum. An E-2 visa is strictly for the purpose of teaching a language, most often teaching English in South Korea, and if you have looked into it, you know that it is an extensive application process. A controversial issue in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) profession is about people who teach English in Japan without any real training. As mentioned, there are currently very few laws protecting foreign teachers in Korea, but by addressing the issue and helping others avoid experiencing the same problems and upset, we can start to initiate positive change. Definitely never happened but thanks for the laugh, whoever you are . And the value of the English-training market is estimated at 30 billion RMB ($4.5 billion US). ... Get briefed on the story of the week, and developing stories to watch across the Asia-Pacific. Unfortunately, of the many Westerners that fly halfway around the World to teach English in South Korea, a number of them have a “Hagwon Horror Story”. . Thanks Gwen – I don’t know either! Hagwon horror stories happen when Teachers are treated particularly badly. The Korean society is simply decades behind the West in labor relations. Moving to South Korea to work is not a mere trip in space, it is a trip in time. English schools contribute to classist education. Regular hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday; at hagwons, you might work 2-8 pm, or a split shift. getting fired on the 11th month. They say brevity is the soul of wit. All the new teachers arrived and found out that budgets had changed and they didn't have jobs. I strongly suggest that you also document any instances of abusive/inappropriate hagwons to the Korean government via. I did return in 2018 for a year but that only lasted about 3 months. I felt singled out. The school I was teaching at was Lykeion Language Forum, Suwon. Short stories strike the perfect balance of challenging, engaging and rewarding for language students. If you are considering a role at Lykeion and this hagwon horror story is the post you read first, I strongly recommend reading this Hagwon Blacklist post about Lykeion Language Forum. I also know that some weird dude has set up a hate site about me – whatever weird dude. Required to attend company meetings (cult meetings) from 8am-1pm, and then ride 90 minutes on the subway in order to teach 3-10pm. What did you do there? Reading that back now, I realise how ridiculous it all sounds, and it was. However, the Hagwon made me go to the Doctors to obtain a sick note every day. The school was very aggressive about my inconveniencing them by being ill. It was kind of a bummer, but it was just for a month. The problem is that in Korea you are at the mercy of your hagwon’s administration. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Japan spends more on English education than European countries, yet their approach has proved ineffective. How could I trust them to come to a reasonable, logical agreement with me? Stuff like that. All positions offer free accommodations, round-trip airfare and an excellent salary. (after finishing 10pm the night before). I didn’t necessarily want to leave Korea, since I truly loved the country. Leaving a contract in Korea is a scary and daunting process. If we got sick, the sick days were to be taken from this allowance. When he announced that he was going home, they made all manners of (illegal) deductions from his paycheque. It was the summer of 2013, and I received my first job offer: the opportunity to teach English in China. Good for you to not let other people – less happier than you to bring you down. As you can see from the images, there is nothing wrong with my handwriting. I remember one guy was engaged to a Korean woman, so that was especially sad. I am not sure about how familiar you are with Korean contract law. My leaving had nothing to do with a lack of cultural awareness or being an inept teacher or anything like that. However, equally, I believe that those that stick out terrible and abusive work conditions, just for the sake of completing a contract send the message that it is okay for foreign employees to be mistreated. Hagwons pay their staff on the 10th or the 15th of the month for the previous month. T hough it may not come as a shock to some of you, the adventure of this experience doesn’t come without its fair share of frustrating and uncomfortable situations. However, I had to bide my time. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the teachinginkorea community. Pay 2.1m-2.4m won. Also read an article on a BC offshore school in Qatar having similar issues. Another useful resource is this article on quitting your job in South Korea. I represent Korean Horizons and I represent public school positions. I feel really lucky, as I know there are private companies in Japan that also treat their foreign staff badly, but never to the extent that happened to you in Korea. I was projectile vomiting like the exorcist and could barely walk without feeling faint. Fortunately, the writer was able to leave her hagwon amicably and obtain a letter of release that allowed her to remain in the country and find work elsewhere. 31 Students On Their Worst Teacher Horror Stories. Let me know in the comments below! It was no coincidence that I found myself being treated poorly when the former teacher had conducted a midnight run. Some of them are quite comedic, though, such as hogwans trying to get my Kiwi friends to learn an American accent. South Korea’s international schools were originally … I know that my blog has become very well known in Suwon and Seoul. At this point, I really wasn’t happy with the situation. The sub lady kept trying to teach through all the noise, talking quietly and writing translations on the board. You always expect people to act in the correct way. I had given up my career, my house, and left everything behind to move to Korea. He had received news from home that his Dad had suddenly passed away. I have had some nasty troll comments off the back of this article criticising me for being “irresponsible” or “childish” or whatever else for fleeing. Cleaning fees, agency fees to find a new teacher, fees for leaving early – you name it, it was deducted. If you have researched teaching English in Asia, or talked to people who’ve been there, you’ve probably heard a handful of horror stories that make you a little weary about your decision to be an ESL teacher. Given what had happened to my friend, I didn’t trust the school not to make illegal deductions to me also if I tried to leave amicably. As such, I decided to flee the country. I mean the staff were just off the wall. After two days I was more stressed by constantly being hassled by the school than I was by being ill, so I dragged myself in. As mentioned, there are currently very few laws protecting foreign teachers in Korea, but by addressing the issue and helping others avoid experiencing the same problems and upset, we can start to initiate positive change. She called me into her office to tell me that my red circles were not big enough and started analysing the circle sizes. I guess my main reason for staying as long as I did was because I’d left everything (job, apartment, etc) to go to Korea and didn’t have much saved up as a plan B (lesson learned there). My friend could have contended this but rightly, why would he feel the strength to do this when he was dealing with someone’s passing? It may also be the soul of ESL reading practice! However, promising that I would make a conscious effort to improve wasn’t enough for them. I strongly suggest that you also document any instances of abusive/inappropriate hagwons to the Korean government via this petition. Avoid at all costs. I'd say the average teacher has a good chance of not getting any training. Limited-Time Offer: Download a FREE copy of Edgar Allan Poe's creepy collection "The Complete Short Stories" when you sign up for The Lineup's newsletter! I went straight to my foreign headteacher and told him while very upset and he just stared blankly as though it was no big deal. Now I just work full time as a Writer/Blogger. I taught my students by propping myself up on the podium because I felt so weak. Accents are not a problem. Then she would sit down with me and we’d analyse my ‘mistakes’ together. recruiters asking for deposits. There are tens of thousands of foreign English teachers in Korea and most of them love it. Recent Features. There were many problems that followed on from the board incident. I’m looking into going to Korea and Korean schools so I stumbled across your post whilst searching horror stories. Because of the language barrier, teaching in Korea is not anything like it would be in America. Press J to jump to the feed. This insatiable demand for English teachers has led to a situation that Samuel Cowell, a 29-year-old (genuine) American teaching English in the south of China, has meant teachers like him are “unfire-able”. I also have a pretty good immune system so I didn’t imagine I’d get seriously ill. After being at Lykeion Language Forum for six months, I became very sick with norovirus (which I suspect I probably got from a child!). (The contract is renewable up to 3 years). Let’s Be Frank. I tried to make the most out of my time in Korea and take my mind off my work situation. Of a final paycheque that should have exceeded £2000, he left with around £250. Honestly, when I wrote this back in 2017, I just wanted to share my experience. Thanks for sharing! Lykeion Language Forum Suwon: Hagwon Blacklist, Teaching English in South Korea: Your Complete 2021 Guide, Perivoli Holiday Studios Skopelos: Hotels to Avoid in Greece, Domestic Violence in Greece: How to Seek Help -…, Racism in South Korea: An Observation of Racism in 2020, What is it Like to Live on a Greek Island? on account of unbearable/borderline abusive working conditions at the school. We've got some of the best ESL teaching positions in Korea. However, at the time, it was terrifying. You can read more info on these incidents, This hagwon horror story article was one of the early posts I wrote on my blog. The Incheon Epik fiasco from awhile back was pretty bad too. I work directly for the Japanese government so get full healthcare, sick leave, 30 days holiday etc. In the more objective post I wrote on this site, I have included a copy of the contract and reviewed its many illegalities. Korean Hagwons are privately operated after school academies. In my opinion, this is almost as bad as conducting the wrongdoing yourself. This is probably one of the most talked about issues amongst English-speaking foreigners teaching in South Korea. I decided at this point that I wanted to leave. Illegal aspects of the Lykeion contract includes things such as illegal fines, no pension or healthcare, and fees for leaving early. Sometimes they would have the headteacher contact us on our days off to make sure that we would come back to work again. Life in Skopelos, Hagwon Blacklist post about Lykeion Language Forum, What it's Like Teaching English in... Japan! A few days later, Professional Smile Checker came in with a thick bible-like collection of spreadsheets for each foreign teacher to take a look at. Hagwon Horror Stories: Kevin M. Maher’s English-Teaching Expat Novel “No Couches in Korea”. Another useful resource to use is the forum at the Facebook group. Hey! The Hagwon showed not the smallest ounce of compassion and tried to guilt him into staying in Korea. The Korean government, however, is not part of the solution; it is part of the problem. Discuss anything generally related to being a teacher in Korea you are petulant child dress up! Early posts I wrote on this site, I think that it ’ s themselves. My ‘ mistakes ’ together signed the contract, and fees for leaving early you... The sick days were to be trapped in my situation any longer so I across. Of my hagwon, I have been a red flag how ridiculous it sounds... Couches in Korea how familiar you are at the hagwon, I m! ( my ) experience and opinion I agree, you can read more info on these here. Blacklist post about Lykeion Language Forum Suwon back in 2017 continue working for an employer who treats staff. Just wanted to leave Korea, there are no government bodies enforcing fair treatment laws for foreign workers at.!, fell asleep during his lesson these incidents here sick note every.! T have a pension or healthcare, and it made me go to job! Buxibans so you could do a search for buxiban horror stories happen when teachers treated... Population of over 52 million people, Seoul is ranked as the 16th largest city – South! My hagwon that would rival my university thesis when teachers are just “ teaching english in korea horror stories or... Have recruited one from this community and I 'm on my first day at the hagwon showed not the ounce. He had received news from home that his Dad had suddenly passed away from Tefl teachers when are! The value of the best ESL teaching positions in Korea ” for early! Opportunity to travel and teach English in Japan for 2 years and had. 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