Site News:

After much thought and discussion with others, I've decided to remove any and all Blacklist and Greenlist postings after three years time has passed.

There are two primary reasons for this: First, after three years, business change. Management there changes. Those who work there change. And the person you wrote about is (hopefully) long gone from that place. Second, after three years the poster has hopefully also moved on and changed too. Therefore, I am pretty certain, unless I hear really powerful arguments otherwise, that it is best for all parties that sometime in January, 2015, all postings dated 2011 and before will be deleted, permanently.


Should anyone have questions on this document, or just want some friendly advice on working Korea, please read over the FAQ which has much valuable information.

Please if appropriate, submit to the GREENLIST. I know there are many people with positive experiences living in Korea. Please post your positive experiences.

Should you like to contribute to the Black List, please go here. You must provide a valid e-mail address for submission.

Recently I've gotten more than a few hokwon owners demanding takedown of posts. While I've always gotten them, during this past month I've had more than a few. This includes one imbecile who apparently has already reported me to "The Korean cyber police" and they "have contacted Interpol for assistance" to takedown of the posting (no, I am not kidding).

First: For everyone's amusement, I am considering the creation of a webpage which consists of angry takedown demands.

Second: There is one person who can take down any posting, and that is the original poster. Should Hokwon wish to contact me, note the following:

  1. Be professional and friendly. Do not threaten the webmaster (AKA: Me !).
  2. You have the right to ask, politely, if the original poster would take down their posting. I will contact that person. If the poster either A. does not reply to my e-mail within a week or B. agrees to take down the posting, then it will be taken down.
  3. You have the same freedom of speech as everyone else, and may reply to the posting anyway you like. However, I urge caution. If you reply, others may publically dispute you, and you may make things worse for yourself.

On a personal note, I myself do not put much credence on these blacklist postings. While I've gone to movies and parties and loved them, friends of mine who have gone to the same event have had a terrible time. In the same way, I strongly feel that this listing does not represent a true picture of Korea or its work environment. Many people I've spoken to have a great time there, and yet this is not represented enough on this website.

This document is for informational purposes only, and there is absolutely, positively no claim to its accuracy, rather it is only the opinion of only those individuals who have decided to share their stories. In other words, everything in this document is complete fiction, except for that which is not.

Jon (disclaimer)

No animals have been used in the testing of these webpages. Any adverse effects of this website are restricted to humans.

Norian kindergarten Bangeo dong, Ulsan

Dec 18, 2014

Just thought I would give some advice on anyone who wants to work for this school. DON'T. Plain and simple. The Xxxxxx runs it purely to pay off debts that every Korean teacher at the school confirms it.

She lies about your working hours as well as violates your contracts. Instead of working 9 to 5 expect to work 8 to 8 without any breaks. No time to use the restroom, drink some water, and barely 2 minutes to eat lunch. She lies to everyone, even the Labour Board and parents of the students. Expect no overtime pay, no severance pay, and she has illegal fired every foreign teacher she had.

The school is poorly run and gives ridiculous assignments last minute. Demanding teachers to out together a show and expect the kids to be able to role play, sing, and dance in 2 days. Along with that she screams at teacher and belittles them in front of children. She also screams at kids and cussed at them.

The school has had to close and open under new names before because even Korean teachers hear about the school and refuse to work there. Be careful if you decide to risk it and sign a contract here. I am lucky I got out in less than 6 months. It was pure hell.

SLP in Bijeon Dong, Pyeongtaek

Dec 17, 2014

This review is regarding an SLP franchise hagwon located in Bijeon Dong, Pyeongtaek. I worked here for far too long and would hate for someone else to fall into the same trap.

Multiple lies were told during my interview, contracts and any verbal agreements are generally worthless. Working days are very long; often going from 10:00 until 19:45 with lots of small breaks in-between. Schedules are set so you will teach 30 hours per week with zero time for prep, lesson plans, monthly schedules or student reports. The director can’t hold a conversation in English so any problems (you’ll have many.. ) have to go between Korean teachers. They’ll fret anyway from such confrontations as this can lead to a shouting match and sometimes tears. A 1 million won housing deposit is generally withheld even for teachers who complete their contract or work the required minimum 8 months.

Korea is a fantastic place to live and work but spending 50+ hours in this place will make you miserable. Don’t even consider taking a chance with this place.

E Bo Young Talking Club in Dogye-dong

December 8, 2014

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add the E Bo Young Talking Club in Dogye-dong to the Korean blacklist. I already knew that other Talking Club franchises were blacklisted, but the foreign teacher working there before me sold me on this place. Big mistake. Before leaving, he found out that the owners had not paid for his insurance for 8 months, effectively stealing his money. To add onto my worries about the school's financial state, I found out mid-November that the three Korean teachers had not been paid on time. One of the teachers is quitting by the new year because of this and I believe another teacher was still not paid for November by the time I left at the start of December.

On Nov 26, my recruiter called to tell me that the directors had been complaining to her about my teaching aptitude and wanted to fire me at month's end. The directors also refused to pay my recruiter's fee and so she stated that she will be filing a law suit against the school. On Nov 28, I was fired without the 30-day notice and was given only a quarter of my monthly wage; they deducted the plane ticket to get there, among other expenses. I realize I could have gone to the labour board, but that would only elongate my stay in the school and anger the directors - they had explicitly told me to not contact my recruiter because "she could not be trusted". They were clearly just trying to cover themselves and I decided to act ignorant over the matter. I also realized at this time just how vague the terms of my contract were. Anyway, I left Korea on Dec 3, paying airfare myself, and decided the best thing I could do was blacklist the place. Oh, and the apartment was a mess. Please contact me for any further details.

LCI Kid's Club Jamsil, Seoul

December 7, 2014

I would like to add LCI Kid's Club Jamsil to the blacklist. I know that a former teacher already added this school to the list, but I would like to verify that this is truly a horrible school to work for. The work environment is terrible and the boss will do everything she can to nickel and dime everything she can off of your pay-check. Teachers often work 10 hours a day, but the pay-stub will say only 6 hours so that the school doesn't pay any overtime. There are better schools to work for in Korea, so please look somewhere else if you are considering a job at LCI Kid's Club.

The Princeton Review, Apgujeong, Seoul

December 6, 2014

Hi Jon,

Please add The Princeton Review, Korea to the list. There are some advantages to working for them, namely the ability to teach only adults and an always on-time paycheck. However, you take a huge risk by accepting a job from them because they are known to fire teachers within a couple of days. On top of this, the company is extremely disorganized and working for them is a very frustrating experience. There are lots more details on the thread over at Dave's ESL Cafe:

The headquarters are in Apgujeong, Seoul, but they send people to many different places. They specialize in teaching business English. You get a job working for them, and then you are assigned to work at a client company teaching the employees there. It seemed like a very nice setup, but it turned out to be a giant nightmare. They did not decide my schedule until long after I arrived, and the days were much longer than they had led me to believe prior to arrival. Training is as short (one day) or as long (3 weeks) as they have until a new schedule starts, and during that time the hourly wage is only 5000 won an hour (with base pay). You really never know what to expect from them. However, the main reason to avoid them is that there is no job security. The contract is very one-sided, and I found out after flying to Korea that they hadn't signed it yet (I felt very stupid for not confirming this). They let another employee go after two days of training because they just weren't feeling it, even though they had interviewed him twice and then hired him (meaning that he turned down other job offers).

Let me know if you need any more information.

Geumcheon in Chungdahm CDI

December 6, 2014

Hello, Jon.

Do not work at Geumcheon location of Chungdahm. It is a franchise owned by Mr. Xxxxx. He does not pay his employees nor does he do any of his contractual obligations. He was a nightmare to work for. I had to quit after not being paid and he has a 100% teacher loss rate.

CI Academy located in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do

November 26, 2014

Hello, Jon.

I would like to add CI Academy located in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do to the blacklist. They have two branches, one in Ilsan and one in Hwajeong. The reason for thus blacklist request is due to the management and operation of the establishment. I will explain further and try to keep it short.

First, the Academy has a semi-standard contract for foreigners. However, the contract stated that foreigners have off on all Korean national holidays (standard) and about 6-7 extra vacation days throughout the year (called summer and winter vacations). Well, that's good and all, but the Academy didn't give its workers off for August 15th, Korean Independence Day, and actually made them work extra on that day without change to salary. This includes the foreign teachers. Essentially, you are working harder on a day that everyone else has off on, and for free! In addition, the vacation days for winter/summer were written as '2-3 day vacations' in the contract and are given since the hakwon shuts down on those days. So, why would they choose 3 days? That's money to be made, why would they give you 3 days? They closed 2 days every time! (Just to note, a paid, personal vacation day is owed for every month worked, except the first and last month of a 12-month contract. This is Korea n law and is mandatory.) The Academy never gave me days I wanted off, and would later lead to them owing me for that.

Then, let's discuss the health care and pension. Health care is standard for this type of contract, so it all seemed fine. However, pension has 'optional' written next to it in the contract. Being experienced in Korea (worked there for over 3 years), I said that I wanted pension while I was on the phone with the Korean guy in charge of hiring foreigners. He agreed and said it's included, of course. This guy is also basically the right-hand of them and is equally faithful as a lapdog. Well, after each month rolled by, I noticed that my salaries were never reduced for health care OR pension. Finally, after much arm twisting, I was able to get health care and pension (5 months after beginning work). That's about a $500 loss for me due to not getting that pension and was vulnerable to health problems the whole time.

So, after 7 months at the Academy I decided to leave due to personal reasons which the Academy had no problem with. But, once I mentioned some money that they owed me (including owed vacation days), they showed their ugly side. They fought tooth and nail, claiming that I was owed nothing and that I would then not even receive my 2 months salary that they were late to pay me. I mentioned the labor board as a method of getting this resolved, but that just enraged them further. They then fired me before the 40-day notice I gave them (as stated in the contract) and kicked me out of the office-tel that I was staying at (1-day notice was given). They also refused to provide a "letter of release" to even let me try to get another job! Basically, they wanted me to lose lots of money and wander the country before my flight home a month later. They knew my departure date and had obviously plotted this grand scheme just to cause me strife for requesting money they owed me. Oh, and they also relayed an email to me saying he was going to sue me for blackmail. He owed me money for work done! He was the one holding onto my money and not giving it to me! Wow!

This brought me to the labor board to try and resolve everything, but it ended up with bad results. The labor board worker didn't speak English (understandable, this is Korea). But, she said I was rude for not bringing a translator (I never needed one before for the 3 previous Academies that I took to the labor board and won). She even said I would likely lose the case just because we couldn't communicate. Anyways, they and thier loyal hound hunter lied out their backsides to confuse the labor worker into creating an unsolvable case for me. Essentially, because they told his hound who then told the recruiter that hired me (a 3rd party) to tell me that I was fired prematurely to the last 40-day notice date. Because the director had used a form of "grape-vine" communication, they blamed the situation on the recruiter, and he couldn't be held accountable. The end result was for me to sign an agreement for a fraction of the money which I was owed.

So, in conclusion, make sure you get a formal written notice when being forced to leave for any unexpected reason, and don't work at CI Academy. Thus they have two faces; one of kindness/friendliness, and one of plotting/backstabbing.

Thanks Jon.

J&U English Institute, Ilsan

November 16, 2014

Dear Jon,

Please add J&U English Institute to the blacklist. There are two locations in Ilsan and I advise that all foreign teachers stay away from J&U. The only positive aspect of working there is that the owners (husband and wife) did always pay on time. Other than that, the working environment is poisonous. While I worked there, the turnover rate of teachers exceeded 100%. Let me break it down for you:

The they are dishonest and manipulative and verbally abusive. They don't treat their teachers as important resources, but merely as indentured servants to make money.

They will work you to the bone....including weekends and summer and winter vacation classes. I was also only given 3 days vacation during the summer. I have noticed that recent job postings put up by these people are now offering 20 days...looks like they are getting desperate. Working there was nothing but stress and worrying about how the owners were going to try to screw me over. Working at J&U is just not worth it. There are so many other schools that pay the same or more for less hours. Stay away from J&U.

SLP Pyeongtaek, Wonderland Cheonan, and Wonderland Dangjin

November 14, 2014

Dear Jon,

Hi Jon. Please add SLP Pyeongtaek, Wonderland Cheonan, and Wonderland Dangjin to the list. I taught at SLP Pyeongtaek and I want to confirm what others have said. SLP Pyeongtaek finds reasons to fire people. They let one or two of the foreign teachers complete their contract so that the school appears stable in the eyes of the parents and students, and then the rest they fire in order to avoid paying the contract completion bonus and the return airfare.

I was given the worst schedule of the foreign teachers. I had to be there Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9:30am-7:45pm, Tuesday, Thursday from 9:30am-4:30pm. So I was definitely at the school over 45 hours a week. They expect you to make schedules and write report cards, which is rare for foreign teachers. Luckily, I was able to find a report card comment generator online because before that I found that it was extremely tedious and time consuming.

I was given the worst class, the 1st graders, who wouldn't stop crying or fighting each other. Every day there was an issue with that class and the management acted like it was my fault. The class was simply too big. ~25 kids crammed into a small room. Then when they gave me a schedule that had less hours, they gave me an evening class of four older middle schoolers (or maybe young high schoolers) who refused to do anything and disrespected me every class.

I had a little bit of stubble on one occasion and then they had it on a list of reasons for a warning, which is absurd because another teacher (who was a nice guy nothing against him) had a goatee. I also avoided talking to any of the female Korean teachers because one day at a field trip I was told that one teacher didn't like me talking to her. Apparently, just talking to them about life outside of school means that I'm being creepy and that I'm interested in them. Uh, no. I guess it's better to work with people and not know anything about them?

Add Wonderland Dangjin to the list because I was originally sent there by my recruiter and after a month Wonderland said they couldn't keep me and then they sent me to SLP Pyeongtaek. I had to say bye to nice friends in Dangjin, pick up everything and go to Pyeongtaek, then when I get to Pyeongtaek I'm not even appreciated after the first couple weeks. These two owners were working together, probably to save on recruitment fees. And from what I understand, the owner of SLP Pyeongtaek also owns Wonderland Cheonan.

To those thinking about Korea, don't do it. You can find better people, less spoiled kids, and better situations elsewhere. I would say that China, Taiwan, Japan, and Vietnam are better countries. I'm pretty sure that in China and Vietnam it's possible to just go there on a tourist visa and find a school that you like and the school will take care of the rest. You find your own place to live. You don't have the school trying to keep you on the hook with airplane tickets and bonuses. If you want to find a different school, you just do it. That's how it should be. Buy a ticket to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hainan, Hanoi, Da Nang, or Ho Chi Minh.

SLP Pyeongtaek and Cheonan Wonderland

November 3, 2014

Dear Jon,

Please add, for the third time, SLP Pyeongtaek and Cheonan Wonderland to your list. I had to pull a midnight run from SLP Pyeongtaek (the main hagwon for which I worked). The evil ******** and *** ******* pushed me into working at another hagwon, Wonderland in Cheonan. I was underpaid, over-worked, robbed from my contract and disgraced by the Koreans at those hagwons. As a licensed teacher, I really walked into a trap and would not recommend that anyone help those hagwons out irrespective of how much they play nice. PLEASE STAY AWAY!


CDI (Eungpyeong branch)

October 30, 2014

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add CDI (Eungpyeong branch) to your blacklist. After quitting facing cut hours and poor administration, they withheld my final paycheck of 700,000 won claiming that I had to pay for the paid training. They then tried to have me fired from my new position because they felt that I was "stolen" from them.

ECC in Sejong, Segonsi Nasungdong.

October 23, 2014

Dear Jon,

I would not work for ECC Sejong. They go through so many teachers. They fired a foreign teacher after 6 months, another teacher left after 3 days. They told me that I had to work 30 teaching hours, and that working hours is 11:30-8:30, but not more than 6 hours teaching a day. I thought that I would be working 6 hours plus 1 hour or so to prepare, so that would put me at around 7 hours, or 35 hours weekly. Instead they expected me to work 45 hours a week, which is more than full-time status, and when I compared my hours to the other teachers, I was getting to do way more work. I got a warning for initially coming in late, then I was scolded by the senior teacher. I was told to write a lesson plan, so I copied one right out of the book, and that wasn't good enough, it turned out to be one that had to be done her way. After the 3rd try, she finally drafted one up for me to follow which ended up to be very simplified. I was accused of not following instructions, and I was expected to know everything by the 2nd day which is nearly impossible. I was told to observe the outgoing teacher for two days, which I did.

I was given one warning, and then two days later, a final notice to leave in two weeks. Their pay was lower than the standards of the ECC company, and they claimed they own their own franchise so they don't have to follow their ECC Policies. I told them that I didn't have my f-4 visa yet, but they insisted that I hurry over, said that it was okay, and they would pay my ticket, so I ended up working on a tourist visa. I think they could get in trouble, and I really hate for it to end this way, but their unfair treatment is uncalled for. I had to work more hours than any other of their teachers, and because I was a so-called 1st year teacher, not even considering the 4 years I worked as a teacher in America. Still they claimed I was incompetent and disgusted in my teaching. Another new teacher who completely missed the staff meeting, and missed teaching his class, needless I say, they didn't care about that and practically laughed it off. I hope they find someone else to pick on, and vent their insecurities on after I leave.

And the story goes on, the students wanted to visit me in Hawaii, so I told them to give me their parent numbers. The head director walked in to give candy on Halloween, and saw the paper, and demanded I give it to her. When I refused, she and her husband threatened to call the police, and so I got my bag and left. Because first of all, I am on a tourist visa, and didn't want to be caught dead working there.

I went home, and the next morning, my computer and electric went off, and I saw her outside. She told me to "get out, that this was her place, and that she wanted the ECC papers." I called the police, and the police talked with them for awhile. While waiting for the police, I was showing the two Korean bystanders that I have a paper here that says to leave on Nov. 7th, which is one week away. The head lady tried to take it away, but I took it from her, and actually called her "Stupid!" Keep in mind, she can't even barely speak English!! The police told me I could stay until the end of the date as agreed and they turned on the electric.

They said, that If I should good teacher skills, that they will write me a good report. Yah right!! After they fired me, and they will write me a good letter of recomendation and a transfer international certificate. I've been lied to, they breached their contract, which stated I was to be paid on the 30th, and they never gave me my medical. Instead they wanted me to work a full month without getting paid to pay back the $800 airfare and the $1200 recruitment fee, which would leave me with nothing. So I said I ain't coming in the final week. That's when they got pissed, and I took my testing papers home with me!

They rushed me here knowing that I didn't have my proper F-4 Visa yet, and said it was okay to be on a tourist visa. They never told me exactly how much time they were allowing me, as I waited for my final marriage document to come in to verify my name change for my Visa. Instead they fired me after 12 days, with only one warning letter. After they fired me, they asked for a copy of my passport, and I said "Hell NO!".

What really got to me, is that they called the cops on me!! I think some of it is a misunderstanding and they was wondering why the children were giving me their names and numbers. So I didn't give them an answer right away, and just to leave them wondering. In fact, after they turned off my electric, I went downstairs, and the husband was kind of laughing like this is some big joke. Their only lucky, that I am able to turn any situation into a positive one, and that I stood my ground.

I have done everything on my part, but these guys were just constantly nick picking at me. I hope that they don't do this to other teachers. And actually I feel sorry for any teacher who succumbs to their mercy till the end hoping that they will get their severance pay and final paycheck, because they could easily fire you the last month to avoid paying those dues. Remember, they are business people, and it's just all plain business, nothing personal.

E-Bo-Young Talking Club in Samgye-Dong/Bukbu-Dong in Gimhae

October 18, 2014

Dear Jon,

I would like to add E-Bo-Young Talking Club in Samgye-Dong/Bukbu-Dong in Gimhae to the list. To start with the good: payments were made on time. That's it. This is a mom and pop operation and their two kids are students there which caused several conflicts of interest. It was quite stressful to teach the ones who would be spying on you and aiding the micromanagement. The owners automatically found me guilty as soon as complaints were made and of course, I made mistakes every now and then, but when parents complain, it's too late and there were many and apparently from the same individuals. My contract had a two-warning-letters-and-you're-fired clause which were handed to me easily. The contract was essentially meaningless when things went wrong (break time, health insurance etc.). So I was eventually fired and the reasons were, you guessed it: receiving two warning letters among other nonsense.

Upon getting fired, I demanded my release letter. They said that they were not obligated to provide me with one. I decided to ask for my healthcare since it was in the contract. Of course at this point, the contract was negotiable. After a few days, it had turned into "if you are nice and work well for a month..." I had no reason to believe them. Refusing to be an indentured servant, I eventually said that I would not work anymore without my release letter and that's when they finally decided to give it me the same day and not a week before my last day (when it would have been too late) but not before threatening me with eviction the same night, that I would have to leave Korea the next day (I didn't believe them) and that I would not be able to return to Korea to teach English, all of which I accepted without hesitation.

The school overall was a pretty bad learning environment and no place for professional growth. I tried to apply as much Korean etiquette as I could but I discovered that it was everyone else losing face far more often than I had. I told them that I knew the person before me ran away based on the evidence left in the apartment and that was before I found the warning letter hidden in the laundry detergent. The supervisor still yelled at me on the first day before any work started. I had calmly asked for my break (which was about to be omitted completely due to not having read my contract) to be put in the middle of the day instead of before last period.

It's clear that things were aggravated by the fact that students were leaving the academy at a high rate. It seems that due to financial difficulties, I was given bus money to go to another school and thankfully only had to endure that school three days a week. So I walked off before my last day of work when I found out they would withhold my payment until the very last day, foregoing around 2000$. I was worth it since I no longer had to suffer management, their rude biological children nor many of their rude students. They actually had the audacity to send me an email saying that they were going to tell immigration and to get a lawyer to get compensation, still believing I was in Korea.

Noumena Education Initiative in Gangnam, Seoul

October 03, 2014

No one should suffer the fate of having to work at Noumena Education Initiative in Gangnam, Seoul.

Things got off to a bad start when they insisted I come to Korea immediately after graduation from university. I landed in Korea at midnight; my first day on the job started at 7am the next day.

The work is some of the worst you'll find. As for teaching, half is SAT review consisting of day after day, hours on end of reviewing dubiously obtained photocopies of CollegeBoard and Princeton Review materials. The other half of teaching is "College Application Consulting", which at the end of the day boils down to writing college application essays for the children of the upper crust of Seoul.

The other half of your time consists of going through each of their dubiously-obtained SAT exams in order to compile lists of vocabulary words ("find hundreds of words per exam!", they insist). For three months, I have spent on average three hours a day making these lists.

The school aims to be a one-stop-shop for exam prep, and so be prepared to be asked to give review classes for literally any subject. I was once required to give a two-week course on US History to two girls who had never taken a US History class in their lives, with the expectation that they would receive "at least a 700" on their SAT subject test.

Starting from the day I started, for three months straight the schedule called for 52-55 work hours per week, with only one day off per week. On top of that, they require their new teachers to do "homework"–a full-length SAT exam each night, every night for 2 months. Also, if they don't give you enough class prep time during work hours, it is your responsibility to take care of class prep at home.

Despite the contract promising all public holidays off, plus American Labor day (September 1), all holidays were worked.

They do not pay holiday wage for working holidays, and they pay less than the legally-required amount for overtime pay. The wage itself is a pittance–1.5million/month. The contract's length is 15 months and of those 15, three are to be given as vacation (unpaid, of course). While that setup might seem good, the scheduling of these months is up to the whim of the owner, and are liable to change at a moment's notice without any regard for plans made or tickets purchased.

If you dare point out any inconsistencies between the contractual and legal obligations and actual practices, be prepared to be subjected to extended beratement. Despite having always performed my job very well and as requested by my boss (a point they continuously acknowledge), they have accused me of being a "dishonest liar" who "doesn't care about the kids". Standard issue bullsh*t, of course, but still terrible to deal with when asking for fair treatment.

The contract itself is an unbelievable 24 pages long, all in English. The language is intentionally convoluted in order to both try to loophole the employees in as much as possible and to make it impossible to take to the authorities in case of an issue. The owner intends to make the contract so impossible for the authorities to understand that the legal costs involved in navigating everything would be prohibitively high. I decided to spend the money to get out; future victims might not have that ability.

If you want to avoid being treated like an indentured servant, with all the gravity implied in that term, then stay as far away from Noumena Education Initiative as you possibly can.

Atlas Academy in Changwon

Sept 25, 2014

I am afraid that I have to add Atlas Academy in Changwon to the blacklist. I worked there a while ago, and initially wasn't going to say anything because part of me felt bad but the way I was treated continues to bother me, so I feel I must say something. I was the only foreign teacher, and on the very first day the owner took one look at me then went to the teacher I was replacing (who had also hired me) to complain that I looked 'too strong.' My hair was short and she insisted that I grow it out, saying that it was 'not handsome.' I relented and grew it out a bit, but things only got worse from there. She accused me of 'not caring' about the kids, but gave not explanation as to why she thought that, she had me making phone calls to every student, every week which added up to a lot more than 120 teaching hours, and had initially said that I would be compensated with overtime each month but by the second month she stopped paying overtime, saying only that my phone calls 'were not of good quality.' Again, she gave no explanation as to why, and I was still expected to make the calls despite not being paid overtime. She made increasingly rude comments to me as time passed, she had my co teachers report every word I said to her, and had absolutely no privacy or professional respect paid to me. She also forged my medical insurance and pension papers, and gave me 1200 dollars in pension at the end of my contract but she had merely siphoned 100 from each of my paychecks and gave it back to me at the end. The kids there are ok, but the boss, Joy, is the most uptight, angry woman I have ever met; she will smile and be polite when you meet her but don't let that fool you, she is capable of an anger level I have seen from no one else in Korea, the way she screams at the students is ridiculous and most of them are completely terrified of her. Regarding myself, I taught at two other schools in Korea and had great experiences and great coworkers, but do yourself a favor and AVOID Atlas Academy in Changwon at all costs! She will probably change the school's name if she gets wind of this blacklist entry, so be cautious of any school in the Skywellbeing park building. Good luck to all you aspiring teachers!

St. Paul's "International School" in Busan

Sept 24, 2014

I'd like to see St. Paul's "International School" in Busan added to your blacklist, as well as every other blacklist around. The school is in Jangsan overlooking the harbor. I was one of the original 10 teachers recruited to work at the school when it opened in August of 2013. During the first month of classes, they continuously fed us lies about working to get international school certification, which they were not doing. After about a month of this, with no warning, they fired 6 out of 10 of the teachers. We were able to keep our apartments for a month, and they paid us for the days we worked and offered tickets home to those who asked, but they essentially deceived us and left us jobless and homeless. I met a guy recently who just started working there this month (September 2014). They have had a 100% turnover rate with teachers after 1 year. They are still calling themselves an "international school", even though their students go to public schools during the day and go to St. Paul's in the afternoon. Basically I want to inform anyone interested in applying at this school of what they are really getting into. You would probably have students with good English skills, and I assume you will keep your job if you jump through all the hoops, but you will not be working at an international school. Not even close.

Subject: Raffles Academy in Gwangju, Jellanamdo.

Sept 19, 2014

I would like to add Raffles Academy in Gwangju, Jellanamdo to the hagwon blacklist.

The students are fantastic, but they treat foreign teachers terribly. When I first arrived I was given a very small room, like a dorm, to live in, which was owned by my director's father in law. Therefore, she did not maintain the room, allowing its walls and wooden doors to be covered in black mold. The hot water worked occasionally, and even then only for five minutes, and there were constant problems with the electricity. She treated me terribly whenever I asked her to fix the room.

Then there was the electricity bill. I was given the electricity bill written in Korean on a small piece of lined paper. She charged me $99 for a month in a very small dorm which used little electricity. When I left her a note asking why the bill was so high, she came to my apartment, knocked on the door, and screamed for a half an hour about how much she hated me.

She screamed at me all the time, in front of my coworkers and the students. She treated all of her employees terribly and unprofessionally.

Finally she fired me on pay day and said she would only pay me half my paycheck. She also said I had to stay until the new girl came in a month, and that she would not pay me for that time. When I tried to reason with her to be paid until the new girl arrived, she screamed at me and called me selfish and stupid. She also refused to give me my release letter until after the new girl arrived, even though I'd been fired.

I would warn anyone against working at Raffles. The kids were incredible and so much fun to teach, but I do not the think the hagwon is doing well financially, and I think that has seriously affected the director's treatment of her foreign teachers. She is dishonorable and stole a month of pay she owed me. There are plenty of other wonderful hagwons... if you want a great experience, stay away from this stressful and demeaning hagwon.

Subject: Reading Town, near Mangmi Station in Busan.

Sept 18, 2014

The name of the academy is Reading Town, near Mangmi Station in Busan.

Anyway, the housing is decent, as I had been given an actual tow bedroom house. The hot water wasnt always functional, but tolerable.

The working environment is different. I was paid late every month. Keep in mind that I have been in Korea six years and this is the first such instance.

We quarreled about teaching tactics, which left me confused. I had decreased the occurrences of disobedience and speakong Korean in class. In fact, I gave incentive for children behaving well and finishing assignments.

After 5 months on a Friday was told that it was my last day and that I am promptly fired. Added to hassle, I had to evict myself from the house in 4 days. He had hired someone to replace me without telling anyone. He did this to the last guy, which is how I got the job.

His antics get worse. He then told me that I need to pay back the initial airfare which he will take out of my salary.

I went to the Labour Board and discovered a few illegal activities. First, he cannot fire me without either three written warnings~I had none, and 30 days notice. I had 5 minutes notice.

In the contract it says nothing about paying back airfare. This is just him being very passive aggressive.

He also didnt contribute to my pension but compared to the other problems this one seems minor.

Avoid working for this guy. I understand Korean and he didnt treat his kOrean teachers well. He was condenscending. Istood up to him and so he reacted in this manner. If he goes bankrupt I shall not shed a tear. He brought this on himself.

Subject: Songpa Bambini, Seoul

Sept 16, 2014

I strongly advise against any teacher accepting a position at Songpa Bambini. They have proven to be dishonest, and lack any respect for her employees’ rights or their contracts.

Songpa Bambini was previously at a different location, and was known as Mokdong Bambini. Of the last 6 foreign teachers there, none completed a full year and had their contract honoured. All were lied to and/or cheated by them. There are too many incidents detail them all, so here is a summary:

At one point, they disliked the timing of contracts, and so two foreign teachers were forced against their wishes to resign early. They were not given their full severance packages or airfare, and were bullied into signing resignation letters.

The next teacher to leave completed his/her full year contract, but was denied the full coverage of his/her airfare. This teacher spent a great deal of time pushing for what had been promised in the contract, but was still denied it. In retaliation for protesting the decision, the school later gave a bad review when other schools called for a reference, and successfully sabotaged their efforts to find a new job, even though this teacher had continued to do his/her job properly during their entire period of employment.

During the last year that this branch existed in Mokdong, they decided to move to a new location. There were three foreign teachers left at this point. Two of the teachers were to have their contracts finished at the end of February, and another in June. They decided to move the graduation date to the middle of February, and “close” the school. Another school would “reopen” in March as Songpa Bambini.

All of the foreign teachers were denied any of their severance packages or airfare because they did not complete one year of employment since the school was closing. Essentially, the English staff was fired with two weeks until the end of their contract to avoid paying severance packages or airfare. Because the official status of the school was “closing” and a new business was “reopening”, rather than one school moving location (which was what was really happening), this was considered legal.

When asked about the ethics of their actions by one teacher, they responded by literally laughing at the question.

Throughout the year, there were many other incidents of them lying to employees. Here are a few more examples of mistreatments and dishonesty:

- During one round of hiring, teachers were told they would need to clean just their own classrooms. After hiring, they fired the janitor, and divided up cleaning duties for the entire school (including bathrooms and the owner’s office) among the teachers.

- During an interview, one teacher was lied to about the amount of payment that other teachers were making, so that they could negotiate less pay.

- Several Korean staff members were let go over the course of the year. Their duties were passed on to the existing staff. They promised that if the school could increase to ‘x’ number of students, more staff would be re-hired to cover the extra duties. After several months, ‘x’ was achieved, but instead of hiring new staff, again extra classes/duties were assigned to existing staff.

- When the last three teachers were let go early, they refused to tell them how long they had to move out of their apartments. They were told “sometime in February” but that they might only receive a day’s notice. The contract with the landlord was also broken.

I strongly urge anyone considering a job at Songpa Bambini to look elsewhere for employment. Good luck with your job search.

Subject: Sterling - English for Children, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul

Sept 11, 2014

Thank you for your time. I need to warn people away from this work environment.

This is to warn anyone considering working at Sterling hagwon. I just want to explain the reality of what to expect, which they won’t warn you about in the interview. There’s a significant possibility that the place is having major financial issues and may be losing business regardless, but essentially; you will be paid late. Also, you will have to deal with terrible organization.

Although it is illegal in Korean law to pay severance pay later than 14 days, numerous people have had their payments delayed for months, with no date or reason given. Many others also have money taken out of their paychecks for things vital under Korean law, such as health insurance and pension, but these things are not actually paid. Despite taking the money from these things and illegally retaining it, Xxxxx, the CEO, is still unorganized enough to not pay people on time; occasionally weeks or even a full month late. People were/are getting their money a whole month later when the next payday should have already rolled around.

In addition to treating people’s paychecks as a gift or a favor, rather than a contractual obligation, Xxxxxxx will tell excuses to people who ask for their money on time. Often in a condescending way, for example, telling those waiting on their severance pay or pension payments to kick in that they “don’t really need it now. Why can’t they just wait?”

You will also have a ton of busywork and last minute schedule changes due to the terrible organization. If you can’t deal with these problems and wish to resign according to the contract, they ask for a massive 2 months notice, and the contract says they can pay you only 50% of your regular salary for those 2 months. They may refuse to pay you the final paycheck that you are owed, anyway.

While there are an amazing group of teachers working at Sterling, maybe even to this day without their severance pay, just be aware of what issues you can expect from working there. If 2 or more of the following factors would antagonize or upset you, then you should look elsewhere; because you will encounter at least some of them, maybe even all:

• Being paid late (2 or more weeks)

• Being paid the wrong amount

• Not having your health insurance and pension paid while being told that they are being paid

• Not getting severance pay

• Not having the teaching materials you need, such as CDs for textbooks that are dependent on the audio

• Being blamed for petty issues, but never being thanked for things you do for the company

• Being lied and condescended to

Subject: Wings Turn English kindy in Seoul

Sept 5, 2014

Don't work for Wings Turn English kindy in Seoul (near Sindang station)!!

They fired me with one weeks notice and refused to give me a release letter and proper payment for the month.

It's a new school so they are trying to save money so there are not enough teachers/workers. I was also expected to take care of the children during ALL my break times.

I was fired on the grounds of not taking care of children during my only break time, and not "connecting" with the students.

They let four year olds run around the school without supervision, and didn't do anything to help me when the kids start kicking me and screaming (these toddlers don't speak English at all but I've heard them say "fuck" and hold toys to their necks pretending to be knives.)

Stay away. It's a nightmare.

Subject: E.P.A. Myeongil

August 31, 2014

Highly recommend you avoid.

Micromanaging beyond belief. You hardly have any personal space, time, or freedom to work.

Cheap. They will try to screw you out of money at any given chance. Especially when you leave. They will book a 50 hour flight that goes through 12 countries to avoid spending an extra $50. And better double check your pension is right. And constantly remind them about your severance. Don't be surprised when they fight you every step of the way.

Contract is full of potential loop holes for them. Including things that work against you if you don't renew your contract for a full year. Even if you extend 6 months they will still try to screw you.

They have fired two teachers for absurd reasons. One of those teachers had to go to the labor board to get their full benefits. They were lying about what they paid teachers and reporting wrong information to Immigration and the government. The school was a mess while this was happening and they had a hard time getting replacements.

Stay away from E.P.A. Myeongil.

Subject: Raffles Academy in Gwangju, Jeollanamdo.

August 27, 2014

I would like to add my former hagwon to the blacklist. Raffles Academy in Gwangju, Jeollanamdo.

The living conditions provided are dismal. We are not given an apartment, but a small “dorm” in a business building owned by the school in the same parking lot. We are also not given proper bills but handwritten notes with numbers, sometimes up to 200,000 won. I asked many times to see a bill since this seemed high and was always refused. My apartment was covered in mold and had wooden doors covered in black mold. This issue was always ignored when I tried to address it.

They are argumentative. Even after leaving, she sends me angry emails. My replacement has been yelled at, with going so far as to shout “I hate you.”

I was working over my contract for two semesters. Many outside events such as monthly field trips are mandatory with no overtime pay. One time I was expected to work an additional 14 hours in two days with no overtime.

They also emails me during my vacations and weekends to grade papers. Not for my classes or even the academy but for my student’s school work.

It's really just a rotten work environment where teachers are treated like indentured servants.

Subject: Raffles Academy in Gwangju, Jeollanamdo.

August 7, 2014

Hey First of all I have completed two contracts in Korea But I have a bad hagwon for you to post .yes accademy ( or no accademy as it's known in the foreigner community) in Samsandong Ulsan

The Xxxxx took 3000 won every month for 6 months out of my pay incase I ran away as other teachers had done a runner. This wasn't in the contract. Then she fired me at the 6 month mark because I went to the labour board to report her. She then kept the money to pay for my flight out ( there was nothing in my contact to protect me for her taking money for my flight) held the letter of release over my head so I was forced to work for her when she kicked me out of my apartment to make way for my replacement. She didn't even put me up in a love hotel, I had to sleep on a friends floor. Not only this but she made my life a living hell with her bullying and control freak behaviour. Its not just me. In the six months I was there 4 Koreans left and 2 native teachers. one native teacher was only there 10 weeks before he cracked.There's a native teacher who has somehow stayed there for 4 years. Do not listen to her, if you still want to work there at least ask for another reference from a previous native teacher I bet you don't get one. Stay away from this hagwon

Subject: Nova English Academy, Chungcheongnamdo

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I strongly advise anyone thinking of accepting employment with this school to reconsider. I have just lived through a 7 week nightmare with this school and do not wish anyone to endure the same experience.

Without going into too much detail, problems included pay (including overtime), contracted hours, accommodation, age of students contracted to teach, working hours / teaching hours, security deposit, medical insurance.

To sum up my experience with this school, they invited me out for dinner, on arriving at the restaurant she ordered a meal for everyone present (2 Koreans and myself), half way through the meal she mentioned that I would be paying for the meal, I thought this was a joke until we had finished the meal and the Koreans left the restaurant saying they were going to the toilet, leaving me to pay. When I confronted her about how she had gone about this she laughed at me and pretended not to understand what I was saying. This woman will take everything she can off you whether you give it voluntarily or she cons / steals it from you.

As I have mentioned before this school is best avoided.

Subject: ILS SUJI (International Language School - Suji Campus)

Sunday, July 11, 2014

Dear TokyoJon,

I would like to contribute a school to your list.

I have recently severed my relationship with this school and returned home after several months of relentless inappropriate behavior exhibited by the xxxxxxxx of this hagwon. First, I have to say that the housing was fine and in a good location, pay was always on time and in the full amount, and we were only at the school a total of 8 hours a day (including the hour for lunch!).

The problem? The xxxxxxxx was a sexual deviant, and an exhibitionist.

The xxxxxxxx's office (Mr. Xxx) was next to my classroom, and on several occasions he would have sexual relations with the cleaning lady, who was not his wife, in his office. The walls were not thick, so I along with the children could hear EVERYTHING that was going on, and at one point they managed to make a picture hanging on the wall fall down, and one of the students cried. This happened at least once a month, and I was always left speechless and unable to explain it to my students. At least two students quit as a result, and their "loss" was made to be my fault.

On one occasion, I walked into my classroom to find the children playing with a USED condom, so his activities were not just confined to his office, but likely everywhere in the school after hours. The horrible thing is that the kids thought it was a balloon and one boy even tried to blow it up before I had the Korean teacher remove it from the classroom (apparently they kids told her they had found it in the trashbin). I confronted xxxxxxxx about this and he just tried to make a joke and blame the kids. I told him to check the CCTV which is installed in all the classrooms and he refused and made some excuse about the video feed recycling after 24 hours, which I know was a load of crap.

Lastly, on TWO occasions xxxxxxxx walked into the teacher's room with his fly undone, exposing himself. A male teacher quickly corrected him on both occasions, and he fixed himself and laughed it off, saying he forgot after using the bathroom. It was this perverse, sexually aggressive and morally unsustainable atmosphere that led me to leave the school abruptly at the end of last month.

As a warning to anyone who might be considering teaching at ILS in Suji, the job may look great on paper, but xxxxxxxx makes the environment miserable and downright scary. Be careful!

Subject: Kid’s College, Yongin, Suji

Sunday, July 2, 2014


I would like to nominate the following Hagwon.

They did not pay three teachers for two weeks worth of work when they started, claiming that it violated “the rules of Kid’s College.”

They deleted one teacher’s calling logs to make it look like she hadn’t been doing her work. They then said to her face that she does not have evidence of the unfair firing.

They had one teacher sign multiple warnings then told him he would not be fired. They then fired him less than two days later. They later revealed to the remaining teachers that they only hired him so that his girlfriend would come work at the school. So they never intended to keep him in the first place. They then took a substantial amount of money from his last paycheck claiming that it was for utilities (even though they made him live in a spare room in the director's house), so he never got his deposit back.

They have some teachers live in a spare room in their home so they don’t have to get them an apartment. There, they have been known to enter teachers rooms and rearrange things without informing the teachers.

At one point, they refused to order more paper towels and tissue in an attempt to cut spending so every single student had to share a single hand towel.

During winter, they refused to put on the heating in the teacher’s room and the classrooms and they wouldn’t allow the teachers to use a heat fan because it used too much electricity. Now in the summer, they are adamantly opposed to using air conditioning even when one teacher had to go home sick because she was overheated.

They have no regard for the students education. They repeatedly use books the students have already used before, in an attempt to save money. Instead of ordering enough of the needed books, they photocopy material when they can get away with it. They assign students books which are nowhere near their level and show no interest when the teachers bring up the issue. Their timetable only allows teachers to cover two pages per lesson so they can make one book last six months (thus increasing the increments between needing to purchase books).

Also, the job will be advertised as 10 am til 6pm. This is not true, you will be working from 9:30 am til 7pm, with minimal breaks. Also, in these breaks your time will be spent either doing monthly report cards, bi-weekly assessments, kindergarten plans or grading tests and diaries. You are constantly bombarded with deadlines and if you do not meet them, you will be expected to stay late.

There is also a high turnover rate of Korean staff, especially managers. The last manager we had lasted about 3 weeks, the one before that about two months. As the managers are not properly trained there is a grave lack of organisation and it is up to the teachers to inform the manager of procedures, making more work in an already stressful environment.

Subject: Janes Foreign English school in Gumi, near Daegu

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Do not work for Janes Foreign English school in Gumi, near Daegu. I worked for another Hogwan, originally. but was loaned out to her school two days out of the week. She started out by being really, nice then getting nasty about a month into my stay there.

She is a very condescending, arrogant woman who gives you NO curriculum what so ever. You have to do everything from scratch. But she never liked what i did. Instead of trying to help me she just made nasty remarks. The work environment was essentially just bad. Thank god i was only there twice a week

Subject: Avalon Seongnam (Sinheung), Siji Oedae campus, Daegu

June 21, 2014

Hello Jon,

Please blacklist Siji Oedae English School, Daegu. This is one of those schools in a "posh" area.

If you work here be prepared to be called in to the office over "serious" issues like the children complain when games they play are not fun enough or they don't get enough candy during a holiday activity or when parents call because their kid bombed a test for not studying, even though you made sure they had the answers.

You will be micromanaged to death and beg to be fired. You will be made to feel like shit because you don't fit the Korean physical ideal. You will be called into a "serious" meeting for each and every time you need to have a kid to stop disrupting the class.

This place may sound like any other Hagwon in Korea but trust me it's not. I am the fourth foreign teacher to leave in less than six months.

Subject: SLP Cheonan

June 17, 2014

Hi Jon,

It is a horrific school! Do not send teachers there. The principle F***** is a creep, the admin ***** is verbally abusive. The treat foreign teachers like cattle. Avoid SLP they have a bad reputation for expats even though their Korean reputation is high. You will get fired without notice. F***** fired a Korean teacher and rehired him as a janitor. Made him sit at a children's desk infront of washrooms instead of with other teachers. Children would tease him, this created a very awful work environment.

Subject: Little America Daejeon

June 17, 2014

I would like to add Little America Daejeon to the blacklist. Problems at the school include long working hours, no training, verbally abusive managers (including the lead foreign teacher), no pension, they do not pay their half of insurance per the contract, 11 month firings to avoid paying severance, and no support from the managers. Most teachers must teach 10 classes a day, make copies/materials for class and grade texts and notebooks. No time is given for planning/grading, this must all be done on your time. 12 hour days are typical, and combined with the horrendous managers screaming at you, this place is just awful.

Subject: Slp-Pyeontaek

June 12, 2014


Just writing this to help someone if they just got offered a job at this school. Do not work here. The turnover rate is insane at this school... no one likes working there.. very shitty work environment ...very negative .... the director ..she has a few screws missing.. expect her to be screaming at someone .. ..your'll be in the office 50 + hours a week which isn't really uncommon for a hogwan job but still sucks.. No one has any idea of what's going on because of the turnover rate ... Expect to get no notice for changes and no time to prepare......everything is done at the last second ... The Korean teachers will blame everything on the foreign teachers which again is not uncommon at hogwans but still sucks ... No health care and pension .....straight up lie on your contract .. There are much better jobs out there in Korea... This one is bottom of the barrel

Subject: Pyeongtaek SLP (Sogang Language Program), pyeongtaek city, gyeonngi do province

June 10, 2014

Hi Jon,

I would like to add Pyeongtaek SLP (Sogang Language Program) to the blacklist. I am in the 10th month of my contract and they have fired me to avoid paying my severance and flight home. They started looking for my replacement without any warning of dismissal. I only found out because I overheard them interviewing someone and confronted them. Then I was met with two typed warning letters and a dismissal letter that same day because I told them that they could not fire me with no warnings as my contract states.

It should have been a red flag that since I started at the school last July 2013, all of the Korean teachers have quit and been replaced and two foreign teachers before me had been fired since I started working there.

The director Gxxxxxx is a tyrant and the last guy that she fired, she showed up at his door with a posse and tried to force her way in to get him to sign a letter saying that he would not pursue legal action.

I am currently awaiting a meeting with the labor board this week to see if I can receive even part of what I am owed. Please warn others to avoid Pyeongtaek SLP, and this director has another school in Cheonan called Wonderland.


Subject: Kangnampride Institute (KPI) in Gangdong-gu

May 27, 2014

I worked at Kangnampride Institute (KPI) in Gangdong-gu for a year, and the experience was so bad that I decided to leave Korea for good. I agree with another poster that they work you for hours beyond what they are willing to pay you. I had the experience of suddenly being demanded to do more work than work time allowed, but being told that I would not get overtime pay, because that's just the way it is, or that the work should have been done earlier (even though it was always the first we had heard about the new project or task), or that Kangnampride is my family, and we have to put in more for family. Even though this is illegal, the response is generally 'what are you going to do about it?' They also hire foreigners on E-2 visas to do largely non-teaching work -- most other chains, like Poly School and Pagoda, do not hire E-2 holders to do curriculum development, because that is illegal.

Kangnampride used to be a very successful hagwon. This was back when it was called Kangnampoly Returnee Institute. When it first started, it was a franchise of the well-established Poly School chain, but broke off about twelve or thirteen years ago. Kangnampoly was supposed to stop using any part of the Poly School name and stop using their curriculum. They did not do so, and about three years ago, Poly School took them to court. Kangnampoly was ordered to change their name and curriculum within three months or pay Poly School retroactively for all the years they used the name and curriculum. At the 11th hour, Kangnampoly took down the Poly School sign and held a contest with the students and parents to choose a new school name, under the guise of celebrating the school's 10th year. But what established business celebrates 10 years of business by *throwing away* their brand?

The winner was Kangnampride Institute. The school threw millions of won into changing the name, including creating music videos and commercials to show at kindergarten orientations.

Since suddenly changing the name, Kangnampride has seen a loss in student enrollment and of experienced foreign teachers. Each year sees less students and less foreign teachers.

Having worked in R&D at Kangnampride, and being somewhat familiar with Poly School's curriculum, I believe that Kangnampride still has not honored their court order to stop using Poly School's curriculum. This was one of the reasons why people in our department were suddenly no longer allowed to have copies of the textbooks and study guides that they worked on (the other reason being that a lot of the material in those books is plagiarized and/or used without permission). The people in the department are fully aware that they make their money by stealing, but do not care.

My year at Kangnampride was like riding in a clown car. The culture is creepy. I mean, it isn't just weird because it is foreign -- it is nothing like a normal Korean workplace. Forget having any personal boundaries if you work there, or your personhood respected. If there is a family emergency back home, you still cannot check your email during your downtime. Expect the director to want to hug you. You have mandatory birthday parties each month. You can go out to smoke fifteen minutes every hour, but you are forbidden to take five minutes and go to the pharmacy downstairs to get cold medicine if you need it. I found a racist cartoon being used in a 1st grade vocabulary slideshow, and when I was upset about it, the other foreign teachers laughed it off. The problem is that the slideshow had been made by a foreign teacher and used by many foreign teachers for years. The name of the cartoon .gif was racist, and yet, no one seemed to be alarmed. So, if you are Jewish and want to work at Kangnampride, I would suggest that you keep that a secret.

Culturally, Kangnampride is not like a normal hagwon or any Korean workplace. It is more like a cult, and everyone is too afraid to point out when something is wrong, or not working. This makes sense, because there is a see no evil, hear no evil policy that is heavily implied in everything. Yes, they do record the audio and the video of every class. The problem is that the culture encourages people to act as if their workplace is their home and their coworkers are their family, and that they somehow owe it to Kangnampride to do things that they shouldn't have to do, like work 24 hours straight at the end of the month. A monthly pizza and cake party and 20,000 won in happy money doesn't make up for that.

In fact, we had been told to just shut up and do what we are told by a foreign manager at the end of a biannual meeting, in a speech titled 'Learning to Say Yes,' in which we were basically told to agree to do things that we don't want to do, because we, the foreigners, were not adult enough to actually know what is and isn't good for us.

Hagwons are businesses, but Kangnampride Institute is not run as if it were a business, and is not run by people with business sense or integrity. It will probably, and rightly, continue to decline in the face of competition and the changing market.

Subject: JC School (Jung Chul 1up Academy), Sannam dong, Cheongju

May 19, 2014

JC School (Jung Chul 1up Academy), Sannam dong, Cheongju

I would like the above school added to the blacklist for the following: If you get offered a job for this school do not accept unless you want to be over worked, abused, unpaid for extra hours and day trips, no holidays and no benefits.


The timetable – For the majority of my contract my hours didn’t go over 27 a week and of those only 21 were actual classes, the rest were “interviews” where you sit in your office and talk to three to four students for 5mins. Its easy but then gets incredibly boring and mind numbing. 3 months before the end of my contract the timetable rapidly increased to 30hours so even the only pro disappeared.

Pay – As you don’t receive any benefits, medical or pension, your pay averages 2,150,000 a month. This is where the benefits end.


No holidays – you receive no holidays despite it being stated in your contract and you are the last to find out about any national holidays you actually do get. As the director goes out of her way to make herself unapproachable, you will not be able to ask for time off without the threat of being shouted at and threatened with a sacking.

Medical and Pension – I was told I would receive medical in my contract but upon arrival I was told by the director that if I have any problems to give her receipts and she will pay half. Sounds ok, but you still end up paying more then you should. Under medical you would only be paying a third of the price. With pension, I come from a country where I never see it anyway so this didn’t bother me, but if you come from a country where you do get your pension at the end of the year stay away.

Pay – You will be paid in cash. This is by far the dodgiest aspect of the whole situation. Every month you are handed an envelope filled with 2,150,000 won. You will receive no payslips and no help getting a bank account.

Trips – Three or four times in the year you will have to travel to Inchon Airport and take 45 students round approaching foreigners and asking them to speak with your students for 5 minutes. You will have to create all the materials for the bus trip there to keep them entertained, you will have to approach the foreigners yourself and many will say no and some will be rude. You will have to video record all of the interviews and your target is for every student to have interviewed THREE different foreigners in just three hours. You will also only have one video camera for three groups so many will be recorded on cell phones which end up with little or no sound in the end. If you fail expect to be shouted at by the director and verbally abused. You also have to do this on a Saturday from 9am till 6pm with no break. You will not be paid for this and the unwritten rule (I was told) was that in return for a “light” timetable the other hours over the month went to this. Timetable is now up to 30hours so you won’t get paid in any way.

Staff – Except for a handful of teachers I met over the year that were really nice (most didn’t stay), the majority will not bother will you other than to give you work to mark, tell you to make recordings of lessons when books are finished and tell you when the director wants to talk to you to shout at you. Do not trust any of them. Any problems you experience with work go straight to the director, although I have heard this is endemic in hagwon work places, I would not trust the teachers at this school with any opinion of your working environment. The worst aspect of the Korean staff is that they cannot speak conversational English. Many have admitted when drunk, at the rare employee night out, that when I speak to them they have no idea what I’m saying and will just nod, say yes and wonder later. This not only is unhelpful but also causes so many problems later down the line when work you think they have finished isn’t and work you think is marked isn’t because they didn’t understand when you asked for it. Expect to use extremely basic English when communicating with the majority of the staff. It sounds utterly ridiculous for an English hagwon but is sadly true. I also do not have a strong regional accent in case that might have been the problem.

The director – The director is the most unusual person I have ever met. I have seen her attack a table with files when angry and she will verbally abuse you but expects you to put up with it because she is your boss. She actually told me once a few days after screaming at me that outside of school we could be best friends but inside school she is my boss so that’s that! Expect no apology when you are verbally abused by her. When she is shouting at you she will go from attacking your work ethic, your reasons for being in Korea, your motivation for the job, your facial features, your attitude, your memory and will imply either that you are a liar or that you are stupid for the reasons for not following her instructions. Her instructions by the way will often conflict with previous instructions, such as class changes, because she has no idea what you are doing due to micromanagement and her undefined role within the school. She performs a bit of everyone’s role in the school including the foreign teachers (below) which seems to be due to a lack of trust of anyone.

Any problems you have that have been caused by her micromanagement will be your fault. She also believes that she has an American accent when she speaks English, when she doesn’t its very Korean, but this doesn’t stop her from recording herself saying English words and having it blasted into the school computer room where the students have to stand up, listen and then recite her pronunciation. I found this extremely strange as I thought that this was the whole point of a native English teacher. She also recorded herself into the phones of students so that they could practice “correct” pronunciation at home. Overall I found working for this director strange, stressful, extremely unprofessional and someone who I’ve been told by a former teacher is in fact mentally unstable, which after my experience I am inclined to agree with.

You also have to wear a uniform and you will be the only hagwon teacher in the city to wear one. Your uniform will be a short sleeve bright red polo shirt in summer or a red cardigan over a white shirt for winter (this is mandatory for both male and female teachers). This seems to be more an acute dividing line between the teachers and the director rather than anything else as no other school does it.

Accommodation: Your accommodation is very basic and comes complete with black mould. My fridge was Goldstar (this was the old name of the company LG before they changed it in 1995!), you will shower with your washing machine and you have no sink in your bathroom. You will also be placed a 20 minute walk from the school and will be the only hagwon teacher in your schools neighbourhood who can get a taxi home. The accommodation is liveable but not comfortable.

Students: Although overall the students are ok, any that are out of line are hard to control. There is no discipline and the Korean teachers will undermine any effort you put in to try and control your classes. Because you only see the students once a week for each class you will be viewed more as a time for the Koreans to have a break while you “teach”. Also, there is no effort to stop students speaking Korean in class and this is a battle you will lose. As you only see them once a week, and the Korean teachers can’t speak conversational English, the only English they do get is in your class but you lack any authority as the Korean teacher’s won’t back you if a student goes out of line.

I sincerely hope that no one goes through what I went through. Nothing is worth being verbally abused by anyone let alone your boss. She uses her position to make you feel small and does her best to try and make you grateful for working at her school. She is very strange and several Korean teacher’s pulled a runner while I was there. The school burns through receptionists and class helpers largely due to the director’s personality. The few teacher’s who have stayed are the ones who can’t speak conversational English so chances of being employed at another hagwon are near to nil. As such you get this sense that the few that have stayed feel that they “owe” her so will not only put up with her abuse but will suck up to her as well.

May God be with anyone who unwittingly accepts a job at this school :)

Subject: Feinschule sanbon near Dangjeong

May 16, 2014

This hagwon doesn't like to pay employees on time. I waited for a month to receive my payment. The old owner always went to the philppines for business .He did not care much about the students or staff. There are few students and the staff are always worry if the school is going to stay open. Beware of this school. If you want to wait to get paid this is a job for you. It is hard to communicate with a boss when they are not there. Most meetings are in korean only. So if you can not speak korean well you will feel out of place .

Subject: Wizisland Gwangali in Busan

May 13, 2014

Hi Jon,

I've had a rough experience with Wizisland Gwangali in Busan. It sounds like a dream job, part time, right next to the beach, but it was actually pretty terrible. I've worked in Korea at hagwons for nearly 3 years and I've never seen Korean teachers treat the kids so badly. For instance, I saw a kid pick his nose. I told him to stop, and he did. One of the Korean teachers saw that, and made the kid keep picking his nose while she yelled at him until he cried. I was also fired under bizarre circumstances. I went to work on time, professionally dressed, prepared for class. But about 4 weeks into my contract, the director threatened to fire both me and the other foreign teacher for reasons that were unclear. We were required to stay for an hour after work for "training" which was unpaid, and which consisted of making alphabet flashcards. No advice was given on how to use the books, or on how to improve our teaching methods. A week later I was told that they'd be ending my contract. I was told they'd have me continue to work there until I found another job, and that they would give me a good reference, as they thought I was a good teacher. Instead, the other foreign teacher was the one to tell me on April 17th that April 18th was my last day. They still have not paid me for the 3 weeks I worked last month. Tellingly, my replacement quit this job after 4 days. For anyone reading this, or who has found themselves in a similar situation (unjust firing, unpaid salary) I would recommend contacting a labor attorney. Yep, foreigners have rights too. The word for labor attorneys pronunced "nomusa" and best of luck! Also, don't work for Wizisland.

Subject: Chungdahm Institute in Geumcheon-gu and Anyang

May 3, 2014

Hi Jon!

I also worked for Chungdahm Institute in Geumcheon-gu and Anyang back in 2010. The 2013 report of this school is spot on. Back in 2010, if you were from an Ivy League school or similarly elite university, you were likely to be adored and shown off, as well as, paid more.

I did not have an E-2 visa when I arrived. I technically came in as a tourist and had to make a visa run to Japan at the end of my first month.

During my second week I had to go to CDI training, which was unpaid. My meals and transportation I was told would be covered, but were not. Never mind that I had to be up at 5:30 if I hoped to get a seat on the subway for the hour ride to the training center. The training really had nothing to do with what I was teaching as my students were three years old and using an American program meant for native English speaking five year old children. (I had contacted the program's company for advice on how to teach their curriculum to three year old children who could not read the story books in the program. They told me it was meant only for American children.) My boss was calling that part of the school SFA at the time. They had called it part of CDI, but I guess he got in trouble with CDI for that several times.

Now this teaching job was not my first time teaching, I had taught the previous year in Seoul and five years in China. I took the job seriously. I asked the administrator to help me with some Korean phrases so I could better communicate with my three year old students until they were able to understand those phrases in English. (In China, I used English and Mandarin together until my first grade students could understand the English words.) This school did not want me using any Korean in the classroom. It was very frustrating for my students since I could not understand what they were saying and they could not understand me.

Since the curriculum the school provided for me was a little advanced for my students, I had to make up my own. The school seemed to think the two hours I spent in my classroom without students was free time for me. I spent that time, and more(often lunch), trying to find or create subject matter appropriate for my students' abilities. The boys still had issues with fine motor skills so even crafts could be difficult to do. Then the printer was continuously broken so printing off what I created was not happening at school.

The administrator seemed to have issues with the fact that I actually cared about being a good teacher. The other teachers in my part of the school (SFA) seemed more concerned with their running times, a local sushi buffet, and video games. They didn't really care about the job, just the pay.

As often seems to happen in hagwons, the administrator thought she could come at me about something (I can't remember what) and that I would just take it. I didn't and let her know what I thought. After that, she was on the war path. She constantly changed my schedule around for which classes I was teaching after my three year old students left. Sometimes I was in Anyang doing CDI stuff or I stayed in Geumcheon and worked with the SFA stuff with other students. I might add that in Anyang I never had a clue as to what the students were supposed to be doing on what days because no one bothered to fill me in. They said here is the classroom, and that was that. Plus, the computer program CDI uses was down or halfway crashed at the Anyang school most days. I did the best I could with what information the students could give me about where they were in their books.

They also had a habit of asking you to stay after the school day was over and then make you wait for an hour or more to discuss contract changes or schedule changes or whatever else they wanted to change around.

I injured my knee while working there and that's when I found out the school had not acquired medical insurance for me. It turns out that most of the teachers who had insurance had waited months to get it. The doctor recommended I get an MRI since he felt my meniscus was torn, but since I was never paid on time or in full I couldn't afford that without insurance. The doctor prescribed that I stay off my leg for two weeks and I was put on crutches. When I told the administrator what the doctor had said, she fired me. However, she said I had quit.

When I went down to the school to settle up the money they owed me from back pay, they tried to say I owed them money. I had to wait for over two hours, with my leg cramping with pain, before they dropped that bomb on me. Fortunately, my recruiter argued them into giving me what was owed to me. That only took an hour and a half past the two hours I had already waited. What I found really crazy, was that they told me they have a lot of trouble with teachers leaving before their time is up. They seemed genuinely surprised by the fact that teachers wouldn't want to stay to be berated (if they cared about the job), paid late, not paid in full, not provided with their insurance, and dealing with continuously changing schedules.

Subject: Walkerhill Kids College (KC), Seoul

April 22, 2014

I'm submitting Walkerhill Kids College (KC) because of numerous things they've done. Previously Reliable Teacher held reviews on this school, but they've shut down.

1. One teacher was shown a falsified contract to make them stay an extra month. They spent the last two months in a living hell.

2. One teacher turned in their notice after six months. KC asked them to stay an extra month and teach winter special, they agreed. Then KC took away their last month of pay and claimed it was for 'recruiter fees', which were nowhere in the contract.

3. One teacher went without their own apartment for over two months. Moving between a friend's, a homestay, another teacher's apartment (they were visiting their family) and another homestay.

4. One teacher was charged for a cleaning service twice on their housing deposit, because the first one didn't clean it properly.

5. One teacher was charged for blankets in the apartment they were leaving and accused of stealing, despite having bought their own blankets because the apartment came with none.

6. One teacher lasted a week and turned in notice, KC tried to deny them a letter of release. They followed the contract, KC backed down and gave the letter.

7. One teacher was part time and turned in notice for personal reasons. They were denied a release. They followed the contract.

8. One teacher was asked to re-sign and when they declined the director accused them of not caring about the children and yelled and screamed at them.

9. One teacher was fired because they were black. KC tried to deny them a letter of release and their pay. They brought in the labor board and KC backed down.

10. The director will yell and scream at you in your classroom and in front of your students.

Good Points:

1. They pay on time.

2. They pay overtime for special events.

3. The work dinners always have good food.

4. The students are the best.

5. The foreign co-workers are a good group of people. As are some of the Korean staff, those that are still there.

Subject: IJQ English Institute in East Seoul

April 11, 2014

Hey Jon.

IJQ English Institute in East Seoul. Withheld wages. Provided a small, sub-standard hole for me to stay. Students are commodities. Test scores and abilities doctored. Did I mention I wasn't paid for 3 months? DO NOT WORK HERE!

Subject: J.M Academy in Songpa

April 10, 2014

I want to place on the blacklist J.M Academy in Songpa and the director **.***. This school is no place that most people should have their first or last job in Korea.

1. The director changes the curriculum on the fly whenever she pleases. This stress is passed on to the Korean teaching staff and then passed on to the Native Teachers.

2. The director will come into the classroom and yell or even slap children on the back if they are not performing correctly.

3. If the Native teacher does not do something how she wishes it to be done, she feels the full right to yell at you in front of your students as well as other teachers.

4. There is no adequate way to perform due to the fact that there are no clear answers to half of your questions and just a general lack of communication between even members of the staff to one another.

5. If the child has received a gift (usually during the Christmas day activities), and the child does not act properly to take a picture or anything else, child will be threatened with the gift being taken from them.

6. The food that the school provides for lunch is of child-sized portions and is also possibly the worst of the food. Multiple teachers have gotten sick from eating the food.

7. The Korean staff generally do not interact with the Native Teachers except through classroom discussion or workshops. There is no general conversation or wishing to spend time of any kind from the Korean staff except for one teacher who chose to do so.

8. New native teachers are given only 1 day to observe any previous teachers before having to teach themselves.

9. Outgoing native teachers are required to make one month's lesson plans for the incoming teacher before leaving and may be asked to make extra documents for the new teacher if the director says so.

10. A coworker of mine was sent to the hospital for having food poisoning during work. The school chose to take one of her sick days, and then state that she had not given them enough notice, and so her pay was docked for the day.

11. Said pay from the coworker was given to other teachers as "overtime bonus" pay that appeared on our paychecks the next week.

Beyond these things, the attitude of the children is very rude and the children are disciplined extremely harshly for very small things, and other things are glossed over which could be more serious. One student got into a fight with another and was warned, while another student that same day didn't listen to a Korean teacher and was dragged kicking and screaming out of the classroom. It is very mismanaged and I don't think it is a good place for children or teachers to be.

Subject: Hwajeong Poly School in Hwajeong (Goyang City, close to the Ilsan area)

April 6, 2014

Pros: Paid in full and on time for the first 11 months. Apartment is within walking distance of school (2 minutes, its across the street). Convenient location. Lesson plans and curriculum are laid out for you.

Cons: They made getting my final paycheck difficult. They don't have the decency to pay you early enough on the final Friday so that you can take care of errands, such as closing your bank account or sending money home. If you close your account before their pay time (which will be around 5 pm on the last day) expect to receive your last paycheck in cash unless you want to pay the fees for them to wire money to your bank account in your home country.

You will have no relationship with the director, **** ***. He is rarely around and I have actually seen him change direction in hallways or enter empty classrooms to dodge a teacher (especially foreign teachers). He leaves everything up to the new vice director, ***, who has worked at Poly for just over a year (as of March 2014) and knows next to nothing about the curriculum or software used for lessons. Thus, because of her lack of knowledge, you will receive little to no training. I started without ANY observation and 90% of my questions were returned with "ask a senior teacher."

Good luck getting help from the senior teachers, at this point there are only two of them left and they are going to be stressed and busy doing their own thing because *** has them do her work for her (because she doesn't know how to do it!) - Not to mention one of these senior teachers is also the academic coordinator, Nicole, who has a tendency to use a condescending tone with teachers, especially if you are not "certified" - I guarantee within 1 month you will have rhetoric thrown in your face in one way or another about how "just because you have a degree in something doesn't mean you can teach it to kids." Even if she is saying it in conversation with someone else, it was meant for your ears, trust me.

Back to ***, she has poor management skills and poor communication. Important things are told to you at the last minute (if at all) and usually begin with "Oh, by the way" or "Sorry, I forgot to tell you..." as if saying this is going to soften the slap in the face you're about to get. She didn't forget, she just tells you at the last second so that it lessens the time she has to deal with your concerns or questions (which, as stated previously, she does not have the answer to). This selfish move leaves you ill-prepared, and then, if you make a mistake, you will be blamed for it, even though you are constantly feeling like it "would have been nice to know."

A new teacher once got stuck waiting at the airport one day because *** thought the arrival time on the ticket was for her home country and not Korea time. She is the most incompetent person in a managerial position that I've ever met. She also makes disgusting comments in the office about sex, teachers' bodies, or whatever else she finds funny that is really just inappropriate.

*** is also a racist. There were a few teachers of color that got treated by *** in a way that made them want to leave. Once their contracts were up, none were offered a renewal, and they all got replaced by white teachers and gyopos. I didn't want to jump to conclusions, so I asked the previous vice director (he was still teaching at this point) what he thought of this, and he confirmed that there was a black woman he wanted to hire but she got denied despite having a master's degree and several years experience of teaching in Korea, because according to ***, "the parents would complain." That is disgusting no matter how you want to look at it. *** has out gay staff members to everyone in the office. Back home this is against the law, but you will be the one going through extensive background checks and drug testing before and during your employment to make sure you're safe to work with the criminal that runs this hagwon.

Also, if you are a gyopo with fluent Korean ability, DO NOT LET THEM KNOW. Pretend you don't speak the language. You will be asked to do tasks outside of teaching which are NOT in your contract (such as interviewing parents or preparing documents) - they will take advantage of you in every way and you will not receive extra compensation for it.

Be prepared for parents to dictate how your classes and grading are done. Be prepared for "tiger moms" peeking through classroom windows. A single complaint from a parent can absolutely cause changes because this school bends over backward to keep them happy, you will be told differently how to handle things sometimes even on a weekly basis - but I'm pretty sure this is something that runs across the board for most hagwons, not just Hwajeong Poly.

Bottom line: save yourself the trouble, stay away from this awful school run by an awful vice director.

Subject: Brians English Academy - Ulsan

April 4, 2014

I’d like to nominate Brains English academy in Ulsan.

He was constantly making trouble with the staff and seemed to use intimidation to stop people questioning him. ******** was also a massive racist and constantly made inappropriate comments about Koreans - often in front of Korean staff. He also had an 'army' type approach to disciplining children.

The specific complaints are too many - I will just recommend you don’t work there and save yourself any misery.

Subject: Blacklist Reading Town Dongnae Campus in Busan

April 3, 2014

I would like to Blacklist Reading Town Dongnae Campus in Busan. The Hagwon tried to take extra money out for utilities but were forced to give me a refund when I confronted them about it. They also continuously paid me late every month and would not pay until I had to ask many, many times. Before I left I checked and they had not been paying my pension even though they took it out of my paycheck each month. I spoke to the director about this (he doesn't speak english, so a coworker had to translate), and he promised it would all be paid. When I received my pension check it was for half of the amount it was supposed to be and less than the amount the director had been taking out each month. Korean teachers are also never paid and there is heavy turnover. Do not be fooled by their nice appearance, this hagwon fully takes advantage of foreigners.

Subject: Pagoda Junior in Yangsan

March 4, 2014

Hi! Jon

Long story short, my canadian wife and I worked for Pagoda Junior in Yangsan in Korea.

We didnt get paid on time and they dont care if we get paid on time. After getting several calls from us, they paid us. And they didn't pay for my coworker's severance and flight to back home. After she reported them to Korean Labour Board, they paid for only severance.

They ignored the contract and many Korean teachers dont even have their contracts.

They blame their lossing business on teachers..

They are... immature for the business.

Subject: Bewegung Kinder, Yongin, Jukjeon, Center Plaza 7th floor.

March 2, 2014

I worked for the same school for 2 years. I completed my contract and I only received my plane ticket. She did not pay me my severance, pension, or tax returns. A very shady director with no concern for her employees.

Name: P** S**

School: Bewegung Kinder

Located: Yongin, Jukjeon, Center Plaza 7th floor.

Stay away, far away from this place.

Subject: Lynn Academy in Jeongneung, Seongbukgu, Seoul

March 2, 2014

Lynn Academy in Jeongneung, Seongbukgu, Seoul, pays employees 3 weeks late, in two instalments. They have been sued twice in a year.

Subject: YBM ECC Sangin, Daegu

February 26, 2014

I would like to give teachers some warning of YBM ECC Sangin in Daegu. During my time working for the director, I found him to be very dishonest and unfair to workers. The school wasn't paying into my pension fund, nor paying health contributions - which I later found out after expensive hospital treatment. Several other deductions were made from foreign teachers' monthly pay that were clearly not proper. When asked about it, the director made employees feel their job was not secure ('It's easy to find a replacement teacher very quickly these days', etc). I was also told that most Korean employees weren't paid on time and were owed several months pay. I regularly worked 8+ classes per day with no break and the director would often just walk into my class (without saying a word), caress students' hair, and then leave. It was all very odd. When I finished my contract, I was told I should give them a 'discount' on the severance payment and then told they couldn't pay me now but instead would send me payment through a bank transfer once I was home. They also booked my ticket for the next day without consulting me - presumably to force my hand. All in all, a shady place. I recommend you avoid it.

Subject: Avalon English Namcheon, Busan

February 22, 2014

Please add Avalon English Namcheon to the black list of Korean academies. Here is what I consider a very fair appraisal of the academy; Pros - you are paid on time and in full. They are flexible with your apartment (they helped me get a more suitable apartment for myself). That's about it. Cons - A disregard of the contractual terms. Heavy workload, including a lot of unpaid administration work (expect to never get more than 30 minutes break per 8 hour shift). Poor management of well, everything. Schedules are unfairly distributed and given late, or even last minute. Teaching skill comes way down the list of expectation and appreciation. Most importantly; do as you're told. Next ensure students have ticked every box in their books, before acting as a clown in class. If these are duly complete, you may teach but it's optional. You will be required to work substantially more than 8 hours every day. There is a lot of extra paperwork, I was often forced to work later than 10:30 finishing daily reports and grading papers. Co-workers are a nightmare. There is no support from Korean teachers. They're rude and disrespectful. The native teachers (about seven) are not much better. Several weekend and after hour engagements that are unpaid and mandatory. I was even forced to cross-dress and dance for 50 onlooking students, in the name of entertainment. I was the only one, may I add. I was later fired for no reason (other than my face didn't fit) and told they would cause me visa problems if I didn't leave quietly.

Subject: Creative Children's Learning Center (CCLC) in Gangnam-gu.

February 18, 2014

I would like to add CCLC (Creative Children's Learning Center) in Gangnam-gu, to the blacklist. They treat their employees very poorly and for some reason are extremely sexist towards women, even though the owner, manager, and co-teachers are all women. In the year that I worked there, at least 8 people left before their contract was up because of negative working conditions. Even after some of these teachers left (even after giving proper notice), they tracked down some of these teacher's and complained about them to their current employers. Overall, I found CCLC to be poorly run and vindictive, with an extremely poor working environment. DO NOT work here.

Subject: Worwick Franklin Institute Namgu, Busan.

February 13, 2014

Worwick Franklin Institute Namgu, Busan

I would like to add Worwick Franklin Institute with the director of J***e ***** to the blacklist because the school has lied and deceived me for an entire year. I personally have been paid late 9 out of 12 months. This lateness can extend up to 3 weeks. The woman who runs the school will break your contract, not pay you on time or at all. She is rude and deceiving and all her workers (Korean and foreign) are miserable. The turnover rate at the school is extremely high for employees because of this and she will go out at all lengths to benefit herself over the school and her teachers. My main problem is that she has not paid my severance bonus and will not! Avoid this school at all costs!

Subject: Yonsei University in Wonju.

February 12, 2014

Please add this University to the list of Black listed schools in Korea. Yonsei University in Wonju. Several reasons for not working at this school. First, they will ask you to sign a contract only in Korean, promising the normal perks for working at a university, including severance at the end of the time with the university, then deny the payment. Two years of working, contract was changed and benefits were removed without discussion. Example, after the second contract, three months into the term, medical benefits were removed. Seclusion from department and non working relationship with director who refused to answer emails and only addressed issues through other workers given his lack of English skills and communication abilities. Now contracts are based on no medical benefits, cutting hours to allow for such deletions of benefits, after contract is signed. Also do not trust if they say severance is part of the package, because they will blame administration at the end saying sorry you did not qualify. If you work here, be warned....get everything in writing and only in English because this university is far from being ethical.

Subject: Global English, Samgye, Masan

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I would like to add "Global English" to this list. The owner R***** does not run a completely legal school and will dismiss you for the day when Immigration is about to show, as they phone her first. She will renege on return flight payment and bonus after the year is up. She will also get moody in the 10th month and try her hardest to make you quit, if you are not going to sign another contract. She comes off as very trustworthy, but be careful of this she wolf in sheeps clothing. She will tell you you are not their to teach English, but only for the parents to see a white face and then reprimand you for not teaching more and then tell you you are not their too teach and the endless cycle begins. Be careful of this one and after 7 years teaching in Korea, this is my only bad experience.

Subject: MLS (My Language School) Nam-gu, Busan.

Friday, January 17, 2014

This school isn't completely horrible, but it's pretty bad. I worked here for 4 months before I quit. The students and co workers were really great. Unfortunately the owner and the management were terrible. Before signing a contract at MLS, both the owner and the manager assured me that my plane ticket to Korea would be paid for. It was clearly stated in my contract. Upon arriving to Korea, they changed their minds and decided that they were not going to pay for my flight. I asked for a copy of my contract several times and they refused.

They also assured me that I had been registered for health insurance. After 3 months I figured out that I had not been registered but they were charging me anyway. Of course they refused to refund any of the money.

After my first 2 months, they made all the foreign teachers sign a new contract. In the new contract, our sick days were reduced from 2 days a year to 0. Teachers now have to pay a penalty for taking a sick day.

At MLS, teachers work more and are paid less than most other schools. They will only hire those with teaching experience. However, they refuse to pay you any higher than 2.1, regardless of how much experience you have. Their contract states that you will teach a maximum of 7 classes a day. There are no books for any of these classes, so you must come up with the material yourself (which requires outside preparation). Preparing for and teaching 7 classes a day is a heavy work load. Regardless, the management will ask you to complete redundant tasks and take on additional classes during your free time. Of course they are not going to pay overtime.

The management is completely incompetent. They are unable to complete the simplest of tasks. This causes more work for all of the teachers in the office.

The apartment they put me in was pretty bad. It was tiny by Korean standards. Everything in the apartment was broken when I moved in. It also smelled like dead rodents were trapped in the walls.

There is absolutely no job security at this place. The the contract is supposed to be for one year, but it's actually month by month depending on the school's attendance. From the first day of work, the owner and the management threatened to fire me if I did not have a certain number of students sign up for my classes. The following 2 months, I exceeded the enrollment number they wanted for my classes. However, this did not stop them from threatening to fire me on a weekly basis if my numbers dropped. After 3 months I finally decided that this type of office atmosphere was too stressful, so I gave notice.

MLS has a very high turnover rate of both teachers and office staff. Nobody likes working there. People usually quit after several months. The school is losing business to another franchise which just opened across the street. With any luck this school will be closed by next year.

Subject: Kids Club Fun Languages School, another response

Friday, December 22, 2013

I worked for Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang under the director Mr. L** for four months (pulled a midnight run). I believe it is associated with the LCI schools. When I was hired, I was told it was in Anyang and could not find any negative information on it so I thought it was a good school. I even contacted the person who wrote the good review about it on this website, and he had only good things to say.

Unfortunately, this school was terrible. The first issue I had was getting my ARC card. It took my director two months to even get me the paperwork I needed to go to immigration. I know I have up to 90 days to do it, but I had to go to HIM and ask about it because I was getting worried. Other teacher friends received their ARC within a month. I didn't get mine until almost the 3 month mark. This was very frustrating because you cannot get cell phone contracts without the card.

The next issue was that my director refused to pay into my pension. He said he registered me as an "independent contractor" through the tax office so he didn't have to pay my pension that way. However, my contract states over and over that I am an "employee" and not a contractor. As an American, I was sponsored on an E-2 Visa which means he had to pay into my pension because of social security contracts between the US and Korea.

I also did not have health insurance for the four months I was in Korea. My contract stated that I was to pay 50% of the National Health insurance while my director paid the other 50%. I was never enrolled in this. Instead, right before the fourth month, Mr. L** tried to enroll me in an outside insurance company that was only 10,000 won a month.... No way was this up to the level of the national health insurance plan I should have been receiving.

The school was very disorganized and there was very little communication. Often times I would walk into school and the schedule would be completely changed without letting me know. This was very frustrating since it didn't give me time to prepare for the correct classes. I also had no resources except for the student text books. Some classes did not even have books at all. I didn't have any construction paper or glue to do any projects. I had to buy crayons for the classes because the crayons the school had left were really old and all of them were broken. I did not have a computer to use. If it weren't for the laptop I brought from home, I would have been completely screwed.

It didn't take me long to realize my apartment was infested with roaches. I told Mr. L** immediately, and he gave me some roach traps that didn't work. I went to the pharmacy and bought boric acid and lined my apartment walls with it, but it didn't help much. Mr. L** would not call an exterminator to get rid of the bug problem. It was very frustrating and disgusting.

Living in Korea was exciting. I met awesome people while I was there, but my job was not good so I left. I strongly advise anyone considering a job with this hagwon to look elsewhere.

Subject: ETCco, Seoul

Friday, December 20, 2013

I would like to add ETCco and its owner Xxxxx Xxx to the Korean Black List. She has several After School programs primarily in public schools in Seoul.

I am adding her because she simply has very bad business practices. (1)She uses two different contracts. One to give to Immigration's with a different name Mac Academy EWAS and an actual one with her companies name on it, ETCco. That should have been a big red flag about her integrity. (2)she adds extra responsibilities to your day that's not in the contract. Like, she expects you to make weekly phone English calls to 45 students, @ 10 min per student, (in my case) on your personal time with no additional compensation. That was Mon-TU-Wed, from 7:30 until 10. (3) She expects you to buy any supplies; printer paper, pens, pencils, etc and then submit a receipt for reimbursement with the monthly pay. (4) Monthly pay is almost always late. And then the typical short notice "I need it right away" demands that we all have come to deal with, although we hate it. Reports, lesson plans, etc.

(5) You can't discipline the students. And this was my undoing and why I'm no longer there. (6)It has taken better than 2 weeks to get my pay. When I asked she said next week. When I asked for specifics, she said "that's it". When next week came and went, she said tomorrow. When I sent a late text she said midnight. Then she made the deposit and shorted it by 602,000. I sent her several text in the early am. The next morn she sent a text saying she came to an understanding that there was an error on her part. So she sent the remaining portion save 100,000. So I again sent her a text.(7) She wants me to mail her the phone with my money that she had installed in my place. And she said she is holding my remaining 100,000 that she rightfully owes me until she gets the phone. Unbelievable. Work for her at your own risk!!! She said she prefers to work with men because the women always run. Hmmmmmm wonder why!

Subject: English 3000 (or, Ummapyo 3000), Pohang, ROK

Friday, December 11, 2013

You should at least consider posting the school, English 3000 (or, Ummapyo 3000) to the blacklist, for the following reason : I signed on with them in June 2011 and I remained with them thru July 2012, which is 2 months longer than I was obliged to. Before my renewal time came up, the principal renewed my contract w/out first consulting me. When I learned of this, I spoke with him, and his wife, about my plan to return to the States to pursue a particular grad course for sci teaching, and I explained that leaving in July or August would be necessary in order to orchestrate this goal.

They appeared disappointed and they asked me to stay, if possible, at least thru July, to help find a new foreign teacher. I agreed to do this, then the HP "un-did" the new visa fix at my request. I left in late July, and for my efforts in assisting them the HP slammed me with a very bad review once I got back to the USA. This, after they renewed my visa and repeatedly stated how they liked having me.....

So now, I have no reference letter, no way to safely use their school in trying to get new work.

My co-teachers had warned me about the HP while I was still there, but you know, I gave the SOB the benefit of the doubt. In the end, he lived up to the reputation known only to an inside circle. Use your discretion in posting this, since the school itself seems friendly, the students were terrific and ALL my co-teachers were pure gold to work with----as were the HP's children, too. I don't want to get the school itself in trouble BUT .....I do want other teachers, foreign or Korean, to be forewarned of said HP. All my friends, while in the ROK, were Korean, and my overall time there was outstanding.

I was hoping to return to work there, but.....w/ no referral to fall back on, that hope is now shot to hell. I miss my students dearly, and I am thus forced to consider other countries instead.

Subject: Be Smart Cheongju, San-nam Dong

Dec 3 at 10:42 AM

This hagwon is rife with corruption and human rights violations to teachers. School director will dock your pay if a student that you teach cancels their enrolment. Do not consider employment even under desperate circumstances.

Subject: Pilgrim International Christian School, Gumi City near Daegu

Nov 15 at 8:57 PM

Before I start, I wish to mention the recruiter that contacted me about this job and who lured me to this position. He was very aware of the deceit and partook in and told me lies about the job to lure me into getting on a plane to Korea. The recruiter was VivaCom otherwise known as eslcom and the guy's name was D**** the director.

I'm writing this not because I want to but because I feel that it is necessary to give a heads up about this so called Christian school. The last thing I want to do is criticize a "Christian" school as I am a devout follower of Jesus Christ. Yet my conscious urges me to warn any foreigner about the pitfalls of this job. This would be especially perilous if you came here on an E2 visa. I myself am here on an F4 (Korean descendant) visa. One of the implications of my visa (F4) is that I don't need a letter of release to get a new job. You very well may be deceived from day one and if you are on an E2 visa your options will be very limited. In other words, you may just have to go back to the country you departed from and you will bear these costs on your own.

Before I lay in to my bad experiences I will note the one good point about my experience here--at least they pay on time, that's it. Me, I quit the day after I got paid because I feared that they wouldn't pay me if they knew I was leaving. And I turned out to be right as the director--I will call him K--demanded that I pay him the fee paid to the recruiter. He said he would sue me if I refused to pay him this fee and to which I replied “go ahead--sue me.”

So, here I am in the US and I get this offer from ***** for the position at the school named Pilgrim International Christian School, PICS for short. He offers me a contract with shared housing and I responded that I would like to negotiate single housing instead. He responds by saying that “Oh no, that was my mistake. That housing was for a female teacher because there is another female teacher already living there.” They adjusted the contract and offered me private housing. When I got to the job location, I was immediately put into a dormitory with the students. There was no housing let alone any female teachers that had any off property shared housing. It was all a lie. In case you think this is a fluke, I was told by a previous teacher that housing has been promised to the two previous teachers but they were all given the same story that I is under renovation at the moment. This same story has been told repeatedly.

Next, I was asked if I ever taught SAT/TOEFL classes. I never did, so I mentioned that I wasn’t qualified to teach this subject matter. I thought that was the end of it but lo-and-behold, I was teaching this the next day. The only material I was given was a soft covered SAT prep book to work out of. I had to develop the curriculum. Well, you may say, that’s not too bad. But, here’s the clincher. You teach one classroom the whole day—yes, this is the only schooling these high schoolers get.

These students bank on the director’s referring them to study in America after they graduate. If they are lucky to get the director’s recommendation to study abroad they will be placed in Pensacola Christian College. This school is not accredited as far as my research has led me. In other words, these students’ credits will not be recognized and transferrable once they graduate from Pensacola Christian College.

So, the bottom line is this. If you get offered this job and feel tempted to accept it, feel free to contact me for more information. If I were coming here on an E2 visa, I would take the nearest exit door on this job. If you are coming here on an F4 visa and you don’t mind living in a dorm where you will likely be sharing the bathroom and shower facility this job may be okay for you. Anyway, I hope my review of my experience will be of some service to you. Again, I’m not one to bash but I do feel a responsibility to save another from a potentially very, very bad experience…especially if you are on an E2 visa.

Subject: EPL English Institute, Incheon

November 5, 2013 10:28 PM,

I'd like to add EPL English Institute to the Hagwon list after a year of completely unnecessary drama. The owners are liars (more like terrible actors) who have no problem with bullying their employees. Broken promises and instances of seriously dick-ish behavior had me counting the days until my contract was up and I could leave Korea forever. They'll fool you into thinking their a couple of level-headed, real people who want to offer you a great job but there's another side to them which I wouldn't trust for a second. Exercise caution.

Subject: EOS Wingsley school in Suwon, Yeongtong, South Korea.

October 23, 2013

I would like to contribute to the blacklist EOS Wingsley school in Suwon, Yeongtong, South Korea. This schools upper management is leaking in forethought, compassion, and sense of right and wrong. Recently one of our teachers was hospitalized. The CEO and Principal were not going to pay for half of her medical expenses, as promised in our contract, on the grounds that they went to visit her in the hospital. The work environment is degrading and poorly managed and the school has a very high turnover rate. I am not leaving the school yet out of pure stubbornness, however I want to save any unknowing teacher from pain in the future. Don't sign with EOS.

Subject: KDLP in Imae, Bundang

September 14, 2013

KDLP in Imae, Bundang. My boyfriend and I worked at this private hagwon just short of one year. First, let me explain how the school is structured. Each kindergarten class has a Korean homeroom teacher, and when I left there was one 5 year old class, two six year old classes and three seven year old classes (Korean ages, all varying levels). Four "foreign teachers" were responsible for the following subjects: reading/phonics, science/math, PE, language arts and creative arts. A typical kindergarten day for a foreign teacher would consist of four 30 minute classes, hour lunch*, three 30 minute classes, and then snack before the children left. So before three and a half hours of elementary classes began, I would usually have six or seven DIFFERENT kindie classes. The Korean homeroom teachers were responsible for two 30 minute classes in that time; a craft class and a phonics class with a completely prepared curriculum. The amount of work foreign teachers did compared to Korean homeroom teachers was outrageous. The only reason I bring it up is because these Korean teachers CONSTANTLY complained to the owner/principal about how little we did and how busy they were. They also tattled on us if we ever thought about coloring for three minutes at the end of a class on a Friday. The owner always took their side. Always. Over the course of the year more and more work was piled on us and our Korean coworkers (owner included) treated us as if we were the enemy. There was no curriculum for the classes we taught, and it would not be uncommon for the owner to come up to you and tell you to teach a class about sexual reproduction that day, with less than 20 minutes to plan. I learned to allot about 5 minutes of planning time per class. I simply refused to work overtime, not be paid for it, and never thanked for it. With exactly one month left on my contract I was fired because I communicated with a prospective teacher about the negative work environment. I lost out on a lot of money but was so happy not to have to go back into that school.

*For the first nine months of our contract we had an hour lunch. After the ninth month the owner insisted that we eat with the kids. This would have meant that on most days we would be in the class with children from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with no breaks. When my boyfriend brought up that that would put our contract hours over, so we would have to be paid overtime, the owner was beside herself and insisted that that time spent with the students would not count as instructional time. We refused and had labor laws handy.


August 26, 2013

Do not work for ILS (INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL) in Dongbaek. All the korean staff are unpleasant and talk behind your back. The director is cheap and will try to cheat you out on whatever she can. They make you work long hours with no sick days. Overall, terrible work environment. Housing is basically a teeny room. You won't have space to walk around.

Subject: GLI (Yangcheon-gu. Seoul)

August 12, 2013

I would like to add GLI (Yangcheon-gu. Seoul) to the black list. The reason is that you do not get paid on time or in full or even at all. My first few months there it was fine and the director (D*****) paid me on time and in full. Then the payments started to come late by a few weeks, but still in full. By my 4th month payments were never on ti,me and never in full. He would pay me 500,000won here and then another bit there but never the full amount on the date stated in my contract. After a while it got to the point where he was 2 months late paying me. He would tell me he would pay me and either not pay me anything or just a small amount. Not only is this hard to keep track off but gets very frustrating and confusing. I would have to go down to his office and practically beg to be paid. The reason behind this are not becasue he is a bad person or doesnt want to pay but he is in big finacial difficulty and cant pay teachers but is still hiring them. I forefilled my one year contract but by the end I was 2 months pay down. The director asked if I would do an extra month to finish the semester and I said I would if he paid me everything he owed in full. After endless empty promises the money didnt appear so I ended up having to walk out after my year. I am now taking him to the labour board to get my money but it is really stressful not knowing when your next pay check will be or how much and I don't want another teacher going through this.

Subject: LCI Academy Jamsil

Fri, Aug 2, 2013

Avoid LCI Academy Jamsil. They pay you on time, and that's about the only good thing I can say about the school. They've fired three people in the last year. One girl was given only two weeks notice and another had one day. She was given 24 hours to get out of her apartment. She was fired for leaving class to go to the hospital after getting hit in the head at work.

The director of the school, Ms M****, spends most of her day spying on the teachers through the CCTV cams in every room. She even listens to the teachers talking during lunch about their personal lives. The manager Y***** is considered weird by even the Korean staff. Their English is so poor no one understands them half the time anyway.

The work hours are long. I was teaching 35 hours a week plus all the grading, test making, weekly evaluations, and daily reports they expect you to do on your lunch break. For seven hours of teaching in a day, you only get the one hour lunch. Some teachers never even had time to eat. I was expected to grade all the homework done by 9 students in ten minutes. No one has ever been allowed to use one of the 3 sick days stated in the contract. One veteran teacher was literally vomiting in front of her class from a viral infection and she was not allowed to go home.

LCI Jamsil seems like a great school at first but then all the bad things start to show. Your first and last paycheck are paid on hourly instead of salary, so instead of the 2.4 mil salary promised, you get paid significantly less depending on your schedule. My first pay check was a measly 1.3 mil. They charge 600,000 for a housing deposit and then will keep half of it if they don't like you.

Several teachers who completed their contracts continue to work in Korea, but don't go anywhere near the school. Nobody has ever signed up for another year. The director confiscated teacher's day presents the students brought in from the teachers she didn't like, and "returned" them to parents. She did the same thing for Chuseok gifts parents sent to teachers.

Stay away from this school. There are better places to work in Seoul.

Subject: Poly (Korea Poly School aka KPS) in Mannyeon Dong, Daejeon

Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:40 AM

Teaching at Poly (Korea Poly School aka KPS) in Mannyeon Dong, Daejeon was a nightmare. The management was not only ineffective but, they were actually hostile towards foreigners. It was clear from everything they did that they thought foreign teachers were lazy, useless, and, above all, replaceable.

* The hours are incredibly long.

When the assistant director) sent me my contract, I questioned the hours in the contract. The hours listed were 9am to 7:30pm. She told me that this was the absolute longest I could be asked to work. So, I assumed that these hours were for intensives. (Intensives are the extra classes academies offer when students are on breaks from their regular schools.) Well, on my first day, when I complained about the long day, I was told that these were the regular hours (9:30am to 7:30pm MWF and 9:30am to 6:40pm T/Th). I reminded her that she had told me that these were the absolute longest possible hours and not normal hours. She then denied ever telling me this. She even denied knowing what intensives were - as in “How could you assume that these were the hours for an intensive when I don’t even know what an intensive is?!?!?” So, for several months, I worked 9:30am to 7:30pm. Then, on March 1st, the hours went to 9am to 7:30pm MWF and 9:00am to 6:40pm T/Th. To give you some perspective, other schools I have worked at were from 3pm to 10pm each day and 4:00pm to 10:30pm each day. Plus, within 6 weeks of me being hired, Poly had summer intensives. Clearly, she was lying about the hours and about not knowing what an intensive is.

* The salary is too low for a 50+ hour work week.

Salary is another terrible issue at Poly. Poly’s salary is low. I accepted the job because they matched my previous salary of 2.6 million won a month plus a housing allowance. I thought I was getting a good deal because I thought I would be working a similar amount of hours. Nope! It turns out that with 2 years of previous teaching experience, I still made less than first year teachers who were hired three months before me. Poly had started new teachers at 2.8 million won plus benefits. However, I was hired, with experience, at less money. They also never pay you one penny of overtime for all of those hours. They just play with your salary to justify the hours to the labor board. My pay stub stated that I made 1.8 million won as a base salary, 100,000 won as a meal allowance, and 700,000 won as overtime. When you add it up, it’s just my regular salary of 2.6 million won. People who were hired after me make even less money for the same amount of work.

* Poly clearly does not value their foreign teachers.

An example of this is their Teacher of the Term award. Originally, this was awarded to one foreign teacher and one Korean teacher each month. This lasted for about two months. After that, it was awarded to two Koreans employees of the school who, more often than not, rarely even interacted with students. Eventually, the award was discontinued.

* Management is ineffective.

Poly’s management is horrible. During our Monday afternoon meetings (foreigners only), we were regularly given lists of 15 to 20 things that we were doing incorrectly and had to change immediately. It’s very discouraging to get such a list week after week.

In addition to this, the director is pretty much never there. I could go a month and only see him once. Now, he is regional director of three Poly locations but, as those locations are within an hour of each other, it does not make sense that he was in Mannyeon Dong so infrequently.

* The parents rule the school.

The majority of Poly’s considerable rules and regulations are created to keep parents happy. Teachers must sign each page of each child’s workbook to signify that they checked each and every answer and that all of the answers are correct. Teachers must also sign underneath each homework assignment that a kid writes down to verify that the assignment was written down correctly. I understand that, as a private business, Poly does need to keep parents aka paying customers happy but, there is a limit to this.

There was an instance where a teacher signed a page of a kid’s workbook and one of the answers was misspelled. This led to about 5 hours of meetings for that teacher. Poly’s managers said they did not agree with the parents getting so angry about this but, neither of them did anything to stop it. The parents would not have had access to this teacher if the management didn't allow it.

In conclusion, work anywhere in Korea but here. Sure, they’ll pay you on time but, you’ll be miserable.

Subject: CDI in Gwangju

Wednesday July 24, 2013

Stay away from CDI in Gwangju.

So without going into too much detail about who I am, let me tell you some things about these employers: - promote unqualified managers whose word means nothing when bosses decide to change their minds ostensibly based on who they like more

- While bosses can choose to give holidays, they do not offer any vacation at all, other than the 5 days you're allowed contractually. And even sometimes they move that around on you.

- Your relationship and dedication to them matters not if it's not written and signed: employee asked manager if he could be reimbursed for plane ticket months after contract, was given OK; months later, bosses deny reimbursement and say manager was wrong. Technically yes, but poor business practice and reneging on spoken promise.

- told to come in at 3 pm and not leave until 10, when contract states you don't have to be in until latest 3:50. For some people, this became a terminable offense.

- Employees have more weekend working hours than managers, who are paid more and work less.

- You may be forced to teach very young children, even if that wasn't discussed at all prior to hiring.

- They might ask to rewrite your contract significantly upon arrival (has happened 4 times thus far), and refusal would result in immediate termination. This is being practiced more and more on new hires, and is essentially a chokehold b/c you likely have no other choice.

This school is going to fail soon, so this likely won't matter for long. But do yourself a favor and find any other school to work for. Many CDIs are fine, but this one is toxic.

Subject: JM Story School (also known as JM Kinder) in Cheongju

Monday July 22, 2013

I would like to add JM Story School (also known as JM Kinder) in Cheongju. My husband and I worked at the school and ran into some very unfortunate situations.

The director would not get us an outside apartment, so we had to live above the school and also charged us far more than she should have for utilities. We're fairly certain we were paying most, if not all, of the school's utility bills for this reason. She also lives above the school, so the independent living factor goes out the window as she is across the hall, or depending on where she wants you, right underneath her room and sharing a bathroom.

The director did not pay into pension, or health insurance, and refused to pay me more than 2 million won in overtime. After confronting her about all of these things, she did pay for several things she was not obligated to, but in doing so wanted us gone from the school in 3 days time which is a contract violation (the contract stated that she needed to give us 20 days notice). I was also called a liar after giving her the amount calculated for the overtime owed. She told me that the contract stated that overtime was 15,000 won an hour, when it was in fact 20,000 won an hour and she had previously paid my husband the 20,000/hour for overtime hours he worked.

The school itself sees little money returned to it. The director will buy books maybe once a year and won't order new ones. Classes are a mess and she'll toss in varying age and skill levels together with no materials or any sort of plan.

It's not a place I would recommend going, definitely. I would advise that if you would decide to go, stay on her about everything, saying no to her is good and encouraged, calculate your hours monthly, make sure you get what you're owed per the contract (in ours that was health insurance, severance, pension, 2.1 million a month/120 teaching hours, apartment, etc.), and don't be afraid to use the words: labor board, illegal, and lawyer.

Subject: iSponge English in Pohang

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I worked at iSponge English in Pohang. The working conditions at this school are terrible. You are told everything last minute from adding new classes, new students, open classes, etc., which means you have no time to prep. You dont get any breaks, and you have to spend your lunch break feeding kids. You will be expected to work past 6pm (work hrs 9am-6pm) almost everyday. They will try to cheat you out of every penny you work. They were late many times with my pay checks. In addition they scammed a lot of money from me when my contract was completed. They deducted holidays from my pay and also deducted days when the school wasn't open. I am still waiting for them to finish paying all of my pension.

My electricity wasn't working properly for the last 6 months I worked their and they refused to fix it. At one point my toilet was blocked and they didn't help me to find a plumber, I had to ask my Korean friend for help.

These people treat their employees terribly. If you're still on the fence, ask people in the Facebook group "Pohang Legends" what their friends have experienced at iSponge English Pohang.

I heard the school might change their name but the management will still be the same. The owner's name is Mrs. K*** and the head teacher's name is N** C**

Please spread the news, so other teachers don't have to experience what I did.

Subject: EWAS located in Guri City

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The hagwon is EWAS located in Guri City. The director's name is Mr.L***, who likes to be referred to as "Elder L***". At this time I do not have a contact number for this school, but as far as I know, it is the only EWAS hagwon in Guri City so it shouldn't be difficult to get the contact information with a simple Google or Yahoo search.

I believe this hagwon should be added to the blacklist for many reasons, but five of the most important ones are:

1. If the student enrollment goes down, so will your pay.

2. If you don't fight for your pre-arranged vacation time, Mr.L*** will try to cut it a few days short at the last minute because the parents want the kids to study more.

3. Mr.L*** demands all of his foreign teachers attend his church on Saturdays and participate at least one a month by giving a children's story (Yes, it's actually in his contract that teachers attend his church).

4. If Mr.L*** wants to keep you there, he will continually give you a bad reference to other schools or recruiters behind your back, while at the same time he will ask you to continue working at his school. He did this to me and I had such an impossible time finding another job in Korea, I had to get a former employer in China to give me a good reference in order for me to actually get another job in Korea.

5. The working schedule changes on a monthly basis, so you never know from one month to the next when you'll be working, how many hours you'll be working, or what those hours will be.

As I said, there are other reasons this hagwon should be blacklisted, but I have given the top five, in my opinion. Please avoid this hagwon like the plague. Everything sounded fine before I got there, but things turned ugly pretty fast. I hope future teachers can avoid the nightmare I went through at this school by not working there.

Subject: GKI school (Global Kids International) in Guri

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I would like to add GKI school (Global Kids International) in Guri to the blacklist, because I know that they are hiring now. In the past 6 months, 4 teachers have quit this school early because of being mistreated (there are only 5 teachers at the school at a given time).

You work all day and have to take home work every night as well. You will be constantly screamed at and made to feel less than human. Korean teachers and foreign teachers are not allowed to be friends outside of work, and are often pitted against each other by the boss. This creates a really hostile work environment. You are given 5 sick days in your contract, but you are never allowed to take them. It doesn't matter how serious your illness is, they will never let you rest at home.

Don't work here. It's difficult to describe the situation without giving specific examples that could get us in trouble by Korean law. But all of the teachers are miserable at the school, and you will be too.

Subject: Gwangjin SLP and Top Secret English in Gangdong

Monday, July 8, 2013

My husband and I worked for Gwangjin SLP from March 2012 through February 2013. Coming to Korea for the first time we were very hesitant about working for a hagwon as we had read the many horror stories online. However, once we arrived and started working here we had a great experience for quite a while. Yes the working days could be long, 10:00-7:20, but we both had some breaks in the afternoon and did not find the work to be difficult at all and we loved the students. We did not have much interaction with the director and her husband (Ms. Jung and Mr. Kwak) as they did not really speak English. However, they did give us a few extra things for our apartment like a table, chairs, microwave, etc. when we first started working there. The apartment they provided was a typical Korean studio apartment. They let us move to a different apartment (that we chose and put down the key deposit for) and then paid their part of the housing allowance as rent every month. We were always paid on time and given everything we were due. In fact we were so satisfied with the school that when we decided to stay in Korea for a second year we went ahead and signed contracts for another year at Gwangjin SLP (another foreigner did as well).

Unfortunately, in February things began to change quite a bit. We found out the director had not paid her portion of the rent for our apartment for the month and we were paid a good three or four days late. We began to get very worried about the financial status of the school and director around that time and actually decided we wanted to complete our current one year contracts through the month of February but not continue working there under the new contract. Upon telling the director this, she began to threaten us saying she would have our visas cancelled so we would be forced to leave the country and never come back and refused to give us our release letters which we would need to find other jobs. After the director had had a few days to cool down (it is evident she can have anger management issues at times as we sometimes heard her screaming at someone on the phone), we were told we would be allowed to leave after our current contracts were up and she could find someone to replace us. In the meantime, the director’s husband contacted the schools we would be starting at as soon as we were finished there and said some awful things about us as people and teachers which nearly cost us our new jobs. We definitely made the right choice to get out of this school when we did because since then the school has tanked financially. My husband went to the labor department and they forced her to pay us our severance pay (much later than the contract states) and our last paychecks were nearly twenty days late. After talking to people who still currently work there, they have been getting paid ten or twenty days late every month as the director is very clearly not stable financially.

I would NOT recommend anyone take a job at Gwangjin SLP or Top Secret English in Gangdong (the directors own this school as well) at this time. As I stated originally we had a wonderful experience here until the financial problems began to hit. Until the director can get her finances worked out to be what they used to be I would not advise anyone to work for her at these two schools.

Subject: EIEL in Yeongtong dong, Yeongtong gu, Suwon, SK

Friday, June 21, 2013 6:16 PM

I'd like to add to the blacklist:

EIEL in Yeongtong dong, Yeongtong gu, Suwon, SK. * This school will probably change its name: It has been the Tweed Institute and TIMA before it was EIEL. This school makes you work 10 hours a day plus about 2 hours of marking. There is no curriculum, structure, schedule or rules. It is the most unhealthy environment I have ever seen for children. I have had to stop fist fights, kids fighting with scissors, etc. There are no breaks, only 40 minutes for lunch. The native teachers are not allowed to discipline the students. It is an atmosphere of oppression; the director won't allow the Korean teachers to talk to the native teachers. The director will do everything to prevent the native teachers from getting an ARC card, therefore you can't set up a bank account, get a contract for a cellphone, etc. I had to wait 1.5 months for my ARC card. They also refuse pension and healthcare . Do not work here.

Subject: English 2020, Changwon Elite School, or Yoons, in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea

Friday, June 14, 2013 9:15 AM

I would like to put "English 2020," "Changwon Elite School," or "Yoons" on the Hagwon Blacklist. It is located in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea. They are the same school. People are usually hired under "Changwon Elite School," but it really goes by "English 2020." It is an awful school. I'm a certified teacher with 7 years of teaching experience and "teachers" by no means actually teach. I had taught in two other countries previously -issues were more than cultural differences. The apartment was disgusting and literally had mold growing from the ceiling. One day I was sick and had to go to the hospital. The director FORCED me to sign a paper saying I was not performing job duties. She said if I did not sign the paper, then she would fire me. Her husband is from England. He "trains" the teachers but has zero education background or training. The school is deceitful and manipulative. They use CCTV not to check on students, but to spy on employees. No one has ever resigned and the employees who do stick it out want to leave. This hogwan put a bitter taste in my mouth of Korea. Fortunately, I was able to leave and go to a different school. Out of care and concern for you, please do not work there. It will make you want to buy the next ticket home.


Subject: Reply: Changwon Elite School, or Yoons, in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea

Friday, June 14, 2013 9:15 AM

Hello Jon,

Thank you for your prompt response to my email.

Response to the blacklist posting "Changwon Elite School" on Friday June 14th.

I would like to make a brief reply to her posting. We are one of the largest schools in Changwon, Sangnam-dong (not "Sang-namdo"). Firstly, regarding accommodation, anyone who would like to work in this school may speak to our foreign teachers to ask about the apartments we provide. I'm sure these teachers will not endorse her opinion. Furthermore, foreign teachers have in the past renewed their contracts. To claim that "No one has ever resigned" (I think she meant 're-signed') is something she could obviously never know, particularly since she only worked here for two months before being dismissed. Experience of teaching can be a great attribute. Clearly, however, those with experience of teaching in their home countries will not always become good EFL teachers in South Korea. Incidentally, the writer of the above posting only completed six months of the contract in her new school in Changwon before quitting and leaving the country. Finally, our school (like many others) does have a camera in each classroom. It is actually a vital tool when training new people who have never taught before. Again, any individual interested in working for this institute may speak to teachers who currently work here. That will provide a much more accurate and objective view of the school. Thank-you.


Hello, I am responding to the post about Changwon Elite School, English 20/20, or Yoons.

I hardly think accidently leaving off a hyphen or misspelling a Korean word takes away from the validity of placing the hagwon on the blacklist. (The message was typed on a touch screen in a moment of concern for prospective teachers.) I don’t care to talk or think about the school anymore, but I am doing it just because I was disappointed that I didn’t have any kind of warning before my husband and I resigned from our jobs in our home country, sold our cars, packed our possessions into a storage unit, and traveled across the world to teach at their school. It’s a big commitment to move to another country and I feel terrible for English teachers who have experiences like we did. However, do not be discouraged, I did have three other positive experiences teaching abroad...this was the only negative one.

I want to start by writing positive aspects about the school to be as fair as possible. Since it is a bigger school, they do seem to follow the rules set by the Korean law. They provided insurance, paid us on time, and gave us a pay stub. The director’s husband, though he certainly keeps the hagwon’s best interest in mind, is a native English speaker and that helped with communication.

I worked at the school for three months. I would have left earlier, but they said I had to work another month to get my letter of release to work somewhere else. I found another hagwon that was a better fit within a week of when I decided I was ready to leave. I got to create the reading and writing curriculum and I successfully prepared students to get into international schools. I had a literal waiting list of parents who knew I got academic results and wanted me to teach their children. I worked at the other school for eight months. (I was working at both schools for over a month because the second school needed me as soon as possible.) Though I was treated well, got to pick my own housing, etc., I did find out that I didn’t actually have health insurance near the end of that time. When I first realized that I wasn’t covered, I confronted my boss. She said she would resolve it, but never did. Since she had broken her end of the contract of providing me proper insurance and never corrected the problem, I gave her a month’s notice and applied to other teaching positions. I took a fantastic international teaching position outside of Korea. I’ve never broken a contract outside of my time in Korea, and in this case, the contract was already broken by the employer.

While at the second school, the director consulted with me and had me interview all incoming teachers. During that time, I interviewed THREE current employees at English 20/20 who wanted to leave (2 foreigners and one Korean national). After I left Korea, I found out that yet another unhappy English 20/20 employee was hired (before the completion of her contract at English 20/20) to work at my second school. I was told by one of the English 20/20 employees that the only teacher that ever re-signed was the director’s husband. I cannot verify the accuracy of this information, but I can easily see how it would be true.

During my time at Changwon Elite School or English 20/20, I never felt respected as a professional. They most likely believe how they are teaching is best for the kids (or at least that it makes them money..regardless if the kids are learning or are truly engaged), but drudging through workbooks, doing the same 4-5 activities, and timing how long each activity is on CCVT are far from best practices. Workbook pages on an excel spreadsheet is not a curriculum! No critical and creative thinking was involved, the teachers were bored, and the kids were the most miserable I had ever seen. It was depressing being a part of such a business and I obviously couldn’t tolerate it.

Speaking with a currently employed teacher would not provide you with an objective point of view. Those teachers would not be comfortable sharing how they really felt because the school could possibly hold letters of recommendation, return flights, and pay over their heads if they were truly honest.

In sum, this is my warning to you if you are thinking about working at the school. I wish I had had one myself. I wish you the best in your search!

Subject: YBM Ssangmun ECC

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 9:35 AM

I would like to Blacklist YBM Ssangmun ECC, a school that still owes me over $1,000 while I am at home and unable to do anything about it.

I was a bit naïve coming into this and I highly recommend that you do not work at this place (or any YBM HOGwan) under any circumstances. My experience was so awful that I did not finish my contract. It was the worst experience of my life and I don’t say that lightly. I left behind my apartment and boyfriend to come home due to this job.

-The day I started work, I was told I would have to work 12+ hours a day for “Intensives” (not mentioned in the contract) as a brand new teacher. Yes, I was working up to 13 hours a day for at least 3 weeks. I felt trapped as I was in a new country and had nowhere to go. This was a nightmarish period. I am 24 years old and this is not my first job and I was so exhausted I cried every night. What the job did not tell me was that the person before me quit and they desperately needed me as a replacement for intensives. Intensives happen about 3 times a year and you get barely any overtime. They will find any way possible to keep you there as long as humanly possible and take away your overtime.

-I taught 8-11 classes on a regular basis., often with no breaks. Believe me, 8-11 40 minute classes is EXHAUSTING.

-My supervisor J******** forgot or neglected to pick me up from the bus station upon arrival. About 2 hours late, 3 Koreans who spoke absolutely no English picked me up. I was given a note I could not eat until the morning due to a blood test (after a 20+-hour fight. I was starving and the next day I had my blood test. Then I was brought to work and told I couldn’t eat until hours later.

-WORKSHEET TIME! Rather than give us our scheduled breaks, this school forced me and my coworkers to stay inside the office and make worksheets. These worksheets were absolutely pointless and I never saw one of the worksheets used. When I asked to make worksheets for classes I actually teach since we never seem to have enough material I was told I was not allowed. The worksheets were checked by our supervisor Jeannie (now promoted to manager) who yelled at me for not finishing one once when all the computers were broken. When I complained about worksheet time my supervisor said I was “Weird.” When I threatened to quit, I was threatened with very expensive penalties. My supervisor Jeannie took delight in forcing me to do the useless worksheets. On the YBM website it clearly states that teachers are not supposed to provide the teaching materials.

-My apartment in “Anyang Apartments” had cockroaches, and wasn’t clean. I was given no bed and an absolutely filthy smelly mattress to sleep on and used sheets, and a used blanket and used pillowcase. The apartment came with no curtains (I was woken up at 5 am on a regular basis) and no Tupperware. The stove had to be replaced as it was broken and the shower and sink were broken. The air conditioner (in 105 degree weather) broke shortly afterwards. When I asked my coworkers they had the same problems and or worse, especially with roaches, which infested the entire building. The walls were filthy and covered with random brown stains (which they school cleverly tried to cover up with furniture) and the torn, filthy furniture had literally been dragged in from the trash (this was confirmed by my coworkers.)

-Sick days! I was under tremendous pressure not to take a sick day. Having taken only 2 sick days I set the record at YBM Ssangmun ECC for most sick days. Eventually I developed several infections that went untreated and had to go home without even telling them because I was soooo ill and was having severe kidney pain I felt my life was in danger. I discussed the pain with my supervisor S**** and the possibility of having to go home and the only thing they could offer me was switching one class around. The did not offer to cut a single class to help me. At least I thankfully caught an emergency flight home and YBM immediately proceeded to harass my boyfriend who worked at another school and his coworkers trying to find me. (They gave me no help beforehand in finding medical care except to say wait 2 weeks or go to the ER-, which I had already done, but had nobody to translate)

-Upon arriving home, they told my boyfriend that he (who worked for a different school in the same company) would have to pay the overtime due to my coworkers. That’s right. They tried to get my boyfriend in a different school to pay THEIR overtime. -My paystubs were withheld from me almost every single payday. I had to send 4-5 emails begging for a copy of my paystubs every time we got paid, sometimes to no avail.

-In the winter, there was NO HEAT provided in below freezing temperatures for the afternoon students who paid slightly less to go to the program. Students sat there in their full winter coats gloves, hats, and scarves and complained it was too cold to learn. I stood there in my coat and scarf and was too cold to teach. People were constantly ill and still showing up for work and school. I had to beg from the main desk for the remote to turn on the heat, which was often withheld from me. You can forget about heat or AC in the teacher’s room. Oh, and summer is worse. Expect to be working weeks in 90 degree weather with no AC.

-We went through 2 managers and 2 supervisors and several people quitting within just 8 months of being there.

There is so much more to say about the awful time I had there, but to shorten this long, horrible story, I learned my lesson the hard way. Upon arriving home I understood the exploitative and slave driving nature of the YBM ECC Company. I heard even worse experiences from other schools. Do not work for this company especially YBM SSangmun ECC, that’s all I can say.

Subject: Kings Kids in S. Korea

Saturday, June 8, 2013 9:40 AM

Anyhow, don't work at Kings Kids in S. Korea. I want to show you what happens when you mention to them you have an honest concern about working in the wrong school in Korea upon initial recruitment phases. This is word-for-word after I mentioned I wasn't inventing concerns in my imagination. I sited two US Embassy warnings, because the director of a school was very rude about my questions and concerns, and this was his response in an email- copy and pasted here:

"why should i am interested the warning of us embassy? did i break the contract?


i have hired over 100 foreign teachers. but i have never broken the contract. that's it.

do you worry about working in kroea? if so, you had better search for your job in any other countries."

Well there you have it, don't work at Kings Kids. If you have any fears or concerns, you are told to move to another country- and OH, don't forget. They've NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG EVER AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT, YOU STUPID AMERICAN.

Subject: Daegu University of Foreign Studies

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Daegu University of Foreign Studies - didn't pay severance, which was stated in the contract. Only gave 3 weeks notice of non-renewal.

Subject: Gangwon International Language Institute (GILI)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:10 AM

We would like to put GILI (Gangwon International Language Institute on the Black List.

I worked at Gangwon International Language Institute from 2010-2011 and friends of mine completed their contracts recently.

This is by far the worst place to work at in Korea. The Korean staff will do the following:

1) Treat you horribly

2)Students and staff will rate you on a weekly basis and will fire you of your ratings are not at least 80 %

3) There will always be issues with your pay. I had to wait 5 months to receive my severance pay

4) Contracts change on a regular basis and mean absolutely nothing

5) You will be shouted at, yelled at, and treated like you are an alien

The best thing that happened to me was to leave this Horrible Place!!! If you want to be treated like an animal, this is the place for you!

Subject: SLP Gwanak-gu

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I would like to add SLP Gwanak-gu to the Blacklist.

I worked that this school for 8 months before I pulled a midnight run.

The pay was decent, 2.3 million won. We teacher were paid on time. We received Stubs with notices for "extra-fees" taken out every other week. When I asked about the money being taken out I was told is a security fee for the watchman. I was told that was necessary to pay the doorman a fee for keeping the lobby clean.

My head teacher that hired me was fired the 2nd week I was there. She recently changed the entire school curriculum to a new book series, and surprise as soon as she created the schedule and taught all the helper teachers how to use the books, she was fired. Her replacement, a brown nosing little shrew of a woman.

With the old head teacher gone, as did our collective contracts. The pay remanded the same. however we could not leave until until 30 minutes after our shift. (seems trivial I know, but its mostly just irritating) When I was hired I was told I could wear t-shirts, and shorts to work, well once again that was the old head teacher, The new head teacher attempted to make us where dress khakis and oxford shirts everyday. It was not until everyone of the foreign teachers banded together and put a stop to that. We still ended up having to compromise and never wear shorts, or sandals. (people I teach 4-10 year olds that throw kimchi at others for fun) how long would a nice pair of cloths last there?

I received a written warning which they required me to sign once they had given me the wrong set of books for a class. I ended up using the books for 2 months before I started noticing that these books were completely above there level.

I received another written warning a month later. A young boy in my class who picks his nose constantly developed a daily nosebleed from said picking of nose. I had the child go to the bathroom literally 3 meters from my door and pull tissue paper from the dispenser to hold on his face. I am called to the head office where I was shown footage of me sending the child to the bathroom with a "facial injury". After I explained to the owner of the hagwan and the head teacher what happened, they insisted that I sign a paper saying that I was guilty of not attending to a child's needs. I signed the paper as ZORRO, in cursive so they have no idea.

The last straw was when I was told that my teaching "style" is not helpful to the students. This comes after 3 months of the highest test scores in the school. I was once brought in and told that If I did not "fix" my teaching style I would be fined 500,000 per month. At this point in time I know that my number is up.

The school is doing its best to get under my skin and pay me less. I ended up booking a flight from my computer using my bank account from the United States, (the reason for this is that the school monitors our bank accounts, and if any transactions over 400,000 happen, the bank notifies SLP of the withdraw date time and place. Another teacher actually had his bank account frozen when he was sending home 1.5 million won a month back home.

By using the account in the United States They did not know that I had purchased the ticket for a one way trip home. I withdrew all 4.5 million won out of my account over a one month period in increments smaller than 300,000 won. (as not to raise suspicion). And as with any midnight run, I did not inform anyone that I was going to leave. I feel bad for leaving them to take my spot, but in all honesty I was going to be fired and possibly have my accounts frozen, trapping me in Korea.

It was a rainy morning when I left at 530, With a duffel bag on my back, my laptop bag wrapped in plastic, and my fedora soaking wet from the downpour. I knew when I saw the bus to Inchon roll up I was almost gone.

Subject: iSponge Yeonje Campus and Wiz Island (near Busan Nat'l University of Education) in Busan

Thursday, May 9, 2013 7:01 PM

I would like to add iSponge Yeonje Campus and Wiz Island (near Busan Nat'l University of Education) in Busan, South Korea to the black list.

The director of these hagwons, J***, fired me a month before my contract ended and refused to pay my severance and flight home.

Here's the story:

From the beginning of my contract, there were so many thing wrong with this school. The working hours were 9-6, however we were not allowed a lunch break. We were forced to serve, feed (if necessary), and clean up after our students during our lunch period. This was addressed continually to management to no avail.

We were also made to work an extra hour (3 days a month) phone teaching, for which we were not paid overtime.

I was told that I would get 10 days vacation time (5 days winter, 5 days summer). However, I was only given 3 work days summer/winter and the adjacent Saturday and Sunday.

The director blew me off for months when I asked for my pension and medical insurance to be paid. She finally paid my medical insurance 7 months late. 10 months after my start date she paid into my pension, but she told the National Pension Service that I made 1.3 mil instead of 2.1 mil. So when I went to the NPS to apply for my money half of it was missing because she had been paying a lesser amount while still taking the full amount from my paycheck every month.

After dealing with nearly a year of this, the director hired 2 new teachers. I told the new teachers the facts concerning how I had been treated, and the new teachers quit. She then fired me claiming I had given them a negative image of the school.

When I reported her to the labor commission, they called a meeting to negotiate terms. When I arrived, my boss had already been talking with the mediator/counselor and she appeared to be on my boss' side during the entire "discussion". They had already drawn up a contract offering me $500 to drop the case and forfeit my flight and severance. When I refused the offer several times, the counselor advised that I couldn't do anything further with my case. She stated that the Labor Commission would simply dismiss the case because my contract ended before their legal process would start.

Basically, this woman was the only negative thing about Korea for me. Stay far away from these schools and anything to do with this director. She is a lawless snake.

Subject: LCI Kids Club- Yeongtong Suwon

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:15 PM

The "Director" and his wife are the C***'s. I say that word loosely because he was an incompetent manipulative liar and didn't care about the children. Mr. C** does not have any people skills, all he does is smoke cigars in his office and watch all of the foreign teachers through CCTV (There are cameras in each classroom).

His wife Mrs. C*** was in charge of all of the classroom materials and the class schedule, the problem with that was that she didn't speak English! they owned the franchise for 6 years and she couldn't bother to learn the language! it was a complete joke, she would give you a fake smile and say "take care please" or "how about"...which was funny at first but just became annoying and a slap in the face.

There was a head teacher when I was there...she was a complete brown noser and fake with the foreign staff. Mrs. C*** loved her and would always compare everyone to her, the worse part was that this "head" teacher was doing private lessons in the afternoon and weekends (which was forbidden) she even left a school dinner early because she had plans...we eventually found out it was because she had a private to teach. If you are not well liked then they will give you extra work to do and definitely give differential treatment.

You are also told that you get some breaks throughout the day what they don't tell you is that they give you incredible amounts of busy work. Helping the older children with speeches, making up a dance and performance for kindergarten graduation, tutoring their kid for FREE all of this while you still need to write in memo books, write and grade tests and plan lessons.

He was also caught going into the teacher's apartments when they weren't there...he had extra keys and knew the codes for all of the apartments. My friend changed her code and when he found out he made up a lame excuse while she was teaching so he could get her code and go in there. They only hire young American or Canadian women, he said boys are too much trouble. He would get drunk at work dinners and start hitting on the staff saying "American women are so much prettier than Korean women" in front of his wife! but she had no idea what he was saying since she didn't know English.

He fired several foreign teachers without giving proper notice and lied to the other staff about why he let them go. The Korean staff didn't last more than 3 months at a time because he would berate them and yell at them in the lobby. Whenever it was pay day he was in a horrible mood and no one could speak to him, everyone tip toed around. It was a completely negative environment and I am so glad I left when I did.

You are basically his property and he has no boundaries, if you have an issue with his management style or want to talk to him he will avoid you at all costs and have his wife talk to you..which is completely ridiculous since she can't speak English! He drives in his Mercedes and she wears furs to work! all they want is to have foreign teachers that don't speak up and are worked to the ground. I honestly can't believe he is still in business and that women continue to work at LCI. I want to warn as many as I can so that they don't waste their time or go through the crap that I had to go through. Stay far far away from this place, when I was researching I found a bad review but I thought it can't possibly be that bad...I was wrong.


Friday, May 3, 2013 10:08 AM

If you take anything away from this review, I hope that it’s the conclusion that you should steer clear from all Korean hagwons. If you are absolutely determined to teach English in South Korea, trust me, take the job at the public school or university, no matter how much money that hagwon is taunting you with in their contract (and believe me, it’s not going to be much anyway). So if you don’t feel like reading a lengthy review, just heed my warning and stay away from the horrifying hagwons!!!

Okay, compared to a lot of stories I’ve heard from friends or read in other reviews about other hagwongs, Seongdong SLP could have been a lot worse. I considered myself lucky that I didn’t have to clean toilets and that I had an amazing group of co-workers that were (and still are) great friends and a much needed source of moral support. However, I always had to remind myself of the good things everyday or I would have gone crazy. Trust me, stay as far away as you can from this Hagwon! This place is too stressful, and I truly believe they mentally tortured us for their own entertainment.

I don’t even know where to begin describing all the horrible things about this place. This review is probably going to seem no different than any others-I’m going to talking about the poor conditions of the classrooms, the Nazi supervisors, the horrible teaching hours, and how they basically robbed me of over $1000 US dollars. Granted yes, they did pay for my plane ticket (round trip), they provided me with an amazing apartment (which I loved, but turned out to be way too expensive for me), and they did pay me overtime when I was entitled to it without me having to pester them, but honestly it wasn’t worth it.

First off, the classrooms, the TINY ass class rooms. There were twelve classrooms, and they were either spacious or super tiny. My classroom, of course, was super tiny. It was so tiny that the tables didn’t fit and I had permanent bruises on my legs from bumping into the tables and from students pushing their chairs into me by accident. Now I’m going to skip over the summer heat (and lack of air conditioning) and briefly mention the winter. While it was 5F (-15C) outside, my classroom would either be the same, or colder. I had to wear three layers under my coat and I was still freezing; my students never took their coats or anything off cause it was so cold, and I was amazed that it took over two weeks for a mother to finally realize the freezing conditions of the school and to complain. Point for the mother finally complaining about something useful, but minus twenty points for not suing the school. Seriously….

Now I’m going to mention the teaching hours. Your contract will say you’ll work 9:30am-6pm. HAHAHAHAHA, WRONG! I worked from 9:30am-7:10pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the only reason I agreed to this was because they let me get off work at 5pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, it’s not worth it: I was tired all the time! Also, you get no breaks. I ate lunch with my students, but the deal was I didn’t have to teach an afternoon activity, which would be right after lunch. WRONG AGAIN! I would not only have to eat lunch with my students, but I would teach an afternoon activity two days a week. This meant that I was with the kids from 10am until about 4:30pm those two days with no break. It might not sound bad, but if you’re a teacher you’d know how exhausting it is to teach, and being around children that don’t understand you because they don’t speak your language makes it more exhausting. This is why I feel like I’ve aged ten years teaching here.

Last but not least, the money situation. I, and many others, believe this hagwon is broke and that is another reason why you should not work here. They control your paycheck so you have no idea what they’re taking out, and oh! Did I forget to mention that they don’t let you pay your bills? Nope, they don’t let you pay your bills because they don’t trust you to do it yourself. They said they would deduct the amount of the bills from your pay and use that money to pay it themselves but they don’t pay the bills either. Not only did they do this to me, but to a few others as well. One day I came back from the gym to find a lovely yellow notice on my door. I took a picture of it and sent the image to a Korean friend to translate it for me, and I found it was from the gas company informing me that if I didn’t pay my gas bill, it was going to be turned off. I found out the school had not paid my gas bill for ten months. That’s not even the best part; the next day they informed me they hadn’t been paying my internet bill for ten months as well. So what did they do? Instead of taking responsibility for this, they deducted over $800 from my pay. C***** always told us that we needed to think of the school, and we should do them favors, but I told her that day that I would never do a favor for the school because they never did a favor for me. It was not my fault my bills weren’t being paid because they wouldn’t even give me copies of them, or let me see them. My bills never got sent to my apartment, they were always sent to the school, so it was their fault. I feel they should have at least done me a favor and paid at LEAST $100 of it. But that would have been too much to ask…

And here comes the last story I’m going to tell, it’s about my lovely last paycheck and my severance. When it came time for me to leave, I was informed that I would get my last paycheck and my severance fifteen days after my last teaching day. I did not trust them with this, and I didn’t think it was fair to make me wait for my last paycheck since the teachers before me got it on their last day. Not to mention that my contract says I’m suppose to get paid the 10th of every month anyway, but whatever. I fought this, and I’m very happy I did, because it took them over fifteen days to give me my money because “I took a little more time to calculate all the necessary expenses from your salary , Sorry” (email from C*****). I got half my first paycheck my last day of work, thank god, but after nineteen days I emailed the school reminding them they were suppose to pay me my severance 14days after I left (it’s Korean law). I just find it funny that they sent my money the day I threatened to report them to the labor board. I’m telling you, these people are just stupid.

After all this, I didn’t even mention the fact that out of all the teachers, I was the only teacher without a computer on their desk. I was expected to write student evaluations, post test scores, and other things that involved a computer, so I would have to do it on someone else’s computer when they weren’t there. This doesn’t really sound inconvenient, but trust me-after ten months it was. I finally got a computer (after taking a laptop from a classroom and putting it on my desk) two months before I left.

One last thing, if you still decide to work here after reading this, I hope you enjoy cheap love motels because that’s where they’re going to make you stay for the first two weeks you work there. Enjoy :)!

Subject: E Bo Young Talking Club (Hadang Talking Club) in Mokpo, South Korea.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I would like to add E Bo Young Talking Club (Hadang Talking Club) in Mokpo, South Korea. I spent 5 painful months working there before I quit. The director didn't pay the recruiter the fee, which should have been a red flag. I wasn't provided health insurance even though it said so in my contract. The apartment had black mold everywhere and I'm fairly certain that he was trying to cheat on the taxes coming out of my paycheck. I was never shown what was getting taken out of my paycheck even though I asked.

The environment at that hagwon is toxic. As the only foreign teacher there, I was only spoken to when they wanted to blame me or criticize me for something. As a new teacher, this completely broke my confidence. They just want a white robot to say "yes" and "no". The curriculum is a total joke. Its not even teaching, just memorizing random scripts. There are two korean teachers there who literally look beyond miserable all day and are constantly being scolded by the director. It is a soul sucking environment.

Don't try to call in sick. They hooked me up to an IV in the doctors office downstairs and the moment it was done I was forced to teach for 6 hours. I was also given a "strike" for being sick. Even though I taught all day. I hit my limit when the director screamed at me in front of children and the other co-teachers. Yelling and running around like crazy. This was after months of emotional and mental abuse. When I gave my 30 days notice, my boss flipped out, threatened me with a fake immigration document and said I had to leave Korea within a few days. I brought in a Korean friend to translate and he said that if I signed a contract saying I wouldn't talk about what happened at the school, he would let me stay in my apartment for 20 days and not cause problems with immigration. He refused the letter of release.. essentially making it impossible for me to find a job in Mokpo, this being such a small community. Since I would need a reference from him since all other employers wanted to know what I didnt have a release letter. He went back on his "contract" two days later, kicked me out of my apartment and told immigration that I "disappeared". All the while constantly threading to kick me out of Korea. I highly recommend not taking a job here! I spoke to the previous teachers and they all hated it as well. I was the first one to stand up to him and quit. There are better jobs in Korea! Avoid this place!

Subject: Winners Club English Academy in Daegu

Monday, April 29, 2013

I would like to add Winners Club English Academy in Daegu to the black list. This is a terrible place for anyone to work. This was my first job in Korea and this place has made my time here horrific.

They did absolutely nothing to help me get a phone plan, bank account, and "forgot" to apply for my alien registration card. They didn't file me with the pension office so as my contract is coming to an end, I find out that I have no pension that I was hoping to use while in America.

They tricked me into getting life insurance by telling me it was health insurance and only found out the truth after having a Korean friend read the contract.

They take strange amounts out of each months pay, but I never see a report of what's being taken out. The owners don't speak English well (& that's putting it nicely) so asking them any type of question is a huge debacle...they insist of bringing ALL (the 6) Korean teachers in to handle the situation.

They make me hand out flyers and be a 'monkey' for the company.

I don't want anyone to come over to Korea and work here.. It will make your time here miserable. I was lucky to meet people, but working in a secluded area with no other foreign teachers or other young English speakers is tough.

Subject: Chungdahm Institute, Geumcheon-gu and Anyang

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chungdahm Learning Institute, located in Geumcheon-gu and Anyang

This is not an official Chungdahm Learning Institute. This is a franchise. As a teacher for this school, Chungdahm has no obligation to help you when you are not paid FOR MONTHS! The owner of this school has owned a hagwon previously, which failed, and now he has an unbelievable amount of debt. He pays this debt, by not paying his workers at either his Guemcheon-gu or Anyang branches.

Upon arriving at this school, the owner will try to make you work as many hours as possible for no extra pay. You should be ready to say “no.” When pay is late, he will try to butter you up and kindly ask you to be patient. Don’t be. If you remind him about your late pay, he will say “tomollow” or “nes week.” You’ll get next to nothing. When he owes you millions and you file a complaint with the Korean labor board, he’ll say “that doesn’t scare me. I’ll win in the end.” He’ll try to wait you out. Your lawsuit through the labor board will take at least a year after quitting, for you to get money…if you ever get any.

Although the other teachers and staff are friendly and working conditions are standard, there is a culture of people MANIPULATING each other to get favoritism and money from the owner. This school is heading nowhere good. Kind teachers should stay away!!!

Subject: Herald Academy in Samgyedong, Gimhae

Friday, April 19, 2013

I would like to add 'Herald Academy' in Samgyedong, Gimhae to the blacklist.

I will keep my reasoning for doing so short, but in a nutshell this is by far the worst, most intimidating, and depressing place I have ever worked in my life.

The boss, T*** L** continually uses intimidation and manipulation tactics to get his way. All the staff, including the Korean staff are scared of him and hate working for him.

He will send any foreign teacher to multiple schools, which is illegal, and over work you. You will get no training and are expected to work as a qualified teacher almost instantly. He will then continue to tell you that you are a waste of space, the worst employee he has ever had, and he doesn't care about you.

If you EVER try to disagree with him it will cause a massive argument which is not only incredibly scary (which he wants so you agree with him) but unnecessary.

Forget any manners you think the man should have as a human being, he is incredibly sexist and even speaks to his wife like a piece of dirt, so you can only imagine how he speaks to staff.

I tried to stay for a full year in Korea, but after 10 months I was forced to leave. This was mainly due to the fact that by the end of it I thought he was physically going to assault me. I was scared to go into work as I never knew what he would do next.

I really could write pages and pages about what he did but ... PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND DON'T WORK HERE, it will 100% ruin what could be an amazing year working in Korea.

Subject: Willy Campus (Kid's Club) in Gwangmyeong

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I want to warn everyone about Willy Campus (Kid's Club) in Gwangmyeong.

Not only was I treated terribly (screamed and cursed at), but they kept 1 million won for recruiting fees. They made me come in to work when I had food poisoning (despite the fact I had to keep running out of the classroom).

Subject: ELC Ulsan

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hello, I would really appreciate it if you'd add ELC Ulsan to the blacklist. The locations in Mugeodong, Samsandong and Taehwadong are all owned by S** J**** ***** and all of the foreigners were essentially not paid or not paid in full. I was paid late throughout the year because he claimed the school had no money. Parents continued to pay every month and he spends nothing on the school/school supplies so it would seem otherwise. He purposely seeks out inexperienced native teachers who do not know the ropes and ends up not paying them and ignoring them until they are just forced to go back home at their own expense. Do not work for ELC in Ulsan, as far as I know they are all run by him and multiple ELC locations have this problem.

Subject: Kiddie Kingdom Suseong-gu Korea

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I had the displeasure of working here over two years ago and can finally feel free to place this place on the black list. In a nutshell-don't work here. Trust me on this-I'm not going to go into too much detail, and descriptions of this shithole probably don't exist elsewhere out of threats given to former employees. Save yourself the trouble.... and do you REALLY want to place "KIDDIE KINGDOM" as a workplace on your resume? Just something to think about..

Subject: Haba Play School Songpa, Bangi Station Gang Sun Mi, Seoul

Date: Monday, February 18, 2013 10:47 PM

Haba Play School Songpa, Bangi Station Gang Sun Mi, Seoul

2nd floor haba play shcool

seoul songpa-gu ogeum dong

I think I could write a multi-chapter book as to why you or anyone you know or care about should never go near or work at haba play school songpa at bangi station. Here are a few reasons.

1.) March 1st, 2012 I arrived to Korea. With absolutely every trust in the recruiter I boarded the plane and she picked me up in her car, we arrived at my apartment, she took the first peek with the most nervous look turns to me says 'I'm soo sorry." I was walking into the box where I still lay my head and spend as little time as possible. The black mold infested apartment has had just about everything broken at one point. About 10-15 service guys in and out of there. A broken bathroom which was out of use for 5 days, a broken heater, broken air conditioner, and a broken washing machine that takes 2 hours to do one load.

They told me I would be arriving later than expected because the apartment was not available until the start of March, meaning I would be missing the proper training I was supposed to attend. So I arrive, throw me into the classroom, and told me that I would be attending the training in two weeks, give them some coloring or worksheets for now. UHHHH

So when I did attend the training (a 2 day course), I was only allowed to go on the Saturday as I wasn't allowed to miss the Friday at school in order to attend the training. So there I went Saturday in April for the training in bumblehoot Seoul to be told that I wasn't going to receive the certification because I needed to attend two consecutive days.

2.) Throughout the year, it has occured to me, that I would never ever let anyone I know work in this position. The management is stupid, but the worst management I have ever witnessed and experienced in my entire life. The boss does not speak a flick of English, as well as the 'head teacher' so leaving it up the one of the other English teachers to deal with everythingggg else in the school. 'Oh you don't know how to open a bank account?' 'Ohh you're new here' They must have thought I had previously been in Korea and had a clue what I was doing when I arrived. They were not prepared to help me in this country as I was the first teacher that was new to Korea when I came to work here.

My friend worked at a seperate Haba, located in Dongdaemun and recommended to work at the chain, as she had met my fake boss one before and said it was going to be a great job. She also recommended the recruiter that I went through, who also ended up backstabbing me and calling my boss on several occasions after telling me something and telling her another thing, making my boss cry and hate me even more.

3.) Not only was there no English support here, no one could even say 'hello' or 'goodbye' but I got sat down about 4 months in and told that I must say hello and goodbye to everyone and that it is very rude not to, although I have just now in my 11th month (now that everyone is leaving) hear an occasional hello and goodbye.

4.) There are currently 10 teachers here, 9 Koreans and me. 4 of us teach English (they also teach normal classes). I do not have a classroom, and have to carry the Grapeseed materials ( large cards and books from room to room). They originally offered me to have a classroom, but declined the offer. I have no where to keep any materials, let alone my purse. It is a struggle with the English teacher who is meant to help me where I can keep my jacket and purse each day. The little things that all build up.

There are also 9 teachers quitting. The 1 teacher that is staying came about 3 months ago and they added a new 3 - year- old class so they hired her on. Originally in March - May there were 10 people that quit for assistants and teachers variously throughout a 2 month period. It was a nightmare having to pick up for classes that didn't have teachers, and even as assistant to sit in on a class.

They also at this time asked me to ride in the carpool after school, after 6pm to take the children home. I knew this didn't seem right, aside from it being unpaid, so I asked my recruiter and she told me I was to tell them no, in case of an emergency I cannot speak Korean and have to talk to all the parents. I have a feeling had I been stupid enough to accept this, I would still be riding carpool unpaid overtime to this day.

5.) The food. If it isn't months old, it is old and moldy. I have photograph proof of the bushels of brown bananas she purchases after gone bad and feeds for breakfast the next morning. If there are leftovers, they are frozen until that dish is served the next month. The teachers all know this because there is a menu that is sent home monthly to the parents, and we know how often each dish is cooked. So if pasta for spaghetti once a month is frozen, then the same next month, it is possible the frozen pasta has been eaten for months and months... years? The cook knows that it is all wrong, but the boss is so cheap and tries to feed her family from the scraps. The oil that they used for frying things is also 6 months old. It has only been replaced once since I have worked here all year. And these are all proven facts.

6.) They also told me that they were going to record me for training for the new teachers. Take me, who was thrown into this place with absolutely no assistance and was not allowed to watch or observe anyone, and record me (even though I am not properly trained to teach the cirriculum), to show the new teachers so they don't have to pay for them to attend the new training.

I called the cirriculum company and they said it was infact illegal what they were doing under copyright concerns and will be in touch with the school when I leave so I do not have any issues.

7.) In the end of January there was a meeting with my boss, and english translator of course, to tell me that I was the most difficult foreigner they have ever encountered of 4 years of being open and they cannt believe the trouble I caused. Also told me that there have been multiple complaints (only one that I was aware of, by the crazy mother at the school), from parents all year and that she just covered up for me saying I was going to get better blah blah. Wouldn't a boss/owner of a school let her employee know that she was being complained about by the parents so that she could be aware and/or do something to improve. Lovely management. Wonder why 9 teachers are quitting. How strange.

8.) Late pay. After getting paid on time for 8 months straight, Christmas break came around and we were paid 2 weeks late, after we returned back to work in January she paid us. She did not show up until a week after... ta da with a new face! She got her entire face redone (typical for Korea), but on our dime, because she wasn't able to pay us on time.

9.) They have been interviewing foreigners for the English teacher position, and just 2 days ago, turned down a foreigner that works at the sister school.... because her hair was too curly. If that isn't low enough....

I do not know how to express the hatred for this place. It is a dirty disgusting sinful place I have called my 'job' for the past year. Among all the little daily things, these are main overall things that are wrong with this place. My recruiter asked if I had any recommendations for friends to take my position, and told them I would never let anyone work here, let alone the public. Which is why I am posting this here.

Subject: Wonderland (Gumi)/Chunglam Academy, Gumi

Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:56 PM

I just finished my contract and didn't have too many problems, but a few things I must warn people before they work there.

1. They paid me cash instead of buying me a ticket. It was at least 300 dollars short and they refused to honor the contract which didn't have any purchase amount in it, or didn't have a date to buy the ticket.

2. The owners will make you work longer. Though you will work 30+ classes, expect 40+ hours. Correct books, help with speeches, teach kids during winter break, which means come in early and teach 2 extra classes. Even help tutor a friend of the family, or the boss. All for free.

3. There is terrible communication issues, nobody knows what goes on when. Things are always switched around and it is confusing. But when you end the contract the owners will bring up how lousy you were and don't deserve your money. Even though I had no knowledge of my work. They don't bring it up.

4. The owners are looking at you as money, not as a person. So, they don't care about your health, or if you are having problems. They will pawn it it off to the bosses.

5. Their business is struggling and they don't know how to talk to parents. The owners will actually walk around and monitor the classes to make sure nothing bad happens, but they are losing business because they talk badly to the parents. If though you don't meet high expectations they apparently will bring it up after you quit.

Not a terrible place but I doubt they will be financially set up to afford to pay people on time or at all. They have made one teacher pay for part of his ticket home before me, which I didn't know. Also, they didn't pay the teacher I replaced his severance.

Work there if you will, the Korean teachers and kids were great but if you don't want to get burned by the bosses or the owners I cannot warn you enough.

Subject: Uncle Sam's English in Jong hyun

Date: Sunday, January 6, 2013

Uncle Sam's English in Jong hyun, owned by J*** B*** and his wife is the absolute last place you want to work for. They never speak the truth, they break contracts, they don't listen to foreign teachers (except if they agree with them), foreign teachers are the cause of fany and every problem, and they are obessed with money--which trumps kindness or truth. Beware; you are now forewarned. They sell themselves as Christian--but their faith is hardly in evidence. They tried to get me deported for working for a competitor after they let me go. Ie, at USE one is a slave. Period. My predecessor warned me not to accept the job offer but I didn't believe her. I should have.

Subject: English Insight Academy, changed from Willy Campus, in Gwangju-si, Dopyeong ri, Gyeonggi province.

Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 6:02 PM

Hi Jon,

Wish I had better news but it looks like even despite taking down the post, my old boss still wont pay me nor return any emails, texts, or phone calls. At this point I am fed up and want to put him and his school back on blacklist. The school's new name is English Insight Academy, changed from Willy Campus. The director's name is K****. He has not only threatened not to pay me by putting this post up but blatantly said that he will take his time to pay me and doesn't care if I report him to labor board because he wont go to jail. Obviously I am not trying to jail him, I am just trying to get the money I deserve, and warn other foreigners not to work for this man. He is also not paying any other employees and is trying to open another school in Gwangju-si Geoyonggi-do province. Please help me to spread the word about his bad business behavior!

Subject: GnB English

Institute (BanSong) Campus, Chang-won City, South Korea

Date: Friday, January 4, 2013

Beware of GnB English Institute (BanSong) Campus, Chang-won City, South Korea

The director and his wife did not honor the contract with me.

Contract violations

Violating the terms of my E - 2 visa. They had me teach at another GnB campus owned by a different director. This was not written into my contract. I did not know I was doing anything illegal until the very end of my employment with them. My former recruiter S*** - * - M****, Eze English Consulting, Changwon City sat through out the contract negotiations talking in Korean to the director and wife at the GnB (BanSong) campus.

They were suppose to give me a written notice of six weeks if they wanted to let me go, which I never received from them. This was written into the contract. I was told verbally of being fired by another recruiter Aaron Seo, Eze English Consulting, after finishing my teaching duties at a fast food restaurant.

They tried to illegally to kick me out of my apartment when I refused to work at a different GnB owned by another director. They also tried to make me sign a piece of paper that would make me obligated to teach at the other school past my departure date that agreed by them, labor board and me.

When I refused to sign I was told to leave my apartment on Friday night after my last working day. I was also told that I would not get my pay for the previous month of November and part of December, or the extra money agreed by the Labor Board. I refuse to hand over my keys to my apartment.

Other problems!

I received only 45 minutes of training and orientation, before I started working for them. I was shown how to read the class schedule and what sections of the two workbooks (speaking and writing). I was also told by the former English teacher that I can teach the classes anyway I wanted to, which I found out later was a complete lie.

There were unannounced visits by a GnB company representatives coming into my classroom. I would not mind if I was told about this during contact negotiations and given a criteria what I would be evaluated on. I also did not find their nonconstructive criticism helpful like that I should make the class more fun or speak Korean considering this was my first job teaching children.

The director and his wife could not speak or understand English. Their secretary and part time teacher translated for them. If I wanted to get any messages across to them I had to go through her.

They told me that I had to learn Korean and socialize with the students during my break time between classes. I was never told about this until two and half months after working for them. I worked for this company for 3 months in case anyone wanted to know.

I am writing this review since this school is still mistreating other teachers even 4 years after I was fired from that place.

Subject: IStar Language Institute, Anyang, Seoul.

Thursday, December 27, 2012 3:05 AM

Only had one day of class observations before being thrown into full-time teaching (I had no previous teaching experience).

Within a week or so of arriving, I was threatened with being fired unless I signed an additional contract which stated that if any of my actions damaged the reputation of the Hagwon they were free to sue me for any damages or loss of income. They had a big talk with me about how important the image of the teachers was but never actually explained what I'd done wrong or why they suspected that I would damage the school's reputation at some point in the future.

Often teachers would teach 7 50 minute classes in a row without a break.

In addition to the 30 classes a week, teachers had many other duties. This resulted in teachers often not taking a break at all between 1.30 and 10 and often having to take work home.

In addition to the contracted 30 classes a week, teachers had to teach detention classes. This was not stated in the contract and was not considered to be "teaching hours" by the hagwon (even though you had to stay in the classroom with the detention students and give tests or help with homework). Teachers would have between 3-6 of these scheduled each week.

Teachers were threatened with having their wages docked if they were 2 minutes late. If they were over 30 minutes late they were told they had to work an additional day. There was nothing in the contract about sick days and I had to work through bronchitis and tonsilitis. At the end of my contract I had my damage deposit deducted for damages that were already in my apartment when I moved in. I personally fixed these damages (the apartment was in a better state when I moved out than when I moved in) to then be told that it hadn't been fixed well enough and they would need to hire somebody to do it. I was also charged for steam cleaning the floors which was never actually done (I kept in touch with the teacher who moved in).

New teachers had their confidence worn down and were made to feel ill-equipped for the job. Some teachers were reduced to tears.

There was an extremely high turnover of Korean teachers working at the hagwon. There were only 3 non-managerial korean teacher positions and throughout one year 10 different people filled these positions. It became quite irritating to have to make the effort to get to know new teachers every couple of months. It also reflects the poor working environment and morale of staff as korean teachers usually stay in their hagwons for years.

Subject: Miracle English School, Suseong-gu, Daegu.

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2012

I would strongly recommend not accepting a contract at Miracle English School, Suseong-gu, Daegu. This is the second such report on this website, the other was posted on July 27, 2012. Unfortunately I only read this report after I had signed the contract and the flight was paid for, and after all, everyone is entitled to their opinion, I would have to experience it for myself.

Well, experience it I have, it is a terrible school, I feel completely psychologically bruised and beaten, and it has only been three months. Everything the previous person said is correct and much, much worse in reality than mere words can convey.

There are many issues but my biggest problem was that there are cameras and speakers in every room in the building, except the toilets. If they are not happy with a class the speaker will breakthrough and start reprimanding you in front of all the students, completely undermining any authority you might have. But the worst thing about it is you will be on a train or an elevator somewhere, and hear the distinct sound of a speaker being turned on and an announcement about to be made, and you expect to be berated for something. It affects you outside of work, you become acutely aware of that sound and the expectation it brings.

Like the previous teacher I got tired of this treatment and constantly feeling on edge, so I resigned. Initially he was very good about it and I was quite happy to disappear into the sunset and never think of Miracle English School again. But the other night I was summoned over the speaker to come down for a meeting, I thought that it would just be a routine chat about me finishing up. He went crazy, he said a lesson of mine had been observed the day before and it was very bad, I was a bad teacher, and so on (mind you he waited until after I had taught my 6 lessons that day), I couldn’t get a word in edgeways, always cutting me off as I tried to defend myself. After getting over the shock of it I calmed down, but he continued his very personal and abusive tirade for probably 20 minutes. It was completely unpredictable, irrational and illogical, which I think is a very good description of the school in general.

They are fortunate enough to have two very good foreign teachers working there at the moment who signed their contracts before the original report was posted. However, they have had enormous trouble trying to recruit anyone else because of that first report. If this report does anything I hope that it reinforces everything the first report said, and if anyone is still considering going there, don’t, it really isn’t worth it.

It is a shame, there are some very nice people there, and the students are lovely, but everyone walks around in fear and awe of the ‘Manager Teacher’, and that is exactly how he likes to run his school, through fear and intimidation. His name is very similar to a former North Korean dictator and that is not where the similarity ends. Be aware, they have opened up a new school in a place called Chilgok in North Daegu, it is the same people, the use of cameras and speakers appears even more comprehensive at this school.

Subject: Centum ILS (International Language School) in Busan, Centum City

Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2012

The school is in Centum ILS (International Language School) in Busan, Centum City. The director is Mr. Baek. I was fired within 3 weeks of my contract ending to avoid paying severance and flight money. They gave me no warning, kept asserting I was a bad teacher, but could not point out any reasons why. They lied to my face when I asked specifically about my flight and severance, saying I was 100% going to get it. They constantly watched all of the teachers and talked down to us, often saying we were lazy when every break we were doing prep, report cards, phone counseling, lesson plans, syllabi, and grading, and sometimes had to take work home or come early/stay late just to finish it. My Korean coteacher was also fired around the same time and they blamed her for all of the school's problems, saying she spread negativity to the other teachers when we were all speaking poorly since we were miserable. It's very telling that since the management changed 2 years ago, NO ONE has renewed a contract.

All assistant directors have quit before their contract ended, 2 sets of Korean teachers quit (all 3 would quit around the same time and that happened twice), 4 foreign teachers have quit, and one teacher quit after working for a day. Those who were able to finish their contract also have nothing good to say about the school, and it has a bad reputation among parents in the Centum area.

I went to the labor board and immigration with Korean friends but of course every person we encountered said it wasn't their job to help me and they wouldn't side with a foreigner over a Korean. They suggested I take him to court but it would've been costly, possibly ineffective, and I would have to stay for who knows how long. Luckily, I was able to get 1.5 million after my boss and I had a meeting at the labor board, but that was only partially the money I was owed with my last paycheck, not even flight or severance.

Subject: Harrisco, En-co, in Uijeongbu Korea

Date: November 26, 2012

This place is not actually a hagwon, but they hire people on teacher visas, which I imagine is illegal. It attracts much of the hagwon crowd since they advertise jobs on some of the ESL sites. They are an editing company for academic research papers, mostly science and engineering. The job is really tempting because the pay is much higher than most teaching jobs but:

-The pay is NEVER on time, sometimes over a month late, and you never know when or how much you'll be paid

-They have demanded a lot of unpaid/ illegal over time

-They haven't been paying pension/ health insurance

-There have been issues with sexual harassment and violence in the office

-The apartments are tiny, in some cases inhumanely so

-Constantly making promises that they fail to keep regarding pay and other conditions

Don't be tempted by the high paycheck, the owner is a shady guy and can't be trusted!

Subject: Gwanak POLY school, Gwanak, Seoul

Date: Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hi everyone! If you’ve reached this page it means you’ve done your research about teaching in Korea. I’m assuming a recruiter has said “Hey, POLY is a great place! You should there.” Well before you sign the contract I’d like to inform you all about my experience working at Gwanak POLY. I have been in Korea for 4 years and have worked in variety of different places. I can hands down tell you POLY has been the worst place I have every worked. Please do not work here. You will deeply regret it. First are the working hours. Expect to work 50 hours a week. The average work day is 9:00- 7:00. You might think it’s not so bad, however throughout the week you only receive one break a day. Because we finish so late this means the foreign teachers usually have to run their personal errands (bank, post office, doctor visits) during your breaks, lunch or your prep periods. Teaching 8 to 9 classes a day is incredibly demanding. On top of that, the teachers have to grade homework for all your classes daily. It’s a nightmare. You are just exhausted by the end of the day.

Second is the health insurance or … more appropriately “health insurance”. POLY claims they provide a private health insurance in which the teachers pay 50,000 won monthly out of their paycheck. However, I never received any sort of verification that I was even covered. This means every time I went to the doctor I needed to pay in full and save the receipts. The school will reimburse me half of the bill, however comparing to the Nat’l Health Plan this is a joke. The school doesn’t provide any sick days. While working there one coworker had to go to the emergency room and another coworker had surgery. Both missed two days of work. Both were docked pay for time missed.

Next, I’d like to talk about the quality of education… Poly is supposed to give entrances exams to potential new students. Students must get a good score in order to be accepted into the POLY program. Gwanak POLY has consistently accepted students with lower scores. As a result teacher need to teach higher level or curriculum to these lower level students. This enviably results in lower test scores. So with this the Gwanak POLY consistently scores lower compared to other POLY campuses. This information is well known among the parents so naturally they blame the teachers for a low scores.

Lastly, let’s discuss the professional integrity. First and foremost you should know about N****. She’s the owner of the school. She is not a good person. She treats the all of the teachers both foreign and Korean like they are worthless. She seems to enjoy belittling and demean her employees. She’ll be your best friend to your face then completely backstab you to other teachers and parents. The operation at POLY is fully of shady ethics. I already mentioned the questionable health insurance. Other coworkers have been docked pay for watching videos in class or falling behind in lesson plans. At the end of the contract each employee receives a small severance bonus. However this amount is then taxed with your final paycheck resulting in about 1/3 of it getting taken away. Under Korean law your severance pay should not be taxed. The school has 3 other administrators to act as curriculum coordinators or vice directors. In reality their job is to tell the foreign teachers when they’ve messed up, which apparently happens daily. Not only does one person do this but each administrator will make their rounds tell the foreign teachers the mistakes they have made… picture Office Space. Nicole and the other admins are notorious for watching your classes through the little nanny cam mounted in classrooms. The classes are also bugged so they can hear everything that happens. They say these are for the protection of the teachers from the students. However they only use this to their advantage. Because of the long working days the teachers are pretty tired by the end of the day. The teachers like to sit down while in the class. Nicole used these cameras to see which teachers were sitting at the end of the day. They were all brought into her office to get chewed out. With actions likes these it’s no wonder why 4 people quit in one year.

If you are offered a contract from POLY please please please do not sign it. You should enjoy your time teaching abroad. Have fun and have a social life. Get to know the people and the culture. Working for POLY will not give you any of this. Korea is a wonderful place to live and work. Don’t let the school ruin your experience. Stay clear of POLY.

Subject: Avalon -Gumi

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012

The hagwon owner's name is S****, and she's pretty crazy. She runs around screeching and reprimanding teachers for most of the working day. She is also usually spying on people we know for a fact she (or her husband) goes in to your apartment when you are not there. One teacher even told me she was caught going through teachers bags and phones to check their messages when they aren't in the room.

She basically ignored the contract we signed and decided to change our working hours, making them longer and at different times of the day in different schools.

She's generally quite a nasty piece of work and I would recommend against working at this school.

Subject: ILS International Language School -Yongho Dong / Kyungsung Busan

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012

Reason for blacklisting: Firing teachers near the end of their contract. They have two foreign English teachers working at any one time. One of these is their constant, the other they see as being able to fire as they see fit regardless of contract.

These guys are obsessed with firing, the number of Korean teachers they go through is astounding. Every week there are a new bunch of teachers entirely different from the last. I can only think they are too comfortable with the firing process, as after doing some digging with past teachers I found they have a pretty shady reputation with their previous foreign teachers. Alarm bells should have rang when I went to work on my first day there, and I met the foreign teacher I was replacing, he hadn't even been given a days notice.

The reason for them letting me go was nonsensical and absurd. Apparently I wasn't integrated enough in to Korean life, and they weren't happy with the way I hadn't inquired about a timetable change. The timetable changes daily, so this excuse is completely unreasonable.

There are the usual other grievances like with most Hagwons as well; awful communication, telling you one thing and then getting angry because you should be doing the other, an incredibly overbearing Korean superviser, screwing around with your holiday so you don't get any. They also go through phases of hounding you to death, opening your door mid lesson and shouting at you, giving you feedback lessons where they shout and shake their heads a lot, and spy on you constantly. While these reasons on their own aren't good enough to blacklist, if you take these into account with being fire prematurely to avoid bonus pay, it's clear there are much better jobs out there where you will get treated with respect.

Subject: Chungdham Learning Schools in Wonju

Date: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chungdham Learning Schools are the absolute worst in Korea. This is not an exaggeration.

Anyone who attends them that has anything positive to say will soon regret it. Or any positive output will be a public relations exercise - people being paid to to say positive things about the school.

In my case, A recruiter sent me to Chungdahm in Wonju, and the Chungdahm Branch Manager didn't know anything about how to begin arranging an E2 Visa, so the recruiter did all the work - driving me to the Immigration office in another province, paying administration fees etc.

Chungdahm made me think I had a position with them. They told me I had to attend a training course first before starting the new position. This sounds straightforward and legitimate right? WRONG!!!

What they don't tell you (until after you arrive at their Head Office in Korea) is that you have to pass their tests as part of the training course. The training course is some online 2 hour tests (which you have to pass), followed by 1 week of classroom training, and 1 week of in-class training at the location.

But the classroom training is not taught by professional teachers. Far from it. One guy was an ex-bouncer, the other guy may not have had any previous experience at all. They are just guys there to do the least amount of instruction and collect their paycheque.

They expect you to study and memorize some ridiculous and useless material (for example -when Chungdahm was accepted on the stock market, and the fact the CEO actually and grudgingly had to teach a class when Chungdahm first started)

The classroom instructors (if they can be called that) require you to 'mock' teach in a mindless pattern that can't be veered from. If you don't do it exactly the way they want - with no improvisation or creativity of your own - then you fail your mock teaching. Of course, the students are completely bored to tears by this robotic teaching method.

They also use incorrect English phrases as lingo (like the word 'chunks' to describe a learning section) which confused everyone because it wasn't explained by anyone at all. They even had the audacity to show a clip of Bill Gates talking about high-quality teaching styles in one of their training videos in an attempt to try to associate themselves as following Bill Gates recommendations. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was all just a public relations exercise.

The Chungdahm instructors and staff truly don't care about your well being at all. I was expected to share a hotel room for a week with a complete stranger. When I objected to that for obvious safety reasons, I had to pay for half the cost of my own hotel room ($200.00) which was not re-imbursed.

I spent the second week of training at the Wonju location teaching bored to tears kids with the soon-to-be-leaving teacher assessing me. He was an incompetent jerk who talked down and criticized the kids when they asked questions because they didn't understand the material. He told me (after he had a discreet meeting with the Branch Manager) that I had failed the mock teachings at the Seoul head office and also failed and the two written tests (even though I got 10 out of 10 on one of them)

I was also told that I couldn't continue the training in his class, and that there was no point in me continuing the training in any other instructors class.

I was basicaly left to 'die'.

I was not paid for the training time, didn't receive my airfare (as promised) didn't receive my housing allowance, and wasn't reimbursed for my hotel expenses.

I lost my phone, internet access, housing, and food, and had to survive like an animal stranded in Korea with no way to afford a plane ticket home. And my E2 Visa was under the Chungdahm school preventing me from working in another teaching position.

So why did all this happen?

The real behind why this happened is because the Wonju Branch Manager didn't want to pay the Recruiter's Fee for hiring me when they could get someone else for free from their Head Office in Seoul. As of this writing the recruiter has threatened a lawsuit against them.

I might add that anyone with teaching experience was 'failed' in the training program, while those with no teaching experience were 'passed'. There is no actual merit to the tests. It's all about who they think they can pay the least and manipulate the most e.g.- the recent University graduate with huge loans to pay off

Chungdahm is the most dishonest and corrupt school I have ever encountered in the 3 years I've been in Korea, and I am not an inexperienced teacher: I've won an award from my last schoo,l and my students have won the Ban Ki Moon Speaking contest 3 years in a row because of my direct teachings and counselling. I also hold a Private Investigators license and know how to discern facts from fiction.

As of this writing, the Chungdahm Branch Manager has been forced to meet me at the Labor Board and has offered to pay me off for not suing them.

I'm not sure whether to accept their offer or not.


They are the most corrupt and unethical school in Korea.

If North Korea ever attacks, I truly hope Chungdahm Learning's Head Office happens to be one of their targets.

Subject: E Bo Young Talking Club in Yeosu, singi-dong branch

Date: Saturday, October 6, 2012

I am teaching at the E Bo Young Talking Club in Yeosu, singi-dong branch. It has been open for a little over a year and every position has turned over at least twice. It is a soul-sucking environment that no one should be subjected to. There is another Talking Club branch in Yeosu that I hear is excellent to work for, so please don't blacklist both.

Subject: Jongro M School in Incheon

Date: Monday, September 24, 2012 Monday, September 24, 2012 3:58 AM

Jongro M School in Incheon offered me a job, I sent my visa documents over to my recruiter in Korea (notarisation/apostillation acquired at considerable expense), then they decided they would employ somebody else instead who was already in Korea (presumably to avoid paying an airfare), despite me already signing the contract and sending it over to Korea. I thought it would be best to raise this issue as if this is how they treat people who aren't even working for them, who knows how they treat you when you get there. Approach with caution.

Subject: Seoul Gwanak POLY School

Date: Monday, September 17, 2012 3:42 AM

I would like to tell of my experiences working at the Gwanak POLY School. As soon as I arrived in the country they wanted me to sign a new contract with longer working hours and no raise in pay. I worked my first month and a half and only received a half months pay. Every month they take out 70-80$ for a forced savings plan that is not discussed in the contract. You will only receive a half a months pay for severance pay. I have never gotten health insurance, they say I have it and I pay into it every month but when I go to the doctors they tell me to pay the full bill and the school then pays me back for half the cost, this is not insurance this is the school taking 40$ a month and then paying half the bill if you go to the doctor, which wont happen because you get 0 sick days for the full year. At POLY you will work 50-55 hours a week and teach 30-33 hours a week. It is brutal. The pay after taxes and fees only come slightly above 2million won so its almost x3 the work for an extra 100$. The office is very disrespectful and very condescending to foreign staff. They hire teachers who do not have visas and tell them to not worry about it they cant get in trouble, which is a lie. Overall it is a terrible place to work and you would be much better off finding a different school with about 1/3 the work hours for 100$ less pay. The director ****** does not know how to treat her employees.

Subject: Fortian school in Mokdong, Seoul

Date: Monday, September 10, 2012 6:23 AM

Please blacklist Fortian school in Mokdong, Seoul and its owner Z*** K*** (Korean name K*** *** J***). He will lie and cheat you every possibility he gets. Your contract says you get a single apartment, but you move in and guess what? You have to share. Then your first paycheck comes and surprise! You are on training pay but he "forgot" to put that in your contract. Do you think your one year contract is only for one year? Guess again. It's for as long as he wants. And, don't you know he's really going to screw you on your last paycheck when you aren't around to do anything about it! AVOID FORTIAN AND THE LYING STEALING OWNER AT ALL COSTS!

Subject: E Bo Young Hagwon, in Shin Bang Dong, Cheonan

Date: Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:33 AM

A co teacher and I worked at E Bo Young Hagwon, in Shin Bang Dong, Cheonan, for 10 months before being fired.

Why, you may ask, we ask ourselves the same question…

Here are a few of the problems we encountered:

• We arrived in South Korea October 17, 2012, started working the next day, but our contract start date was written as November 2, 2012…

• We worked from 1pm-9pm, Monday to Friday, with one 10 minute break…

• Found out that we were never given insurance and hence no pension…

• Didn’t take one sick day. The one day my director took me to a doctor and drove me straight back to school…

• In June the director said he was moving to the USA and said not to worry because whoever buys the Hagwon will continue our contracts…

• In July asked for the key to our apartment because he was liquidating his assets but not to worry because whoever buys it will rent it to us…

• In July asked us if we were interested in buying the Hagwon…

• In August told us that money was a problem and that he might have to take out a loan to pay our severance and buy our return airfares on his credit card…

So, as I’m sure you can understand, we started to stress a little.

In a meeting on Tuesday 21st August 2012, we were asked why we were unhappy and we mentioned a few things from the list above, his reaction was to stand up, punch the wall 5 times and tell us to ‘get the fuck out of his school’ and that ‘we were fucking fired’!

Having previous experience with his temper, we packed up our things and left. An hour later we got a text message telling us to move out of the school apartment by that evening. Thank goodness for friends as we managed to pack up and move out in time.

We texted him to tell him that we were out the apartment and would come by the school the next day to drop the apartment key and cellphone, and would he please have our letters of release. We received a text the next morning asking what time we were coming and that he only wanted to see one of us, not both.

I arrived at the school and was asked to hand over the key and cellphone. I asked if he had our release letters. He told me that he was not giving them to us. After pleading not to fight and just end this amicably he told me to give him his stuff or he was calling the police. I told him I was calling immigration and The Labor Board, and left!

To end, we had to go to immigration, apply for a D10 visa, which negates our current visa, allows us to stay in Korea and look for another job.

Stay away from this Hagwon and perhaps ALL E Bo Young Hagwons, we have heard that they wish to have the largest franchise in South Korea, so sell the ‘rights to the name’ to any Tom, Dick or Harry!

Subject: Poly Bundang, Jeongja

Date: Monday, August 20, 2012 8:02 AM

I'd like to black list a school. I used to work at Poly Bundang, which is in Jeongja. I have worked in Korea for 3 years now, and this was by far the worst Hagwon I have ever worked for. They simply fired me for no apparent reason, as well as teaching other foreign teachers badly. A few weeks after I left and found a new position the Director (Ms. A***) hired her brother to be the academic coordinator. He ended up hitting one of the teachers a few weeks into the job. I would not recommend this school at all. What makes it worse is the Poly regional director is at the school and just sits back doing nothing watching a lot of terrible things happen at this location. My advice is don't bother. It's not worth the headache and frustration!

Subject: Miracle English School, Suseong-gu, Daegu, South Korea

Date: Friday, July 27, 2012 2:55 AM

I have been compelled to warn people about this Hagwon in Daegu. When I was looking at taking the teaching job at this school, there was no foreign teacher available to talk to at the time and the agency I used (Teach Travel Asia) is supposed to be reputable so I accepted the position. My google search on the school yielded no response or hits on any blacklist. My hope is that this warning would save some other person the same fate.

For the first 2 months of the contract, things were fine, but then things started to change. In the long 5 months that I was there, 3 Korean teachers left and 2 foreign teachers came and left. I also found out that the previous foreign teachers there only stuck around for only a few months as well. The work load started to increase. You are then told to perform monthly lesson plans in advance, daily evaluation reports for each student, voice recordings for vocabulary, video recordings and comprehension questions for storybooks (even for books you are not teaching) when there are in fact not enough hours in the day to perform all the work. Then if they are unsatisfied with your effort (even if you are doing your best) you will be called into a meeting and shouted at while this is all on camera of course. Yes, there are camera's, microphones and speakers in every classroom so be prepared for them to reprimand you over the speaker while you are in the middle of giving a class.

All in all, a very unprofessional environment to work in. Also, don't expect your contract to be worth the paper it is written on. With regard to leave, you will be required to take it only at the end of the contract and they want to count Saturdays as a leave day?

When finally, I had enough of being overworked like a slave and treated inhumanely, I decided to resign. Still trying to honor the contract and not just skipping town, I still provided 60 days notice that I would be leaving to give them enough time to find a replacement teacher. That meant nothing to them and they fired me giving me 3 days notice. This was because he wanted to kick me out before the 6 month point so that he could deduct the initial airfare and a host of other things from my last paycheck and basically robbing me blind.

I was not going to stick around and don't have the know-how or time to waste fighting this school with a lawyer, so just glad to be out of there.

So I hope that this post warns somebody about this terrible school.

Subject: Ybm playschool in Incheon

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ybm playschool in Incheon south korea is pretty terrible. It's a kindergarden but they also expect you to do trash and stay later than your shift. Your heating bills will be over a 1000 dollars more in winter than anyone else in korea and they will shrug their shoulders about it. You'll work long hours, have hardly any lunch breaks, and the boss is completely without compassion. She manipulates the contract in any way that suits her. I landed in korea at 5 or 6 in the morning and was made to work the same day. They help with nothing, I couldn't even get an home address that worked until 6 months into my stay.


Date: Thursday, July 19, 2012 1:38 AM

Next week Im leaving my job at Kids Havard English school in SamSanDong. The insane owner Ive posted about before has plans to get rid of me 3 months early / Ive decided to leave after no medical.. and no guarantee of severance or flight plus and an uncomfortable and hostile work environment which I cant stand anymore. She wants me to leave so she can "save" money and apparently she never signed my contract in the first place... ummm what?!

Anyways, I just want to let everyone know SHE IS LOOKING FOR A PART TIME TEACHER to keep the school open. PLEASE PLEASE do not work there...Im telling you. She ruined everything and none of the korean teachers are happy but they put up with it anyways and have decided to stay.

The school is located on a main street parallel to the one Cima Bar is on. It looks nice like a castle.. the perfect place to work at, but dont be decieved by appearences. You've been warned :)

Subject: Maple Native English, Dadae-po, Busan, South Korea

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 11:44 AM

DO NOT WORK HERE. YOU WILL BE A SERVANT, NOT A TEACHER. My wife and I accepted this position with high hopes and lots of energy, and we left feeling empty and discouraged. They put on a good show for the first month or so, and then everything went downhill from there. After a month we were told that we are now janitors also, and that we need to clean the classrooms and bathrooms on a daily basis. We were already swamped with creating their curriculum for them only to have a line added so they could say that they did all the work. We accepted this and continued to do our best. We were then told that we had to work weekends. We had no choice, so we did this also. We were told that we would be paid for this, but we never were. We had daily meetings that went nowhere, and were told that we weren’t doing enough. We worked 1:50pm – 10:00 M-F no exceptions. The owner/investor held a meeting after about 2 ½ months, and told us that any Korean that is in our building is our boss. This included a 22 year old daughter of the director/principal who has no life experience let alone teaching experience and an emotional and mental capacity of a 15 year old. I was then pulled into a meeting the following day where I was yelled at for about 40 minutes after my wife had been yelled for about an hour days prior for not grading papers with a red crayon! Our vice principal who was great was stripped of his responsibilities and told that he could no longer be our friend, so we basically had a school that was run by a spoiled child who had no idea what she was doing. On the website they lie and say that she has a bachelor’s degree.

When bringing up any concerns we had with the students we were always given a BS answer. I was told that the school is not about what is good for the students as long as we are making money. Discipline was nonexistent. We had students that would curse in class and make racist remarks only to be told that that is the way Korean students are. According to the principal racist remarks and cursing are okay because the students work so hard? She actually laughed in my face when I expressed my concerns! They threw a lot of money into advertising, the building, and fancy looking books, but past that they had no plan as to what to do. The director has no faith in westerners and treated us like servants. I have a bachelor degree in Middle Childhood Education and my wife has her Juris Doctorate (32 and 27 years old), but this meant nothing. The will tell you to do a variety of different tasks and then either tell you they never told you to do them or to do something completely different. No matter how well you do, it will never be good enough.

Subject: Namcheon Avalon English Academy - Busan

Date: Sunday, July 15, 2012 10:14 AM

I was hired at the Namcheon branch of Avalon in Busan, which is quite close to the beaches in downtown Busan. I had worked the previous year for fifteen months in Jeonju at another hagwon, so I was by no means new to the Korean academy experience. Between jobs, I had gone to Thailand and earned myself a TESOL certificate, so I had fifteen months ESL experience in Korea, a teaching certificate, and I’d tutored English and French in the States for about eighteen months before coming to Korea. At my previous academy in Jeonju, I’d never had any problems with the director, other teachers, or students and I’d been given a fantastic letter of recommendation from that school’s director.

Upon arrival at Avalon, I was put up in a really nice five-star hotel in downtown Busan since the apartments weren’t yet ready. That was the nicest thing that happened to me in my experience with Avalon. My apartment hadn’t been cleaned in years; this is not an exaggeration. The Internet did not work, the shower did not drain, and there was black (toxic) mold all over the walls. I am particularly allergic to black mold and so got very sick throughout my two months at the school with dizzy spells, a cold, and finally an upper respiratory infection in which I was coughing up blood and had to go to the ER. I am sure this was used against me in my dismissal. It took almost a month to get these problems sorted out with my apartment and even then, new wallpaper was just put up over the mold, so the problem was not actually fixed, which is why I continued to get sick.

Less than two months after I began teaching at Namcheon Avalon, I was called into the director’s office and informed through the translator (the director did not speak English well enough to communicate without one) that I was being let go. I had never been written up or spoken to about any issues with my classes. He said that he did not like my teaching style, I was too different from the other teachers, and my classroom management was poor. The one class he was using against me for citing classroom management was a 75-minute uninterrupted kindergarten class and he was irked that the six and seven year old students were not staying in their seats the entire time. (In what universe is THAT going to happen?)

In addition, I had never received any training in what Avalon expected of their teachers. I observed no classes and was given no materials to read over. My first week at the academy in Jeonju, I had observed and been trained for an entire week and was occasionally observed by other teachers and given constructive criticism. At this Avalon, the director sits in his office watching the CCTV videos and jacks up the poor quality volume to watch how teachers are doing. Not only does he not understand enough English to know what is being taught and how, but he has no background in education and has never taught before.

When my head foreign teacher came into the office and figured out what was going on (he had not been told), he defended me saying that I had signed a contract and I needed to receive written warnings before any firings and protocol was not being followed. The director said that we were just going to “ignore the contract” and I needed to find a new job because he didn’t like my style. He refused to go into detail about what exactly was wrong with my style and would not translate or go over what the Korean notes written on the whiteboard were concerning me as a teacher. I was given no notice, no inkling that I was doing anything wrong or unapproved. He also threatened that if I did not leave peacefully, he would go to the Labor Board and make things up about me to get me to leave. Basically, he would get rid of me one way or another. Yet even with how terrible of a teacher I was in his opinion, he wanted me to stay on until spring term finished at the end of May.

Two days later, all of us foreign teachers figured out what had really happened, which also explained why he wanted me to stay on for another six weeks. My style was not the issue nor even me as a teacher. Avalon is run on three-month terms and the director had one spot opening up in June for the beginning of summer term. There was a couple from Canada who had taught at Avalon previously, were certified teachers in Canada, and had majored in either Education or English at university. He wanted to hire them as they were more qualified and so decided to open up another spot since they would not come separately from each other, even by a month or two. This is now confirmed as they are both teaching at the school.

If he had been honest from the beginning, I may have been inclined to find another job, but he made up baseless facts and opinions about me as a teacher. This affected me personally as I nearly went home and gave up completely on being an English teacher whereas in all of my experiences, I have been told that I’m great with kids and with teaching English. I would warn everyone to stay away from this hagwon. It was a terrible experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

Subject: Kids College Yeongdeungpo, Mullae, Seoul

Date: Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kids College Yeongdeungpo was nothing but a series of lies from the time of the phone interview until my departure. The school will seem nice, your interviewer will be polite but about after a week of false pleasantries it all starts to come out of the glass closet.

Upon my arrival I was given no choice but to take more hours of classes than I had agreed to on signing my contract. Even though they paid me more, and at first they wanted to pay nothing more than a pittance, it wasn't worth the mental anguish and physical burden. The employers will keep you at the school forcibly, even when you don't have classes. Also you will be working the full 30 hours. Most hagwons don't work their teachers this way, but Kids College will. This being said, be prepared to teach 9 classes a day. On top of that they will also claim that the staff is lazy. They will threaten, lie, and coerce employees to do their bidding. Also they will appease the parents in any way possible meaning that they will terminate your employment with even just one complaint. This is a common method used by the school, and within my time there (no more than a few months) saw no less than five employees be dismissed. If they don't terminate you they will simply tell you to change everything for the sake of the parent. This is extremely evident when report time comes around. The school will not permit teachers to write any opinion based comments or negatively seen wording on reports because of parental backlash. Furthermore they will insist that you write a ridiculous amount of "positive" comments.

If you don't mind extremely long hours, 9 1/2 hour days, no support, guidance, or few work materials, then this school is for you. If you don't care about having a positive work environment, or feeling frightened with every decision you make, again this school is for you.

Subject: Avalon English Academy, Ding Ding Dang or Reading Town (Same owners and building) in Gumi City

Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012 3:09 AM

Do not work at Avalon English Academy, Ding Ding Dang or Reading Town in Gumi City, South Korea. These schools are all run by the same people, and are in the same building. Do not work at any of them. I even emailed the Avalon corporate office, but even they don’t care and I never got a reply, so Avalon in general is suspect.

Advice for getting a good school is at the end.

To give an idea, while I was there from 25 November 2011 to 10 March 2012, at least 12 employees left or were fired, over 9 foreign. They: fire people if requested to follow the contract, do not give letters of release to allow working at other schools if forced to leave, force you to work extra hours, don’t pay the medical insurance and pension even though they take the money, yell at staff when there is problems and do not resolve anything, withhold money every month, fire employees before their contract ends, don’t pay the end of year bonus or flight home, sue employees who quit and stay in country, spy on employees both at work and at the apartments when we are not there, have been fined by the Korean government multiple times. Do not work at any of these schools. I thought that it would not happen to me, but it did. I had to leave without notice because the treatment there is unacceptable. In Gumi, the school is notorious for being a terrible school. It is notorious and well known for being a terrible school in Gumi. I met previous teachers who worked for them 10 years ago with the same problems.

Overall I liked my experience in Korea and the people, as I did travel there after I left. I would have no problem working in Korea again. If I did it again, I would not take any job that starts immediately, and would ensure that I talked to the teacher I was replacing on Skype when they are alone, and at least one former teacher. Read between the lines. If the school does not allow this, then move on to the next one. Look through your contract carefully, and resolve any conflicts before going there, and ensure everything is clear. If there are too many issues in the contract, move on. I met many other teachers, and would say that about 50-70 percent have decent schools, with about 30-50 percent with intolerable schools. If you contact the teachers, look through the contract, and take a job has non-hasty start date, you will have a MUCH higher chance of it being a great year. All the best.

Subject: Evada Returnee School, in Jukjeon of Yongin

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012 2:38 AM

I would like to add another school to the list of hagwons that should be avoided by English teachers.

I arrived in South Korea to join my boyfriend in a couples position to a school called Evada Returnee School, in Jukjeon of Yongin. It is located on the main thoroughfare of Jukjeon-ro, and will likely be listed as a Bundang position. The immediate overseer of the school is A** K***, whose e-mail address is: ******** However, as we discovered, it is her husband who truly runs things and he is the source of the problems with pay and the business in general.

Upon arriving, I worked a little over a month and a half and was not paid, nor was my boyfriend (he has been working here for a little over three months). Upon approaching our boss about the lateness/absence of wages, we were consistently met with excuses and promises that were broken shortly after. Our immediate boss, Ana, would give us a hundred here, or a hundred there, paid out of her pocket, and would always say that she expected us to pay her back when were finally given our salary. We are both indebted a few million won in missing wages at this point. Money was never once on time, always broken up in frustratingly small segments, and the bosses were slippery, avoiding when possible, and uninterested in full compensation. I know this because the prior couple who worked at the school left Korea with over thirty million won in debt collectively - we are still unsure why they stayed that long at the school. We both had a meeting with the husband of our immediate boss, Brendon, who is the owner of the school, last Friday and were informed that this was the way it would be (that all the other English teachers had “dealt with it”) and that if we did not like it, he would send us both back to the United States. We obviously don't want this, nor think that it is quite that black and white, and so we told him that we would be looking for work elsewhere. He then told us both that he would give us letters of release if we stayed for one month more; judging by our work ethic at the end of that month, he would give it to us. We didn't believe that he would follow through with his word, as he hadn't on anything yet to date, so we quit the school shorty after. We then applied for the D10 visa, got new jobs at a better school within the following week. We were told from colleagues still working there that the school subsequently lied about the reason for our departure to the parents and students, which was expected but nonetheless frustrating. I am being completely truthful when I say that in the few months I worked there, Evada Returnee School had just about one hundred percent turnover in Korean and English staff due to nonpayment and disorganization. The administration, atmosphere, and expectation that employees will “just deal with it” make it truly an awful place to work.

Besides the huge issue of nonpayment, the school’s expected work hours are ten or more hours a day, not including time spent for planning, cleaning your own classroom, and “surprise” meeting overtime. The school is constantly disorganized, with expectations for teaching methods changing daily; I am not exaggerating when I say that the school is absolutely disorganized from the top down – payment, planning, supplies, teaching direction, schedule throughout the day. About the only thing the school does accomplish is its ability to take money from parents. Most hagwon positions my friends and colleagues elsewhere are not like this – this is beyond the standard of workplace expectations in Korea. The school seems from our perspective very in debt and thus runs its business model on the backs of its teachers’ salary, expecting them to not leave the job out of fear of the unknown. I highly recommend avoiding this school, unless you wish to leave Korea with less money than you came to the country with, as well as the awful stress of consistently late and missing pay, week after week, month after month.

Thank you and I wish those out there reading this better luck than us.

Subject: 7s English, Deoekjung campus.

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:19 PM

Signed contract.....returned.....asked not to work after substituting for school. Lies lies lies lies.

Subject: Jungchul English Language School Samsan Campus

Date: Friday, June 1, 2012 10:04 AM

They were very good about paying my on time and reimbursing me for my flight. However when time came to renew, I did not wish to renew because I worked straight eight hours and sometimes stayed late just to finish my work on time. Now ten months into my contract, I have been informed that they have hired a new foreign teacher and that I must leave in 10 days. There is no reason for my dismissal other than I decided not to renew my contract.

I worked straight eight hours and sometimes skipped dinner just so I could leave within my working hours. I never once complained to my boss, nor was I unhappy at work. Despite her rudeness and her obvious ignoring of me after I declined to renew my contract, I still worked hard and continued to full-fill my obligation. I am extremely upset and I strong suggest for any new Foreign Teachers to avoid coming to work for her.

Subject: Wonderland Anyang, Bisan-dong

Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 11:47 PM

I'd like to clarify that the March 28th post about Wonderland Anyang was written by an Australian who quit three days before I quit. My reasons for quitting can be read at ( along with additional insight into the policies and practices at this school.

If you want to work at this school, I would highly advise the following:

1. Demand that you're allowed to pay your own utility bills. Otherwise, the money will be taken out of your pay each month, but not sent to the utility companies for several months, resulting in late fees and utility cutoffs. My gas was cut off multiple times because of this and the Australian experienced utilities cutoffs as well.

2. Demand a photo of the apartment, a photo of the inside of the refrigerator, and photographic proof your apartment has air conditioning. Otherwise, you could end up moving into a dirty landfill full of trash piled high, empty bottles, used condoms, and a refrigerator full of living and dead insects.

3. Do not pay your airfare upfront. This is the only thing I did right. Wonderland did pay for my flight to Korea. It took months for the Australian to get reimbursed and another American was in the last week of his contract when I quit, and he still hadn't been reimbursed his airfare to Korea.

Subject: EBRI english club Gangneung

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:16 PM

Dont work here.Guy doesnt pay on time,job involves travelling between 3 schools not one as mentioned in the contract.Guy had me teaching his daughter at his house also not in contract.And above he stiffed me on medical insurance claiming i didnt need it.Wasnt until my second year when i wanted to get it i found out i had to pay the whole year previous.

Subject: Name of school: 7s English, Bundang

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012 9:23

reason for blacklist:

1. School is in massive debt, thanks to owner's lifestyle and shady dealings.

2. Has not been paying employee's pension

3. Has not been paying severance

4. Requires teachers to work overtime WITHOUT overtime pay

Subject: Kelly's Kingdom, Busan

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hi Jon,

Before I left Korea, I signed a contract with Kelly's Kingdom. She knew my girlfriend was in Korea and that I was eager to come back to Korea after visiting my family after not having seen them for two years. Kelly, the director of the school had eight weeks to send me a pin number for my new visa. She took five weeks to do so.

This is fine, but as the time approached for me to start working, she started ignoring my calls and said she was busy. She told me twice that there was a death in her family, which is a lie, because she told me three weeks apart, twice, that "her uncle died". I offered my condolences in an email, even though she hung up the phone to my face.

She is extremely rude and unprofessional. My friends who have worked with her in Busan say that this is her typical behaviour. Also she pays everyone two to three weeks late, and wants to do everything on her own terms.


Subject: Namcheondong Eastern English School in Busan

Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hi Jon,

I would like to warn people about Namcheondong Eastern English School in Busan.

The director tried to withhold three months worth of pay. Also my pay was four weeks late for the last seven months of my contract.

I was the only teacher there and got picked on by the female teachers with gossip, blame and was verbally assaulted for being bedridden and extremely sick for two days, even though I had three sick days in my contract

They also stole five of my vacation days.

Another thing they do is share you with a horrific academy really far away from the apartment. The walls are covered in drawings of genitals and profanity. The students have no problems trying to touch you inappropriately. You definitely need to steer clear and check the rear view mirror!

Subject: Wiz and Wise in goyang-si, gyeonggi-do, south korea

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hi Jon! I would like to blacklist one previous school of´s a private kindergarten institution called Wiz and Wise in goyang-si, gyeonggi-do, south korea....

I will explain why it´s a bad school....

First of all I was the only foreign teacher there...all koreans spoke poor English and I couldn´t communicate well them..therefore making it stressful to communicate with them...aside from the working environment being so poor, the korean homeroom teachers would sit back drink coffee and have a laugh while I was left alone unsupervised with 4,5 and 6 year olds.

Second, the owner came off as a nice person at the beginning, but of course just as you may have heard from other hagwon complainees, she manipulated the contract so I wouldn´t get paid severance and my last paycheck was 1/3 missing...

I´ll explain why....

because of my ignorance I signed a contract from March 7 2011-February 29 2012 (one week short of a year!) my previous public school even though it wasn´t a complete year, still paid severance because of my completion of the I didn´t suspect that she would manipulate me like this...and my last paycheck she only paid me teaching hours and not office hours even though korean teachers and I worked overtime for a musical concert we prepared for the parents...she spent millions of won just for costumes alone only to impress the parents...but neglected to care about the hard work of the make a point..all korean teachers but one resigned from that school because lack of poor management and all got significantly underpaid on their last paycheck just like me...

Worst of all she never registered me to goyang board of education and never registered me to pension office...which both are mandatory for operation of a as you can see...she was an incompetent hagwon owner and a manipulative person so I strongly advise anyone NOT to work there!

Please help get this message out for me..

Subject: TILS Academy in Daejeon Korea,

April 16, 2012 6:12 AM

Don't go, unless you like not getting paid, not given a letter of release, not being allowed to teach more than a couple of weeks, The wonjang is a liar, a spy, and a cheating swindler. You will have more problems than you can handle, and they even lied about me refusing to talk to parents. I know how important parental relations are in Korea, and nothing could be further from the truth. Thet violated the one month written notice point in the contract. Koreans only make up a contract to satisfy westerners, Koreans working with other koreans don't even use contracts in their business dealings with each other, so they feel no need to honor them.

Subject: IvyHill English Academy, Hong Seong

Monday, April 16, 2012 6:09 AM


There is already one entry regarding this hakwon, and I'd like to add a second, although my incident happened even earlier than that of the teacher who posted previously. Following is what happened to me:

From the moment I arrived in HongSeong from the USA, the husband of the director of the school was telling me that I needed to pay for this thing or that..."You pay money," he said, with his hand out. And pay I did, much more than I ever might have believed. The previous poster refers to the lack of insulation in the foreign teacher's apartment. This is totally true; also, the boiler did not work properly. Despite running through two entire tanks of heating oil in only 17 days, the pipes still froze, and I had to wear my coat inside. Finally, it became so cold I had to go stay with a friend. The toilet had been broken for almost the entire time that I lived there. Then, the weekend before I moved out, the director's husband suddenly showed up and replaced the toilet...then deducted 260,000 KRW from my completion bonus for making the repair, which didn't benefit me at all. Nor, did I damage the toilet to begin with. The school failed to pay my complete return airfare (paid only about 1/4 of it); and also deducted 150,000 KRW to disconnect my Internet/Cable service, claiming I was "breaking a contract." They also deducted 130,000 KRW for "washing expenses," although washing exactly what, I have no idea. Finally, the entire time I was there, I had to put up with comments from the Director through a translator such as, "I do not like America. I don't like Americans or American culture. I don't want you to teach anything about American culture in my school." I asked her why she had hired an American teacher, considering her feelings. I doubt that she really understood me because she just smiled. And obviously, she still continues to hire Americans, then make their lives miserable. AVOID THIS SCHOOL, particularly if you are an American and/or female.

Subject: Kids College Dunsan in Daejeon Korea:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nightmare is an excellent choice of words to describe Kids College dunsan (doonsan) daejeon under the direction of G****** **** and M**** **. These evil swindlers have defrauded everyone they’ve dealt with; teachers, contractors, publishers, landlords, you name it. Now *** ** H**** specializes in a retinue consisting of Westerners who would do or say anything for a visa to remain in Korea. They’re worse than her. Cheaters, liars, swindlers, and dirty dealers like *** ** H****, M**** ** and her Western associates are not misunderstood angels whose honest business practices and picture perfect, virtuous lives are being slandered by disgruntled, former, incompetent employees. Be warned. Unpaid wages, phony contracts, mistreatment of students, disgusting housing, harassment, entrapment, spying, all the horror stories Korean Hagwons are known for can be experienced here. This tainted school is no place for a decent person to get involved.

Subject: Poly School, Gumi Campus

Sunday, April 8, 2012 6:14 PM


If possible, I would like to add a Korean Hogwan to your black list. I have worked at the school for 6 months, and I am now entering into a dispute with them. I suffered what I interpreted as abuse in the workforce (the vice director entering my classroom yelling and screaming and after I walked away from her, her banging on my office door as hard as she could). I walked out of the school and then was fired and told to leave my apartment. The school (Poly School Gumi Campus) if full of problems and all in all, a horrible place to work. They now owe me 2,500,000 won which I am not sure if I am getting back.

If possible, I would like to add this school to the black list.

Thank you,

Subject: Tov English School, Hwaseong-si, Namyang-dong

Friday, April 6, 2012 8:35 PM

Don't take a job at this school if you have any interest in learning the language and culture of Korea, if you have any creative ideas of your own, or if you have any interest in anything but socializing with other foreigners.

The director might do anything to bait you, but don't let that fool you. When I first arrived, the director and all the teachers love-bombed me while I learned the Korean songs, read Korean books to the children, and used my own games and picture books. Once she got my signature on the contract, she began making complaints at the rate of one a day.

Finally I couldn't hold it in any long so I wrote a letter to the head teacher. The head teacher copied the letter and gave it to the director. The director called me to the office and lambasted me for a half hour. She told me I had to work until she found a replacement, but the minute she found a replacement, I was fired.

During the time I worked for the school, the director did everything she could think of to keep me from associating with other Koreans. One of the students made weekly trips to Suweon for Korean sign language lessons. I was interested. The director told me that the child's mother didn't want me to go to Suweon with them. I checked directly with the child's mother and found that the director lied to me. Some of the children took part in a nationwide speech contest in Seoul. I wanted to go. The director told me that teachers were not expected to go to the event. I went anyway and found that the director lied to me.

After a couple of months, she finally found someone gullible enough to work at the place. I was told that the new teacher would begin work the following week. I was accepted for a job in China, and naturally, I needed time to apply for a visa, pack my belongings, mail my belongings, buy a plane ticket. If I didn't use that time for that purpose, I could not have cleared out of the apartment in time for the new teacher.

Not being content make life difficult for me, she decided to make life impossible for me. She said I had to work the rest of the week anyway. If I wanted another job in Korea, I would have had to make a midnight run.

On top of that, she tried to pressure me to sign a statement saying that I will never mention the school to anyone for as long as I lived. Apparently she didn't want her school to appear on this list.

Could all this be only my point of view? Or could this be only a man's point of view? Or could this be only a foreigner's point of view? That's what I wondered. But shortly thereafter, I met a woman Korean English teacher who had answered a help wanted ad at the school. When she got there, however, she found that the director had too much of a "strong personality" for her. So she got a job at another English school right down the street.

Subject: Anyang Wonderland, Bisan-dong

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do not work here. You will not be payed properly and your pay will always be later and later (meaning you get payed less and less in real terms). No pension means you are actually working illegally. One teacher still hasn't been reimbursed for his flight after a full year. Utilities bills will be deducted from you whether you pay them yourself or not and they will always be gross inflations of the actual bill. If you work overtime as defined by your contract they will shorten the length of a month or "teaching session" so you worked less hours. You will be docked pay for "training days" at the beginning of your contract despite the fact you will be teaching classes from the first minute you walk in the door. Few contractual obligations regarding accommodation will be met. When you try to bring up any question about any pay/contract related issue suddenly no one can speak English.

As if the money/contract issues aren't bad enough by themselves this is the worst work environment I've ever worked in; really unfriendly and openly racist attitude towards foreigners displayed by all Korean teachers apart from one, who was recently sacked without being payed. Korean teachers actually tell students that foreigners are stupid and not to listen to what they say (which makes trying to control your classes hell). There is no interest in educating children, just impressing the parents. Foreign teachers teach writing classes and Korean teachers teach conversation classes, nothing makes any sense whatsoever and the standards they aspire to are very low.

This is not my first time teaching in Korea and my last school was an absolute pleasure to work at, so it is not like I'm inexperienced in these matters. Do yourself a big favour and do not work at Anayng Wonderland.


Thursday, March 22, 2012 6:50 AM

Stay the HELL away from this place, unless you want to be screwed out of you PENSION, TAXES, OVERTIME PAY and your sanity.

This was the first hagwon I ever worked for in Korea and therefore I was unfamiliar about my rights and legality issues. This school is fairly new (1yr 8 months of writing this) and looks like a good place to work but…

1st: The owners (R*** & P***** – Korean) of the franchise are BAT-SHIT CRAZY. It's a wife & husband team that doesn't know HOW to run and operate a business. (Found out later that their previous non-franchised hagwon when out of business) They are too concerned about appearances and buying expensive brand-new stuff than keeping their finances out of the red. (By the time I left, they were having major cash-flow problems. (ex. Couldn't pay Korean or Foreign Teacher's salary on time) Rosa in particular doesn't any business skill or knowledge and has terrible people management skills, and will fire you if she doesn't like you (not because you can't do the job—because you can). There has already been one illegal firing (only because Rosa didn't like the employee) and a 'midnight run'. They are absolutely horrible people if they dislike you.

2nd: They will tell you that you will pay less in taxes if they paid you less in pension. Which is true, but they failed to tell me that they reported to the National Pension Service that I was only making 1.4 million when I was really making 2.4 million. I didn't find out that interesting bit of information until I left for the pension office at the end of my contract. When I complained, the pension office said I would have to settle it with the Rosa & Patrick. The business has to pay first and then I would have to pay my MISSING portion too although I would be getting it back. (I know, doesn't make sense). By that time, I was out of the city of Ulsan and frankly, I just wanted to get the f**k out there.

3rd: So, pension was report wrong therefore, taxes were incorrectly reported too. Since I didn't have the pension issue resolved I didn't have to pay the adjusted tax amount. Still, it's a pain in the ass.

4th: My school would have these 'Overnight' sleepover parties that would require the teachers to sleep at the school with the children. Okay, fine. But the overtime pay was just 50 won for the whole event. This was not per hour. The business argued that we weren't teaching classes (when in fact we were, just with more fun) and therefore we don't earn the overtime pay. Now, I fought this but it's hard when there's no solidarity with your co-workers, and you are inexperienced about fighting for your rights. (Plus I really needed the money)

5th: The hours are too long (9:00am-6:00pm) with only six, 5 minutes breaks thorough out the day and 1 hour 40 minutes lunch break (the lunch break is your only long break for the day). Therefore, you will be standing most of the day.

The only GOOD thing about this place was my students and the Korean teachers. They were the reason I held onto most of my sanity.

If you still decide to work at this place…ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. You have been WARNED.

UPDATE: Kids College Dunsan in Daejeon Korea:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 12:42 AM

Regarding Kid's College Ulsan.

The owners, R*** and P******, have SOLD the Hagwon. As you can read from the blacklist posting, virtually all the problems with this place were attributable to their incompetence and malevolence.

The new owner, A**, is wonderful - very kind and intelligent, and bought the hagwon with funds from another she runs across town. She's made substantial changes to how this place is run, all of them for the better.

Subject: Summerhill Kids Club in Suji and in Yangjae

Thursday, September 15, 2011 2:59 PM

I worked for 2 years at Summerhill Kids Club in Suji and in Yangjae. During my time at this school I noticed the quality of the school decline very quickly. Teachers would come and go constantly for no apparent reason. After the first year my boss decided that they didn't want to buy textbooks anymore. I taught some classes for the entire 2 years without material in spite of asking for books. Other classes just all of a sudden didn't have books. When I finished my second year and I had decided to leave for home new bills began to crop up. It started with taxes finally being deducted from my pay after 2 years of no income tax being deducted. Fine I said, seems fair. Then I was slapped with a bill for 500,000 won for back taxes which I owed to the boss. The income tax bureaux has no record of taxes so I confronted them. They told me "we haven't paid them yet, but we will keep your money and we promise to pay them." On the last day of work, after retaining 1.5 million won, they told me I owed housing maintenance fees for two years which was 720,000 won. I was told this would be taken from my pay but apparently it wasn't. They agreed to pay half for me. I need to mention that my apartment was 8 feet wide and 12 feet long and shit, still no breaks. They told me I had to stay there because it was cheap.

I also had problems with pay. In my final year, my pay was short by 200,000 every month for 8 months nearly in a row. I had to ask to be paid and one month I was written up after asking for 2 weeks to be paid. i was written up for several reasons including, not smiling enough, disciplining students, and raising my voice to get students attention. I was told when the children would fight, or not pay attention, i was to speak to them and smile like an ass. The kids were meant to feel as though they never do bad. Parents could change the schedule or add classes whenever they want. one parent complained that her daughter didn't have enough english teacher time so another class was added in the morning before all the regular school started, JOY. The food is shit, seaweed soup and rice, everyday and I even got food poisoning once. The current teacher now was underpaid for 3 months before I made up a pay stub for him and I noticed he was being ripped off. Yes, I was responsible for making my own pay stubs for my records. This school sounds great when they hire you, short easy hours, decent pay, I was on 2.5 million and working 10-4. The school is cheap, disorganised and not worth the stress of a boss who will short you 1 million won for bills they find the day before you leave. It also has to be said that when I showed them the total of what they owed me they freaked out and spent several days, i assume, looking for ways to short me my money. They succeeded. AVOID SUJI Summerhill Kids Club and Yangjae Summerhill Kids Club. May also be advertised as Gangnam Summerhill Kids Club. They will short you and not pay you. I have also not listed my real name, those who work there know who I as.

Subject: Chungdahm Learning in Daejeon

Sunday, September 11, 2011 10:30 PM

Hi there,

I just wanted to add the extremely unpleasant experience I had trying to work for Chungdahm Learning in Daejeon.

For anyone interested in working for Chungdahm, which is apparently one of the bigger chains of Hagwons in the country, there is a one week training session in Seoul. I think, for the most part, they warn you that the training is intense and difficult, however, I don't recall hearing about their pass-or-fail system of rating until I had already completed the necessary paper-work, passed the intial interview, video introduction and 1500 word essay, shelled-out for the flight ticket to Korea, survived the flight to Korea, and finally met up with my fellow trainees. When I heard that there was an 85 percent pass rate, I felt like the odds were pretty good, but not as good as I might have expected. What happened to the unfortunate 15 percent who did not pass? I very naively told myself and some other worried trainees that you'd probably have to try pretty hard to fail once you've made it this far in the hiring process. The trainees have already been judged and rated on so many aspects, I felt that we'd have to be deplorable teachers, or have an absolutely terrible attitude to get turned around at this point.

Such is not the case, as I unfortunately found out after not being able to fully grasp the Chungdahm way of "teaching" reading to students. At the end of this intense and difficult week, I was quite coldly told that I hadn't passed the training by some soul-less CEO I had never met before.

As it turned out, there were some Chungdahm branches that were deperate enough for teachers that they were willing to take the "failures", and I so I got to start my new adventure in Korea knowing that I wasn't good enough and probably never would be. Painfully aware of my flaws, I put in several hours of prep time for my classes everyday, and worked as hard as I possibly could to incorporate the training into my lessons. Despite everything, I was pulled aside (quite unexpectedly) one day and told that Head Office wanted to see all of the existing video-footage (they have cameras set up in each room) of my teaching to judge whether I was worthy of being a Chungdahm teacher. Alas, I was not. The hurt, confusion and general disbelief and anger that this experience has brought me cannot be expressed in a relatively short message. Although I learned some different teaching methods and managed to save a little bit of money during the short time I worked at Chungdahm, I really wish I had that time back so I could employ it at an institution that deserves serious employees with excellent work ethic.

I'd also like to add that there are many employees at Chungdahm who seem quite satisfied, and many choose to extend their working contracts. My message is to those who do not wish to molded into the cookie-cutter "teacher" that Chungdahm employs and those who wish to maintain their individualism and personality.

And to those who would like to take their chances with this soul-less company, please heed this warning... do NOT fail the training (and it's a lot easier to do this than you might imagine!).

Subject: Appletree Recruiting

Friday, September 9, 2011 8:08 PM

I urge all teachers to avoid working with Appletree Recruiting. They found me a private school- hagwon- position that was unstable at best. I was given assurance that this school had the monetary support to get off its feet; it was a brand new private institute. This school never once paid me on time and ended up dismissing me illegally rather than continue to pay my salary. After I was let go... my contacts at Appletree Recruiting disappeared. None of my email messages or phone calls were returned. I was left high and dry to fend for myself and attempt to recoup any money that my "school" was refusing to pay me. I would hate to see the same thing happen to someone in the future.

Subject: E Kids Language School, Ganseo Gu, Seoul

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I recently walked out of this job half way through. The reasons?

Since the first month I was always paid late, sometimes by as much as 3 weeks. The school is clearly having some money problems, and my boss even takes the batteries out of the air-con remote (it is outside the classroom) so you can't use it outside of class time. The worst episode though was when she downsized the foreign staff from 2 to 1. She asked me if I would take on the extra classes for more money. I said yes. However, when the next pay cheque came along and I questioned why there was no additions to it, she had no recollection of the previous verbal agreement. Overtime therefore went unpaid, there's no health insurance, no pension, and generally horrible kids that you have no authority to discipline (hardly exclusive to this hagwon). The atmosphere was also unfriendly: I was the only foreign teacher and was basically ignored unless they wanted me to do something for them, despite me not really having ever done anything to deserve such contempt. My boss seemed to disdain foreigners, which made me wonder why so many Koreans who harbour this prejudice get into the hagwon business where they will inevitably have to deal with us. The only good thing is she is never peering in through the window or telling you how to run your classes. She just leaves you to get on with things. I should add the accommodation is alright, although a maintenance fee of 120,000 a month disappears from your salary, most of which I suspect ends up in the boss' pocket (I can't prove this, but my Korean neighbour wasn't paying it).

When it became clear to me that, given the school's financial problems and struggle to even pay me the bear minimum I earned each month, plus the numerous lies I was subjected to, the chances of being paid my final severance were very, very low, I decided to end this hell before being fired on some pretext just a month before the end. I lost about 2 million in unpaid wages by walking out, but it is an indication perhaps of how depressing this job was that I feel no regrets whatsoever over the loss.

Do yourself a favour...

Subject: EduBest English, Yeosu, South Korea

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hi Jon,

There are pros and cons for working at EduBest. The pro is that you are paid on time, the children are fun to work with, and you have other foreign coteachers to talk to while you're at work. The con is that you work more hours than any other hakwon in the area, your Korean coteachers don't talk to you except to ask something of you, and your boss doesn't look at you as a human being. A major con, which is why I'm writing here, is due to an occurence that happened just two weeks before I left. The boss/owner/ MC of EduBest was going to fire me just three weeks before my departure. Three weeks...after a whole year of working for EduBest and he was going to fire me ? His reasoning was because he felt he couldn't work with me anymore and wanted an immediate replacement. The real reason being that I was rallying my coworkers together to have Friday off for Chuseok instead of only Wednesday and Thursday. So heaven forbid someone should ever try to create a foreign union at EduBest. It would be squashed immediately. My foreign coworkers defended me, thank goodness, and I was able to complete my contract, receive my pension, and my plane ticket home. But imagine if there wasn't a defender there. There would be no completed contract. No pension. No plane ticket home. That's the situation you may be walking into at EduBest. I have also received word, having been away from EduBest for a few months now, that he forced a girl there to extend her contract or be fired. That's really scary. To have someone tell you to either extend your contract or be fired immediately. She agreed to extend, but no one should ever be put in that situation. I truely feel for her and hope she finishes her contract soon and hopefully he won't make the same demands of her again.

Subject: KEBY at Anyang Hogye (Beomgye), South Korea

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:00 AM

Hi Jon,

Just wanted to write a warning about the EBY at Anyang Hogye (Beomgye). I was told it was at Beomgye only to find out it was Anyang Hogye when I got here. The hakwon has been slowly dying over time and the students have been leaving, so the boss is going crazy for the past year or so. I joined 4 months ago, and I am leaving mid-contract, as she keeps deducting my pay for every student that leaves. Also, she offers free classes to all the students every day, so we do not have a curriculum to follow here. It is so hard to create 7 hours of material in the space of 10 minutes in the morning every day (no breaks). Also, every time a student is absent, the boss demands that I give them catch up lessons.. As I have no breaks during my working hours, I end up having to teach them after hours or during my 1 hour preparation time... This means that I have no time at all to eat or drink or bathroom until after 8pm, and it means I have no lesson prep time. Lastly, the korean teachers hate the boss and keep leaving. This is the third rotation of korean teachers in the space of 6 months. This week, she called teacher trainers at the head office and told the that I've been scaring the students etc and that I need further training so that students stop leaving, so I've been getting phone calls from the teacher trainers and they have been trying to organise a 2nd training session for me - I just told them I will quit. My problem is: it's all a part of the contract somehow..

Subject: Kid’s College Sanbon, South Korea

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hi Jon,

If you have been offered a job at Kid’s College in Sanbon, South Korea then I would STRONGLY advise you to LOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE!!! I can guarantee 100% that you will regret working here after a few months. There are many good schools in Korea to teach English, however THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. The Kid’s College Chain in particular is notorious around Korea for being a miserable place for foreign teachers to work in South Korea.

The working environment at this school is absolutely horrible. There are not enough words in English or Korean to describe how horrible the management here at Kid’s College in Sanbon is. There is not one single employee (Korean or Foreign) that is happy with the management here. The principal and the vice principal will go to any length to make a profit and usurp their authority over you.

The following is a list of some of their SHADY business practices that I have experienced while working at Kid’s College in Sanbon, South Korea. (Please note, that none of the following is an exaggeration):

*Refusing to pay pension as mandated by Korean law.

*Charging foreigners a higher income tax than is required by Korean law.

*Disgusting and substandard living conditions.

*9 ½ hour workdays for 5 days per week.

*Not buying or paying you the full price of a return flight home.

*Requiring you pay for your flight to Korea & recruiter’s fee should you want to leave Korea, EVEN AFTER 6 MONTHS or 1 DAY BEFORE YOUR CONTRACT IS UP. (This plus your flight home will be almost $4,000.00 USD)

*Requiring you to give them 90 days notice should you want to quit.

*Making you work in an office that is covered in mold.

*Requiring you to work while they are fumigating the building for bugs.

Subject: One World English School Korea.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:22

Hi Jon,

This school should definitely be added to any black list for Korean hagwons. It is a school run by a man from Vancouver and his Korean wife. You would think since he is an expat like of the teachers he is hiring he would be understand of how bad a situation can be when you are working abroad. Instead, the opposite applies.

While I was working there, teachers were rarely paid on time, if at all. Some teachers are still owed months and months of salary. While teachers weren't getting paid, the owners were using their money to take multiple trips to places such as Canada and Thailand.

After I had been working there for about 4 months I was told a week before my next paycheck that I could either stay on and not be paid or I could leave and go home. Obviously, I took the latter of the choices. I received no flight money, in or out of the county, and even though they broke my contract, they contributed nothing towards my severance.

The owner had a tendency to put me in very uncomfortable situations. I wouldn't recommend anyone working there, but I feel even more strongly about that when it comes to female teachers.

At one point, during a phone conversation between the owner and my fiance, who was also an employee there, the owner called him an asshole and told him "I can screw you over even more than I have already." This was in reference to not paying my fiance the money he was owed, as well as trying to kick us out of our apartment even though we were still employed at their school.

I can't express enough that this is not a good school to work at. It should absolutely be black listed.

Subject: Omni Learning Academy, Ulsan, S. Korea

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hi Jon,

It is imperative that teachers be warned about this malicious Hagwon in Ulsan, S. Korea. Please do every teacher that plans to come to Korea a favor and post this on the site. Thank you.


BAD HAGWON! Enjoy the Blacklist.

Unless you enjoy working for a complete sociopath/lunatic or getting ripped off, OMNI should be avoided at all costs. C**** is the director/owner at this school and has issues that extend from lying, manipulation to a threatening behavior. This is a young school that started when C**** decided to steal students from the genius program at a neighboring Hagwon called ELC that he and I both worked for. Before he left ELC he deleted all of the school files to illegally eliminate his competition.

-C***** and his recruiter (Teaching in Korea) will tell you many things to get you to Korea. After arriving you would notice or experience several things:

-C****** is a very paranoid person because he pissed off people when he stole his business.

-He will make you work 15-30 more hours a week that are on your contract, which is illegal according to Korean labor law.

-If you challenge him on your working hours he will threaten to fire you.

-He will not pay you fully for your return flight home.

-Any activities that you design on your own time from your own expertise he will claim as his own ideas to make himself look smart to the parents.

-You will be required to lie to parents because of his inability to be truthful with the parents about scheduling, grading, school fees, and the level of students that he has in particular classes.

-If you do not involve C**** in your personal life he will make your life a living hell by creating gossip and lying to the people you work with and the people that live in Ulsan. He loves drama.

***If any one of the six issues above disturbs you, you will be fired two months before your contract is up. If you smile and have a great attitude, you will be fired two months before the end of your contract. He does this because he doesn’t want to pay you your severance. After firing you, he will illegally try to force you out of your apartment by banging on your door in the middle of the night while verbally threatening you. He will lie about taking out pension money as well.

Do yourself a favor… DO NOT WORK AT OMNI! There are many jobs available for better pay, better hours, and less psychopathology. If you do work at Omni Learning in Ulsan it will ruin your year in Korea. And if you talk to C****** on the phone tell him he should seek some counseling and try to discover what moral fiber is.

Subject: English Insight Academy, changed from Willy Campus in Gwangmyong

Monday, August 8, 2011 3:19 PM

11th month firing to avoid severance.

Subject: Bora Middle School in Yongin City

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hi Jon!

I'd like to blacklist Bora Middle School in Yongin City!

From the time, I signed the contract with this school, I knew it was a mistake!

I have been reading some of the comments that some of the fellow teachers have been making and I guess mine can only add to that or reinstate some of the things that they were referring to.

Firstly, I want to say that I had been working for three years at a good Christian School prior to this horrible one but I had to leave because of some issues.

In any case, I went from having the best record at the one school to having the worst record at another.

I never expected to teach 90 to 100% of my classes on my own. At my previous school, I had always worked closely together with my co-teacher.

Here at this school most of the co-teachers are lazy and they want to follow and not lead. I have no problem leading a class once or twice but they expected me to do it all the time.

This was quite foreign to me! As I told them, where is the co-teaching. The one responded that the co-teaching aspect was only for the Open Classes and that really infuriated me. I had to teach a number of times on my own and I got so tired of some of the students because they had made a noize in class, while I was trying to teach.

To make matters worse, my co-teacher who I consider a little witch made things worse for me when she told me that the vice-principal had informed her that if I don't like it at this school, then I should leave. I was really hurt to hear that he had told her that, as I had such a great relationship with my previous school.

Everything just went downhill, the Yongin District Co-ordinator got involved and somehow the school got shamed as the co-teacher had informed me. But it wasn't that bad, they should really have gotten shamed.

I had to come up with multiple unneccesary lesson plans for silly things. I had never made so many plans at one time for one school. To date,I think I made about 200 lesson plans in less than one year!

But I really got pissed at having to teach alone when the contracts spoke about being a "teaching assistant". One teacher told me that I am the main teacher in the classroom, so what does that mean? It means they get to answer their phones in the classroom and walk out when they want to and do what they want. It is a free period for them!

This school is very unorganized and it is true that they are trying to hagwonize the public schools and the teachers seem to be liking this much to the dismay of the native teachers. Luckily, I had three years of experience before I came to this school to at least, you know come up with things, but for new teachers: Be Ware. That's all I can say.

You will work your butt off for not that much money and it aint worth it.

Jon, please post this message on the web, as I think it is very important that people know what corrupt things are happening at school and that there is no concern for the poor Native teachers.

We are left to fend for ourselves and even our district co-ordinators won't take our side because they want to "keep the peace", save face or more like it kiss ass! I am sorry but I am just very angry at this school for all they did to me.

I severely broke my foot on ice last winter and I was like one week in hospital and more days at home. You know, that they expected me back at school like early March. I told them that it would be impossible.

Needless to say, after much hounding, I finally went to school with a huge iron in my leg and on my foot. It was horrible that they made me teach during my recovery time! They would never to that to their own but because I was the native teacher and "irreplaceable", I couldn't stay longer at home!

I had to basically hop around for weeks/months literally with the iron contraption on my foot and in my leg!

It came off about two or three months ago and I am doing fine, despite limping. I can only thank God for helping me through this time period. Nobody should endure something like this.

Oh and I want to say that if you should seriously get injured in Korea, please make sure that you have funds available so that you can bring a parent or someone to come and look after you, because they will take it.

I spent a week in hospital and this helping lady took like $400 from me just for helping me for one week!

I'd rather give that money to my mom but had to give it to her. So please make sure that you are saved up, don't spend too much because you never know what might happen!

Please blacklist this school Jon! Thanks!

Subject: Ivyhill English Academy, Hongseong, ROK

Monday, July 25, 2011 12:41 PM

Hi Jon,

I worked here and they didn't follow the contract. They didn't provide health insurance. They made me work 17 hours of overtime a week and did not pay me for it. They are having money problems because students keep leaving. They've gone through 6 Korean English teachers in one year, employing two Korean English teachers and one foreign teacher at a time. I went to the Labor's office to file a complaint, but had to leave the country before I could finish the process. The housing is very poor quality, overrun with centipedes. The toilet in the bathroom freezes during the winter because there is no insulation in the walls and the bathroom has three walls to the outside. Don't work here!

Subject: YBM Songpa ECC school, Seoul.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hi Jon,

I would like to blacklist The YBM Songpa ECC school in Seoul South Korea.

As somebody who had never taught before I was hired at 2.1 million won a month to teach kindie classes as well as a few older students. The average class size was about ten students and I was on my own. I received absolutely no training before I began teaching even though I was told I would be trained when i took the position.

For my first three nights my school put me up in a love hotel. At the end of the week they finally gave me the key to my apartment. It was very and dirty. I had black mold on my walls and not all of my lights worked. I thoroughly sprayed the apartment for insects and went to stay at a friend's house that night.

I slept in my apartment for four nights and on the fourth night I woke up in the middle of the night and found cockroaches in mt bedroom. I was told by the other teachers that the entire bottom floor was cockroach infested. They suggested I ask the director to move me to a vacant apartment on a higher floor or ask for the living allowance I could take in lieu of housing.

I spoke to my director and explained that I was not used to cockroaches and living with them would prevent me from sleeping and she refused to move me. I asked for my housing allowance and she told me that it was impossible for me to move. At the end of the day she took me aside and accused me of not liking Koreans and also said that I was the worst teacher she had ever had in nine years. I was only five days into my teaching and had received no training, but I still found this hard to believe. My director also told me that cockroaches were very common in Seoul, but nobody I've known who has taught there had them.

Things only got vicious after I complained about the housing so I'm sure that if I had not discovered the cockroaches teaching a Songpa ECC would have been a challenge, but bearable. Don't accept a job there unless you don't mind cockroaches. The whole apartment building will be infested soon I'm sure.

Subject: Gyeonggi English Village (Ansan and Yangpyeong camp)

Date: May 28, 2011

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add Gyeonggi English Village (Ansan and Yangpyeong camp) to the list for problems I experienced both while working there and for recruiting for them. First of all, I did some recruiting for Ansan English Village but after going to the trouble of finding them qualified English teachers with good credentials and experience, they screened the candidates for race. At first they said that they would hire teachers without a degree, but then changed their mind to only hiring teachers with university degrees, which I'm glad they did, since it is illegal to work without a degree in Korea as an ESL teacher. Then, after I sent the resumes of some teachers who had degrees who I thought were qualified teachers, they quietly screened out the ones who weren't white (ie. the ones of African, Asian, Indian, etc. descent, all of whom were Canadian citizens and born in Canada). I was extremely frustrated with this, since many of the "white" teachers they had hired while I was working there had some sort of mental issue and weren't exactly ideal candidates. I informed any other candidates that applied that I wouldn't be recruiting for Ansan EV anymore and gave them information for teaching at other schools, although unfortunately many will probably face the same discrimination anywhere they apply in Korea.

As for working at the school, I can say that there were good aspects to it, pay was on time, at least. I worked for a month at the Yanpyeong camp and experienced some problems with it. They are run by the Seventh Day Adventist church, and although they claim that they do not require that their teachers hold the same religious views, they do in fact push their views on people, in a subtle or not-so-subtle manner. Both myself (foreign teacher) and my girlfriend (korean teacher) were working there, which shouldn't have been a problem, but then at the mere suggestion by my gf that we share an apartment simply to save space for the school, the director, B**** **** (whom everyone agrees is a snake) started making problems for us. One day he was gossiping in the cafeteria with the President about how there is "a Korean teacher who wants to live with her foreign boyfriend" which my girlfriend overheard, along with there criticism of both of us. I had to calm my girlfriend down over the phone when she was in tears from being gossiped about by the director and tell her that I would fix the situation. I considered humiliating B*** ***** at the morning meeting. My girlfriend urged me not to do it, as she thought it would create bigger problems. I didn't really care that much whether we lived in the same apartment at the camp or not, it had merely been suggested for the school to save living space. I had already applied to stay on for a longer contract though. I went to Canada to get a police check and take care of some things at home, and didn't know when I came back the B**** ***** had been scheming to send me back home after flying all the way back to Korea. Luckily, I worked a week at Ansan camp (also run by the SDA church under the Gyeonggi English Village chain) and decided to stay there instead. My girlfriend also came to work with me at Ansan. I have tried to avoid B**** ***** since then, and he is the number one reason that I think the school should be run by a different organization, the one that runs it is far too hypocritical and antithetical to the very beliefs they claim to uphold.

As for Ansan Camp, there were a lot of positive aspects to working there, outside of the problems I experienced recruiting for it. Pay was on time and I could generally get help when I asked for it. I do hope that they have found another shuttle bus driver for the foreign teachers by now, as the one they had when I was there drove very dangerously, going up to 180 km/hr in wet, rainy conditions, racing with other cars on the road or cutting them off, passing 2 or 3 vehicles with limited view in front or on windy country roads, and generally putting everyone's life in danger every single time we went to or from our apartments or work. After I left, after driving 2 or 3 times faster than the average driver on the road in a downpour one of the female foreign teachers started crying which led to her boyfriend shouting at and almost flattening the driver. I'd like to think they replaced the driver, but I would bet they haven't. Other than that, I wouldn't recommend playing the soccer-volleyball game unless you are a professional already as the director tends to talk smack a lot and make people feel like an idiot if they miss a shot.

My main concern is with the recruiting screening methods they use. I would like to think that this problem is only confined to one school, but unfortunately I know that it is a much larger problem in Korea. Multiculturalism is a foreign concept there and subtle forms of racism are commonplace. I hope in the future Koreans will change their attitude and consider that a good teacher does not necessarily mean a "white" teacher, but this will take a long time.

Subject: Readingtown Jeonju

Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 1:04 PM

Hi Jon

Although Readingtown is situated in a modern building, the classrooms are small, excessively illuminated and the few windows they have are blacked out. There is a lack of provided equipment, be that technical or rudimentary such as stationary. Classroom technology, i.e. computers, CD players, were non-existent while the office had a few poorly maintained computers which were all running in Korean. We ended up needing to take our own laptops in to the classroom to not only make classes more productive but also to do our administrative work. Another poor quality aspect of the place was the hygiene. There were inadequate toilet provisions for both teachers and students. Foreign teachers were instructed to wash their cups in the public toilet outside even though there was a locked kitchen inside.

Upon arrival in Jeonju, the training provided was either unhelpful or non-existent. The accommodation provided was basic and at risk of being altered. You're expected to attend work regardless of your health status. When questioned about this the director instructed staff to “stay/ be healthy”. If you wish to have a vacation you may have to be persistent to receive it, sometimes the school will close as cover. The work contract that you sign before arrival does not always match the work undertaken. The academy is very much run by the director however he feels, so random and illogical decisions were frequently made without due thought to staff. If you wish to move onto another school at the end of your contract you’re unlikely to receive a positive oral or written reference. The director had few positive opinions of any past teacher irrespective of their performance or abilities.

In terms of the work, you're required to teach up to nine 40 minute classes daily, each separated by five minutes with no enforced break. This can be quite fatiguing and will likely impact your health after 4-5 months.

Teachers are often judged on superficial qualities such as smiling rather than their teaching abilities. Students are often late due to ill thought-out opening hours and issues with drivers. Parent queries and complaints were poorly handled impacting the school’s reputation and would result in foreign teachers receiving unwarranted criticism or vague and contradictory instructions. Classroom tasks were often focused on satisfying a few parental requests instead of teaching English. Information was withheld from foreign teachers as the director thought only they would victimize the children, this added to the school’s xenophobic feel. You will often notice men are treated more favorably than women regardless of their nationality. There is very little 3rd party material; the franchise material was often repetitive and uninspiring. Copying and cheating was endemic and accepted. Timetables were made without consultation and favored those who constructed them. Initially there was no information available to teachers about the students or a register so no one knew the students details or status. You’ll have very little contact with parents unless one complains and demands to speak to you in broken English.

Due to mismanagement the school was under immense financial pressure. The director would regularly consider redundancies often when teachers were on holiday. To save face he instructed teachers that were made redundant to conduct midnight-runs without informing any teachers or students. Those who failed to comply would not receive final payment of wages or bonuses.

Once the honeymoon period was over the director would casually tell teachers he was borrowing money to pay their wages which indicated the business was making a loss, on a few occasions he even mentioned bankruptcy. Foreign teachers were paid first, drivers last. Sometimes drivers would be owed months and be overtly disgruntled. The director was also poor at complying with immigration law which resulted in the deportation of two foreign teachers.

You will be expected to work with Koreans who may not be fit to teach. The director would hire the first person he would interview regardless of their suitability. Most are unqualified and often engaged in unprofessional conduct. Some would even use corporal punishment against children for minor infractions with the director taking a cordial attitude to this. Some Korean teachers even had students give them shoulder massages. Student and staff turnover was excessive due to the poor management of the school.

Staff turnover was around 200% with the average foreign teacher lasting six months. During one year there were three head teachers, four receptionists and about a dozen part time vocab teachers passed through. The director was apathetic towards the business and only seemed concerned with making a quick buck. He would only come to the school a few times a week to conduct unrelated private lessons. He didn’t appear to have much knowledge of business, franchises, education or child development. He was often immature with one way, counter-productive conversations being the norm.

If you wish to quit this school it is advisable that you do a midnight run after payday and on a weekend without informing a soul. If you give any indication of an intention to leave, their behavior will become unpredictable.

Subject: Update on Teaching in Korea

Date: Sunday, January 9, 2011 4:03 AM

Thank you Jon for giving one of the means to inform people truthfully about the situation in Korea. This is a general advice piece to warn experienced people that it's not worth bothering to apply for ESL jobs in Korea - mostly.

If you have a higher degree (MA or Phd) you might get a shot at a university job. Might is the word here to keep in mind because like other countries where ESL or EFL is taught, in-country hire is fast taking over.

If you're outside Korea, good luck because you'll need something like luck to even get considered.

For others who have the standard Bachelor of something, think before you even try to apply for all those jobs advertised on the net for Korea. It sounds great - so many recruiting companies advertise 'Hot Jobs', 'Tell us what you want!', 'Outstanding Jobs in Seoul' etc etc. The truth is different.

You've taught English elsewhere (at home, in Asia, other country)? If yes then you think that your resume with real experience, cross cultural living, participation in other societies' cultures etc is going to get you a job within a reasonable timeframe?

Nope, that's not what's up in Korea.

You see Korean employers, Korean politicians, Korean newspapers and Koreans generally when they think about foreign English teachers think negative, bitching about how foreigners are lazy, take drugs, have sexually transmitted diseases and have no damn idea of how to teach English even if they have a work ethic which according to these kinds of Koreans, a lot of foreigners do not.

Yes, the society in Korea enjoys a false sense of superiority and enjoys dissing foreigners. They have baggage about foreigners who come from the US, etc.

At the same time they whine about and slander foreign English teachers as useless teachers, hedonists, and mercenaries who go to Korea to earn money (gee of course Koreans never do that outside Korea, all the Koreans who are in other countries working must be there doing the countries a favor for free)and above all, claim that these foreigners can't teach, Koreans............................... have this weird habit of employing untried, inexperienced, just a little experienced foreigners to teach English.

You'd think they'd love your resume and be in your email inbox and on your webcam or phoneline telling you that your solid experience has made them line up an interview with an employer who is looking for somebody to teach at their hagwon (private school) as a native English teacher.

Nope, that aint true in most cases. To get a job in Korea when you're not there and even most of the time when you're there and have a small window of opportunity after you've finished your job to line up another,you must go through a recruiting company.

Most recruiters don't respect older applicants with experience. They want those newbies who have little to show in terms of real employment, young (under 30, preferrably under 26), who are fresh graduates.

Many of these 'teachers' don't know how to teach. Period. They can't do a lesson plan for any age group. They don't think they need to bring anything and then get super freaked out when they are told to teach without anything to help them.

Does the recruiter care? Most of them don't. As long as the young person looks good, especially if it's a she with light colored hair who is thin, then you can check numerous employers on the list as having their positions filled.

But Korean society is all abou the importance of age....I hear some people protest. Yep, I've lived there, worked there too as somebody in the plus 35 age demographic with a resume showing responsibility and a solid job history with more than enough English teaching experience.

But that idea doesn't take into account that Koreans think age is important............for Koreans.

They don't give a flying kimchi fart about your age and experience though they spend most of their time when they talk about foreign English teachers bitching about their lack of teaching expertise, inability to do their job correctly (though you should take a Korean saying this about non Koreans with a huge salt mine)and lack of ability to fit in quickly etc etc.

Then when they've fired the teacher they think is a problem or have let the teacher see out their contract but bitch about them non-stop and try to wriggle out of paying them what's due, they go to another of the recruiters who promise you a 'Hot Job' etc in their ads and they say to the recruiter, get me a good teacher this time.

'Good teacher' usually = more of the same because when your culture stresses appearance above what you are as a person and what your skills are, then you don't give your hagwon the opportunity to get someone who may not look whitebread, blonde, like a model, like a stereotype, young, etc, but is experienced, has proved their abilities in other jobs, and will actually do the job in your hagwon.

Recruiters are just as bad. They're too busy chasing a commission to say, 'Wait a minute, I have the resume of an experienced teacher who has been successful. Sure they're not that young and they look fine but they don't look like somebody out of a movie or on tv. But their track record shows that they're gonna come in the first day and show you what they can do with the minimum of fuss'.

Yes, you can keep the students and parents happy. You know how to lesson plan and keep records. You know how to assess. You stay calm under pressure. You can cope with the students rude though some of them are.

You will keep the parents happy and when something does come up from them, you can keep the problem down at a certain level and it goes away soon enough.

But believe me, most Korean employers of English teachers and schools don't want you. A lot of the problem is the flood of unemployed newbies and this has fed the usual Korean problem of incompetence mixed with arrogance.

Save yourselves the stress and frustration of putting other things on hold while you run around getting expensive copies of documents notarised, with apostilles, etc etc because now most recruiters won't consider you without these documents demanded by yet another E-2 visa change.

The catch is you usually will be left hanging on waiting for an expression of interest, a referral from a recruiter to an employer so you can hook up an interview. So you have these documents but you won't be able to use them. Mostly experienced foreigners will just be left hanging on, wasting their time.

It aint a thing if you've already worked in Korea. They don't give a damn in most cases. Experienced teachers are not wanted in most cases, and a lot of this is because Korean recruiters and employers also don't want you because you know what's up. You can't be railroaded, cheated easily.

Experienced foreigners - go elsewhere. The horror stories about working in Korea before 2005 or so aren't heard so much but the problems told here are so institutionalised now, they're a new horror story in themselves.

Subject: E-Bo Young Talking Club,Wolseong dong, Daegu

Date: Monday, November 29, 2010 2:18 AM

I think the directors at this hagwon were siblings(so they said), but even that was a bit of a mystery and shady. Things this director would do were definitely questionable. Just a few examples:

He would follow you to the bathroom every chance he got and tried to talk to you while you...went.

He would buy all the teachers gimbop, exactly one strip each, EVERYDAY for the 15 min dinner time. No, that's not the weird part. It was the part where if you didn't eat your one strip of gimbop, he would have surprise meetings with all of the teachers and talk about dinner time. The teachers were eating this one strip of gimbop for many months when i had arrived.

If one teacher did something he didn't like, like say, "no", he would have a surprise meeting with ALL of the teachers and turn them against that teacher by punishing all of other teachers.

He would confisticate all of the foreign teachers' diplomas, frame them, and hang them up side by side on the wall of his office.

If more than one teacher said "no" to him, he would have surprise after-work dinner meeting with all the teachers and talk sh*t about them one by one, often giving out personal information about the teachers.

If you ever miss one of these after work dinner meetings, he would make sure your life is hell for a very long time.

He was very bothered by teachers drinking lots of water, and if you drank coffee, he'd looked at you like you're hardcore? and he would step up his game of making your life a living hell.

Once, I had a group of very difficult students in one of my classes. Difficult I mean no manners, always threatening me they would quit the hagwon if we didn't play more games, always hitting each other, cussing at each other, cussing at me, threatening to quit the hagwon together... So I asked the director about a disciplinary action toward them. Instead, he said I was a bad teacher and he came in to the class unannounced and started to teach the class. It was a sight I would never forget! The kids cussed at him, threatened to quit the hagwon, talked over him, talked back to the director started to slap the kids on their faces and made one of them cry. Still the kids resisted, but after couple minutes of face slaps here and there, the kids finally settled down. He talked for about 15 min. then looked at me like "see, this is how you do things" and just left. One of the students did quit the hagwon after this. I would like to add that MOST students are not like this. This class was a rarity by far.

After this incident, the director had started a hiring procedure for a new teacher that no one knew about. then one day, a new teacher came to the hagwon and started training. After a few days, the director told me that the new teacher was there to replace me!

Needless to say, I told him I will legally fight this all the way, and he started to yell at me then the other director started to yell, then they threatened to call the police on me for getting loud, then he said he knew people that would make my life a lot tougher than him.

I'm guessing most hagwon directors aren't like the one I had experienced, but at that place, there was a eery feeling of being in a midst of a secret cult of some sort, always trying to keep you in fear and enforcing total subordination, making you second guess about things...a nightmare - on one hand comical, on the other really sad why he had resorted to such ways of doing things. Makes me wonder how he grew up.

On a final note, I got to know one of the Korean teachers that had worked there and she said the director is crazy and no Korean teacher had finished their one year contract in 5~6 years he was in business. He would harrass the teachers so they would quit around 8~10 month of the contract so that he didn't have to pay severance. Also, 2 foreign teachers had their PARENTS fly in from Canada and Australia to meet the directors.

I hope no one else goes through what I and many others have in this place...

On a different note, the Green List is very interesting. Some of the comments sound like a first year ESL student putting together broken English and Konglish to try sound really authentic. LOL.


Date: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:31 AM


I would like to black list CNN ENGLISH ACADEMY in Incheon Mansu 6 dong. I worked there for 20 months before I was wrongfully fired by the new, horrible, manager there. They stole my original university degree as well as y personal e-reader. They threatened me and tried to force me out of the country. And all this time I still didn't even know why I got fired. I ended up taking them to court and won a large settlement because they admitted to their wrong doings and they paid me past the court appointed date as well as stealing over 400,000 won for the settlement amount because of false "fees". So now I have to take them back to court again! Since the new manager, Chris, started working there, five Korean teachers have left and three expat teachers. And the manager, Chris, resorted to lies and slander in the neighborhood about me. It used to be a great place to work, now it is a horrible place to work!!!!

Subject: E-Bo Young Talking Club, Dangjin, Chungnam South Korea

Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 9:07 PM

E-Bo Young Talking Club, Dangjin, Chungnam South Korea Back for the years 2007-2008 I was the Foreign Teacher at this branch. My first 6 months were really good, my director Ms. C*** was very kind and appreciated my work. The last 6 months it seemed like I could do nothing right. There were times that she would ask me to create programs and after only a couple of lessons it would be cancelled because it was thought to be "too difficult" even though I had showed her during the month that I was creating the program, and she was excited to get it implemented. Throughout my year she was always very unorganized, but I always hoped that because I was the first foreign teacher the mistakes she made on me would not happen to the teachers that followed.

After I left, I stayed in the same city...but changed schools. So I was friends with the next foreign teachers. Actually they were friends of mine from University. As it was coming time for me to leave and them to come in, Ms. C*** was so unorganized that she waited too long to get their registration number in process so they ended up having to do more paperwork that what had previously been needed. The unorganization continued throughout their year. When it came time for them to leave, they asked if they could get intouch with the new foreign teacher coming in, just so that she could have an idea as to what she would be entering into. Ms. C*** said no, it would be a breach of confidentiality.

I was still working at the other school when the new teacher arrived. I knew I would need to meet her, just so that she could have someone to vent to when things went bad. It seemed that Ms. C*** didn't want the new teacher to know that I had previously worked for her. The next number of paragraphs are everything that the current teacher has experienced. It has taken a lot for her to last her year...but I really think it is important that she explains her year, and not me putting it into my own words.

“I arrived in Dangjin on Oct. 24 and I work at the Talking Club Hogwan. It's been a very tumultuous experience.

I've had to contact the main Talking Club headquarters four times for various discrepancies throughout the year. My school director fought me on paying me for holidays and she has made several schedules where I was working for outside schools and companies, but not getting paid extra unless I went over the 120 hours a month. The second phone call I made was because I didn't want to work for the seperate kindergarten she had me working for. I finished working at the kindergarten at the end of June. However, my next job is teaching adult classes four times a week at 6:30 a.m. to fulfill my 120-hour/month contract. I told her the time was unreasonable, especially considering my regular day is 2:30-9:30 p.m. She said my contract doesn't state when during the day I have to fulfill my hours. Headquarters told me unfortunately she was right.

She's also been extremely disorganized, which I've been told is pretty common for Korea. My schedule usually changes every month, however I rarely get my new schedule until the day the new schedule starts despite my requests for it sooner. She also rarely orders the books I need to teach classes and I spend most of the day scrambling and running around trying to find materials or copying books that belong to students in order to teach the class. I've asked her several times to order the supplies in time for the new classes to start, but it's rarely done. When supplies are ordered, there are frequently not enough ordered or not the correct supplies.

My contract stated that I would have my transportation organized and paid for from the airport when I arrived in Korea, this was not done. I was sent an email as to which bus I was supposed to catch into Dangjin. I did not receive three days of orientation, training or time to settle down, as was stated in the contract. I arrived in Dangjin at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night and had to teach a couple classes on Monday.

I never got to attend the "official 'E. Bo-young Talking Club' training" at the head office, despite several requests to do so and it was also stated in my contract that I would be required to do so. When I was originally offered the contract, I asked to speak to the current native teachers and she refused. That should have been my first clue that this was not going to be a good situation. That's definitely my fault though. I found out later that the native teachers before me also requested to talk to me, but Agnes refused to give them my email.

I contracted Pink Eye and she said I must attend classes, despite my being highly contagious. I finally had her talk to one of the nurses at the clinic and the nurse was able to convince her that it would not be in her best interest to allow me to go to school and be around children.

I nearly quit several times, but I knew it would not be a positive thing for me in the long-run.

She's also informed me that "my face is scary and my eyes are too big," but I just find that more comical than anything else.

Now she's forcing me to work a week past my contract and trying to extend my visa so she doesn't have to be without a foreign teacher for one week. She's also not giving me airfare or the monetary equivalent because she's stating I'm not leaving the country, therefore she doesn't have to.“

My experience was not as horrible as my friends, but she seems to be getting worse. I really want to warn you all about this school, and this franchise.

Subject: Jungil Future Academy

Date: Sunday, August 22, 2010 2:45 AM

I would like to add Jungil Future Academy to the blacklist. DON'T DO IT. Director is a total scumbag. Was teaching 10 classes a day. My one break was spent riding my bike from one campus to the other, shoving some gimbap down my throat, and feverishly writing out lessons for the next classes.

Completely ridiculous. On top of that they tried to shortchange me on my fist paycheck. I informed them that I would go to the labor office. That night I was fired for "having different thinking". Unbelievable. Save yourself the trouble get a different job.

Subject: BR English, Changwon

Date: Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:10 AM

Contract was not important to them. They had me work my first saturday I was there which was fine but I was working to make up for a holiday that the staff before me had off. I was let go three months before my contact was finished with out warning and my boss had no understanding of my contract. She does not speak english and she doesn't undermines your authority in front of the children. Along with the contract issues the school had a sketchy way of teaching the children. If you would like to be apart of a cult this job is for you!

Subject: Kookje English Village, Changwon

Date: Friday, July 16, 2010

For not honoring any contractual obligations. Trying to fire staff who fall ill within their granted sick leave, promising accommodation that does not exist, not paying on time, refusing airfare reimbursements, sub-standard living conditions, refusing staff legal working status etc etc etc. NIGHTMARE.

Subject: an update of what it's like to work in Korea.

Date: Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Freeloading Education Offices - Getting More For Less Out of NETS In The School System

Here is an update of what it's like to work in Korea. I left Korea in 2009 after seeing my public school job conditions deteriorate. While the situation certainly isn't as bad as that in the 1990s, the basic exploitation factor is always a feature in one way or another of most English teaching jobs in Korea.

A current feature is the hagwonisation of the school system when you get employment through schemes like EPIK/GEPIK/SMOE, etc. The elementary/middle/high schools employ you as a so called 'teaching assistant'. Your job is to assist the Korean English teacher - right?

No way - in too many cases you are expected to do most if not all of the class preparation for classes that usually have 30 members at least, up to 40 if you're ulucky. Plus most or ALL of the teaching.

Do you get paid for this responsibility which is not specified in the majority of Korean school contracts? No you don't - your Korean 'co teacher' is supposedly getting paid to run the class with you including assisting with preparation etc.

Korea has a well deserved reputation for hypocrisy and an almost childish inability to see just how bad it looks to be continuously lying to foreigners and making up 'rules' on the spot while ignoring actual ones in place.

As a NET in the school system (NOT hagwon system)you are supposed to work with a Korean co-teacher at all times in the classroom.

This does not happen in a number of Korea provinces. In some schools the Korean 'co-teacher' is lazy and will sit around in your class staring vacantly or making phone calls or texting.

Are you compensated financially for taking on all this responsibility while the absent co-teacher slacks off? NO.

Provinces like Jeollanam even wilfully ignore these regulations while interfering in NET's legally contracted vacation time and downtime at school. Jeollanam has a relatively high proportion of schools where the Korean 'co-teacher' simply is absent.

A the same time Jeollanam Education authorities ignore the regulations on Korean teacher participation, they interfere with NETs' working conditons in hypocritical ways that are the staple of bad hagwons.

Not so long ago, NETS in public schools were not necessarily asked to go in to school during vacation time when no students were around. Thanks to the Korean resentment of how 'free' foreigners supposedly are, many Education Offices have told schools to keep the foreign teacher all day at school during vacation.

In 2009 numerous public schools reneged on the verbal and contractual agreements they had with their NETs re vacation and forced numerous NETs to forego their vacation plans and lose money in cancelled airline tickets etc. This was all done with an air of self righteousness and in some cases vindictiveness.

Generally Koreans have a xenophobic complex about western foreigners, and many if not all Korean employers will seize the chance to put us 'in our place'. The provincial Education Offices have implemented 'training seminars' that are a joke to anybody except a newcomer with no idea of how Korea (dys)functions.

Not coincidentally, given their appetite for controlling NETs, these seminars have been in vacation time. In provinces like Jeollanam, NETS were not forewarned at both public schools and private elementary/middle/high schools that they would have to cancel their plans and lose money to attend Mickey Mouse 'seminars' that talk about how to pour drinks and are full of the usual insecure Korean desire to tell foreigners that Koreans are 'unique'.

We could tell them that the only 'unique' things we encounter teaching is that Korean students seem to think they can learn a foreign language by talking loudly and rudely over the foreign teacher, and Korean authorities don't understand that the Korean characteristic of running over contractual provisions earns them the reputation of being shysters.

This is happening in the education system especially in backwaters like Jeollanam Province where authorities should be happy to get educated foreigners coming to a province berefit of the more tolerant air and greater options for a reasonable life in Korea in other provinces.

NETs now all over Korea have more work but the pay remains the same on paper. It's the same on paper but dropping in value when you look at the current exchange rates.

Do you really need a job that bad? Do you want to be at school for 8 - 9 hours a day for 1,600 - 1,800 US dollars? Do you want to be doing multiple lesson plans for different grades, not only for usual classes but afterschool classes as well, and vacation camps for this kind of money?

Do you want to be trying to control large classes of 30 plus students, many who don't want to be there and see your class as the chance to do anything but study, by yourself?

You're not allowed to discipline students the way Korean teachers do but you're expected to teach by yourself and make Korean students who will talk over you at any chance study English.

You're expected to be a lesson making machine. Countless new lesson plans for students who mostly don't care. Koreans will often tell you to give candy to the students? Candy for studying a foreign language? I learnt Spanish from elementary school and never once received a bribe for learning.

How badly do you need this disrespect? How badly do you need money?

I could tell you more about other broken contract clauses, crappy rooms that are rent free (of course because they're crappy) and schools pocketing the housing allowance while making the teacher pay for utilities although the room's rent is so cheap that the allowance is more than enough to cover everything.

These things happen at public elementary/middle/high schools and they happen at private (usually 'Christian') elementary/middle/high schools.

Why would you put yourself through this and encourage the Koreans in this way? Get a life anywhere but Korea.

Don't renew and leave - eventually they will have to improve conditions and pay to attract foreigners again.

They did after they 1990s, they will do it again if you don't willingly allow yourself to be exploitated.

Subject: Dongtan Wonderland, Hwaseong City, South Korea

Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dongtan Wonderland, Hwaseong City, South Korea. Its students might not be well-behaved, its supervisors might be raving bitches, but gosh darn its foreigner teachers will look good on camera.

I am writing this only to warn potential future employees of Dongtan Wonderland. As you plan your trip to Korea, if you’re doing your research, good for you—my blog is probably the first hit on your search engine. My advice is DON'T COME TO THIS PLACE. I mean the caps.

Because the supervisors are in it for the money, everything natural and good in a workplace/school is prohibited and punished here: relationships with the parents of our students, having fun with students when the work is finished, organization, professionalism, communication between supervisors and subordinates, mutual respect, the quality of the education we attempt to give—hell, they tried to tell us we couldn’t leave the school on a daily basis for a quick walk or juice run (by the way, we have zero official breaks every day, so one of the few ways to stay sane is to leave the school for a breather in between teaching periods). The director and head teacher here do not care what they sacrifice, so long as the tuition comes in. And we foreigner teachers make crap pay out of that tuition for the hours we work. And those two women can make your life a living hell when they want a scapegoat. Speaking as the current scapegoat, I state that they will attack you both as an employee and as a person, insult your native culture, holler at you, call you names, interrupt you when you’re trying to explain yourself, smack the desk, threaten to fire you, make you write yourself senseless warning letters—all in an attempt to make you as docile as you, reader, are probably expecting a typical Korean student to be. When I say “typical,” I’m referring to students who run across the tables, smack me, and spit in my face.

I’m not asking too much (or anyway, I don’t think so). I just want to be appreciated and respected when I’m working my ass off for nine hours a day—at the very least, I’d like to be left alone. No more of this being written up or reamed until my ears are boxed for not understanding Head Teacher’s directions, written in very poor English. Or for not turning the lights on in a west-facing classroom on a very bright day an hour before sunset. Or for doing a textbook lesson the way the directions say. Or for contracting the swine flu in time to be quarantined for Christmas and (oh heaven help us) mandatorily miss a few days of work. So if you have the same kinds of employee standards, and if you want to have anything like a positive experience as an English teacher in Korea, feel free to contact me if you’re considering a contract with Dongtan Wonderland. You can ask me any question you like, and you’ll find out that I am not exaggerating.

Subject: Cardiem Language School in Suwon, Korea

Date: Monday, June 21, 2010

I would like to prevent as many people as possible from work at the Cardiem Language School in Suwon, Korea. I worked at this Hogwan for 3 months and it was a terrible experience. The school was extremely unorganized they had no proper assistance for their foreigner teachers. They took their sweet time to help me with anything and they were rude about everything. They placed me in a tiny and dirty shoebox of an apartment. I am allergic to dust, mold, and cats. I developed a terrible skin rash. I brought this to their attention and asked them to please clean the apartment for me. They took weeks to decide. They said they would and then they turned around and said no and that I should clean it myself but here is a odor spray bottle to help. I ended up having terrible skin reactions to this problem.

They never assisted me with anything. They forced me to work illegally at two other Hogwans that were not owned by the director. When I tried to discuss this with them, they found ways to avoid the issues and to say it was in my contract even though it is illegal to work at other schools. Finally I had enough and I gave them a letter of resignation. When I quit they tried to screw me over and prevent me from getting another job and they tried to delay canceling my visa. When I finally got away from them they tried to avoid paying me my last months salary and have tried to find any possible excuse to deduct money from my pay for any reason. They have made false claims of absent days when I never actually missed any days. They have tried anything and everything possible to screw me over. I could write a details novel about my experience with Cardiem Language School in Suwon. I was worried when I first read all of these horror stories that I would be lucky to avoid it and unfortunately I was not so lucky.

I suffered for 3 months at a horrible school with horrible people. No one ever spoke to me or helped me. I was completely alone at my job and I had no social life no matter how hard i tried. I beg and plead with anyone reading this to please avoid working for this school. We are human beings and we deserve to work in a fun and safe environment and we deserve to be treated like humans and not like animals. I have now been forced to contact the labor board to settle this payment issues before it gets out of hand. I feel as if I have no help here at all but I have to try and stay positive that everything will work out. Please do your research and do not trust people or good feelings or good intentions. Do you research and stand up for yourself. Please stay away from Cardiem Language School in Suwon.

Subject: KJC Hagwon, Guseo Dong Busan

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I would like to make everyone aware of the business practices of KJC Hagwon in Guseo Dong Busan. It's director *** ** *** fired me on a saturday evening. No warnings, no severence pay, no months notice. She is a bully and a power hungry indiviual. I fought the decision and got it reversed. But I would suggest people avoid working at this Hagwon

Subject: iSponge English

Date: Sunday, April 18, 2010

I would like to list iSponge English, Gangseo-gu, Seoul campus. I personally had a bad experience with this hagwon and have seen several other teachers treated badly.

The owners and directors are a couple: Xxxxx Xxxx and Mr. Xxx

phone: 02-2xxx-xxxx

address: iSponge English


Xxxxxxx x(Xxx)-dong, Gangseo-Gu, Seoul, Korea

This hagwon is guilty of virtually every sleazy practice in the book. Pay is frequently late, contracts are adjusted after employment period has started and there are dubious deductions. For example many teachers have been told just a day or two prior to starting that they will only be receiving half pay during their first week of work since they are only training, of course this is not mentioned anywhere in the contract, and more recently teachers have not been paid at all during this training period. One teacher was switched to part time and had her pay cut almost in half for 3 months. Contracts have been terminated early and severance withheld. One teacher forced out of apartment a week before her employment period was over so her replacement could take it, she had to stay with her boyfriend over an hour away.

Diplomas are held as "insurance". Refused to provide release letters. Has given numerous former teachers bad references. Several Korean teachers have quit. Little to no breaks or sick time, the teachers room is under video surveillance and you are expected to be working at all times. Claire is a master deceiver and manipulator, you WILL be lied to on a regular basis if you work at this hagwon, get used to it. On the plus side the apartments are nice and the school is a decent facility, but that is small consolation if you haven't received any pay in 6 weeks. There are much better hagwons out there, look elsewhere.

Subject: Princeton Foreign Langage Academy

Date: Friday, March 26, 2010

The director is mentally ill and she pretends to like foreigners. She spys on the teachers and every things she finds fault. She cheats on foreign teachers vacation so basically you get no vacation and salary is split. IT IS NOT A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO WORK. The Korean teachers are pressure and find fault with the foreign teachers. BEWARE!!!! this school is a PRISON!! you have no freedom and the directors kids are not respectful.

Subject: Kid's College

Date: Friday, December 18, 2009 3:19 AM

City: Nonhyundong Incheon

Reason: This is without question the least professional and least organized job I have ever had. In the past 10 months I have been here we have gone through 3 bosses. The current boss (A***) is by far the worst. She refuses to ever communicate with western teachers yet we are punished for not following her directions. A western co-worker of mine was given an official warning (which can lead to docked pay) for yawning during a classroom. She is a terrible boss who speaks great English yet lacks any social skills. She is constantly rude to western teachers and is impossible to work with. We are constantly under surveillance via cameras with audio. I have no problem being observed when I am teaching, however we are observed during our break time with audio. We are later questioned and punished for what we say. The hours are terrible. Some days I work 11 40 minute classes and the only break I have is during my lunch. However during this break I am forced to fill out various daily reports and prepare materials for my next classes. I would not recommend this private school for anybody. It is fairly new so it is possible they are loosing more money than they are making, forcing the vice president to constantly cut costs, most of which are at the expense of not only Korean teachers but western teachers as well. I hope this message helps other teachers.

Subject: Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang

Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:36 AM

Message: -

Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang

Seriously, thats what they named it.

The owner of this place is absolutely insane. The employees of the school had to work 9-8 (split shift) from Monday to Friday, which is way more than most employees. The owner bought the worst possible apartments in the worst possible area and made fun of us when we asked for an airconditioner during summer (won't provide). The septic line was broken and the entire apartment smelled like sewer yet he was too cheap to pay for it and instead came over and put a piece of plastic on it, telling us "it will go away." It didn't.

Beyond working long hours, the staff were verbally abused pretty regularly. A co-worker wasn't paid at the end of a short contract because "he shouldn't have left."

The owner changed the locks on one employee's apartment on Christmas Eve, because he was mad at him. The only way the employee was able to get into his own apartment was to break his own window.

The school itself is in horrible shape. Its above a supermarket in an old, old building and is furnished with things found on the street (the owner has actually confessed to dumpster diving in order to get most of it). The computers/fax/printer do not work and will not be fixed. In of the classrooms there is a sharp, metal pipe sticking out of the floor and instead of paying for it to be fixed, the owner just put a carpet over it.

The owner also takes money off the top of paycheques. He says it is for taxes but its not as its three times as much as it should be. He fires most teachers on their 11th month unless they say they will renew their contract. He does not pay bonuses without a fight and has been known to deny teachers their airfare home.

The owner is loud, verbally abusive and more greedy than an elephant in a peanut factory.

Stay away from this hagwon.


Subject: Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang (reply)

Date: Monday, July 08, 2013

I would like to comment on the entry about Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang. I have worked there for the past year and I have encountered none of the problems that your poster claimed. Both my apartment and the school are air conditioned. My workday is a split, but it goes from 11am to 7pm which is not unreasonable. I have never heard the owner raise his voice. I have always been paid on time and in full and even though I have chosen not to renew my contract (I'm moving to Vietnam), I have encountered no difficulties or pressures from the director. I found this experience to be a unique opportunity because I am the only native teacher in the school and I'm quite glad that I took this job.

Subject: CDI (Chungdahm Institute)

Date: Friday, October 30, 2009 9:22 PM

This post is for people who are interested in working for CDI and also reveals my experience to those who either didn’t pass the training or failed it. Chungdahm Learning requires teachers to train for one week. I don’t know what working for CDI is like after the training, but I left because the training demanded more than you could chew. What I mean by this is CDI requires you to complete the training under their standards (i.e., perfect memorization of the class structure, perfect usage of their methodology, babysit students, love teaching so much that you’d be willing to be their slave, be energetic, teach critical thinking, etc.) in a week while realistically it would take 2 or 3 weeks to learn. I caution those who read that this institute welcomes people with no teaching experience to beware about what you’re getting yourself into. If you can actually study the things I mentioned above flawlessly by the end of the week, then by all means this job is for you. I say this because the institute emphasizes absolute competency and expects you to perform perfectly from the first day of instruction. Now I understand that CDI would want competence, but a week of training for all this was really ridiculous. I witnessed with my own eyes that those with a few years of teaching experience were all becoming really exhausted from the training and jet lag. People were becoming sick too and I remember a trainee I was talking to was getting sick and asked CDI if it was okay for him to continue the training next week. They refused and I think he had to go to the hospital later on that day. I also knew a man in my training group who was CELTA certified having a really difficult time. I’m TESOL certified and we both didn’t have any teaching experience, but we didn’t expect the training to be like this. The sad thing is the trainers know the trainees are all jet lagged and understand they have to go through a hellish week, but they don’t do anything about it or even give advice on how to handle these problems. Also, while I was talking to my recruiter about dropping out, he said not to worry and that I should be able to get all this material down in around a month. That’s reassuring, but the school wants you to be completely ready as if you were a professional instructor for them by next week’s start of the job.

For those of you who will be working with CDI, you’re probably wondering if Chung Dahm gives you the study materials for the training at least a week before you arrive at Korea. You are given some study materials (including a welcome packet) but that’s a few days before you leave for Korea. The very important study materials are given to you on the first day of training and that’s the majority of the study materials, so CDI takes advantage of you after you’ve traveled thousands of miles to Korea!

If you want to work at Chung Dahm, be prepared financially because if you decide to drop out of the training for any reason, they obviously won’t pay you back for your flight to Korea and out. However, they also charge you for all hotel fees (including room and board) and they do this while holding your university degree ransom. They told me that they’d give me my degree back once I paid my hotel fees. At the time I thought nothing of it, but I found out later on that this wasn’t supposd to happen. Nothing was pointed out about hotel fees according to my contracts and the interactions I had with Aclipse and CDI before coming to Korea. In fact, my contracts said that my degree would be returned to me once I arrived in Korea. My official one stated that it would be returned to me during or at the end of the training week and there would be no conditions in the return whether I failed or not. After returning home and sending 2 emails about the whereabouts of my degree with no response from my CDI recruiter, my degree was finally mailed back to me around 2 weeks after I left Korea.

Be prepared for a disorganized schedule too. I was lucky to have caught some critical time schedule changes like leaving for the training center much earlier than expected, but some people weren’t so lucky. I was also puzzled when CDI dropped all the trainees at the medical center for our required medical checkups. It was so nice to finally have a good break from the training, but hold on. The bus left and there were no CDI staff to guide us. Okay, what were we supposed to do? Yes, we’re supposed to go inside the center and tell the front desk we’re supposed to get a medical exam for CDI. Easy enough. Anyone speak Korean? Alright, timeout. For awhile there was some confusion, but thank goodness one of the trainees could speak fluent Korean. The madness wouldn’t end there. I was extremely fortunate that I was the first one called up for the medical examination. Around an hour later, I was finished and I entered the waiting room to make my way to the exit, but I saw a big group of trainees. I stopped to chat with them and discovered that they didn’t even get called yet! That really shocked and disappointed me at the same time. Ah, but wait there’s more. I thought I was so lucky that I was the first one to leave the medical center that I rewarded myself with a soda. Let’s see, how do I get back to the hotel from here? Time to open my trustworthy Chungdahm binder! Powerpoint slides, no. Grammar review, no. Ah, here, maps and directions from the training center to the hotel. There must be directions from the medical center somewhere here, but what the… Nothing about getting from the medical center back to the hotel! Oh my god, I’m lost! Fear not though because after around 20 minutes of wandering around and asking for directions, a Korean lady graciously lead me to the nearest train station. She didn’t understand my Korean, but luckily I had my hand-dandy Korean translation book and showed her the question. Oh, yeah, I learned that bringing a translation book is also an assurance to save yourself precious time for studying when you need to get back to the place you’re staying at when CDI leaves you stranded in an unfamiliar location. Don’t wait, buy that translation book.

Honestly, I thought I could warm up liking to teach, but Chung Dahm made me detest teaching (for their institute at least). I would also recommend for people without any teaching experience to start off from the bottom or know what to expect if they’re considering to teach at Chung Dahm. What I mean by expect is you should know that you’ll be teaching mainly critical thinking in English to these children, not basic ESL skills. For example, you ask students Socratic questions or questions like what kind of group do you think he’s in? Why? What kind of group would you like to be in? Let’s do a 10 minute group exercise and think of a group (like astronomy group) that others may find interesting and explain why they should join your group, the costs to join, what makes your group worth joining, how your groups works, etc. Additionally, what I mean by starting off from the bottom is try the JET program or some other assistant language teaching position. Get a feel of what teaching and creating lesson plans are like. Again, please tell me about your experiences with Chungdahm training because I’m intrigued to know.

You may share them with me at

Subject: Dong-ah Broadcasting College (DIMA) in Anseong.

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009 10:56 PM

Dong-ah Broadcasting College (DIMA) in Anseong.

Agreed to give private office, 3 meals provides per day, option to teach own material.

After contract signed.. 3 meals a day changed to 2 meals consisting of soup broth and rice with kim chi - everyday the same food. This is not a meal and the meals included option was important because of the college's remote location (25minutes to major area).

College agreed to give private offices, but refused to provide the office after the contract was signed. Weeks of arguing to get my office - they provided it for only 1 semester and then removed this benefit.

College said I could teach my own material, in the interview, but after I was hired they changed the policy so that I "must stick to the book", a book they chose for me. Teaching my own material was a major reason I chose to work for this college.

College also withheld my documents and stated that the immigration office hadn't returned them after the E2 visa was processed. They withheld documents in order to control teachers.

College initially said I'd be working for the director, a korean professor. After contract signed, they changed it so my boss was a Canadian woman with 4 months of University teaching experience (age 23). I'm a 34 year old University teacher with 6 years of University teaching experience. They wanted to create McManagement type of work environment.

I asked them to change these policies or release me from my contract. They chose to release me instead of adhering to professional University standards, by changing some of these bad policies and lies.

Subject: LnV / LNV / lnv English Hagwon in Suncheon / Sunchon Jorye-dong Korea

Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I would like to blacklist the LnV / LNV / lnv English Hagwon in Suncheon / Sunchon Jorye-dong Korea.

This Hagwon used to be a good Hagwon, but the owner died a year ago and now her brother runs it, and in the words of the Korean teachers he "does not care' about the school.

The main issues I had are -

1) He never paid my pension contributions.

2) I started in August, and I asked for my health insurance. I only received it in March after I wrote a letter to him.

3) My contract allowed me a 250,000 won a month housing allowance. The apartment he provided me with developed a huge leak in the ceiling and mold was growing within 5 days. I wanted to move out as he was doing nothing to fix it. So I asked for my allowance and he said no. So with the help of a friend I wrote a letter saying I wanted my pension, health and housing allowance, or I would report him to the Labor Board.

I received my health and housing, but NEVER the pension. He also made a huge complaint every time I asked for the money, telling me I was a bad teacher, I wasn't following my contract etc etc. He even told the children we were fighting, and he shouted at me in front of teachers and students. Which I felt was very unprofessional. 4) My E2 visa expired on the 20th Aug. But my contract did not end until the 23rd. In order for me to work legally he had to extend my E2 visa. I had planned to extend the E2 until the 25th and then my tourist for 30 days so I could stay with my boyfriend, and I had cleared this with immigration. But when I went on the 25th to extend my tourist I found out that he had extended my tourist AND NOT my E2, meaning I was working ILLEGALLY for him for 3 days, AND he signed a form saying I was leaving Korea (which I was never planning on doing!!) So I had 9 hours in which to leave the country before I was there illegally. This caused a great amount of stress, upset and not to mention money as I had to get to Japan as quick as I could!! Luckily I had a Korean friend who spent hours on the phone to immigration explaining what had happened, so I was allowed back into the country, but had it not been for them, I would have been stuck!

Those are just the legal issues. The Hagwon was also generally a bad place to work in.

At one point I had 8 classes where the students were on 4 different books, making control and planning a BIG issue. I had a class who had no book for 7 months, and I was told I did not need a book to teach, and I was given NO guidance as to what I should have being doing with them. The children were also rude and badly behaved, and if I took them to a teacher for swearing or generally being disruptive, the teacher seemed to take the child's side and they were rarely shouted at! This undermined my position as a teacher and so the children did not listen to a word I said!

Also the owner was generally unhelpful, I wanted a phonecard to call home at Christmas, he told me he didn't know where I could get one, I asked him to translate the water heater control instructions/ buttons, he told me no! It seemed as though I was more of annoyance to him then anything else. I had a very unhappy year there, it was stressful and I felt very alone. Had it not been for other friends I had made, I would have run a long time ago.

I do not want anyone to have the year that I have had. I know that they are currently looking for a teacher now, as they did not replace me before I left. They will look for people who have posted on the net, and I think they will go for another young female. If they contact you, PLEASE PLEASE say NO!! There are much better Hogwon's in the area!

Subject: LCI Kids Club- Gwangj

Date: Sunday, June 29, 2008

I would warn anyone not to accept a job with LCI Kid's Club in Gwangju. As a Sociology major, I focused on religious cult studies. After arriving at this school, I realized that this job had all the characteristics of a cult, only without the religious part. They owners ruled with fear, and everyone was afraid to voice an opinion. Most of the teachers "need" the job, and they've allowed themselves to be brainwashed. Teachers were given perks for snitching on each other. If you could provide dirt on your co-worker, you could receive preferential treatment. This created an understandable toxic environment of backstabbing and deceit. Owners also randomly select a "whipping boy," as a way to keep everyone in line. Pettiness also ruled, a clique of 5 foreign teachers would spend seemingly every minute of free time criticising and insulting their co-workers. Teachers who brown-nosed were praised as being the best teachers, whether or not they actually were. There were 15-16 foreign teachers when I left, so there were plenty of examples of this. I thought when I came to Korea, my co-foreign teachers would be a close knit group. Instead it's cliques, backstabbing, snitching, pettiness, and drama. Every time a teacher would leave, everyone would speak about them as if they were Hitler or something. The owners not only enable this division, they encourage it. Teachers who dare speak up about concerns are treated as malcontents. EVERY concern that was ever brought up was met with the phrase "that's the Korean way." Therefore, if you complain about ANYTHING, you're seen as being cultural insensitive.

The ironic thng is that I have Korean immediate family, I grew up surrounded by Korean culture, I'd spent time in Korea before I came to work there, so I felt I understood Korean culture better than anyone else there. With this is mind, right off the bat I realized this "Korean way" phrase was a complete BS tool to guilt teachers into shutting up and accepting their conditions. Let me repeat this for everyone, the "Korean way" phrase is a tool they use to EXPLOIT you.. Koreans know right and wrong just like everybody else, they know that some of the things they do are wrong. They can only get away with what they're allowed to get away with. Anyways, because I didn't accept this BS, I was expelled as an outcast among the brainwashed foreign teachers. The head teacher won't help you, he's in the pocket of the owners and is only concerned with his own bottom line, not in what is right. In fact, any of the 4 teachers who have been there more than a year will stab you in the back at any chance. They get favors for doing so, that is why they're still there. It's amazing to me that people will sell their souls for a $2000 a month job!

Truth is, the job is terrible, and everyone there knows it, and if there was ANY degree of unity, all the teachers (foreign as well as Korean) would band together to force change. Instead of improving the conditions, the owners choose to cultivate a contentious environment.

Teachers are overworked as well, most work 930-700 or 730 (way more than most other jobs) and that's including a draining kindergarten class. Owners will ask you (correction: TELL) to lie to the parents: if the kids aren't great artists, you're expected to do their art projects for them, and convince the kids to pass it off as their own. Lying is a general theme at this place: lie on evaluations, lie at parent conferences, do the kids' work for them if they're not very good, do their art for them, etc.

I was fired for refusing to come in on a Saturday for PT conferences (they picked this date 10 days in advance, I had already booked and paid for a trip for that weekend). Instead of terminating me professionally (with proper notice required by law, and with a chance to say goodbye to my kinder kids) the owner came to my apartment and tried to force his way in. He pushed me against the wall when I tried to leave, and continued to scuffle with me and yell and cuss at me in the street. A crowd had gathered in the street to watch, but they were just there for the show. I just wanted to leave for my trip.. I finally broke free and ran, and he CHASED me down the street for 3 blocks. I got away, but when I came back, my apartment had been emptied, all my belongings taken, and the locks changed. He left me jobless and homeless, all for refusing to come in on my day off when I had a prior commitment. I was given the impression by others that I should be fearful for my safety, so I fled the country. Never got paid for the 2 weeks of June I worked, or received a 30 day termination notice, as required by law. I truly believed they fired me in this dramatic fashion solely to scare the remaining teachers into subordination. My kids and parents apparently loved me, and I had the same number of students in all my classes after several months (I think I was the only one), so it wasn't because of my ability. Luckily I have the resources to pursue legal action for as long as it takes to get retribution, but it can be very expensive and time-consuming.

The school doesn't provide insurance and doesn't pay into pension. I was paid on time, and teachers were given severance when they completed their contracts. Of course, you'll be reminded of this constantly if you show any sign of displeasure: "yes, what you complain about it is true, but at least we pay you." As if it's a "special" benefit to be paid or something.

All this, and I haven't even mentioned my living conditions: I moved in my apartment mid-Feb (really, really cold). When I moved in, I had no heat, no hot water, plus the stove and washer were broken. The drain in the bathroom was broken, so there was a layer of hair and bandaid-infested water that I needed to step in to use the bathroom. It smelled like mold/sewer. My first night I was so cold, I needed 2 shirts, a thick sweater, 2 pairs of pants, socks, a stocking cap, and to hide under the covers just to survive. Couldn't take a warm shower to warm up, because the hot water didnt work either. I was treated like a whiner for complaining about this, it took about a week to get it all resolved. I was just trying to avoid pneumonia or something, as I was already sick. Also, it had roaches, and garbage bags were always piled up on the front steps of the building, which I had to literally step over every day.

Stay away from this hagwon at ALL costs, there are so many other better jobs that will hire anyone, why put yourself through this? It is possible to work here for a year, get paid, and have an okay experience, especially is you're a good brown-noser. But there's an equal (if not higher) chance of going there and living through hell. I would advise anyone to play the odds and work somewhere else that hasn't been blacklisted at all. Besides, my entire Korean family knows about this place, and word spreads fast in Korea.

Subject: Herald School

Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I was working for Herald School in Ansan for around 17 months. After my first year I was asked to resign and worked out an 8 months with Jake Ku the owner.

After my 17th month working for him he asked for a meeting. He told me that he had just opened a second school and was putting all his money into it so was in a bad financial situation. This meant that he needed to save money and wanted to let a teacher (or two in the near future) go. As I had just over 3 months left on my contract I was the next to go anyway. I was told that on a Wednesday night and that Friday would be my last day. Also he wouldn't honor the bonus, half that's months pay and stop all support (i.e. housing, medical) from 7.30 pm on the Friday I finished work. That gave me two days notice to finish me job, move out of one house and find a place to live.

Also, I was helping him out by working in a second school for him in the mornings. He went to this school and took my wages saying that unless I wrote up 120 reports for my students at his school with no pay for my time I could not receive the money from the other school. Wages for classes I had already taught.

From a regular staff or 7 foreign teachers made me the 6th foreign teacher to have left or been made to leave his company on bad terms with no or very little bonus in about a year. I know I should have seen it coming but I was one of only two trained English teachers at the school and had a good reputation with the parents so thought I was safe. Silly me.

Below are the schools details. If you need any further information then please let me know.

May thanks in advance,

Herald School

3F Zest Plaza 712-2

e-dong Sang lok-gu

Ansan city

Gyoung-Gi Province

Subject: Canada International School (C.I.S.), Changdong, Seoul

Date: Thursday, June 5, 2008 1:29 PM

I came across the testimony posted on your website recently (here). I used to work at this school and can not say that I am surprised by what the author wrote. I used to work for CIS about two years ago and it sounds that things are pretty much the same. I also was told that it was an international school (an outright lie) and when I realized that it was a hogwon I tried to get out of my contract. However,I was terminated after 4 months and many arguments with my supervisor who I suspect is the notorious Mrs. 'K' that the author refers to. She used to spy in front of the cameras and record anything that she did not like. She used to argue with me in front of students and belittle me as well. She would hadn me pieces of papers saying that I was 2 pages behind where I should be and could not play language games with the students until I had 'caught up' and abide by her schedule-trying to explain to her that teaching strictly by the book was maybe not the most effective way to learn a second language (I have an education degree with an ESL/Linguistics minor) and she used to sit in the classroom across from me, glaring and making sure that I followed page by page of her schedule.

As for the owner Mr.'K'-I had recieved pay advances at the begining of my employment with CIS. which were refused as 'punishment' for not liking me. He used to hang out in the teachers workoom and spy on us (he supposedly did not speak english-according to his korean staff but, of course, he spoke it very well). My termination letter ended on a Friday and I started a new job on the next monday and I was moving on the Sunday. However, there was a special event all day sunday. I told them that i was not going to be there as my contract had ended and i started a new job the next day but they refused to listen and docked me hundreds of won on my last paycheque partly due to this. I also had to go to the labour board and legal aid where a korean lawyer pressured them to give me my release letter (they are required to give it by law) as they were at first refusing until I gave them my new principals name (i wouldnt of course) and then just flatly refused. In the meantime, getting telephone calls from a korean lawyer prompted the owner to pay up for air fare (at the end of other teachers contract) that was contractually owed but that he was not 'coughing up' for. I recieved a call from another teacher who had given his notice to quit (this was about a month later) asking me for the contact information for legal aid as they were threatening him and trying some of the same tactics (not providing release letters) that they had with me.

I would, in all good concience, to any teacher considering a job with these guys not to work for these guys.


Date: Sunday, June 8, 2008 6:40 PM

Hi Jon,

I am writing to you about a letter posted Jan 2007 regarding C.I.S., Kangbuk (Changdong) Branch. I am sure you get many letters like these, but bear with me.

I am from Canada, related to one of the current senior staff at the school, acquainted with the teachers there and very familiar with their current situation.

In short, the school is fine as private schools in Korea go. In many aspects, a cut above. For the past year all 12 foreign teachers have been paid regularly, on time. Miscommunication happens. And the style of management is not perfect. Incompetence is not rewarded. However, to my knowledge, no foreigner has been mistreated/abused and any issues that arise are resolved. Cultural differences related to work environment and personal relationships play a major role, as one should expect working in a foreign country. All foreign teachers have received the standard package given by the majority of private language schools in Korea and an above average salary. Anyone is welcome to contact the current vice-principal (Judy Choi) to speak directly with her, as she is fluent in English, or one of the foreign staff. The school is not an accredited International School, nor do they claim to be if you read their literature. But, they do have an arrangement with the Vancouver School Board, offer a full-immersion program and base their curriculum on North American curricula. Note this is not a typical language school. Students learn English "through" their study of various subjects such as Math, Science, Language Arts, Music, P.E. etc. And, teachers have 1 class i.e. the same group of students, all year. This is why C.I.S. strives to hire licensed teachers. It makes sense given their curriculum.

Regarding the specifics of the letter, I do not see any issues that constitute "mistreatment or abuse" and only one issue that may be considered a breach of contract (late payment) and by the author's own admission, it was an isolated incident and they got paid fully, shortly after. Further, I can confirm that since then, all teachers have been paid regularly, on time.

The issue about the other teacher who had to leave for medical reasons, the author states that he doesn't know how the issue was resolved. I checked with management and apparently a compromise was made. It is a business after all and each teacher (C.I.S. Changdong alone employs 12 foreigners) is a huge investment, several thousand dollars just to get them to Korea, if you include recruiting fees and airfare. Plus, there is a big cultural difference between the workplace in North America and Korea. For example, in Korean, there is a commonly used word meaning "be strong, endure." So, certain reactions may seem unfair, from a North American perspective, but are not necessarily intended to be. As a related aside, recently one teacher complaining of a persistent headache was sent to the hospital for an MRI, all expenses paid.

Further, it sounds like the author organized a teacher strike and lobbied several other teachers to sign a formal letter of complaint drafted by himself, for personal reasons, which is extreme even in North America, I think. No teacher at any school I have ever worked for in Korea has gone to those lengths.

And regarding the extra-day off, I can only imagine the author was that upset because he/she alone had made non-refundable travel arrangements. Or something similar. While this is frustrating, it is not reason to blacklist a school. It simply means, expect the unexpected - get travel insurance. Perhaps the owner had a very good reason to have to withdraw the offer. Perhaps he wanted to be able to give the extra-time but a large number of mother's complained, considering the tuition they pay is, I believe the highest in the Kangbuk area. Also, my experience has been that since Korea is a strongly hierarchical society, seniors are not used to explaining themselves to juniors, which is frustrating to many foreigners who expect explanations and sound reasoning for most things.

As for the school not being an official, accredited "international school," its not and nor do they claim to be if you read their literature. This may have been wishful thinking on the part of the author. C.I.S. does have an arrangement with a school board in British Columbia, Canada and their curriculum is based on North American curricula, as much as possible in an ESL environment, given their resources. Its a full year long program and teachers have 1 class all year. I have looked at their textbooks (science, math, language arts, etc. etc.) and the program is great, compared to many private language schools. This is also the reason the school tries hard to hire only individuals with a teaching license, because some knowledge of grading, preparation of supplements, integration of various materials, incorporation of learning strategies etc. are very helpful.

Lastly, the author is upset that the school didn't buy a filing cabinet, despite his urging; that he didn't receive a gift for Chuseok; the Principal's allegedly poor English; lack of communication, some issue regarding field trips etc. etc. These things seem petty. The school is under no obligation to buy additional furniture. And, at C.I.S Changdong, it was decided that foreigners would receive gifts at Christmas time, not Chuseok, simply because Chuseok has little meaning to foreigners besides time off. Further, the manager of the other branch that he praises highly, does not speak English well either. In other words, English ability is not connected with management skill. Also, the fact the the principal is not an amazing manager, is also not a reason to blacklist the school. In my opinion, 'amazing managers' are rare, in any country. You just have to make do and do your best. After all, he did have round trip airfare, his accommodation paid for, paid holidays and a decent salary. Plus, many language schools never go on field trips :)

Based on the above, I think the author's attack on the school is personal and not reasonable. Working in Korea is not always easy for foreigners and requires a great deal of understanding, patience and flexibility. Plus, the letter is hindering the school now somewhat, by actually causing some of the potential applicants to withdraw their application, which affects the other teachers there (additional work, overtime etc.), some of whom have stayed with the company for several years. Mind you a quick phone call usually solves the problem, but nonetheless...

Please consider taking the flame letter down or at least posting this counter view. A year has passed, and the author has vented.



P.S. As mentioned above, anyone is welcome to call the school and speak with the vice-principal or any of the present staff.

Subject: Ewha ALS Blacklist

Date: Sunday, June 1, 2008 5:34 AM

1. Full name of institute

Ewha ALS ( ECC)

2. City/Area

Gunpo Sanbon

3. Institute contact details (address, email, phone, web)

1061 2 Dong

Sanbon Gyeongido

Gunpo si

4. Director/Manager Mr. K**** and ****** K*****

5. Reason for blacklisting

Do not participate in the mandatory NHIC health insurance program. Do not participate in mandatory pension program. Manager does not help you get internet. Apartments are dirty.This hogwon will lie and say they offer 50% medical insurance to get you to sign.

6. Action Taken

Contract is almost up and I am leaving for a better school.

Thank You Jon for providing this blacklist service for many current teachers and prospective teachers. I have known many people who decided not to work for schools based on it and it is a valuable resource here in Korea. Thank you for all your hard work.

Subject: ECC Kumho also spelled ECC Guemho

Date: Sunday, May 11, 2008 9:04 PM

** POSTING DELETED UPON REQUEST, Friday, January 2, 2009 **

Subject: UNIUM COLLEGE (Busan)-The Wrong Choice!

Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 23:08:06 -0800

Unium College (with three branches, all in Busan) is among the most deceitful, abusive, dishonest employers in Korea . It is NOT a school you should go to work for under ANY circumstances. Not if you expect to get paid, for a start.

My time at Unium extended from July 2005 to September 2006. Having completed a first one-year contract in summer 2006, I then extended until September-clearly, in retrospect, a big mistake.

It's now late November 2006, and I have yet to receive the bulk of my severance pay from the first contract, which was owed me, contractually, in July. The full amount remaining unpaid is 1,600,000 won (over 1700 USD). I have called Unium many, many times in the intervening months (from my new home in Seoul ), politely asking to be paid. Again and again, I've been made false promises ("we'll pay you next week . . .") and am finally running out of patience.

I've chosen the word "deceitful" to describe this school's management with very good reason. Mr. P**** R*****, the "CEO," presents himself as Mr. Straight-and-Narrow-Church-on-Sunday-Christian. He prominently displays Bibles in his office, and shows an unmistakable hiring preference for similar chapter-and-verse Protestant types. If you don't know Korea well, you may not realize just how shallow and shambolic this Korean "Christianity" can often be.

Ahead of my vacation time at Unium, on two occasions, Mr. R**** asked that I lie to my students about going home to take care of my sick mother, or something equally creative, to justify my week-long absences (something which I refused to do). The sheer brazenness of it - the complete disregard for honesty—set off warning bells in my mind then, as it should in yours now, if you're thinking about going to work for Unium. P**** R**** is a liar, a cheat, and a bad man. He shows no compunction.

I could bring forward many more examples of how Unium mistreats its teachers. Forcing them (as I was, at times) to work 12-hour schedules, for instance, in addition to Saturday afternoons. To be sure, I was always paid overtime for the additional hours-but my pay was often late (and was on one occasion, I'm convinced, deliberately miscalculated to my disadvantage). The severance pay, once again, is now more than FOUR MONTHS overdue, and I have little hope of ever seeing it.

I want to make it very clear that I'm not putting this report on the Web out of spite, or malice. My sole desire is to warn other teachers against making the mistake I did. Don't be taken in by Mr. ***** R******'s sham religiosity. Don't go to work for an employer who will withhold your salary for MONTHS on end, while making endless lies about paying you "next week." No one in the world deserves to be treated this way.


Subject: Unium College - The right choice

Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 23:33:05 -0700

Hi, I finished my contract recently with Unium college and for no real reason I googled the name and was taken to the "black list." I am writing because I and 2 of the 3 teachers who I worked with that finished their contracts before me (the 3rd teacher being the exception who posted Unium to the "blacklist") had an excellent experience at Unium college. Firstly, although the college did have a short period of 3 months where our pay was a week late (due to the expansion of another Unium branch) I was paid on time for the rest of my contract. Secondly, I received approximately 5-6 weeks of paid vacation during my year. The hogwan gives a week vacation every time the middle schools have exams, as well as about a week during Solnal and Chusok. We were asked to work 2 Saturdays during the busy Summer term and 2 in the busy winter term without getting overtime. But these were in exchange for vacation time given during the same month. Certainly I received far more than the contractual 10 days I was allocated. They paid me my bonus for finishing my contract BEFORE I finished my last week at the school and they also helped me arrange a round trip ticket home and then back to Korea (so I could continue my time here at a Busan university). I was treated fairly and with respect and courtesy during my experiences with management. They did ask me to work saturdays for very fair overtime rates. But when I told them I was not interested I was not harassed or coerced into doing the overtime. My apartment was larger than average and very close to the school. The textbooks and curriculum were provided and easy to use. I wanted to give an alternative "Green List" rating of Unium college. The teacher who blacklisted the school did not provide a balanced view of the school and was treated poorly in part due to his own issues. I would recommend Unium for a person looking to teach in Korea. It provided me an excellent first year.

Subject: Delphi English Country

Beware of Delphi English Country located in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do. The director systematically pays his teachers late. From May to August 2004, I received my salary late on three occasions. The usually excuses given are that he "forgot" or it's the "Korean way". Very frustrating to be forced to remind your employer time and time again to pay you your salary.


Subject: Green list--Delphi English Country

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006 22:50:58 -0400

Someone put Delphi English Country in Ansan on the blacklist on this site. They also posted derogatory comments everywhere they could on the internet. I worked for this school in 2002 and 2003, and had a wonderful, wonderful experience. It saddened me to think that potential applicants might google the school's name and find all these criticisms, all by the same guy. No, my year there wasn't absolutely perfect, but this guy's main complaint is payment, and that was a total non-issue for me when I worked there. Not a day late, not once, the whole year. I could depend on the direct deposit to be made to my bank account every month like clockwork--even early if payday fell on a weekend or holiday. The directors were very concerned for my health and safety and tried to make my transition to Korea as smooth as possible... doing everything from picking me up from the airport before I had even signed a contract with them, to getting me a decent two bedroom non-shared apartment, to putting my cell phone account int he director's name so that I didn't have to bother with a pre-paid account, to getting me christmas and birthday presents. It doesn't seem plausible to me that after I left they became dishonest flakes. I think (and have heard from a former co-worker) that they had problems with this teacher from the beginning and ended up having to fire him, and he posted all these black list reviews because he was bitter. During my second year in Korea, I worked for an institute in Seoul that paid almost a million won more per month and provided a swankier (though smaller) apartment near central park. I ended up hating it and quit in the middle of the contract, regretting that I had not re-signed with Delphi. If you have any questions or want me to send you a few of the bizzillions of pictures I took while working there, e-mail me at


Subject: Avoid Delphi English Country: Reply

Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2007 15:05:15 -0700 (PDT)

I'd like to submit a quick reply to the response to my post of Sept 24 2004 concerning Delphi English Country.

I cannot speak to the experience of the person who posted the reply; however, this person stated that I was fired, whereas I quit because I was being systematically paid late and told that forgetting to pay my salary was acceptable as this is the "Korean way" or because the director "forgot".

I also know for a fact that the Korean staff were also being paid late and that late payment of their salary had been occuring before my arrival at the school and continued during my time there.

Also, when I first met the director, he disparaged the former teacher who had lived in the two bedroom apartment, calling him dirty (as he had left the apartment infested with roaches).

When I posted my review my motivation was simply to warn prospective teachers based on my own experience, which included two other schools where I was never, ever paid late once (Gyeoyeon Academy in Ansan and Ewha ALS, Dongnae Campus, in Pusan)

I would also like to say that late payment of my salary began the first month I started working there (Wonder why the previous teacher left early)."

Subject: Feinschule of Ilsan

Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007

Hi Jon,

Could you please BLACK LIST Feinschule of Ilsan Ilsan Gu, Goyangsi, Kyonggi-Do

This school owned by Mrs Cxxxxx Kxxxx but run by Mrs Lxxx Hxxx still owes me airfare and Severance pay for last year.

I worked the first and last day of the school year but when I appealed to the Labour Board they said because I did not work for 12 months I was not entitled to severance pay, Even though I had one week of leave in my contract.

I can be contacted any time by email. I am an Australian and have worked in Korea since July 2005,

Another Australian teacher did not get his severance pay and many Korean Teachers were not paid so they left the school.

Best Regards.

Subject: Canada International School (C.I.S.), Changdong, Seoul

Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007

For the past year and a half, it has been my displeasure to work at C.I.S. (Canada International School) in Changdong, Seoul. This school, first and foremost, is NOT an international school but a hogwan parading as such. Several employees I know were told that it was an actual international school, and were disappointed to find out this was not the case, but in fact a lie. This school will tell lies to recruit teachers, especially since they hire only certified teachers and the appeal of working at an "international school" is a great draw. Do not be fooled. There is nothing "international" about C.I.S. It's simply a hogwan that prides itself on hiring "certified teachers" and then proceeds to treat them like crap.

Let's begin at the beginning. When I first arrived, C.I.S. was not a horrible place to work. But after 4 principals in a year and a half, it has gone downhill incredibly. The real trouble began about a year after I arrived; just after I agreed to stay on to graduate the class I'd been teaching. The staff had been told we were given an extra day off for summer vacation and made plans accordingly. I personally was told this SEVERAL times by the person who was principal at the time. Then, about a month or so before the vacation actually happened, we were told we did NOT in fact have this day off. I had planned on having this day off, and was angry to find out my plans could no longer be the way I had anticipated, by no fault of my own. Other teachers felt the same way, and had also been told about the extra day off. When a letter was written (by myself) and signed by all the teachers saying we felt this was inappropriate behavior, a firestorm fell upon my head, simply because I asked for something I had been promised already. I actually thought I was going to get fired for about two weeks, and in fact was prepared to be. I did not want to work for a school that would treat professionals in this way. When I was not fired, and I thought it had all blown over (without our getting the day that was promised to us), I was asked by the principal (who, by this point, was different from the one who had told us about the day off) to apologize to our owner, who was the reason the extra day had been taken away, and to whom I had addressed and given my letter. I was asked to apologize to him because I asked for something that I had been told I would have and apparently "hurt his feelings." My letter was in NO WAY demeaning or accusing, but diplomatic and well-thought out, and should not have hurt his feelings. In fact, I even apologized if I was placing blame on the wrong person. Especially since, I'm quite sure, the owner at the time HAD no feelings about anything except money. I very carefully wrote a letter to him but in no way did I apologize for what I'd done because I didn't, and still don't, feel it was wrong. The entire situation could have been handled differently by the Korean staff at my school, and was clearly a result of miscommunication, which none of the foreign teachers were a part of but had to pay for. The excuse given was that this day was "not in our contract" so we didn't get it off. Yet all the holidays in my contract were incorrect to begin with. Plus, another branch of our school in Gangnam got this day off but for some reason we didn't. It was stupid of him (or whoever made the decision) to have the two schools on different schedules in the first place because this only causes confusion.

About two months after this, we were supposed to be paid on a Friday, as per the contract that Mr. K*** loves so much. I found out on Tuesday that this would not be happening, and told the other foreign teachers about it. We discussed it and decided to bring it up in the meeting set for that Thursday (they'd never been on a Thursday since I could remember). The meeting was set on Thursday by no coincidence. I'm certain the principal at the time was going simply slip in the fact that we weren't going to get paid at the end of the meeting right before the bell and then we'd all go off to class not being able to do anything about it. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the meeting agenda and "pay day" was listed at the very bottom, after a bunch of stuff that really didn't need to be discussed. Long story short, we demanded that we be paid by 3 pm the following day (we'd always been paid by noon before and figured 3 pm would be possible) or we would not teach the afternoon. Some foreigners on staff would not be able to eat during the weekend if they didn't get paid. This was not a situation any of us took lightly.

We were not paid by the set time the next day, so we didn't teach. Our owner came in and said that we would be paid if we went back to work. Now, please understand that this man (Mr. K***) is not a good person, nor does he know ANYTHING about education, or how to treat people; he's lied on several occasions (the day off I mentioned above for example) and personally, I could find no reason to trust him. I had no doubt that we would go back to work and still not get paid. He claimed that we "didn't care about the kids" because we weren't teaching (he clearly has never cared AT ALL about any child that has walked in this school, only the money they provide for him) and that we were "breaking the contract" when he's the one who was going to break it by not paying us. It's funny that when the contract suits him, he goes by it (the day off, our not teaching because we didn't get paid) but when it doesn't suit him, he ignores it (not paying us because tuition money was collected later than normal). Plus, I did not understand how somehow, magically, the money would appear so we could get paid like he claimed. If he had the money, which he clearly did because we did end up getting paid, why couldn't he just pay us earlier like we'd asked? It's almost like he held out to punish us for being bad, when all we were doing was getting something that we were entitled to BY THE CONTRACT.

A final incident involving Mr. K***** is the worst of all. A foreign teacher became extremely ill after serving 9 months of their contract. This teacher had been sick on and off all year, finally realizing it was an environmental allergy causing all the problems. This teacher was told by a doctor that she needed to leave Korea, and that she should be hospitalized. That's how horrible it was. Yet, when she tried to leave the school professionally and with dignity, the school told her she needed to pay back her airfare TO Korea (like most schools, CIS pays airfare to Korea and home again at the end of the contract). This stipulation is NO WHERE in the contract (again, Mr. K*** didn't seem to notice this), plus it's just a horrible way to treat a good, dedicated teacher whose body can't handle being in Korea. I can't say much on how this situation was resolved, as I have never found it my business to know or ask, but the fact that any place of work, or any person, would treat someone this way makes me sick.

This is the type of person he is: vindictive, arrogant, money hoarding and, in his mind, blameless. DO NOT work for this man. He is one of the most horrible people I've ever met in my life. Even the supervisors at the school don't like him, calling him Black Snake behind his back.

The other most horrible person is also an owner at my school. Shortly after this pay day incident, Mr. K**** sold part of the school to a woman who was a supervisor here previously. Her name is Mrs. **** **** K***. She is equally as horrible as Mr. K*** himself (they are not related as far as I know) and it is clear why he would choose to sell part of the school to her.

I first knew that she was a bad principal when I requested a meeting with her regarding some questions the teachers had about the Christmas Performance. Our questions were not answered by our supervisors (they had not been given enough information to answer them) so another teacher and I personally requested a meeting with her so we could have our questions answered. We set it at a time of day that SHE choose so that she could come and answer our questions. Yet when the time came, she could not make the effort to show up. Granted, it was a busy week (Parent/Teacher Conferences) but SHE chose the time and STILL didn't show up. To me, this shows a CLEAR lack of respect and professionalism on her part. So basically the meeting was a complete waste of time because all of our questions were once again not answered.

Mrs. K**** claims that she is very busy, and I don't doubt that she is. But she also used to stand in front of the video monitors in the lobby and wait for a teacher to mess up (in her eyes a "mess up" is one child not sitting down) and then go into their room WHILE THEY WERE TEACHING and yell at the students. Again, this shows a lack of respect for the teacher. If there is a problem, it should be brought up in a professional manner and discussed, not her bursting into someone's room to yell at a child. It's like she doesn't trust professional, certified teachers to do the job we were hired to do. Nothing says appreciation like a lack of respect! I remember once incident when I was out sick and she came into my classroom and made up some rule for my students and didn't tell me about it. Then, once I was back, she proceeded to yell at them for breaking a rule I had no idea I was supposed to enforce. Um… right. I also resent the fact that she has "observed" my morning class for a total of about 10 minutes (while they were eating snack) and thinks she knows my students. She has NEVER seen me teach my afternoon class, yet decided to make up a rule for them as if she knew ANYTHING about the way they behave in class or what they need. Again, we're not trusted to do our own jobs.

Another example: I asked the school for a filing cabinet to keep in the teacher's room where we could put class materials we'd made (games, old tests, math work sheets, holiday activities, etc.) so that teachers in the years to come could have an easy way to find resources that might be useful, rather than making their own or searching through piles and piles of books. I asked for this over 4 months ago, and I asked twice, once directly to Mrs. K***, all the time explaining why we need it and what it would be used for. While all the teachers agree that it's a good idea, we still don't have a filing cabinet because Mrs. K*** "doesn't know if we'll use it." Awesome. Let's just be honest that the real reason is money that it costs money, which is unacceptable to her.

Keep in mind that I had an entire 20 minute conversation with a supervisor about this issue with her explaining Mrs. K****'s decision to me because Mrs. K*** wouldn't do it herself. This has happened a few times for a couple of different issues; having to talk through a supervisor rather than directly to Mrs. K*** herself. At one point I said something to the effect of "If she has something to tell me she can tell me herself" to which my supervisor said, "She's not confident about her English." Now, Mrs. K*** was a supervisor at this school before she returned and bought part of it. A supervisor's job at my school is to go between parents and teachers, so they must be fluent in both English and Korean. And my supervisor's telling me that Mrs. K*** doesn't speak English? She either must have at one time or she shouldn't have been hired to be a supervisor. My personal feeling is that she is simply too good to talk to a lowly teacher like myself, even to do something as simple as answer a question. This is only my opinion but I'm a pretty good judge of character and this woman doesn't have a good one, by any means. The few times she has attempted to talk to me, there was no discussion. It was simply her telling me what I had to do, regardless of the fact that I know my students and she doesn't. She was also quite unable to answer any questions I presented to her, because it's either her way or no way and questions or suggestions seem to be unacceptable.

Even her interactions with the children give me the heebie-jeebies. It seems so insincere and ... wrong. It's really hard for me to believe she even cares about the children at all, when she seems to take pleasure in yelling at them. Again, these are only my feelings on the matter but I know you will find others at the school that feel, or have felt, the same way. She rarely says "good morning" or is even pleasant to the teachers. I think once when I cut my hair she bothered to talk to me about it. She doesn't seem to do anything to contribute to a harmonious and pleasant working environment, only to a toxic, mentally and physically draining one. Foreign teachers were given nothing at Chuseok or Christmas, not even a card of appreciation or a personal thank you. Nothing. A minimal effort was made around Christmas but by the time she decided she wanted to buy us a meal, it was the day before we all left for vacation and had already made plans. Plus, let's be honest here, the last thing I'd want to do is spend more time with her than I have to because she makes me sick. We were told we would have a dinner in January instead, and here it is, the final week of school, and no mention of any dinner has been made to anyone.

The working environment she's created is made worse by the way she treats the supervisors, who are supposed to pass information onto us, especially now since Mrs. K**** won't talk to teachers. She has all of the supervisors here on edge, and they all seem afraid of her. For example, we are currently getting ready to change classrooms to prepare for a new school year. I wanted to know who would be moving into my room, so I could start taking things down, or leave them up, based on what the new occupant wants. I asked who would be moving into my room and was told it was "a secret." What?! I had a flashback to the fourth grade when someone is whispering about you and then, when asked what they're talking about, says, "It's a secret." Why does this simple information need to be kept secret? What's the problem with wanting to know things ahead of time so that a teacher can plan some things in advance? I'm certain the reason for this being kept "secret" is because a) no one around here could make a decision to save their life because Mrs. K**** has absolutely NO managerial skills or b) they think teachers will complain about it so they don't want to tell us until the very last moment so we'll have no time to. This sounds eerily like the time we didn't get paid and were supposed to be told in a meeting the DAY BEFORE. There are legitimate concerns being expressed by some teachers about next years schedule, and when a meeting was requested to discuss them, teachers were again denied. Clearly, Mrs. K***'s management style is one of scare tactics (toward the Korean staff), domination, withholding information, and miscommunication. This does not make for a pleasant teaching experience in ANY way. I seriously can not stand this woman, and don't want anyone out there to have to work for her because she is horrible.

If the above reasons weren't enough to turn you off of CIS Changdong, here are some more. I realize that CIS is a hogwan and therefore a business designed to be profitable and not an actual school, but Mrs. K****'s (and Mr. K****'s as well) concerns with money have reached a disgusting and ridiculous level. There is the filing cabinet incident, and the Chuseok/Christmas incidents, as I have already explained, but I have two more stories to relate to really illustrate this point. We went on a field trip that involved seeing a show. Only teachers, students, and one supervisor were allowed to go. The rest of the supervisors (4) and bus teachers (5, I think) had to stand outside in the cold while we watched the show because Mrs. K*** wouldn't pay for them to see it. This is a perfect example of not only how ridiculous of a person and boss she is, but also how highly she regards her employees. She doesn't even care enough about them to pay a few thousand won for them to see a show on a fieldtrip. Wow, that certainly says something about her character.

Another incident involved my supervisor. Mrs. K**** had hired another supervisor, paying her less than the others, and so needed to fire a person who was already employed. After a miscommunication between supervisor and student, and the student lying to her grandmother, and the grandmother subsequently calling to complain (about something that wasn't even true), my supervisor was fired. She was even told something to the effect of, "You're not the one I wanted to fire but oh well." My supervisor has never received a complaint from me or the other teacher she supervised, and was well liked by the parents of my students, plus she did her job well. Yet she was fired simply so the school (and Mrs. K***, a part owner) could make more money. Nice. Way to appreciate someone who does their job well.

I also find it interesting that Mrs. K***, whose English isn't good (as I mentioned earlier), thinks she is able to hire people with quality English skills. This seems a little counter intuitive, and judging from the people she's hired, I am correct. The level of English of some of the supervisors is literally below that of some of our kindergarten students. There is a fairly high turn over, however, so I can't say too much about this aspect of teaching at CIS.

Please be advised that this pertains ONLY to the Changdong campus of the school. I have heard only positive things about the CIS in Ueijongbu, so if you are looking to work there you will probably have a great experience. I also cannot comment on the Gangnam campus of the school, but I know that Mr. K*** is heavily involved there, so you be the judge.

Subject: Oedae Language Institute

Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 00:03:18 -0800

Oedae Language Institute, Ansan

(was Wonderland)

Switched contract from one I was sent while in the states (said the first was an "error". One issue is that they never give teachers the medical though promised.

After I came back from Japan they tried not to get my work visa for 90 days and wouldn't return passport, etc. I called the agent & they went and got the work visa but then wouldn't give it (or my passport)to me so I called the labor board & they returned my paperwork. etc. but then started sitting me in front of recorders, recording teaching sessions, etc. They said I shamed them by going to the labor board but it was the only way to get them to do anything. Then they called me in and tried to get me to sign a release that I had violated the contract (I hadn't, they had) so I refused. Then they rewrote it just as a release and i signed just to get out of there. They took 800,000 out of my Nov pay & 600,000 from December. There were manu spurious deductions and they got angry if anyone asked for proof.

added: (4 Feb 2007) they slander ex teachers and call the next schools, etc. to try to get them fired. They also did this to korean teachers.

And the response:

Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 10:33:35 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: Oedae Language Institute, Korea, Ansan---highly recommended.

Hi Jon,

Please give special attention to this mail as it is intended to serve two purposes.

First and foremost, it is to serve as a 'rebuttal' to the entry made on your Korean Hogwans Blacklist against Oedae Language Institute, OLI, Ansan.

For your attention, the blacklisted entry was made on 1 January 2007 by our former American teacher.

The school that she blacklisted (OLI), can easily prove to you that the actual story is just the reverse of what she has portrayed in the above blacklisted mail.

The above-mentioned teacher came to OLI having previously had bad experiences in Korean Hogwans. And she wasn't prepared to give the 'new' school any benefit of the doubt.

It started with her demand that she be paid precisely at the end of the working month, while the contracted she had signed stated differently. In my 2+ years with the school, I don't know of anyone who hasn't been paid on time, i.e on the 5th of each month.

Furthermore, she has had advance payments made to her by the school on so many occasions that one could easily lose count!

And, she has borrowed W 50,000- from me and failed to pay it back.

I fail to understand why she had to go to the Korean Labor Board as I have never come across a school so accommodating as OLI, Ansan. And this is my 7th year as a teacher in Korea.

Jon, if you have any specific questions that have been raised in the above mails, please feel free to address them to me.

Secondly, I would strongly recommend the Oedae Languate, Ansan to anyone who desires to teach in Korea, hassle free.

I am Canadian, and the supervising teacher here at OLI, Ansan. This is the start of my 3rd year with the school.

You don't have to take my word for it---we have 4 other foreign teachers who will verify the above.

With thanks, Mark

Subject: LCI Kids Club in Pyeongchon, Anyang City


To Whom It May Concern:

From May to November I had been employed as a conversational English teacher at a private English institute called LCI Kids Club in Pyeongchon, Anyang City. In Korea these schools are known as Hagwons. In early November my mother told me that my father was sick, the prognosis was not good, and that I would have to come home in December. I relayed this information to my academic director, G***, who informed the owner of the school, Mr. P****. I'm not sure of his full name because he never told me. I asked if I could have the month of December off to go home and be with my family, he agreed to give me the time off, a fact for which I was very grateful. A few days after this agreement was made my mother called and told me that my father's condition had gotten worse and that I would have to return immediately. I informed, G**** once again and she in turn informed Mr. P**. G*** told me afterwards that Mr. P****** would not allow me to take more than a month off and that if I decided to go home I would have to quit. As much as I enjoyed my job I had to quit for obvious reasons. Before I went home another employee of LCI Kids Club, a man named David Yoon, approached me. He is the coordinator at the school. He told me that I needed to have a doctor's note that contained my father's diagnosis and a letter written by myself explaining why I had to leave sent to the school before I went home. I agreed to this request and prepared the documents. After submitting these documents David told me that I would receive a letter of release from the school, signed by Mr. P*****, whenever I decided to return to Korea. As an employee of a private English institute I require a letter of release from my previous school if I leave that school during the course of a contract and wish to work at a different school, my contract is from May 2006 to April 2007. After all this I returned home on November 21st and attended my dad's wake and funeral, unfortunately I did not get home in time to see him before he died. Last week, Thursday December 14th, I was contacted by my academic director G**** and asked to return and finish my contract. After thinking about it for a few days I agreed to return, but was told by G*** that Mr. P**** informed her I would not receive my full end of contract bonus if I did return. I told G*** I didn't want to return if I would not receive my full bonus. I told G**** I was willing to add two extra months on the end of my contract in order to make up for the time I missed, but was still told by Mr. P***** I would not receive my full contract stated bonus. Mr. P***'s reason for this action was that many students had quit the Kids Club because they were told I would not be returning, so in order to make up for this financial loss I would not be paid a bonus. Taking this into consideration I told G*** that I would not be returning to the school and asked her to have my release letter prepared. She in turn told me that Mr. P***** would not grant me a release letter anymore; her exact quote was "If you will not work for us you will not be able to work for anyone." My former employer is currently blackmailing me. I've placed the contact information for this school at the end of this message. Thanks for reading this.


Bill H

School name: LCI Kids Club

Owner: Mr. P****

Address: Kids Building, 1058-5 Hogye Dong, Dongan Gu, Anyang City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.

Subject: Kid's College Daejeon

Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 10:05:29 -0800

Once again the Kid's College name is being destroyed by the Daejeon branch. Stay far away from this struggling school they call a hogwon. The weak, spineless (name deleted) serves as head of foreign teachers having no clue as to what that means. He is the second of two minions under the control of director the evil Ms. ***** H*****. The other being, Ms. H******* number one favorite, the pretentious (name deleted). The combine efforts of the three treat there workers like absolute garbage. Unless you are looking to "teach more harder better I'm thinking, okay" reconsider. Kid's College Daejeon, horrible.

Subject: Kids College franchise, Jukjeong-dong Yongin-si Bundang

Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2006

I would like to comment on a Kids College franchise that is located in Jukjeong-dong, Yongin-si, Bundang. I am going to keep my head in a composed state as I write this brief dissertation regarding my former place of employment, despite the fact that I am seething over the blatant disregard they hold for teachers who work there. The school opened last September and is run by an American-Korean woman named Ms. K***. I had numerous complications with the school throughout the year. To begin with, it took 4 months for the school to even send me the visa after I started working there. Furthermore, the school did not honour their contractual obligations. Pay, Pension registration, health insurance, living allowance, end of contract bonus and air tickets were all unfortunately negated at the contracts end and eventually I had to pressure them to pay, which took several weeks to do. The school is a horrible place to work for and the director is a conniving vixen who routinely lies to parents and teachers alike. The school operates on a shoe string budget with no supplies to facilitate the elaborate program they market to parents. Cooking and craft supplies are routinely purchased by the poor teachers working there. I had personally spent a small fortune on supplies. This is one of the most expensive ESL school franchises in the country and if child's parents really understood what was going on, this school would fold in a heartbeat! On several occasions I bent over backwards to assist in the operations of this establishment and received nothing but a slap in the face, total disrespect and a very bitter taste for the ESL industry in Korea. A school doesn't get much lower when the director/owner tells you that she didn't sign your contract to begin with and passes the signature off as a forgery by someone else in the office. Who's kidding who here ??? Keep your sanity and stay away from this institute !!

Subject: Wol-piong Foreign Language Institute

Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 19:23:09 -0800

I have had quite a bad experience working at this Hagwan called GNB English. It is located in Daejeon. Wol-piong Foreign Language Institute. I have been here for less than three months. There have been issues right from the very start. I would have to say that one of the most frustrating experiences that I encounterd was with the language barrier.

L*** is the current director and she is terrible. She doesn't speak English very well and made my experience more of a hassle. Nothing has been easy for me since I arrived. Everything from giving me the wrong bank to do foreign banking to not paying me on time. There were a few times where I had to phone her to remind her to pay me.

When I got there I was told that I'd be working two schools. I didn't think much of it at first but what I discovered was that it was illegal. I had no idea. The other institute was on Tuesday and Thursday's. They did pay for the cab fair but it was such a hassle getting to work.

I'd have to say that the curriculum is terrible. I mean repeating things like "Are you my mother?" over and over again to 6 year olds. And the kids are terrible as well spoiled rich kids who complain about every little thing.

I found out through one of the kids that throughout there 2 years of being opened they go through teachers like the revolving door. 8 teachers all together. I'd say that is enough to cause alarm bells.

The director called me into the office. She said that my classes were boring and that I wasn't doing enough. She wanted to reduce my pay. I'm the type of person that likes to stick things out so I was getting 2.0 million and she wanted to reduce the pay to 1.9 million I said ok.

The very next day she called me and said that the other institute didn't want me working there anymore. She said that she didn't want me their either and gave me less than a month to pack up my things and leave.

I don't have a lot of experience teaching and I felt that I didn't get any support or training. This Korean teacher came and it was agreed with the director that he would help me for a while. Everything was working great. Then all of the sudden she cut the Korean teacher hours and I was back working by myself.

I do like Korea and am awaiting employment at this other institute teaching adults. I want to leave on a good relationship with her. I'm not ready to return to Canada just yet and feel so determined as to make this work. Surly there must be more decent places to work then the place that I was at. What I don't like about Korea is the uncertainty. I believe that they can do what ever they want to during your first six months of employment here. I don't know but I heard of constant stories of Koreans doing just that. I have also found them to be quite judgmental. I mean if they don't like you or your appearance your in trouble.

Subject: Boston Language School, Suweon, Korea

Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 02:03:23 -0700 (PDT)

This school has a slow turnover, but it sure gave me a raw deal. The school has elaborate and expensive video and recording equipment. Why, I do not know. The only time I ever saw them use the recording equipment was for a Christmas CD which they sell to the parents.

I accepted the job understanding that the school would help me produce commercial quality videotapes with the children. How naive I was! While I was employed there, I wrote three video scripts and asked the director to help me produce them. He ignored me.

I also accepted the job, understanding that I was to have a full schedule, with a kindergarten class in the morning. Through no fault of my own, the school was unable to enroll enough kids for my kindergarten class, so they transferred my kids to a class under a teacher with greater seniority.

I was concerned that I would be a financial liability to the director, so I agreed to work temporarily for part-time salary, provided that the director accept me as an apprentice in operating the video and recording equipment. He agreed that he needed help in that area, so we signed a contract to that effect.

My first assignment was to write music files on my computer at home. For about a month, I worked diligently on that task. At the end of the month, I told the director that I was finished with those files.

He ignored me. My afternoon classes were assigned to a new teacher, and I was dismissed.

Subject: Kang's English Academy

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 23:28:34 -0500

The following Korean English school should be blacklisted in Canada, the United States, and any other English speaking country. This school's name is Kang's Academy in Seosan, South Korea.

Kang's English Academy Eupnae-dong

Seosan, South Korea

A second foreign teacher is leaving this school for many disturbing reasons. She has been in Seosan for less than a month. The living conditions which are provided by the school were less than favorable providing a water problem within the apartment. The apartment is extremely slippery with wet water and has caused this teacher to fall twice. The director was not responsive to her complaints as the second time she fell, she felt as if this was a serious serious issue. She took a bus to a neighboring city *an hour away* as the director's did not help her find a local hospital. She got the x-ray's back and found out that she had a broken bone in her back. When arriving back to the school, she informed the director of this issue, and she requested better living conditions. The director ignored the situation causing her to arrange a departure from the school. She is now finishing up a month of teaching, so she is monetarily compensated with a broken bone in her back, difficulties walking and waking up, and uncertainties of where her future lies due to this unfortunated circumstance. IT IS NECESSARY THAT THIS SCHOOL BE BLACKLISTED!!!! THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR TEACHERS, AND THEY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM AND PUT THEM IN HARMS WAY! She was not directed to a hospital and had to travel over an hour with a broken bone. No remorse was exhibited from the directors. This is by far one of the worst schools in Korea with irresponsible directors.

If you have any questions, Please feel free to contact me !!! THIS IS BY FAR NOT A JOKE!?Please HELP KEEP FOREIGNERS AWAY FROM THIS SCHOOL! THEY DO NOT CARE!!!!!

Subject: Stanford Academy in Jeonju

Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 17:06:51 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Jon,

I want you to know of a school in is called Stanford Academy. This school is in the Seo Sin Dong Area, Wan San Gu, Jullabukdo Area, in Jeonju. The director operated another school before near i think it was Jeonbuk university, and also operated the Dr. Lee's Toeic class.

This (director) is the devil itself. One cannot get lower than this guy. Problems to obtain full bonus, repeated history of paying late. The contractual terms he refuses to respect. Instant dismissal if one does not do overtime, even though contract states that there is to be no weekend work and that overtime is discretionary. In reality, it is coercive. There are changes to the contract terms. The worst part is that one would be forced to teach for close to 10 hours without as much as a half hour break to have something to eat. If you complain, you are fired and then you will be kicked out of the apartment and be on the streets. Forget about trying to get a letter of release, learn to get accustomed to invasions of your privacy because employer has keys to your apartments and will enter your apartment. He would back every few seconds to "peep" at you. YOu are not to stand for the entire period. There is no syllabus/curriculum with respect to the school. This is a sorry name "school" which is nothing more than a money making gimmick for duped parents. There is an official complaint lodged with the Jeonju Labour Board. He was ordered to pay one ex teacher some money. This is after he threatened her for the repayment of the one way ticket. The labour board ordered him to pay. This director is very vindictive and one needs to know what one is going to have to cope with. The apartment is the only redeeming was not a one room but a one bedroom apartment.

Subject: Oxford, also known as the KCG (Korea Campus Group), Jeju-do

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2006 10:20:34 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Jon,

Thanks for running your lists. I've got another school to add to it, unfortunately. Here are the plain facts of my story.

Hello. My name is Melissa T., I'm a US citizen who worked at Jeju International English Village on Jeju-do, South Korea from July 15th to August 28th, 2006. The reason I am writing is to let you know that the managers of this hogwan (Oxford, also known as the KCG (Korea Campus Group), among other names) are breaking contractual agreements and actually breaking the law through their labor practices with US, UK, and New Zealand citizens. I left on August 28th, and I hope that my experience will add to others and get this hogwan shut down.


Mr L*** **** ***, the owner of the camp, made the Korean and foreign teachers work for two weeks straight with no weekend break, 12 hours a day. I have since managed, through a strike, to get overtime pay for one break day. No one else has been compensated.

I, Melissa T., was not paid for 8 weeks of work, 12 hours a day, or compensated for my airfare, to the tune of 4.1 million won.


Mr L*** **** *** promised to pay me, Melissa T., 4 million won on August 28th, a contractual agreement which he did not honor.

Mr L*** **** *** promised a New Zealand teacher, Aroha, that she would work 30 hrs a week, a contractual agreement that has not been honored.

Mr L*** **** ** promised a New Zealand teacher, Aroha, that she would work Monday through Friday, a contractual agreement that has not been honored.

Mr L** *** *** promised two New Zealand teachers, Aroha, Molia, and myself that we would have private accomodations, a contractual agreement that has not been honored.

Mr L*** **** *** gave Aroha and two UK teachers, J** C. and M*******, no warning that they would be coming to Jeju Island, and they were on Jeju, working 12 hrs a day, on their vacation time.


Mr L*** **** *** and his camp coordinator, Mr N*** **** ***screamed at M*****, A******* and myself, causing us a lot of emotional strain and anguish.

Mr L*** **** *** promised New Zealand students and teachers (B******** W***** and K**** M**********) one New Zealand meal a day, which was not honored.

During the camp, Mr L*** **** *** did not pay the supermarket over 1 million won, so the supermarket would not sell food to the cooks. Most of the cooks quit after one night when all we had to eat was french toast and potatoes.

Mr L*** **** *** promised New Zealand students and teachers a field trip every weekend, which was not honored.

At the camp, Mr L*** **** *** did not pay for oil to heat the water, so for over one week 80 students and teachers were forced to have cold showers.

Mr L*** **** *** told me that 60 NZ and Aussie kids are scheduled to come for the next winter camp! He is trying to scam even MORE people! It seems that unless he commits immigration infractions, the police and labor board are reluctant/unable to do anything.


I saw a Korean newspaper article that Mr L*** **** *** did not pay the rent on the winter camp location, and as I left, he was scouting out places to have his next winter camp.

This is just a rumor, but I heard from another foreign teacher, J** C*********, that Mr L*** and his wife used to run a Wonderland hogwan, which had been shut down because of poor management and bankruptcy.

Another rumor, heard from another foreign teacher employed by Mr L*** for the past 10 months, M***, is that the owner of the camp, Mr L*** **** **, has been in jail before, and is not allowed to use his name with this camp, but he is using his name with this camp.


I was screamed at by Mr N*** **** *** for perhaps the third time on the night of August 20th so I cried and called the police (dialed (02) 114) but no one there could speak English, so I hung up.

On August 21st two policemen showed up at the camp around 2pm, (I was taken out of my class to give them my passport), (but a Korean teacher, Hannah, told me not to tell Mr L** or Mr S***, it was a secret raid, they'd been investigating the camp for some time) and through Hannah I told them how upset I was and how no one was getting paid, and she told them about all of the other Korean teachers were getting scammed as well.

The police got very angry. A******* K** is an American citizen (Kyopo) who was forced to work 12 hours a day despite the fact that she does not have an E-2 visa and is not legally able to work more than 20 hours a week in Korea. The police have been investigating this camp for some time. I told my lawyer, Mr J*****, and he said, "But aren't they a government sponsored camp?" And I said, "Well, I hope not!" The lawyer told me to call him on the last day, and the police gave me their card and told me to call them too.

(The Big "office helper" apparently knew they were there, because he took off in the van and didn't come back until nightfall, but it's possible that Mr L*** **** *** never knew).

On the 23rd I succeeded in talking with the lawyer, Mr M****** J****, around 1pm, and he advised me to sit tight and be a model teacher in the HOPES that I would get paid.

On August 27th the board of education raided the camp again in the mid-afternoon/evening, but I don't know if they succeeded in talking with Mr L**.

On August 28th I was supposed to meet with Mr L*** **** *** at 8:30am and I was waiting in the office but at 8:15am he ran out and wouldn't come back in and a Korean teacher, J******, ran after him and begged him to pay me, and he reported that he would pay me at noon on August 29th, and I said no, he can't, I'm leaving at 11am that day, and so J******* promised to go back and try to convince him to pay me earlier again and I left for Seong-Eup to catch the bus.

I got to the Jeju airport at 10:30am on August 28th, where I promptly went to the information desk on the 2nd floor and asked the woman there to help me call the policeman who had given me his card when he secretly raided the camp on August 21st. She did and he arrived within ten minutes, with an interpreter, Ms. Y**** ***-*****. Then the interpreter arranged for my flight to be delayed until 3:30pm, and my baggage to be left in the luggage office, and we went in the policeman's car to the Labor Board. In the car he and she quizzed me about my boss and what was happening and what my address was in America and where I went to school, etc, and wrote it all down.

We got to the Labor board around 11:30 and E**-Y****** took photocopies of my diploma, the contract that Mr L*** signed, my passport, my alien card, and Mr L**'s business card, all of which I'd luckily had on hand. Then the man at the labor office (sitting in the desk nearest the door) (whose name I never learned) called Mr L** (around 11:45?) and asked him if he knew me, Mr L** at first said no, then he said that I'd have to wait two weeks for my money, and the labor guy said, well, okay. And the policeman, Y*** ***-****** and I went back out to the car and I was SPITTING MAD and waving my contract but apparently there was nothing that they could do, they said it's better to have many people who were scammed with you (but I didn't have any of the Korean teachers' contact information, argh).

Then the policeman asked if I wanted to go out for Jajamyeon so I said all right even though I didn't feel like eating and at 11:50am we went to this restaurant where all of the senior police officers were eating (around the corner from the police station) and I used Y*** ***-******'s cellphone and called my lawyer, Mr M****** J*****, from there, at around 12:15pm. I told him the problem and he said he'd call a friend to check on the law, and call me back. So I tried to eat with the policeman and the interpreter and tried to be friendly and not cry, and I think it worked for a little while. E**-***** asked me if I could stay on Jeju for another two weeks, (as she thought I could get paid if I stayed) and I thought about it, but said that I had no money. And then she offered to let me stay with her, and pay for my food, which was sweet, but I told her that I just couldn't, I was so homesick (but really just sick of the terrible lies and screaming and injustice). Then the lawyer called me back after we finished eating (Around 1:20pm) and said that Mr L*** was within his right to deny me pay for 2 weeks.

So I gnashed my teeth and went with E**-******* and the nice policeman to Nonghyop bank, to see if I could transfer my money out of there from America, and it seemed that I could, so we went back to the airport and they left me there.

At 2pm I found the Korean teachers, A*******, H****** and S***** waiting with the kids at the airport, they of course asked why I was there, and I told them, and they wanted me to wait with them, but I didn't want anything to do with them anymore, it was just too painful, and so I took my Asiana flight at 3:30 pm back to Seoul, saw the big ugly office helper greeting the parents with the kids, (suppressed my urge to kick him, walked on by), caught a bus to Itaewon, left on August 29th for the airport. Caught my NW008 flight to Tokyo/Seattle at 11:20am and was back in Portland, Oregon, USA at 11:20am the same day.

Anyway, hope this will help others not work for these despicable people.



Subject: Blacklist Ewha ALS Saha-gu, Busan

Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 12:21:39 +0000

Useless school. I feel sorry for the teachers and students still there. A psychotic director, she'll stop at nothing to make you feel worthless and at her mercy. I was there less than 3 months when I had enough and she told me that I'd never work in Korea again. She blacklisted me, didn't pay me, and got the police after me for petty lies she created. She also took it upon herself to email a bunch of schools in Busan with my passport photo telling them I was a horrible teacher and a theif etc... (deflemation of characher? i think so!)

She also told people I ruined her business... She ruined her business on her own! She's gone through probably 10 teachers in the past 6 months which is tons considering this is a very small school. She takes advantage of the contract and skims money off the top of your pay. She pays very little, works you very hard and treats you like dirt. The resources are embarassing and the atmosphere is miserable. If you have any respect for yourself, other potential teachers or the students, never work at an Ewha and hopefully they all shut down so nobody has to deal with this crap again.


Subject: IN THE WORLD (they also use the name E&E) - Located all over the city.

Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006

-They have not filled their end of the contract several times in regards to pay and hours.

-Very little support is given

-poor books

-bad attitude towards teacher: the hours and pay might seem like a good deal, but it's not worth the hassle

-No insurance is given (all E2's require it)

- They require you open a bank account which they have complete control over. The kids money goes into this and then they pay you from this into your other personal account...the one you still have the bank book and password for. It's unclear if tax is being payed on this. The bank account is in your name and they take control of this. You should never give anyone control of your personal bank account.

Subject: The Sang Kyoung Elementary School, Madeul

Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 09:38:41 -0400

Hi! I was cheated out of $1100. The Sang Kyoung Elementary School in Madeul, Seoul and/or the scumbag recruiter GLE (Good Luck English) didn't pay me for the last 3 weeks. G.L.E. and in particular Mr. L**** are incredible scumbags and liars. They constantly lied about things from first contact. (He) is a real turd. I had some other bad experiences in Korea but that was the worst. The Madeul school had 5 teachers in 1 year. That's a deathtrap.

Subject: either JaSan and/or Kids Club, Pyeong-Taek

Date: Sun, 06 Aug 2006 00:22:45 -0500

Hi Jon.

This school goes by either JaSan and/or Kids Club. They all keep changing to different job titles so I just added all the names above.

It's probably the worst school around in this area (Pyeong-Taek) The director has conned numerous teachers and owes millions to former employees. Do not expect your own apartment or any form of payment whatsoever.

Severance pay has been withheld from teachers on at least three occasions.

Contractual obligations in relation to accommodation, pay dates and vacations will not be kept. The director has little or no respect for Westerners. This is a poorly managed school with no interest in education. No teaching materials for native speakers are provided. Expect your pay to be docked if you decide to take your contractual vacation time.

Poor accommodation with a complete lack of privacy. Do not expect your medical insurance or your pension contributions to be passed on. Do not expect your final wages, or your contractual notice time to be honored.

There is a high turnover of staff here, with very few teachers staying longer than 6 months. Former teachers have found the director deceptive and guilty of trying to implement ridiculous rules.

Teachers here were fired with short notice so that the director could save money. Compensation was not paid.

Statutory notice not given. Expect to be fired unjustly.

Delays in pay and non-payment of some wages and original deposit. Tax, insurance and pension are taken from teachers' wages but are not paid.

Horrible and unsafe living conditions

Less than half salary was paid to three foreign teachers and two Korean teachers due to various, dubious deductions. Airfare also wasn't paid. The apartment provided lacked furnishings.

Early firing of teachers to avoid severance pay for two teachers.

You may be harassed, threatened and not paid if you work here.

I know I may have repeated a lot but I want other foreigners to be aware. I suggest that you ask the school to provide you with the other foreign teachers email address and/or phone number and contact them first before taking the job. I made the mistake of not listening to the other foreign teachers and took the job because the school was the closest to my friends. As of July 2006, I know of 2 Canadian teachers, 4 American teachers, 2 New Zealand teachers and 3 Korean teachers that have worked there in the past. Be wise as to which schools you choose. I have been working at other schools and I have never had any problems like this before so please be careful. If you have any question concerning this school or any other questions please contact me via email:

Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003

Subject: LCI Kidsclub/Yangchun-Gu,Mok-Dong,Seoul,;

This institution is dishonest and has left many of the teaching staff without a final full paycheck.

They have deducted huge amounts from the last months salary for pension cost's, even after monthly payments have been made.

Personally, I would not trust working for these people! They will try and swindle out every penny, leaving you with nothing.

The Korean staff is a different story, they will lie and cheat by sneaking things into your classroom to cover-up their own mistakes.


Subject: L.C.I. Kids Club-Mok-dong

Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2006 18:10:26 +0000

S.L.P. Gwangjin/Godeok

The worst, and I repeat WORST hagwon in S. Korea. Cheating teachers out of lunch breaks, not paying over-time, not listening to suggestions that would raise enrollment and then yelling at teachers when enrollment drops, lowest pay I've earned in my life as a teacher, teachers are told to teach Arts & Crafts and must find and pay for all supplies, no technology is used-poor toys in play room, playrooms are also the cafeteria, there isn't a teacher's room, then they overcharge you on ALL utility bills, threaten to fire you when you complain about it, directors constantly screaming in the corridor, and one month away from my 2,000 bonus, they fired me. No reason to be fired--given the fact that I wanted to quit after 3 weeks but held on for my bonus--strongly encouraged by my recruiter--I was a very good teacher. I could go on, but don't want to remember anything about my experience there.


Subject: LCI Kidsclub, Mok-dong

Date: Saturday, July 5, 2008 5:02 AM

Could you please remove this - this information is false. Please confirm that you have removed this. I worked there for 1 year in 2005 for the full year. During my year, I even received a pay increase. As well, my friend has been there for 4 years. Again this information is FALSE.



Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2006 17:28:51 -0700 (PDT)

(1) Students are sent to classroom without books.

(2) Teachers are told to make copies for the students without books.

(3) Casette tapes are used in classroom, not spoken English.

(4) Students repeat after tape, they do not engage in English conversation.

(5) Teachers are told to write elevuation reports that reflect only good about school and students.

(6) If teachers write truth about school or student reports are retyped and changed to reflect only what is good for school.

(7) Teachers are told they must order new books two weeks before finishing the old book but have no way of knowing what book is to be ordered.

(8) New teachers are placed into classroom with no training.

(9) School is only interested in filling the slot not the walfare of the student or teacher.

(10) School is not interested if students learn English as long as they can make the school look good on paper.

(11) School is only intrested in the money they can make from the students and the parents.

(12) School is not concerened about students learning or the walfare of it teachers.

(13) I would not and could not recemmond this school to anyone wanting to learn English.

(14) Therefore I am leaving this school as I will not be a part of this scam to steal from the parents and students.

(15) School took my passport to get my alien card and charged me for card and now refuse to return passport or card and origianl copy of my degree until I leave Korea.

(16) Gave school 60 day notice, and had to pay back fonds for trip here which is fine. But school wants me to leave in less time and kept all of my pay for the month of June to pay for their ticket. But given me nothing to live on for the month of July and the earilest fight I can ge out of Korea on this ticket is 7 September, 2006.

Had I worked the two months required by school 1/2 June pay and 1/2 July pay to refund ticket price. But because they want me to leave earily have to borrow money from friends or not eat until I can live. Have no money or anywhere to live. But as a dog on the streets. It is reasons like this that teachers will not come to Korea to work.

(17) Now school wants to redo my contract to reflect only 6 classes a day and cut my pay also. They are the ones who took the classes I only requested that they reduice one class on Firdays.

(18) The school says I must also pay for the trip to Japan for my Visa and they are the ones who asked me to come here without it. I worked 30 days with on contract of Visa . Then had to get my passport extended and make a Visa run to Japan. Because school did not do their job upon my arival.

(19) Feel this looks bad for the Education system and reflect bad on Koreans and the way teacher are treated from other countries here in Korea.

(20) If you came to America and were treated this way with no friends or way of support how would you feel about Americans?

(21) had I known this about the Korean school system here I would have never come to Korea and never will again.

Subject: Poly School - Incheon City.

Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 12:45:25 +1200

Hi Jon,

I am writing to warn possible employees of this school. There were a host of issues right from the time I started. I have over two years experience teaching in South Korea and they were the worst employers I had. The list of problems listed includes issues experienced by other teachers working at the same time as me just so everything I know of can be included.

-Takes non contract deductions without explanation. Money was removed from first pay checks and later for reasons including "apartment deposits" and " overdue gas bills". Nothing mentioned in contract.

-Illegal pension deductions. Later complaints were made to the Pension office and some remunerations were made but not to past teachers.

-Sub standard apartments which had issues including- no hot water, bug infestations ( more than a couple at night ), no furnishings, no kitchenware.

-TEACHERS FIRED ILLEGALLY- I heard that one teacher managed to sue the school but they are 'letting staff' go at the moment just before contracts are finished.

-A manager and director who are hostile and will yell at staff. Tactics included but were not limited to trying to make people work extra hours, taking money from the contract end bonus, blaming teachers for students violent behaviour, going through staff members desks and bags.

Please think twice before you choose this school. Thanks.

Subject: Sejong Language Institute, located in Apgujeong, a district in Seoul

Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 20:32:29 +0900

Hi, I'd strongly discouraged any one from working at the school in Apgujeong, Seoul called Sejong. It is run by J------- P---. The school is located across the street from the Hyundai Departmet Store. The assistant director is a Korean man by the name of Mr. C--. Last I knew the academic director was a Canadian man named R-----, but I don't know if he is still there, because my friend told me this and she left some months ago--they go through academic directors fast: in the four months I was there, they went through four. In the four months, half the teachers wer arbitrarily dismissed and I know of one teacher who was fired after one month, not even given notice, just told to not come back again, and then had to pay a significant amount of money to obtain her letter of release!

Finally, while I can't confirm or deny it (the incident took place after I left), I was told that the assistant director, C--, forced unwanted intercourse upon a teacher. He seduced her while she was in a clearly confused mental state, which was in some degree brought on by the stressful conditions at the school, her doctor stated. Based on the facts I heard, I think he would be convicted of rape in most states in the U.S.

I do know, because of their repeated promises to provide me my promised health nsurance "next week," my own health was gravely impaired due to my need for prescription medicine. Upon return to the United States, my physician recommended me for hospitalization, though I declined.

Try CDI--I work there, it's good. I interviewed at Hoyah and got pretty positive vibes, though some of my collegues at CDI have warned me about Hoyah, and this was coming from people I don't think would mislead me on this point. But the Hoyah stuff was pretty minor--not getting as many hours as promised, though I read on-line a posting that said the person got paid less then the agreed amount . . . One person who wrote me in regards to a posting about Sejong told me that he had been told he could make up to 10 million won a month, that's why he was writing me; it sounded a little suspicious. All I can say is that to the best of my knowledge no teacher was paid that amount. I was paid 2.6million a month which Mr. P--- told me in an e-mail was the highest amount they offered teachers. I later found out this was false, as some teachers were making more than that, though I don't know exactly how much. Because of serious financial problems (they were 8 million in the red my final month there--June/July, 2005), I seriously doubt they could offer 10 million won a month, no matter how good the teacher was. In fact, a former teacher told me that, as their financial problems had persisted, the pay was well below what it was last year, when I worked there.

Finally, all of my students I have run into or talked to since have quit the school. . . not a good situation.

Subject: LangZon Language School, Kyunggi-Do

Date: Sun, 18 Jun 2006 00:33:17

I came to Korea in the beginning of December 2003 at:

LangZon Language School

Kiheung-Eup, Yongin-City, Kyunggi-Do 449-903

Before taking the job (my director) said I would share a two bedroom apartment with the other teacher. I said this was no problem as long as he DID NOT smoke. She said he did not smoke. When I arrived in Korea she said she was sorry and had just discovered HE DID smoke.

My employer, X******, requested that I assist her in falsifying my contract's monthly pay so she could cheat the government heath care agency, and save herself money. Therefore, I waived all my health coverage. I did not think I'd need it anyway. She told me that falsifying documents to the government health care officials was just a "white lie" and commonly done. I replied that although I might break the traffic laws with impunity on my bicycle, I would not knowingly sign a written document falsifying information in order to cheat the government out of their lawfully due health care payments. She said was doing this with her other employee and I should too.

X******* hired a third American teacher in the beginning part of March 2004. This seemed to be a strange thing to do as she had earlier mentioned student enrollment had been going poorly. (I had many classes with only 1-4 students or no shows) Due to the hiring of this other American employee, (who happened to already have been in Korea) I was only teaching three classes a day for around fifteen hours a work week. The other teachers and I all were pleased but curious at our exceedingly slack schedule. I spoke with the new employee, and he said he was getting paid 2 million won a month- the same salary of the other foreign Canadian teacher. I was making a little more around 2,070,000.00 won the equivalent of 1,800.00 US dollars a month.

Coincidentally my employer told me April 12, 2004 that she did not have enough adults for me to teach, my teaching style did not fit with her younger students, and that she needed to fire me to protect her school. She said she would not be reimbursing me for my flight back, nor would she be giving me my bonus salary sum, or any sort of severance pay. I agreed that April 30, 2004 would be my last day because it was clear to me that arguing would just make the whole situation ugly- and she obviously had one too many foreign teachers.

(This was a surprise and disappointment because She had NEVER before threatened to fire me nor had she hinted that I was a bad teacher and soon to be fired. I was NEVER taken aside by her and counseled that I must drastically change or improve or I would be fired.)

I agreed to finish out my days at the school in a conscientious and normal manner; I agreed to not inform any of the students of my soon departure. I did tell my fellow teachers the situation as I felt they deserved to know, and seeing as how they were employed at the school as well. But, I did not ever mention my firing to the students.

At first I planned on leaving Korea; however, when I realized I could still teach here for a while, and have the advantage of previewing the school- I decided to stay. My employer agreed verbally to pay me all my last days of work: 20 days were due me as I was paid on the 8th of each month- and my last day would be Friday April the 30th. The only thing I agreed for her to withhold was around 100 thousand for utility bills that would come in after I had left. Doubting the honesty of the words of my employer I again spoke with her Tuesday the 27 of April asking her if she would like to inspect my room as I could easily clean it up early. I wanted to make sure I got paid on the 30th of April.

She assured me that she was not like other dishonest employers and she would pay me on Friday April 30. Towards the end she became discordant and uncooperative. At first she claimed I did not need a letter of release until my last day, then later when I informed her that prospective employers earnestly requested she grudgingly wrote me one. But she became very sullen and angry, and told me not to ask her for another one because it was the only one she would write. She refused to let me have even one vacation day off in my final few days to look for another teaching job.

Needless to say, she refused to pay me anything on Friday the 30th of April, which caused me to become angry- which she in turn reciprocated with much more fervor, I calmed down and she agreed to pay me 100 thousand in advance. However, she informed me that I must be moved out of my apartment by Monday May 3. She said she would pay me after she had inspected it Sunday. She claimed she had a wedding to go to on Saturday; thus she could not spare me her time. She said if I stayed past Sunday May 2nd she would take money out of my last pay as rent fees.

She also said that she was only going to pay me 500,000.00 won because she thought I had paid too much for my ticket here, and therefore she was taking money out of my final paycheck to get money back for this. Further, she said she was withholding money for a cleaning fee. She told me she would pay me whatever was left over after all these charges were taken care of, unless it was a small sum of less than 50 thousand or so - in which case I should "just write it off", if I was no longer in Korea to collect it.

I was in Korea two years after and my bank account is even now still open- but I seriously doubt she will be paying me any more money out of her own free will.

I had flown to Jeju Sunday the second of May, and surprisingly, she actually did pay me 500,000.00 won on Monday May 3, when I checked my bank account. But, I feel she should pay me the other sums that she unfairly withheld from me. I also want her to pay for my four vacation days - I was never sick and took no vacation days- but I was not reimbursed for these.

I later discovered she had also fired the other original white guy worker there and hired someone from New Zealand.

As to my teaching quality itself- I admit I was knew to ESL (not teaching) on coming to Korea but I did two consecutive years with EPIK after that- and they wanted / want me to do a third.

I should also mention that early on a Korean teacher was also let go for no apparent reason that I could tell- and for reasons she could / would not explain to me ether.

It is sad it had to work out negatively like that, but I think others should know that she has set a pattern of "me-first" business in her mind. I do hope it all goes well for her and she feels enough regret to pay me some day- my bank account is still open. However, I doubt she ever will. It is all to easy to justify smart business sense by claiming the teacher caused her losses.

In fact months later she became angry when I again contacted her and asked to be paid still. She said I had damaged her school and therefore I owed her money. So I guess in her mind she was kind for not withholding more of my pay. At any rate, I DO NOT hate her, but I do feel regret that it seems she put money before me. But, as I said it seems some can justify anything if they put their business mind to it... The love of money...

Subject: Seon's Cooking and Acting Kids English Co., Chuncheon, in Toegye-Dong Green Town

Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2006

Hello, I want to tell everyone about Seon's Cooking and Acting Kids English Co., Ltd aka Seon's Kid's Cooking and Acting aka Seon's Kid's English aka I Love Gym aka My Gym...

Our boss was S**** ******, an evil man who is evidently a popular English idioms author (if cutting and pasting means you're an author); he was also good friends with the people working at Chuncheon immigration (Mr. P****).

1) He refused to pay us on time or to pay us overtime.

2) He refused to make good on our recruiter's promises (things like my husband having a job with the school--when we got to Korea, the women working at our hogwan didn't even know my husband was coming; free Korean lessons; trips back and forth between China and Korea for winter camps)...

3) He refused to meet with us to talk about grievances we had with the school before we even got here, he refused to put anything in writing

4) He hired teachers to take our jobs while we were still there working

5) We were fired without notice: we were yanked out of our classes and told to go to our apartments. We were locked out with our phones shut off. When we got inside the manager had already been there, taking the phone and disabling internet (among other things). We did not get to say goodbye to our students.

6) The two month termination notice (outlined in our contracts) was not honored- -instead our manager just made up lies at immigration to try to prove that we were a threat to our students (things like we taught class drunk and taught the children how to cuss and say really horrible things to their parents).

7) Our boss threatened our friends, who were trying to open their own legitimate hogwan.

The school is in Chuncheon, in Toegye-Dong, Green Town, right around the corner from Best English.

My name is Julie McGeorge, and I would prefer that you DO leave my name (on this)

My website is

Subject: Daejon: Information & Communications University

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 06:38:16 -0400

The Information & Communications University (aka ICU).

Problem: Failed to pay severance payment benefit upon my departure as required by Korean Labor Law. I tried to work with them on it, giving the administration three months to check out the law themselves and see that they were indeed obligated to pay this benefit. Instead of cooperation, I got angry letters from the ELP director, Professor K********** attacking my character and my teaching performance. This was followed by a period in which my inquiries regarding the matter were simply ignored. My former colleagues still teaching at the university reported being "called on the carpet" by the ELP director to find out whether they supported my claim for the severance benefit. I had to file a complaint with the Korean Labor Board and the matter was settled quickly thereafter when the university was ordered to pay or face a court appearance.

A short while after this, Professor K**, the ELP director, in an email to me, referred to me as "a complete nuisance to the university" and issued what I took as a veiled threat against me should I ever contact the university again for any reason, and against any of my former colleagues who might mention me in her presence.

Other incidents at ICU included:

** Was told housing would be provided, then required to pay $200 a month for rent. When recruited, I was told housing would be provided on campus. The contract included this term, saying housing would be provided with the professor (myself) paying a management fee. In Korea, a "management fee" is a small monthly fee paid to the building management for services such as cleaning up and handling garbage disposal. It is usually $20 or $30. After arriving and taking up residence, the university administration referred to this as "rent" not "management fee" and informed me it would be $200 a month. A few months into the contract, the university tried to raise this to $300 without any consultation by simply sending out a memo saying it had been raised. My colleagues and I objected loudly and that increase was put off to the next year.

By the way, if you choose to live off campus, the university will not provide any housing allowance. The apartment provided on campus is quite small and is in the students' dormitory, so you are basically living with the students. (See more below about salary and expenses.)

** As I lay in a hospital bed at the end of one semester for nine days, the administration kept calling me - - - asking (demanding) me to submit my final grades ! At the end of one semester, I was quite ill. I had a fever, headache and severe sore throat. However, I stuck it out and made it through the exams. I went to the hospital the day after exams were over and I was in the hospital for nine days with a very serious illness. While my colleagues visited me and the secretary of the ELP office was very helpful, the Academic Affairs team's only concern was that I had missed the deadline for submitting final grades and they called my hospital room telephone every day after the deadline asking when I would submit them and suggesting they would send the exams over to me so I could mark them and calculate the final grades - - - and use the hospital's internet cafe to submit them - - - - all this with two IV's in my arms. Appalling.

** I was given permission to buy an item at a cost of $140 for a special lecture the university had asked me to do. I made the purchase and paid for it out of my own pocket. Then, I got an email saying that the special lecture was cancelled. When I brought up the fact that I had already bought the approved item, I was basically told "tough luck." Despite several appeals to the administration, showing them copies of their email in which they approved the purchase, they never agreed to reimburse this.

** The above two incidents are telling of the university's administration's attitude, which in my opinion is arrogantly "we can do whatever we want, whenever we want." I think this is what led them to think they could get by without paying the severance benefit; they simply didn't think they had to listen to or care about me. Time and time again, things like this happened at the university.

** The contract reads in such a way that the university can shift your required teaching hours around to meet their schedule. While the contract seems to say that you will teach 5 courses per semester, and three courses in a winter English camp, you can end up teaching much more in the spring semester because they don't need you to teach the winter camp usually. They shift these required "camp" hours into the spring semester, the busiest semester and you can end up teaching 7 courses, which there is no way you can do effectively. I was given seven courses to teach in one spring semester, including three writing classes with a total of 67 students in those writing classes. (Oh, and class size is usually 22 or 23 students.) The emphasis was getting the classes covered, not necessarily taught well, it seemed.

** All my efforts to make any kind of contribution to the development of the program went without support. In fact, in my first couple of weeks there, I presented some ideas the director, Professor K****** for classes I would be teaching, and instead of hearing encouragement, I was told "If you teach the book, I'll be happy" and with that she moved on down the hall.

** In my opinion, ICU in Daejon is not the place for a professional TESOL professor. I believe it is run more like a hagwon (language academy business) than a university program. There was no professional development opportunity; in fact, new ideas, it seemed to me, were taken as a personal challenge by the director of the program, K*******. There was great potential for an excellent ESP (English for Specific Purposes) program there since 100% of the undergrad students study just two majors: IT Engineering (about 90%) or IT Business and that's what attracted me to the program - the chance to develop ESP curriculum; but the potential, in my opinion, is squandered away in uninspired mediocrity and just plain neglect by the director. "Warm body in the classroom" and "got all the classes covered" seems to be the extent of mission accomplishment for her, in my opinion. Perhaps this will change with time, and maybe with a new director who is truly interested in the job and has the ability, training, vision, personality and emotional confidence needed for the job of being director of a university program.

The present director, was rarely seen while I was there. In this very small school, she holds another position as a kind of personal assistant or travel secretary for the school's president and, in my opinion, she seems much more interested in that job than in being involved in the English language program. My colleagues and I used to describe the department as being run "on autopilot."

The school itself is very small - - a few hundred students - - and the undergrad is really just a technical college with its two majors, though they have some kind of plan to start a liberal arts department some time, I hear. (In Korea it seems "university" is used to describe any kind of higher education institute beyond high school.)

The students are bright, but because they only get one credit hour for each of their eight English courses, - - even though these are full courses meeting 3 hours a week - - it's difficult getting them to invest much into the classes. In my opinion, poor choice of textbooks and a lack of focus or "purpose" in the course don't help. While you're encouraged to "challenge them", the more you make the students work, in my experience, the less popular you become and the lower your student ratings are. Student ratings are the only measure of your teaching success in the English Language Program at ICU; there is no classroom observation or independent assessment of your teaching by the director, which one would expect with a professional program. It is the first university position I have had where there was no professional review of my performance by the director.

There was some effort toward professional development sessions when I first arrived there, but that seems to have been a remnant of the previous professional administrators of the program, UC-Riverside, and faded away when the "university" decided it could run the program itself and put one of its Korean ESL teachers in charge as the director. In my opinion, that was a fundamental mistake that led to what I see as the major flaws of the program; it just isn't managed well, in my opinion, - - I would even opine that its grossly mismanaged - - and thus it can't even approach its considerable potential. "Quite a shame; what a waste" I used say to myself when I saw what was going on there and think about what could be going on there.

The salary the university will offer is slightly higher than what you can get at average universities in Korea. They tend to offer about 2.6 million won per month (about $2,600 US dollars). However, from that you would have to pay your own housing while nearly all universities in Korea provide housing for free or provide a housing allowance averaging 400,000 won. In the end, I think you make less than you would at most universities in Korea. (And, since the university is in Daejon, where "the scene is dead" . . . . you'll find yourself traveling to Seoul often to be where your friends are . . spending at least a $100 a month in transportation . . . and always having to beg a place to stay overnight in Seoul with a friend on the weekends when you're up there – or pay for a motel room.)

In short, the Information & Communications University has problems that should give pause to a TESOL professional considering teaching there in the ELP. The university, in my opinion, has an "above the law" attitude and the English Language Program if rife with professional shortcomings. At the urging of my colleagues, I'm adding that and sending you this final (promise!) update. Hope it's not too much trouble. Thank you, Jon.

Subject: Changdong area, Seoul, SK.

Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 01:51:22 +0100 (BST)


I was working for Canada International School (a hogwon posing as an international school) before and think that there are really some concerns that teachers should be warned about. I was waiting to see how it was resolved (ie-recieved my final pay) .

Okay, I will go back to the begining. I started working for them (for about a month) with a C4 for a winter camp that i had finished. I was working for 2 days before seeing the contract. I was surprised that they were not an 'international school' but a hogwon as I believed that i would teaching in an actual school. I also only talked with the principal about teaching BC curicullum classes (based on the BC program of studies) which I had done in China. I was also told that I would be observed for one day (first day) only to 'mold me to their teaching style'. I also explained that my passport expired in 6 months and that I would have to pay back an emergency loan before I could get it renewed which would be very expensive. The principal told me 'no problem-we will sign a six month contract'.I was also told that it was not a problem to not have to pay into pension as it was 'very expensive'. A co-worker later told me that they were told that noone was getting their pension. So, during my first week, I found out that I was going to be working almost 34 hours (I had not seen the contract before then), teaching ESL and not BC classes, that it was now not okay to sign a 6 month contract but that I had to sign a year contract and that I would have a permanent 'supervisor' in my room observing me (one of my co-workers told me this). I refused to sign the contract and actually tried to give my 60 day notice explaining that I just needed until the end of the month and then I could accept another job offer working in a public school for the government. I told her that I had thought they were an actual international school and not a hogwon (' but we are a very good hogwon that does'nt have to advertise') and that I believed that I could not be completely effective as a teacher with the amount of hours that we were requied to work. I also said that I did not want to work at a job that I did not believe that I could put 100% effectiveness into. The principal kept telling me that it would be very bad that I quit ( as the parents would ask questions) and eventually (due to my financial circumstances at the time which she knew about) I relented and signed the 6 month contract-refusing to sign a year one. I also kept trying to get my original degrees and teaching certificate back for a period of about a month (starting from this time) and was kept being told that 'I could come back tomorrow for them' and that 'the owner had them at a house' and that they 'needed to be scanned' (I told them to scan them and give them back to me as it would only take a few minutes-she walked away at that point). Eventually, I went into my file and found them there and took them back.

When it came to my visa run (a month or so after I had began working there) first, the principal kept trying to pressure me to use my holiday to go to a visa run-I kept refusing and also telling her that i had little money and did not want to go to an expensive country like Japan with little money. She kept insisting. Then, they had taken all of the deposit from me (was supposed to be in three equal installments) and I came home (between 10-11pm) to find that they had went into my apartment and left airplane tickets for 7am the next morning. I had been trying to talk to her all day to explain that they had left me with 300 thousand won for a paycheque by taking all of the deductions in one go. She was too busy during the day. I called her and told her that I would not be going. A few days after, they refunded the money they had taken.

My supervisor and myself had a conflicted relationship. I was eventually fired (halfway through my contract) due to,at least in part, listening to her and believing everything that she said about me. The principal kept pulling me into the office to address complaints from pretty much the first day. She would belittle and reprimend me in front of the other teachers in the resource room. She would tell me to 'liven up the class' and then gave me a letter saying how unhappy everyone was that I was behind on the book pages and that I had to teach straight from the book. When I suggested that they should provide training to new teachers, she said that it was my job to know how things were supposed to be (or something close to that effect) etc. etc. We spent a good portion of our time arguing. I was asked by the school to open up a Korean bank account as they would not continue to deposit into my American one. Most of my bills are tied to this account through direct deposit. I found out that I could not open a Korean bank account without my original passport which was being held awaiting an Alien Resident Card. Therefore, I found myself having to send money for bills back to my home country through mail which would take about 2 weeks. I requested a meeting with her to translate between the owner and myself (although I was told later that the owner speaks very good English!) to ask for an advance (I had gotten them before with no problem). He outright lied to me saying that it would not be possible as he had to 'pay the busdrivers' etc. Later, when she was reprimanding and belittling me in the resource room, she said that I was being 'punished' by the owner for previous ESL complaints. After all this, I taught a Kindergarten science class that involved an experiment with candles. Two of my students lit their vocabulary cards on fire with the candles. She never really communicated information to me. Eventually, she handed me a horrible, cruel letter dated April 21rst (our gym day was may 21rst) of 30 day termination (which ended may 20th) citing 'neglect' as the reason for termination. I was pressured up until the end to attend the My 21rst gym day and 'have pictures taken with the parents'.

I had set up another job offer. I kept asking them for my release letter as it was required to be sent in order to process paperwork for my new school. She (the supervisor) kept delaying saying that she needed the name of my new school to put on the release letter-I refused to give it to her and told her that I did not believe that was needed. More delays. I had also emailed her stating that I needed a monday afternoon off to go apply for a new passport (had to make an appointment with the consulate). She told me I could go on tuesday as the consulate would not be open on monday. I called the consulate, told her that it would be open and that I needed to go on the Monday as I had another apointment at 3pm. that had to be done on that day. I got a nasty letter later (when I eventually got my release letter) stating that i had 'taken off' on the Monday afternoon and that is not how things were 'done at CIS' that one ended up a screaming match in front of the reception desk. My appointment at 3pm was with legal aid (I had told her that I would be seeking legal help if I did not get my release letter by a certain date). The lawyer called CIS and got them to promise to have a letter by the end of the week and that they would return my deposit after calling the utility companies to get bills up to the 3rd week of May. I still ended up having to go around to everyone 'reminding' them that the letter was due that day. I also later found out that they purchased the plane tickets for another set of teachers-who had told me that they felt that they were being stalled and could not understand why on the same day that the lawyer called about me.

Well, my last day ended (fittingily enough) with me spending hours figuring out my deposit, them calling the utility companies (for the first time-this was supposed to be done beforehand) and telling me that there is no record of me ever having paid utilities!! i got my last pay deposited-which is at least 300 thousand won less than I (and the lawyer) estimated and lost one days pay either for not attending the gym day or for the national holiday so I am going back to legal aid to try to sort this all out again tomorrow.

I am writing this as I know that I was not the only teacher who was lied to/misled at this school. I think that while there behaviours may not necessarily earn them a 'spot' on the black list-it is definitly in the 'grey' area.

Is there anyway that you could post this annonomyously please?

Subject: Oh Sung Sik, Suwon, Korea

Date: Mon, 29 May 2006

When I arrived in Seoul in January 1st 2005, the director and his wife were not there. After phoning them they arrived 45 minutes to an hour later to pick me up and take me to my apartment.

There were a few students who had difficulties, and a few with behavior problems, but the majority of the students were exceptionally keen and made progress, with the results proven by test results.

Around May 2005, the director came to me and stated that my students had difficulty in understanding me. However these same students have been exposed to other foreign teachers who had American, Canadian, British and other western accents.

I contacted my recruiting agent at on her cell phone only to get cut off and a nasty phone call back from her either husband or boyfriend telling me not to call her again. The next day I phoned the head office of and asked to speak with the supervisor, and told them what had happened. I was then informed that she no longer works with them, and apologized about the rude treatment I got from her and was given the name of my new recruiter/agent.

I do remember during my lunches with the director, that I declined pork, whereupon she asked about my religious affiliation.

I was never informed about anything with regards to teachers meetings nor invited to take part of.

There were some newly hired Korean Teachers at the school whom I found were rude, unprofessional and impolite. Anytime they messed up they would find a way to put the blame on the foreign teacher.

During a field trip, I was the only teacher who maintained supervision of the students, while the other teachers went off to do their own thing. The resort facilities were dreadful and I did suffer from food poisoning.

Defined by other work standards as overtime (having to work the extra day) I was never paid for this.

After my summer vacation on August 17th 2005: I was given a warning notice, and at the same time a personal letter from the director's wife, which was a goodbye letter. The letter stated that I was a bad teacher.

I had only 2 1/2 more months left on my contract. (the school was notorious to fire foreign teachers before their contracts finished to avoid the severence and airfare back home)

On October 2005 (while back home in Canada) I was contacted by a Korean recruiter (People Recruit). Based on my qualifications I was offered a teaching position at another school. After accepting the offer, the recruiter called me to set up a phone interview with the school's director.

The following day the recruiter called me to inform me that the offer was withdrawn. I was informed that the school's director contacted my director at Oh Sung Sik. The recruiter told me that my former school director gave a bad reference stating to the potential school that was considering me, that when they met me for the first time at the airport in January that they were disappointed because I was not Caucasian and had a twist at corner of my mouth (left as a result of my ear infections and surgery in early childhood, which does not affect my speech).

So in general the only reason I was brought on to the school was that they were in desperate need of a teacher, and I guess I had to make do until they found their right candidate. In general I was let go because simply I was not a Caucassian, and they sure didn't do a good job to cover that up that they were racially prejudice against me by revealing to another school director and later passed on to the recruiter.

The school to this day has continued to bad mouth me to any school that has been in contact with them (even when I requested not to speak to them, giving my reasons).

Subject: KNC Hyunjae, in Mok-Dong, Seoul

Date: Mon, 29 May 2006

KNC Hyunjae is not the worst school ever. On the plus side, they do pay you on time, and the students are a very high level. However, they are defintely not the best option, there are many schools in Seoul, and KNC Hyunjae doesn't pay more than usual, so I would suggest going with one of the hundreds of other schools looking for teachers.

The first problem with the school is the books. They have recently replaced the books in their conversation, listening and writing classes, with new books that are written by Koreans. (As foreign teachers, you teach reading, conversation and listening. However, you also have to explain large parts of the unintelligble writing book to your partner Korean teacher. Their reading books, however, they have not changed, and they are fine.) The conversation book is basically a vocabulary book. Each chapter consists of a list of words that are very complex. (At level one, where the reading book was teaching words like empty, husband, forest, fruit, and groceries (which were the right level) the conversation book has words like pruning, climbing plants, chilblained (in a survey of all the teachers at the school, no one knew what this meant- it's related to frostbite) defecate, urinate, call of nature, erratic, scattered rain showers, wind chill index, muggy, sweltering, harvest season, and autumnal tints. (Sorry, got a little carried away there, the point is, the words are far too difficult.)) Also, there are no definitions for these words. You can either have them write the definitions down- there are usually about 30 words per one-day chapter, or type them up hand them out each day, which obviously adds to your workload considerably. After the list, you have 6 conversations in which you are supposed to put the words- often none of the vocabulary words make sense in the blanks. The other problem, beyond the fact that none of the books are the right level, is that they have not been edited very well. My book was the best-corrected of all the books. Some pages on had 3 or 4 clear mistakes, but others still had as many as 20. Other books seemed to have been completely unedited- they had at least 20 mistakes on every page. The kids in my level rarely noticed the mistakes, but at all the other levels, the kids saw and made fo the books- the school would never tell us how to respond to this- that way you could get in trouble if you said "yes, the book is wrong," but they you clearly couldn't tell that it was correct to say instead of "How are you?," "How was the feeling?" and instead of "I don't like that sweater," "That sweater would make me appear as the gay." (Yes this is actually in the level 2 book.) The listening book is even worse, it is just completely above their level. It is so difficult that if you ignore the questions in the book and ask the simpliest possible yes/no questions, they can't answer them because they give up completely.

In addition to the books, the supervisors are a problem. The director and owner of the school don't speak English (The owner won't even speak to you if you speak to him in Korean as one of the foreign teachers tried.) The partner Korean teachers speak widely varying levels of English. The supervisor is the person who is supposed to be the middleman between the director and the foreign teachers. However, this person is also the directors scapegoat for any possible problems (like low attendance, teacher, parent and student complaints), so supervisors are fired very quickly- around about 4 months seems to be the current average for the supervisors (Apparently, they used to stay much longer in the past.) Also, after we had been there for about two months, they fired (they never admit to firing the person, they "get sick") the supervisor and instead of hiring a new one, they gave the job to one of the Korean teachers, so she held two full time jobs, and had absolutely no management experience. So for about 3 or 4 months, we didn't really have anyone to even pretend to listen to us. Just before I left they hired a new supervisor, who I have heard is supposed to be one of the worst so far. But overall, the general problem with the supervisors has been that they have no power to change things, even if they listen to your complaints. The other problem, is they have recently decided to be more strict on the foreign teachers, and so they don't even pretend to listen to complaints. Every Thursday, during the teachers meeting, they come up with new little directives. For example, at one point, teachers had to do 30 phone tests a month. Then they had to do 60, now they have to do one for every student (This is not in anyone's contract, all of them say 60, but they really don't care what the contract says.) (Phone tests are one of the biggest problems for teachers who have a lot of students- I had 78- and are not at all a problem for teachers with very few kids, as few as 30 or 40 kids.)

In terms of following the contract, there are some other issues. For example, they recently decided to change the levels, so that the middle school kids were seperate, and their classes were later, from 5-11 instead of 4-10 (which significantly changes the number of restaurants open when you get off work). Instead of trying to give us stuff to convince us to want to switch levels, they started with threatening us- they told some people that if they didn't switch levels, their friends would be fired!!!! We found that entertaining. In the end they used a combination of threatening, waiting until the last minute, and then finally, offering some extra benefits. One guy stayed and taught for a year. Then, at the end of an entire year, they were going to give him the money, instead of his plane ticket, "as a favor." However, they decided that since the contract did not explicitly say it, they did not have to pay the tax on the ticket, just the money for the ticket itself. He eventually got them to pay it, but that took a lot of arguing. Ok, now that I have gone on a bit, I will say why I left. My fiance and I worked there for 6 months. Everyone's class is monitored by Closed circuit tv at all times (another "welcome to KNC surprise")- you have a camera in your room and the receptionists, director and any parents that come into the front office, watch your class at all times. (Since they're not usually listening, and don't speak much English anyway, they are entirely watching to see if your classroom is well controlled. You are never allowed to play games and one teacher got in trouble when a student was being "disruptive," crawling under the desk. Watching on the monitor you miss the fact that the kid had dropped his pencil.) The kids get used to this monitoring, although they occasionally wave to their parents or the director. Anyway, the school recently decided that in addition to this monitoring, they also needed to videotape our classes ( They didn't realise they could use the CCTVS to do this, so bought a lot of expensive equipment. We didn't help.). They told us they would videotape eveyone, including the Korean teachers, and that the purpose was to watch the tapes and give us feedback. So they videotaped our classes- I had ten minutes warning. They videotaped most of the foreign teachers, but not all, and only one Korean teacher. Then a month later, without telling us anything about the first tape, they decided to tape us again. (They said this was all part of "School Policy," which you agree to follow in your contract. However, they actually give you a copy of school policy, and they aren't really allowed to change it on a whim, as they do.) Now, the only possible documentation we had was the meeting agendas that said they would tape everyone and they would give us feedback. So my fiance and I who were really unhappy with the whole situation, said they couldn't videotape us until they videotaped everyone, and gave us feedback. This "refusal" led up to many many meetings in which the end result was I said all they had to do was watch the videotape (They changed their story often, from "We have watched them" to "The camera didn't work" to "We haven't had time to watch them, but the camera might not have worked, we don't know.") They said that we were refusing to follow their policy and fired us. (At first we were unhappy, one never likes to get fired, but then we realised we were free and we were happy.) We got just over a months notice, because they always change teachers at the end of the month. During that time they tried to shame us into paying back our airfare, then into paying back half of our airfare, and then they tried to dock us two days pay for arguing. They said our contract required us to pay it back if we left before 6 months was up, it didn't and we didn't. Then they said we had bought a round trip ticket. They had the receipt. We didn't.

Anyway, despite going on, more than a bit, the point is I would suggest you work at another school. If you want to work at this school, make sure you see a copy of the books you will be teaching, and that you talk to at least two teachers at the school.

Subject: My Experience in Korea

Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 11:35:48 +0000


Just thought I would mention my experience.

I was sitting in england looking at my new TEFL certificate and feeling I looked at Korea to work. I answered some ads ont eh ESL websites and as you can imagine had several replies, recruiters phoning England in the early hours talking to me and making promises.

After much tooing and froing, and even a 'phone interview' which I think consists of checking if you can speak english, with the director, I even managed to speak to another teacher at the one school. He initially said all was fine...and then said fast, the director had left the room, he could see my email address and he would email me. He didn't..forgot my address....and so I assumed everything was fine, packed in a hurry, posted more stuff over, arranged for my son to courier my degree..etc etc etc and flew over.. fortunately the school paid my flight.

On arrival however things were not so rosy. I was presented a contract rather different from the one I had been sent in england. It had all mention of Holidays removed, leaving only sick leave being mentioned. and as I wanted to plan a trip back to NZ (to see my new Grandson) I was concerned. I was then told that 5 days leave.(the original contract mentioned be taken in 2 lots of 5) was Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Mmm I thought, I dont' work I said this was not acceptable. so the directors assistant ..who has a very bad reputation..rang the recruiter and after much discussion...5 days became Wednesday, thursday, Friday, Monday, tuesday...not much time to fly back to NZ...this also was not what the recruiter had promised me.

That was a Friday, I said I would think things over and we could talk on Monday. I then went to watch the classes and talk to the other teachers. I was told I would have autonomy on what to teach, that I could input my own ideas etc. this was so not the case. We were to be in front of the class for 20 minutes only, and were told what to say, what materials to prepare and even what game to play. Not what I had done the TEFL course to end up doing.

I then had time to talk to the other teachers, the one who forgot my email address said he felt awful as he would have told me what not to come, he had tried several variations of my address without success. The recruiter had told me only one person had left in the last turned out 8 people had been and gone in the last 6 months!!

On Monday I told the school I would not sign the contract, I would work 2 weeks and I would pay 1/2 of one way (they could get a refund on the return and if they hadn't tried to cheat me I would have signed it.) Needless to say I had to fight for that 1/4.

On the last day I was taking photos of the classes when I was told not to, the time was for teaching, not photo taking..up to that point everyone had taken photos. I asked if I could take them out of, I was not special, I was not a teacher....I asked what i was doing there and half way through my last day, with lessons all prepared and kids waiting...I was told to stop teaching....crazy.

So I asked for my final pay....and ofcourse they had deducted the full one way many phone calls to the recruiter and me getting really pissed but trying to stay calm...I kept repeating that they had agreed to it when I offered to work for two weeks to give them time to find someone else...they agreed to it..I wanted it.

I then sat in the foyer. I hadn't been asked to leave the premises so I just sat..and looked at the Director and the Assistant every time they walked through. When the police came and were given beverages my heart fell to my ankles..but they hadn't asked me to leave so I reasoned to myself there was nothing here for the police and I was right, they left without even looking at me. The Assistants grin was no longer on her face. I kept sitting. It must have looked odd to the students - why was I in the foyer and not teaching them??

Eventually the assistant left and 15 minutes later the Director called me in again, and offered me 200,000. I took it.


School: EFL Daegu (English fun Land)

Part Two

I am now in Jecheon, being too nervous to work for a Hakwon again and am trying to work for an elementary school. the recruiter her also stuffed up. He told me I would be starting right away, the contract is dated the 29th May. I asked him before I came up, as I could have stayed at the above school a bit longer..they ofcourse were having trouble finding a replacement.

So I am in Jecheon with no job, living on very little. the apartment was new and had to be outfitted with everything except the basic furniture at my expense and the Internet and Cable I was promised would be available is not. The apartment was not ready when I arrived, no furniture and I had to stay in a hotel for two nights, also at my expense, and I have heard 3 different stories from him on how I am going to be re-imbursed.

I am sitting hoping things will work out..I can't keep moving, but the frustration level is getting about 2 steps away from the airport!!

Recruiter : Su ******* K***


Subject: KNC Hyunjae

Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 18:18:15 +0800


I would like to report the following school as it is a nightmare of a place to work for:

KNC or KNC Hyunjae.

This school has 2 branches, 1 in Seocho and one in Mokdong. They are both owned by the same guy who is one of the greediest and most racist people I have ever had the displeasure to work for.

In the 1 year I worked for them, I replaced 1 teacher who was fired because he got angry when he discovered the owner had made a deal with his landlord whereby he would pay for the cable bills for himself and the landlord (ie: he was charged twice without knowing).

In the time I worked there, 4 teachers were foced to quit or fired. 1 teacher was bullied into quitting because he looked too young. The supervisor at the time (we had 4 changes of supervisor in 1 year, the wongjonnim likes to shift blame for everything onto the foreign teachers or the foreign teachers supervisor) would openly "tease" him in the corridors and in front of students saying things like "we all wish you would quit, everyone hates you", in actual fact he was a really nice guy. 2 teachers were constantly harrassed and accused of being bad teachers, they were fired after refusing to have extra video camera's observe them in class at all times (we already have ccd cameras in every room, this was just to apply pressure).

The school hires a lot of teachers, but has some strange tax dodge happening where they declare us all as part time teachers, this allows them to avoid paying for the health insurance included in our contracts.

Every day a teacher is harrased by a supervisor due to a complaint from the wonjonnim who does not speak english but knows that our lessons are not of good "quality".

The text books we use were developed on the cheap inhouse, my own textbook includes such phrases as "i dont want to appear as the gay" and on on lucky page, contains 17 grammatical errors, we are asked to just cover this up or hide it from the students. The errors are obvious and the students complain about this to the parents, when this happens the teachers are blamed.

The managers constantly attempt to make addittions to our contracts and working hours by calling it a "policy" modification, instead of a contract modification. Our contract says we must follow KNC policy, but no copy of this ever changing document is provided before or after signing with the school.

The school will not help you if you have any problems of any kind, I was attacked in my apartment by a neighbor who complained that my water pipes were too loud. The third and fourth time he came to my door and kicked at it, I didn't open the door. I notified the school of this 4 times before they even made a call to the landlord.

When i finished my contract they refused to pay the full cost of my flights home, instead they paid the "tax free" cost, leaving me with the tax bill.

Don't work for KNC hyunjae, each day will be a nightmare.


TOM School, Language Institute.

Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 21:43:27 +0900


I want to report TOM School, Language Institute.

Jeonnong-3-Dong 1-187

Dongdaemun gu


I just want to warn any prospective employees to stay away from this school. While it may not seem so bad compared with some of the stories on this page, I would still recommend not working here! This school used to be called 'English Friends' and there are still the same problems as already reported on other blacklists. Non payment of salary, airfare, bonus; Bad accommodation; Unfair treatment of teachers. A tendency to think he can change the terms of the contract at his whim to suit himself, going back on his word and being generally unreliable and untrustworthy. I would stay well away from this school!

I threatened to take him to the labor department if I did not receive full payment of monies owed. As I was staying in Korea he paid me. Several Korean teachers have taken him to the labor department for non payment of salary.


Subject: Coryo English Academy, Ulsan

Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006

Dear Jon,

I would like to place Coryo English Academy in Ulsan on the black list. When my contract was finished, I was shortchanged. When I asked for documentation, they provided none. We were always paid with an envelope of cash with no receipt because it was their policy to cheat the government on taxes. They later called my new employer and told lies about my character. The school has a long list of former teachers who loathe the school and the owner Mr. P****. A former manager was accused of stealing from the school as well. I was often paid late, and the Korean employees were treated poorly. My experience wasn't so bad in comparison to the stories of others on this page, but I urge the readers not to teach at Coryo English Academy.

Subject: EFL Language Institute, Daegu

Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006

Hi Jon,

My name is Lxxx and I have been in South Korea for three months, and after the experience I have had, I feel it is only fair for me to send you an email about the school I was working for. They were horrible and I would hate to see other foreign teachers wind up there. I worked at EFL Language Institute in Daegu, in the Daegok area and the owners name is Mr. Lxx and the manager's name is Sxx who you will be dealing with most of the time. They are doing things there that are highly illegal, and can get foreigners in a lot of trouble. I only found this out after signing my contract and living here for a couple of months. Now I am in a battle to get my release from them, which they are refusing to give me. Unfortunately this means I may be going home sooner than I thought, but I want to warn others not to work for this company. Everything sounds great, until you actually start working there and then you feel that you have stepped into some kind of hell. They verbally abuse their employees on a regular basis, both foreign and Korean, and they encourage their teachers to hit the students - something I know is accepted here in Korea, but very rarely in English Hagwons. It is their way of showing that you " care " about your students. Whatever you do, do not come to work for this company. You will come to hate your job and your situation quite quickly if you do. I was lucky to have a great support group here, who are helping me to fight these people, but if I don;t get it out on the internet I am not doing enough to help everyone else out there looking for a job.

If you could post this warning about this school that would be fantastic.

Subject: LCI Kid's Club in Anyang

Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006

Dear Jon,

Hello. Over a year ago, I fled in the night from the hagwan I was teaching at, LCI Kid's Club in Anyang. Boy, do I wish I'd found your site before I went over. Albeit, your site doesn't have my school listed, but it would have given me pause, and goaded me into researching more about teaching in Korea.

I went over there as a last resort: my job had been eliminated, and it was extremely difficult to find work (I'm not one of those "creepy teachers" that the person from Alaska was writing about). Anyways, long story short, I received no support from the director of the school. She had no college degree to begin with, and had a very difficult time separating her personal life from her professional life. She played favorites, and if you weren't on her good list, she had no support for you. Eventually, I began losing students from my classes who were in the words of one of the Korean teachers there, no longer interested in learning when they realized that there was actual work. I've had teaching experience and working with children before I went to Korea, but the attitude of LCI Kid's Club Anyang was "Let's keep the kids in Kid's Club, and if they learn English, then that's even better." Eventually, I was going to be let go at the end of their school year in March, 2005. This was done in order to not to have to have a teacher replace me right before their all-school assembly at the end of the year. Two weeks after I was given my notice, a particularly difficult little girl had a meltdown in my class after refusing to put on her coat to go home. To her credit, the little girl apologized the next day, but the damage had been done. I was called into the owner's office, a man who had very poor English skills, and was basically told that I could be fired without being paid the next day. I had already planned to go home a few days before the assembly (to the school's "credit", they did offer me the months time to look for another job and sign a release for me before I left Kid's Club). I had come to learn that this school was interested in business rather than education, so I really felt that I was going to be fired a few days before I got my last check. I called the airline and had my ticket upgraded to leave that weekend. In the middle of the night, I left for the airport and made it home.

The epilogue of this story is that when I contacted my friends back in Anyang, they told me that the school had called immigration in order to have me arrested at the airport. A few days after I got home, my mother told me she was never notified that I had gone "missing", so in her charming, stubborn Southern Mother way, she called the school and was told by my boss "He ran away, it's not my problem." After that, I received a very frantic email from my friend saying that a flag had been put on my passport, and if I was still in the country, to get out as soon as I could. Luckily, I'd already been in the states.

Anyways, that's my story, thought I would share. My only regret is not calling my boss the morning I got back saying I wouldn't be able to teach that day.

Subject: CESS, Chang-yu, South Korea

Date: Dec 24, 2005

It seems that there is an endless amount of terrible Hagwons in Korea. I envy the teachers that actually have a good Hagwon to work at. But at the same time I am happy for them. Anyway, please avoid working at any Cess Hagwon (franchise). Especially this one in Chang-yu, South Korea. Why I say to avoid all of them? Simply because the philosophy on how to govern the school is the same throughout. I will try to keep it simple and sweet as why you should avoid this hagwon/franchise. Safe to stay this is a below-standard-contract positon and you should avoid it like the plague. 1. You have only five minutes between classes for anything, whether it be to prepare for class or eat. This is totally against Korean-labor laws, so if you encounter this, don't put up with it.

2. You may have vacation time stipulated in your contract, but your lucky to actually get it, if and only if you do, it is at the discretion of the director and not yours.

3. You have three sick days in the contract, but according to the director, only if you have a operation of some sort.

4. Consider it lucky that you get paid on time. He was several days late with my pay and if I had not reminded him, it would of been a lot more then that.

5. Your shacked-up with another teacher, irregardless if you get along with him or her, it doesn't matter. Oh yes, he will have no hesitations about sticking a male and female teacher together. Hey, your in Korea, do like the Koreans do, right?!? Pack 'em in there!! Well, according to this director, he believes that if you were in the military, you should be use to it.

In summary, this is not slander or personal. This is objective and relative to this Hagwon. There are many more stories to collaborate the above-stated-points. If you don't believe what has been said here, at least take it into consideration. I have also noticed that the korean staff and director are chronic liars, the latter more so then the former and will take advantage of you as much as you let them. Presently, the foreign staff are suffering under this tyrannt for a director. Quite simply, I woudn't want anyone else to. It wouldn't be surprising that a midnight-run occurs soon amongst the foreign staff.

Best regards and take care everyone.

Subject: ANDONG REI (Reforned English Language Institute)

Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2005

for years the director has been cheating foreign teachers. He brings them, has them work before the visa so the visa is 1 month later, then when their contract is up, he doesn't pay them salary, severence or return trip. when they leave, he lists them with immigration as having jumped contract. In addition, every month is a fight to get paid (i have been here8 months). He dribbles the pay over weeks, sometimes still owing a few hundred thousand won from the prior month when the next payday arrives. He has an Australian that lies to teachers and he and Angela (korean) tell everything to the boss (true or not) so their pay is covered. He has cheated Korean teachers as well. Basically the school is a scam since he teaches other subjects under the table all night and that is where his dark money comes from. He is going to bankrupt the school (his third business) so I don't know if he'll change the name.

Subject: ANDONG REI (Reforned English Language Institute)

Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005

Hi. I have been here a few months. The owner lets teachers go and doesn't pay them. He is currently giving my 4th and 5th graders unrelated middle school tests that they can't possibly pass so I am on the line. I have now heard of 5 teachers he owes money to, one of them I watched him cheat. He has no scruples. More teachers have to warn applicants about bad schools. Thank you for being there. This is my 3rd year and 4th school. 3 of them were crooked.

can you sign it anonymous.

Subject: Oh Sung Sik (OSS) English Club English Club, (Jeonju City) Ajoungly.

Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 23:58:04 -0700 (PDT)


I would like to add to the hagwon blacklist as I have had a horrible experience. Here are the details:

I want to warn anyone who is considering teaching in Korea, to keep well away from the Oh Sung Sik English Club (Jeonju City) Ajoungly. I have never been treated so badly in my life and dont want anyone to have to go through what I went through.

This Hagwon has got to be the worst one in Jeonju.

They don't care about the employees at all. This institute is strictly money orientated. Pay was never on time and it always ended up in an argument. Korean teachers were crying and complaining on a regular basis. They were treated like slaves. We also had to eat like animals in the tiny lunch room all standing up due to the lack of space.

This hagwon has employees and students beyond its physical capacity. I am in the proccess of filing a complaint with the board of korean labour.


Subject: Kids Club Suwon

Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 04:48:36 +0000

Hi Jon.

Two friends of mine have been in very big trouble with immigration in south Korea because a recruitment agency OMEGA CONSULTING (whose operator has recently gone to prison) and the director of their school KIDS CLUB faked documents to get them visas. they swear they didnt know they needed a university degree to work here (as do 150 other foreigners) The director told them when they got here that their contract was not the right one and that the recruitment agency gave them the wrong one. so they had to work longer hrs and sometimes on weekends. they found out from their director a week ago that they were illegally in the country and that immigration would be looking for them. they decided to pack everything as quickly as they could and leave to the Canadian embassy to ask for help. they asked the boss for their pay for the previous month and he refused, then he said that he would pay them in a few days, which they wondered how, since they would be gone by then.

Their boss told them that they should help each other by helping him save face with the school by playing the role of the horrible teachers who are just leaving the position because they are selfish people. But he refused to give them money and help them with immigration. they he told them that he would change the locks on their apartment if they didnt help him.. They decided to turn themselves into immigration so he in turn locked them out of their apartment. They asked if they could return to the apartment because they had no money and nowhere to go but he first said no because they would have no food and when they said they didnt care he said that it would be bad for the school to see the teachers because he had told the parents that the teachers were bad people. When they got to the embassy they told them to go to the immigration office who told them to try to leave the country but their passports had been flagged so they had to stay until they processed all the information.

I spoke to them a week ago and they seemed very upset. i havent heard from them since but last time we spoke they were waiting for immigration to decide what would happen to them. 150 other foreigners are in the same predicament and are all being detained in korea since last week. They all went through the same recruitment agency. its really unfortunate that these people are doing these sort of things and getting away with it so on behalf of my friends I'm letting everyone know that if you are thinking about taking a job at KIDS CLUB, in suwon or you are going through a recruitment agency called OMEGA CONSULTING. Save yourself some headaches and find another job. The kids club director in Mr. Sxxx is an asshole who is keeping our friends belongings such as their guitar and clothes, for what reason I dont know. I had the displeasure of talking to him myself to ask him to let me in to their apartment to get their things for them, now that he knows they arent coming back, but he refused and said that they would have to contact him . I asked if email was ok and he said yes. They emailed him saying it was ok for me to enter and get their things, but then he said no, he would need a phone call. How they are to do that from a detention centre in Korean immigration I dont know. Anyway have rambled on a bit, sorry. but they are feeling really hopeless and wanted the word sent out. We just dont want anyone else to go through the same thing they did.

Subject: SLP Pyeongchon, Anyang Si

Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 22:28:46 -0700

Salaries not paid on time according to contract due dates.

Severance payments not paid on time according to contract due dates and Korean Labor Law.

Low salary offer for first timers and experienced teachers do not get much more compared to the ESL employment market in South Korea.

Reputable and experienced foreign teaching staff, reasonably autonomous working environment and well developed curriculum. Housing on offer is very basic and shared unless you are a couple.

Subject: Yeosu Wonderland, located in Yeosu Channum

2F Hanguk Bld 225 7 Yeoseodong Yeosu, Chunnam Korea.

Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 09:26:29 -0400

I signed an 11 month contract with this director in early Sept. My contract would start as soon as I arrived (so I would be back in time to enter a PhD program in Sept 2006). After many delays, I received an email from the Director telling me that he was breaking the contract. He wanted me to go to Korea with the visa for his school, and transfer to another wonderland school for the 'same deal'. This deal excluded my bonus (1.9 Million Won). His reason for breaking a legally binding contract was that he had a new investor, and that business is slow. He presented the potential transfer to the Gwangju School as a blessing. What an expensive Blessing.

By delaying so long, it was made virtually impossible for me to find another job in South Korea, as good 10 month contracts are very hard to get. Also, his disregard of Korean labour law and just general decency has dissuaded me from re-starting the process. I have lost an awful lot of money in the name of Yeosu Wonderland. From inoculations to travel guides to visa payments, my relationship with Yeosu Wonderland has cost me a few hundred dollars.

Subject: Ju Kuong Hagwon - Wando

Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 14:52:23 +1000


Thankyou for your site.

I will try to keep this to the point and precise. It is happening to me now so I am very upset about the situation. I have been in Korea for 9 months. For the first 8 months everything went smoothly.

She will not fulfill the contract period and will not pay any money owing. She will change the contract to suit herself and lie and say you agreed to it. Basically she is a liar in all regards.

She came to my house and physically attacked me. I had to call emergency and have the police come to tell her to go. Do not expect any support from her with the children. She will say she is busy. Even though I paid the electricity, gas and TV, she did not pay it for 4 months. It is about to be turned off. The principle at this hagwon pays late every month. No teachers at this hagwon have EVER stayed for 12 months.

I hope this warns others. Should you require more information for your website, please email me. Thank you

Subject: Hyundae Interpretation and Language Institute in Gim hae.

Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 07:03:00 +0000

Thanks Jon,

I hope you will post this, for some reason the other blacklist sites require that I have the business number of the school. I have no idea what that is and it is very unlikely that the owner of the school would ever give it to or not.

So I hope this will not prevent this warning from being posted here. The school name is Hyundae Interpretation and Language Institute in Gxx hxx. It is located accoss the street from INJE university in Gimhae, above Lotteria.

This school doesn't pay wages to employees as per the contract. I am still owed 2 months back wages as well as a severance. Every teacher who worked here has had the same problem. He always promises to pay "next week" or "tomorrow" but then never does.

Best just to avoid this place.


Subject: SBSi Kids in Gwansan Dong, just outside Seoul, in Gyeonngi-do.

Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 01:14:10 +0000

Dear Jon,

I am a professionally qualified teacher from Ireland, now working in a university in Korea after spending four months in a hellish hagwon from which I escaped only by paying back the recruitment fee, having been duped into signing a bad contract.

It's a long story but I feel that other potential teachers need to be made aware of this school because they are in danger of finding themselves trapped in a very bad situation from which the only escape will be to pay a lot of money.

The school is SBSi Kids in Gwansan Dong, just outside Seoul, in Gyeonngi-do.

Basically the school is on the lower floor of the director's house and the director is a middle aged woman who believes in giving her teachers zero autonomy or respect. She is the boss and whatever she decides must be done, regardless of how outdated and tyrannical her ideas might be. Essentially she wants to employ native speakers to talk at kids thirty hours a week and the kids are not allowed to speak.

Basically the school is so small that she only needs one full time teacher and this is where many of the problems stem from. Several teachers have left within a few months of starting the job in the past few years and indeed only one foreigner appears to have remained long term, an American guy who comes back to work illegally and cover her ass whenever the latest teacher quits.

I got ripped off for about a million won and the teacher immediately before me also got ripped off. I want to make sure that this does not happen again. This woman is not running a school. She is simply trying to grab as much money as possible from all angles, whether from parents or teachers.

I hope you can help me publicize this story and give me some small measure of satisfaction that nobody else will get burned in the way I did.

Subject: Daegu Polytech Institute of Foreign Languages

Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005

KBS Media - Daegu Polytech Institute of Foreign Languages is bad news. This is a Christian - Catholic place that doesn't think much of the Ten Commandments.

My salary for a one summer camp was agreed at 2 million, the owner stiffed me for 1.2 million.

The camp curricula was really bad. They cheated the parents and the students They cheated the other native speaker teacher. The hours increased when I arrived as did the number of days. This issue is black and white. The schools is bad and the owner is slime.

Subject: Mr. Song's Language School: JeonJu/Jeonbuk

Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005

I worked there last year. The owner puts medical in the contract but doesn't give it. He's had another foreign teacher there for 4 years that has a heart condition and has asked for the medical and has it in his contract but Song refuses and just gets doctors to use Song's medical card when the man needs to get meds, etc. Song also doesn't pay into the pension fund although it is in the contract.

Subject: Samyook Elementary School - Daejeon

Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 01:13:23 -0700 (PDT)

About two month ago I handed in my resignation letter to the pricipal Mr Lxx.. It ws translated to him into Korean, he signed and agreed that I can finish and stay in my apartment until 31 July....

We also went to query a Mr Cxxx about money owed to us since March, seeing that we are finishing up and that our departure date is coming up....

A week or so after I handed in my resignation letter, the school asked me if I want my release letter so long, so that I can give it to my new employer... So I said no problem.. Bonus, because most of them dont want to give it....

It was dated 18th July....

Now after me asking where my money is and when I will recieve it, they tell me that I must now leave the apartment on the 18th..... And also a lot of other nonsense

Another teacher is also in the same situation.. He was told to leave his apartment today, although they said he can stay on till the end of the month.....

The now want to deduct all kinds of money and refuse to give my full salary....

Another teacher who left a few weeks ago, got her severance, airplane ticket and full salary.. She did not give notice and she did not finish her contract....

But bear in mind she was the priciple's badminton buddy.......

So now in total the school is loosing 3 foreign teachers and two Korean teachers.....

Mr Lim was previous at Samyook School in Busan and left there because to many teachers resigned........

The school is also very racist towards people of color... The might say they are SDA Christians, but dont behave like them......

People of color at the school got a bed only after 3 months, havind had to sleep on the floor....

But a white teacher got new wallpaper etc after a week.......

New teachers also get new bedding etc, but when we got there we were given 2nd hand used bedding.......

Be very carefull before coming to the school........


Subject: Jung Chul: Busan Dae yon dong, near Motogol subway

Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2005 01:38:24 +0000


I just finished a year teaching and only now found out about this list, which I think is a great idea! I worked at two schools this past year, on of which was a nightmare and the following one which seemed like pure heaven in comparison. Here are the reviews that I hope will help someone picking a good school...

1) School name: Jung Chul Location: Busan Dae yon dong, near Motogol subway stop.

Only work at this school if you want to enter the fifth circle of hell. The school itself is a pure joke, I was the only native english speaker there, and only two of the four Korean teachers there could truly "speak" english. Although to be fair there was a constant overturn of Korean teachers in the time I was there... not a good sign.

I was paid late form the first month and my boss constantly complained about my teaching style, but I did exactly what she wanted to the very detail. One of the Korean teachers told me once that she thought my boss had gone insane, seriously.

Long story short, I was fired at the five month mark of my contract, I was never given a reason, just that there had been many complaints. Just in time to be denied any of my bonus and they made me pay my plane ticket back! At the time I thought with the help of my recruiter we would be able to salvage some of the money, but he ended up being a useless loser in dealing with the situation. I decided to let the near 2 million won that they owed me go, and move on from the worst working situation of my life...

The good news is that the school I changed to was much better! And it was just down the street and around the corner, Little Campus Dae you dong, Busan. Surprise I had no complaints there! And I was paid on time and in full every month. It was much better run and the teachers there were much happier not to mention more proficient in english. It's not like it was perfect (this is Korea) but I did get paid at least.

Subject: Canadian International Education Centre

Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 16:29:43 +0900

Hi Jon,

I want to Blacklist a Canadian company that recruits teachers to work in Korean public schools.

The company name is the Canadian International Education Centre, and a particularly bad owner is the one I worked for in Cheongju.

I was:

1) not given the money for the plane ticket.

2) not paid.

3) when told that I was going to be replaced after only working 3 weeks and having heard only positive things about my teaching, no firm date on when I would be replaced.

I am currently making a complaint against them.

I suggest other teachers refrain from working for this particular organization, and that branch of it in particular.


Subject: Cambridge School, Kumi

Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2005


Currently my son is teaching at Cambridge School in Kumi City, and since October had never been paid on time. No only has he never been paid on time, my son is still owed for March, April and now May salary. He has been requesting his college diploma from the director for several weeks now. This diploma was turned in to get his E-2 visa in August, 2004. His apartment had no bed, he slept on quilts on the floor and finally bought himself a futon at Christmas , 2004. He has no stove, only a hot plate. Yet, Peter his boss, takes out the 300 dollars a month for rent.

Avoid this school like the plague.

Subject: SISA in Sanbon

Date: Thu, 05 May 2005 00:28:30 -0230

SISA in Sanbon has a very good teaching staff. The teachers hired at this school care about their students and their colleagues, and likewise the students care about them. Here is a short list of things you might want to consider before you sign:

-You may not want to send your original degree a notarized copy of the original along with your original transcript is enough

-you may want to watch out for the length of your visa and the length of your contract - you cannot fill a 12 month contract on an 11 month visa (watch your bonus)

-you have to pay into the korean pension irrelevant on what anyone says.

-you may want to bring your own furniture to your furnished house

-make sure you bring a lot of healthy snack food to eat on the 5 minute breaks between your classes, as you cannot eat in class

-You don`t have to work 6.5 hours straight (no break for lunch) because under Korean Law you work for 4 hours and then you are entitled to a break (30 minutes)

After all these things are sorted out. SISA has a great bunch of kids and an excellent staff team.

If you have any questions please contact me at:

Subject: MagicLand Ulsan City South Korea

Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005

MagicLand Ulsan City South Korea looks to be going down fast, lied to me several times, and screwed me out of 800,000 won. The recruiter was in on it, a place called ESL Dream in Busan, the woman I talked to was named Darlene. Dont trust her, dont trust the school, they get you there and then change all the terms of the contract, not to mention the sewer they referred to as housing.


Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005

Jung-il Academy (also known as ETON LANGUAGE SCHOOL) have refused to pay me my salary for last month and also, as I am finished my contract they refuse to pay my bonus or last months salary.

On Saturday March 12, 2005---I was told by Guni, the man who is my supervisor, and who hired me, told me to come to work on my day off (Saturday) and to receive my pay. I arrived with two English teachers as witnesses and the Hogwan Owners Mr and Mrs Kxx and Gxxx Kxx went absolutely ballistic. they called the Police, but before they did so they physically assaulted me and threatened my life. Today is Monday and I have contacted the Prosecutors Office to lay charges against them. I shall stedfastly remain in Mokpo until I have the monies they owe me....I WILL NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN TO ANOTHER TEACHER. This has happened to many English teachers who blindly come here believing everything will be great as per the contract. But, the owners change the contract (3 times in my case) and lie about things such as receving only 1 million won for salary instead of 2 million because they don't want to pay a higher premium rate for MEDICAL INSURANCE. As it turns out, this is all a crock and they only want to change your contract......they are verbally abusive to me and now have physically attacked me and Guni has stood with his arms straight and screamed at the top of his voice in a gorilla fashion. He said he was "Mad at myself". These tantrums are meant to scare the Teacher, but little do they know, that I lived here before and have maintained good friends with some Professional people here, and they are calling the Prosecutors Office on my behalf.

I shall update you when things get moving or resolved.


Subject: Hamilton School/Oxford English School

Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2005 09:09:47

I used to work at Hamilton/Oxford and I agree with everything that has been said plus more. Its hell. They lie at every opportunity and every attempt at adressing anything in the contract will be met with threats. If you work for them, Seoul Immigration will likely let you out of the contract. Do research on "deposit grabs". Pull one off, then split. They still operate out of Bangbae, a block away from their old office. They work at a Christian School now. I'm very angry at them for the tension, bullying and perpetual lieing. I'm angry at them for them making the schools disrespect me. I'm angry with them for causing me to leave the schools in shame and not being able to say good bye the the children that I worked so hard to make like me. I was also attacked after I pulled of a deposit grab. A Hamilton employee pushed on me for a block and into the subway while I tried to get on the subway. I'm much bigger than that employee, he is very lucky he was not seriously injured. I dearly wanted to smash him at the time. If you ever thought the people at this school would hurt you if they could, they would.

Subject: Top Language, Jeongu, S. Korea

Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005

Hello Jon I just got back to the USA. I was teaching in Jeongu, S. Korea for Top Language Schools. I had three months left on my contract and I was fired; they told me I dressed poorly ( other teachers wore shorts, pierced everything, tatoos etc.) , walked srangely , and that the hogwan owner did not like me. They made a contract for 17 mil Won for me and told me I will make 19,700 per month in which they will pay the remainder 2,700 mil Won per month at the end of my contract. The hogwan managers lied to me about many things; for example the foreign manager told me he would pay half of my 2,700 mil Won after I was fired. Top Language Schools is a highly unethical hagwon and I don't recommend anyone to teach there.

Subject: Hamilton Institute

Date: 21 Feb 2005

Nice service that you provide..thanks a bunch for it...

Well, got onto your site by a recent post from someone who was F-d over by Hamilton Institute...well, i once was an employee for them, worked less than 2 months...same bullshit. Anyways...i'm getting sued for embezzlement right now, got fined from immigration and am going to the police station today for further "Questioning" about my wrongdoings...without going into too much detail, the situation is ridiculous...

Subject: BEWARE OF KOREA CAMPUS/Hamilton Institute

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005

Daehak Foreign Language Campus (incheon, locked out it's unpaid teachers/hapless students in September 2002 in a midnight run purportedly with a posse of gangsters on their heels) renamed Hamilton Institute of Oriental Medicine Language Centre/Hamilton Institute (serious! Operated in Bangbae-dong from September 2002 to November 2004. Closed down by the immigration department for illicit recruitments to the Seoul Public School system but not before making life hell for it's teachers by not paying them, not housing them, and constantly threatening to deport them if they quit) is now operating under the name KOREA CAMPUS.

This hakwon has a long long history of exploiting, ripping off, and abusing its unfortunate teachers and getting repeatedly fired from the schools they pimp out to.

Mr. Lxx (blubberass) and his evil wife Jxxxxxx (widely known as the dragon lady) will make your life a living hell if you work for them.

And recruiters beware: they also have a long history of not paying their headhunter fees.

If you have any bad past experiences with Mr. Lxx/Jxxxxxx and their nasty hakwon from hell, I would like to hear about it. Please email me (Steven)

Subject: "the hamilton language school" aka "the hamilton school of oriental medicine" aka "daehak language institute" aka "korea campus":

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005

hi jon! just a further note about "the hamilton language school" aka "the hamilton school of oriental medicine" aka "daehak language institute" aka "korea campus": (shape-shifting esl oufit run by mr. lee and his wife jasmine)

this school has had a long long history of serious employee grievances. blubberass Xxx and the dragon lady ("jxxxxxxx") are a nefarious duo and act like they own their employees. unfortunately, under the unfair laws that govern foreign workers here which they take full advantage of, they do.

i worked there for the longest and most depressing three months of my life. after failing to secure me an apartment for my first month (i had to sleep on the floor of my friend's one-room), pimping me out to a myriad of overcrowded completely disorganised public school classes (i was hired as a TOEIC instructor but discovered after my visa run that the school didn't actually have any students), not paying me on time, subtracting mysterious "administrative deductions" from my pay, not provididing health care, threatening to fire me on numerous occasions when i complained about anything, refusing to give me my passport and alien card back, I FINALLY QUIT.

but you know how it is in korea: even if my boss breaks labour laws and ignores the terms of my contract, i cannot quit without my boss' permission (letter of release). since there was no love lost between blubberass lee and i, i figured he would let me go. no dice.

i complained to the immigration department. no result. but i did find out that there have been a number of foreign teachers stretching from incheon (where they had the habit of firing their teachers in the 11th month of their contracts) to kangnam that have filed complaints against this school between at least 2001 to 2004. to my knowledge, immigration and the labour board have done exactly nothing about the growing pile of complaints.

and the korean labour board's advice to me? apologise to my boss. if that failed, sue him in civil court. kinda hard to do from canada.

in the mean time, blubberass lee called the labour board and immigration and told them they should forbid me from entering korea to work FOREVER because he alleged "i was an unkind physically violent teacher"! aaagh!!!

i had to collect letters from coworkers and former students attesting to my gentle pacifist nature to get a new visa. this man is evil! EVIL!

at one point in the battle, i actually had to sneak into blubberass' office and persuade a sympathetic secretary to slip me my passport.

finally, i realised that all odds in this country were overwhelmingly stacked against the foreign worker, so i took the labour board's advice: in order to get my freedom papers, i signed a letter he wrote (in korean!) promising 1. never to say anything bad about blubberass lee, his evil wife "dragon lady" again as long as i lived and 2. retract my complaints against them from immigration and the labour board and tell them that i was lying.

in the letter it said that if i failed to do 1, 2, and 3, blubberass "was allowed to deport me now or anytime in the future". luckily blubberass doesn't speak or read a word of english so he wasn't able to read the addenum i put at the end: "blubberass lee is a slimy gangster bully with a little dick who is blackmailing me into signing this letter against my will". yours truly.

what a maroon!

he then called a gathering of all the staff and forced me to humiliatingly apologise in front of them while he gloated, letter of release in hand. i've never felt so angry and diminished in all my life. but when the staff unanimously walked out in protest and disgust, it made me feel bigger and blubberass's dick got even smaller. i got my letter.


i am free from mr. Xxx and his scary sidekick jasmine's evil clutches now BUT BE WARNED!~ this chameleon school is still in existence:

i recently heard that he tried to have one of his teachers arrested when he tried to quit. the police actually came to this teacher's door to question him - mr. lee was falsely accusing the teacher of assault.

dont' be one of the many many teachers whose life he has made a living hell.

ESP in Korea

Prisoner of Wonderland: An ESL misadventure in South Korea.

Hello Jon,

Kwaks English Country

Hwawon Eup, Dalsung Gun, Chun na ri, 256-2 Kwang Duk Daegu

As the school is so bad, even after 6 months of working there they wont tell me the business registration number, and mostly ignore me. Speaking to me only when given threats or screaming abuse in Korean to me or anyone else. If you take some other action as reporting all this to an, or the authorities, (which would be good) please do that after December the 30, as I need to be well clear of this hell hole. The situation is deteriorating, if that's actually possible, please do not contact them directly or indirectly until after 30 December, as it is too dangerous for me whilst I am still there, by force of circumstances, I need to get out ASAP. Labour Law advise me to seek civil action, I have had enough, I came to work not to seek court proceedings.

The reason for blacklisting: refusing to pay a monthly salary to me for agreed work done without any breach of contract, not accepting my 30 day notice of cancellation of contract but simultaneously trying to make new contracts for replacement teachers, threatening to sue me, a current teacher for wanting to leave, even though they asked for my notice, (also I am working without pay), not honouring the contract of employment, forcing staff in to unpaid overtime- 20 hours a week at unsociable times, (9pm to 1 am 4 nights a week), Threatening to kill the agent for not replacing foreign teachers, and lying about everything they say and do, ie about replacing me, about my pay, about my notice, about the agent. They use abuse, intimidation and harrassement as a means of controlling staff and students.The school is supposed to have 5 teachers, but they only have 2, and have sought replacements, 3 koreans and one foreigner for 4 months, the educational board will be interested in the set up and running of the place, no fire safety escape, etc on 4th floor, There is only one english/korean teacher not 4 working there (from Dec 30 currently I am still there hoping for some kind of payment). If there is any justice this place should be closed like yesterday.

Previously at the same place 2 months earlier...

This place is unbelievable... I have been in Kwak's english school in Hwawon for 4 months, but I am at my limit. The boss, a 150 kg woman with shaved head (to make herself more intimidating?) and psychotic temperament, normally takes her anger out on objects, the photocopier, scissors (flying-thrown), doors, (glass one's being broken by her slamming the door), and a good healthy fight with her husband every week in the hagwon. They live there, so there is no peace, her niece and daughter who also live there are receiving therapy, (no surprise).

The place is supposed to have 4 korean teachers and one foreigner, the last foreigner did a runner, the other 3 korean teachers quit their contracts, and we can't get replacements, surprise, surprise! She the boss, expects cover for missing teachers and 4 hours overtime as and when without pay or a thankyou. Apart from her constant complaining and changing lesson plans every day on what to teach and clean the place, she is then screaming that another method/style should be adopted to teach, which will change by the next lesson again. She has also started hallucinating... I got her 5 year old daughter to talk an english conversation for 30 mins, even though she is stressed, the boss(mum) screams at her if she shows a trace of disinterest or wants to play, and screams at me for teaching art? (we talk, read books, sing and practice telephone talk- but all this effort be lost soon). She tried to force me into a change. Current situation, the hagwon are terrorizing the agent recourse to police?, All agents here refuse to replace or send a foreign teacher here, I wish to leave, but they want to keep me until they find a replacement, that they cannot, they wish to withhold my pay due to unnegotiable expenses- think of a sum and retain it? I am stressed out and am awaiting recourse to Labour Law (currently given up all hope 2 months later, law takes more time and money, they are not paying me so I need to go)

Subject: Child-U in Yeosu

Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 18:01:04 +0000

Hey Jon,

I wanted to warn people not to work at Child-U in Yeosu. Here's my story:

I worked for 5 months at a hogwan called, Child-U, in Yeosu, South Korea. The recruiting agency said that my shift would be 3-9, Mon-Fri. and that my apartment was a 5-minute walk from school, which were appealing to me. However, when my school director, May, and her sister, Lydia, picked me up at the airport, May told me that I started every day at noon. Soon I became very tired from the long shift (12-9:30, with only one hour of breaks in total). I told May at least 3 times over several months that I found the schedule too tiring, and asked if she could change it; she told me that there was nothing that she could do. This also happened to the other foreign teacher, Maaike, who started 1 month before me. She was also offered a 3-9 shift and ended up working 2-10.

I finally e-mailed my recruiter and asked her why she had posted my job hours as 3-9. She said that it was May who filled in all of the details. When I confronted May, she initially said that when she posted Maaike's and my jobs at the same time, she wasn't sure who would work 12-9:30, so she just posted the "regular" work hours on both of our job postings. Interestingly, not one of the 7 teachers even works 3-9 (the others work between 2-10), so I don't know where she gets this "regular" work shift. She later admitted to me that sometimes she has to hide certain details in order to attract foreign teachers. I told her that I felt tricked; I would never have taken the job if I had known what the real hours were.

Also, the 5-min walk from my apartment to school was really 40-min. In the winter we had to spend a lot of money taking taxis home from school. When I asked May about the apartment location, she gave me an excuse that she hasn't been to the apartment a lot (even though a few weeks before she had told Maaike and I that she used to hang out at the apartment often) so she didn't realize that it was more than a 5-min walk.

As for the school, it has about 300 students and is totally disorganized. The classrooms were also very tiny and overcrowded.

On my last night at work (I was flying out the next day) Lydia told me that they were deducting money from my final pay to cover the plane ticket to fly me to Korea as well as the recruiter's fee. After a 3-hour argument with May and Lydia, May and I agreed that she and I would split the difference for the plane ticket and the recruiter's fee, which gave me about $200 more. However, when they wired the money to my bank in Canada, it was short several hundred dollars (even with the exchange rate, it was too low). I e-mailed May over a month and a half ago asking for her to send a copy of the wire, but she hasn't, probably because she knows that I'll find out that they cheated me.

One of the Korean teachers that has been working there for 2 years had even told me how May had cheated previous teachers on their pay and how she and Lydia were liars about so many things. During our fight, I told May how I was warned that she and Lydia were liars and cheaters. During that time I even noticed that May was beginning to change things that she had previously told me or just denied them.

Also, our contracts state that we would get medical insurance 4 weeks after we began working, but we never did. I asked several times for it as I had gotten really sick from all of the pollution (Yeosu has over 100 chemical plants). The teacher that I replaced told me that she had asked for it for a year and never received it. When I confronted May, she said that they had submitted the paper work, but that the insurance company was taking its time. Whatever.

Unwilling to be taken advantage of anymore, Maaike and I finally ended up quitting after 5 months of working at that hell-hole. Although May and Lydia seem pretty nice and friendly on the surface, I came to realize that they are both two-faced liars who don't admit any wrongdoing. I wouldn't recommend ANYONE to work at their hagwan.

Thanks for having a website like this.

Subject: Jung Chul English, Dangsan Campus

Date: Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 01:22:00

Hey Jon,

Thanks for running this site. Hope this post is of some help to someone.

This is a warning for anyone considering working at Jung Chul English in Dangsan, Seoul.

In their first few months of operation Jung Chul Dangsan is a hogwan that has given more than its fair share of headaches to a number of ESL teachers who have had the misfortune of being involved with it.

There you will find the typical pretty scams that most lousy hogwans are guilty of. Unwillingness to pay for health insurance, not paying into a pension fund, refusing to return degrees, and counting days that the employee is contractually not required to work as payed working holidays are some of the lesser hassels one will have to deal with at Jung Chul Dangsan.

What sets them apart from the multitute of second-rate hogwans is their complete lack of respect for anyone who they are involved with and the management's tendency to impose petty scare tactics to create a submissive staff . There are a number of practices done there that make the Jung Chul teaching experience one that should definitely be avoided.

The classroom atmosphere is tense to say the least. There are cameras in every classroom and they are at some point being watched by a dictatorial director who feels it is her duty to criticise everything that she sees. The expectations on class dicipline are unreasonably high. They are especially high (ironically) for the kindergarden classes in which the teachers are always under close surveillance. If there is any speaking or movement (as 6 year olds are prone to do) in the class that the director doesn't approve of she has no problem with barging into the class and berating the teacher infront of the students. Any thoughts that teaching (and learning) should be fun are quickly extinguished in the Jung Chul environment.

Another serious problem with the management is their refusal to support, or even attempt to understand, their teachers in any way. If a class' enrollment should drop or if there should be a compliant about a teacher from a parent the school's immediate response will always be to blame the teacher. Without consulting the teacher about the situation they will explain that the owners are very angry that the teacher's poor teaching skills are costing them so much money. This will be followed by insults about the teacher's ability to run a class and threats that if the teacher does not improve they will be fired very quickly. This seems to be a standard practice at Jung Chul Dangsan.

It seems as though the school tries to keep their teachers in a perpetual state of fear. Should a situation arise where a mistake is made by a teacher, there is a problem with a miscommunication, or if an unforeseeable personal emergency causes some undesireable result in the eyes of management they will always find a way to leverage that against the teacher. If a minor conflict should arise and they have the choice to either resolve it in a professional, constructive manner or to blow things out of proportion with petty juvenile spitefulness they will always apply the latter. They will try to use the conflict to intimidate the teacher into altering their contract and presure the teacher into signing a form waiving their employee rights. They seem to do whatever they can to keep the teachers in an unstable and insecure state.

All in all Jung Chul Dangsan is a bottom-of-the-barrel hogwan that is best avoided. The managment team, J___ (owner), S____ (his wife), and H____ (director) are as unsavoury a group of people you could ever meet. They clearly believe in managment through coercion and intimidation. They will take any chance they can get to show their employees who's boss. What they create is an extremely hostile and stressful enviornment that insures anyone's stay will be a very tumultuous (and most likely a short) one. Don't be thrown off by their hollow smiles and professional demeanor. These three are some of the pettiest pseudo tyrants that you could ever find in Korea. You would be doing yourself a big favour by not having anything to do with them or their school. Decent people should never have to deal with people like these. In the school's first 7 months of operation they have managed to lose their first 5 foreign teachers. Their turnover rate for Korean staff is almost as high. Their record speaks for itself.

Subject: International Foreign Language Institute Iksan City

Date: Sat, 25 Sep 2004

Dear Jon,

I am glad that you are providing this service.

I would like to report that International Foriegn Language Institute is one of the biggest Hagwons in Iksan, around 600-750 students roughly. It is a cookie cutter factory of English that uses the parents willingness to only look at how many foriegn teachers it employs to determine its ability to teach English. It ignores the needs of the children for a clean and fun environment in favor of all out mayhem in the halls and scare tactics in the classrooms. My temperament was not agreeable to this climate, although I will say it "may be for some" and I worry about those who do enjoy this mode of teaching.

The owner and his "wife with pants" are extremely slick and know exactly what to say and when to say it. They do provide some good things which makes their stories and tactics sellable to Korean ethics and Canadians right out of college, but if you are non of the above you better have a perfect understanding of teaching English to survive because they will run you ragged with the tightest and wildest student schedule available. If you are skilled you can have small classes with higher level students, but if not look out for your behind because there will be a student trying to poke his fingers up there.

As for the treament of teachers generally is good, but if he doesn't like you all his attention will be focused on you and you will have smart little degrading comments from the owners. One teacher I roomated with was from Canada although he looked Asian. He fell into the category of green and pacifistic. This school wasn't a good match for him, but he tried. After two months employment the owner wasn't satisfied with his try and decided to fire him and gave him a month to either go home or find another situation, whereupon he found the latter. In the meantime the owner was running short of teachers and asked him to stay longer even though he had fired him. He proceeded to explain to him that he might as well stay for awhile because he wouldn't be able to find another Hagwon to accept him, because he looked too Asian. Well that may be all true, but it is nothing but intimidation. I explained that it is completely a matter of finding a suitable open minded school for him and he will be much happier than with the above mentioned situation.

I am smaller school now myself and the last I heard my roommate was too. We shall see how things turn out. I will try to keep you posted.


Subject: SLP Kangnam

Date: September 8, 2004

Hello, this is in regards to SLP Kangnam.

Jxxxx, the supervisor at SLP possibly one of the most incompetent and unprofessional supervisors I have ever met. Her English is questionable, we have preschool students who can speak better English then her. Also the only work she is ever see doing is threatening to fire teachers who she doesn't like (She has a "hate list") and spreading rumors about teachers on the "firing list". Through intimidation she successfully has 20 teachers coming in on Saturdays to prepare for classes.

The workload at this school is huge, add the constant threat of being fired and you have a very stressful and unpleasant working environment. The only way to avoid being on her "hate list" is by "kissing arse" or sleeping with one of the counter teachers, the owner or the Headteacher.

If you are a prospective teacher be warned! The school will only allow you to speak to certain foreign teachers. The foreign teachers WILL lie to you and tell you how great the school is.

Yes the school does pay you on time. But the workload is more then most other Hagwons, the atmosphere is tense, there are untrustworthy teachers at the school who report back on other teachers i.e those teachers they deem as not doing enough work or people they just don't like.

If you don't conform you will constantly have "complaints" most of which are not backed-up with proof, become isolated and be threatened with firing for petty reasons. The foreigners at this school are mostly female,young, naive,and inexperienced and easily intimidated. They will not support you if you are fired! They are looking out for themselves.

Mon, 30 Aug 2004

I'm blacklisting the below academy

Academy: EWHA:

Place: Jeju-Do, Shin-Jeju

Director: Ms.Kxx

Reason: Consent lies and mood swings. She fired two teaches just before their contracts finished.

Subject: AEON

Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 15:46:49

Dear Jon,

I've just returned from Japan after just 2 months with AEON. My message for prospective teachers interested in AEON is 'don't bother'. AEON is purely a money making organisation. They care little about the students or the teachers. They're not too bothered about the standard of your lessons as long as you are never late and no students complain. If you are late for a training meeting (for whatever reason) or if a student complains your life will be hell. You will be observed constantly and hyper-critically (irrespective of how good the lesson is). You also need a fair bit of luck. My co-worker 'gaijin' teacher had one 'advanced' ('Talking Point' # ) class a week with two students. Both were practically native speakers. It was a doddle. I had two 'advanced' classes. In both classes the students were basically pre- intermediate level at best. Impossible. It's in AEON's interests to get students doing higher level classes. It generates more revenue. If you are recruited in the States/ UK / Canada... chances are you'll end up in some far flung remote part of the archipelago. Forget it.


Steve Wallis

# P.S The AEON coursebooks are rubbish - completely dull and ridden with inauthentic drivel.

Subject: Kid's College, Daejeon

Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2004 18:04:30 +0000

Please post this on your sites, as I feel a responsibility to warn potential teachers.

Kid's College Daejeon: this hakwon is evil. In existence for less than 10 months, Mrs. IXXXX HXXXX and EXXXXX BXXXXX have managed to lose every teacher (all 5) within the last two months, with the exception of a spineless henchman/head teacher (JXXX XXXXXX). One teacher was fired, his apartment guarded by our bus drivers and a Korean soldier and threatened with deportation for no other reason than his engagement to a lovely Korean girl. Another teacher was so ostracized in the workplace, including the famous "discommunicated" tactic (aka, weigook doesn't exist), that she felt as though it would behoove all involved parties to submit their 45 day resignation notice as per the contract, at which point she was promptly fired. We have had many midnight runs, and the two recruitment firms used for the six of us have refused further business from Kid's College Daejeon. The Daejeon franchise has also become a scar to the Kid's College name that the main branch won't assist in recruitment, either. In fact, the atmosphere became so hostile that each teacher (except for XXXX) finally resigned, only to be fired. And stranded. And denied final pay. And our deposit on housing (400,000 won) was denied and nickel and dimed if even offered!

Additionally, the contract was not honored in several ways. Holidays, contracted working hours, healthcare, housing, sick days... you name it, we were screwed. I was the first foreign teacher for Kid's College Daejeon, and I admit that I was naive. A few things struck me as odd initially, but perhaps due to cultural differences, like resigning three different contracts, being forced to go to church (advertisement) and despite violent food poisoning, being locked in the school sick room (barely large enough for a child...luckily, a Korean teacher risked her job and snuck me home). We also all worked illegally for the first three months of our contracts.

Things went from bad to worse, as work weeks promised in the contract at the average 28 teaching hours soon grew to 12 hours per day while being shifted (and shafted!) to three different hakwons. Any type of break is at their discretion (if we were lucky enough to get out of the classroom) and the children were left unsupervised during breaks, so many times reenterence into the classroom meant blood, grafitti, missing children (one kindergartener actually made it down the elevator to the ground floor of our building!) and angry Korean helpers.

Speaking with friends who worked nearby in Dunsan-dong revealed the reputation of the Hong/ Bang alliance, as well as Korean acquantances and friends. It wasn't until this last month that they revealed thier truly horrible nature in total, as they stole a teacher's original diploma (with the help of XXXX, the head teacher), another's Alien Registration Card, and entered my domicile searching to see if I had packed and if I was preparing to make a midnight run. My last conversation with Eunice Bang, superviser, was a heated discussion related to her translation skills (she likes to throw in a few jesupsas and ship pals when translating foreign speech to the English deficient Mrs. Hong, despite the subject matter...shocking as it may be, I am not joking!) as well as her direct lying on several accounts. She was screaming, throwing things, slamming her fists on her desk which was just feet away from classes in session, and threatening me with physical violence. Surprisingly, I was fired, and even though I was facing the loss of nearly a months salary, I didn't return but left my apartment immediatley, as I value my physical well being above financial incentive. And I was also concerned that they would do as they had to my coworkers and take my ARC card or my passport or diploma.

In sum, DO NOT GO NEAR XXXXX XXXX OR XXXXXX XXXX OR XXXXXXX XXXXXX...unless you like getting treated like weigook worthlessness, having zero percent of your contract honored, and receiving the full illegal treatment.

Despite the nightmarish, illegal, harsh working conditions, I LOVED my stay in Korea (10 months) and am planning on returning after a few month holiday. Please understand that these complaints are in no way intended to dissuade anyone from teaching in Korea, as it is fantastic! However, this is one hakwon you would be advised to stay clear of!!!!

Subject: REI Andong, Korea

Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 03:48:07 -0700 (PDT)

June 23, 2004

the cast:

The Director of REI-Andong, Mr.Kxx, a.k.a. Monster (his own nickname choice) The recruiter, MXXXX,

The victim and 1st teacher: Monty Ahmad, from Toronto, Canada

I apologize to my peers for not having posted this earlier.

The storyline: Monster broke into my home and stole all my savings, 3 million won.

How do I know: Deductive reasoning via Means, Motive and Access, and as well he confessed.

The details:He kept asking me where I keep my money since he didnt make me a Koean ID, I couldnt open a bank account. I told him trustingly that its in my tux jacket in my bedroom. He next day was payday, he paid me and while I was teaching, he robbed me.

How do I know it was Mr.KXX aka Monster because:

1.Nobody else knew where I lived, it was my 100 days in Korea. I didnt know anybody.Only he knew where I lived.

2.There were expensive items everywhere, laptop computer, digital camera, watches etc, nothing was touched expect the tux jacket in my bedroom, nothing was overturned like the bed or other clothes.Therefore, the thief knew where and what he wanted.

3.He was broke. He kept asking me to lend him money, and then asked me to ask my mom for 50 million won. Earlier that day, we stopped at a gas station and all his credit cards(3) were declined.

4.Then at the end of the evening he told me if I had lent him the money this wouldnt have happened. More to the story.

I told my recruiter, MXXXX, and the regional director, EXXX KXX. EXXX said, what can we do, forget about it.

Steve, the 2nd teacher was fired on his 11th month, so he wouldnt have to pay his bonus and airfare.

Mark, the 3rd teacher was ripped off 5 to 6 million won.

Bill, the next was teacher was at the short changed 2 to 3 million won last time I spoke to him.

Dont be the next teacher victim.

Subject: Kidsland, Dongnimun

Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004

I just want to say that this school is owned by a racist, petty and incredibly vindictive man. In the past six months they have gone through 5 foreign teachers, two of whom they screwed out of a lot of money (see the entry below).

This is bad school, run by bad people. Unless you feel like paying to work in Korea, I would go elsewhere.

Subject: EMI, Ulsan, Korea

Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004

Hi Jon,

Here is my speil, thanks for adding it to your site:

EMI, Ulsan, Korea

This school is terribly disorganised as there is no cirriculum. The director, Mrs XXX is a complete and utter psycho. During my time at EMI I saw her physically fight the Hagwon director next door, twice. She treats her Korean teachers very poorly and once attempted to throw a chair at a teacher who quit and wanted all the pay she was owed. Foreign staff fare a little better but she is prone to making wild judgements about her teachers based on her imagination ie. a teacher is late one day so he must be an alcoholic, or a teacher yawns at school so she must be up late drinking/dancing the night away. While she tends to pay on time, overtime can be a hard fought battle. Her mood changes with the wind which generally makes for very difficult working conditions. While I managed to stay a year out of sheer stubborness I would not recommend this hagwon if you want to fully enjoy your time in Korea.

Subject: Jung Chul English Junior at the Anchon campus in Jeongja-dong

Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004

Hi Jon,

Unfortunately, I don't have a good story to tell but I want others to know about this woman so that maybe they can avoid my fate...

I worked at Jung Chul English Junior at the Anchon campus in Jeongja-dong, Bundang. It's a big, pink tiled, free-standing building. The director's name is LXX XXXXX XX. She also runs a separate kindergarden out of that building.

The director was nothing but smiles until things went wrong. I started working there, as well as another fellow Canadian about three months ago. My visa was fine but my co-worker needed to do a visa run. The school took so long in getting the papers organized that when they eventually did go, my co-worker had passed her 90 days and was deported. We kept on reminding the school about the need to speed the process up, but nothing was done until it was too late. Immigration gave my co-worker a fine, but the school said it would pay it since it was their fault. On the day my co-worker was leaving to go back home, the director got one of Korean teachers to tell my co-worker that the fine would be deducted from her final month's pay. Not only that, but she also had to pay her own airfare home.

Immigration closed down this particular branch of Jung Chul. We found out on Thurs that the school was closing down and my last day of work was the very next day so the director did not honour the 2-weeks notice stated in the contract. Not only this, but I received a not from her yesterday (Tues.) telling me I had to leave my apartment that night. I had a meeting with her this morning and had to listen to verbal abuse. She was basically telling me that it was my fault as well as my co-worker's and that we had to pay for it.

I have a feeling that she will re-open the school under a different name and try to recruit foreign teachers. I also understand that she is looking for teachers to work in her kindergarden. I would like people to be aware of this dishonest person and her school. I hope that no one else has to go through what I went through with her.

Thanks for your time,

Subject: Woosong Universit/Woosong Language Institute

Date: Mon, 31 May 2004

Fortunately, I discovered that this school does not contract in good faith, BEFORE RISKING AN INVESTMENT OF CASH, TIME AND TRAVEL.

WOOSONG UNIVERSITY/Woosong Language Institute, Daejon/Taejon, South Korea. Recommend serious educators not consider teaching/working for this school under ANY set of circumstances.

My experience in Korea has never included DISHONEST/UNSCRUPULOUS school administrations --- until my dealings with the above-mentioned. I was interviewed, tendered a WRITTEN JOB OFFER, which I accepted. I was sent a SIGNED CONTRACT, but when I began to ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT: high turnover, housing, unclear covenants in the contract body, etc, the next email I received stated "there are no positions at this time." This answers why there is high turnover and why this institution WILL NEVER ATTRACT QUALITY PROFESSIONALS TO ITS CAMPUS. My advice: DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE REVOLVING DOOR; STAY AWAY FROM WOOSONG UNIVERSITY AND ITS AFFILIATES.

I will be glad to provide additional information.

David Martin,

Subject: English Friends in Guil (Seoul)

Date: Wed, 12 May 2004

I have a friend that works there. New owners are driving the school into the ground. The teachers are now working from in the morning (10) until night (around 7). The new owners love paperwork, and ask for more. No overtime is given for the paperwork, and they are careful to only schedule no overtime. My friend says that they teach about 30 hours a week, but have at least 20 hours doing paperwork tasks.

Their advice--run!

Subject: Child -U school Yeom Chung dong, Seoul (Blacklist)

Date: Tue, 04 May 2004

Basically working at this school is ok. Infact its a good school to work at for 11 months.

However after 11 months expect to be given your 30 days notice, I'm the second teacher it's happened to, and no teacher has successfully been paid for their airticket or severence pay.

Just a warning.

And Response:

Subject: Child -U school Yeom Chung dong, Seoul (Blacklist)

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 09:22:22 -0800 (PST)

Child U of Yeom Chung dong, Seoul should NOT be on the blacklist. I believe it is a good school. I worked with the teachers that got fired on the 11th month. They weren't teaching at all, just having the kids color in books. I did get my severance and airfare as promised. Please add my letter to your website so others will know that this is not a bad school if you actually put in an effort to teacher. The director is very fair and generous, in fact.


Subject: English Friend's Academy

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 21:51:22 +0530

I taught at English Friend's Academy in from November 1999 to March 2000 when I ran away. The school advertised under false pretenses. They were not honest about their teaching hours (36 50-minute classes per week though we all thought that one 50-minute class counted for one hour). The management was nice but heavy handed. The situation got so bad that the teachers revolted, signed a petition and honestly tried to work with the administration to make things better. This was met with threats and no changes. I ran away without them canceling my visa for that school, and soon after most of the teachers left that school but remained in Seoul.

Subject: 21st Century Language Institute in Suwon

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2004

Hello Jon:

I taught at the 21st Century Language Institute in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, S. Korea from Oct . 2002 to OCt. 2003. I was a hard worker and flexible always for my employer. At different points during the year I heard all of my North American colleagues complain for various reasons...everyone of them talked about leaving (their were usually 4 or 5 of us). My own problem came at the end having served admirably when I was told to work longer and basically through translation and a ganging of Manager, Head Teacher, and Owner.....was given a choice between severance pay and airfare home...I paid my own way home...AGAINST my contract. And now walk around North America with a chip on my shoulder against the Institute owned by the WXXX family. We had no medical insurance ever offered us...

Subject: Hansol Language Institute (Kids Herald and Worldkids)

Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2004

Hi Jon,

The Hansol Language Institute, which also advertises under the names of Kids Herald and Worldkids, requires their teachers to work at other institutes, under additional contracts, the income of course paid into the treachers account then demanded by the school as "this is not your money it's the schools." This institute can hold this threat over any teacher who agrees to work outside the institute under these "additional" contracts, as it is all "illegal" work and the teacher can be fined and deported for doing so, if caught by immigration.

I on the other hand, was legally endorsed to work for another institution, immigration endorse my passport and work permit, but the school still demanded the income. I sought legal advise from the Prosecutors Office in Seoul and was told that the income was mine and the school cannot demand anything from me. It's was called "extortion". I was a victom of extortion and, because I went to the authorities, was then black mailed (they held my airline ticket and refused to hand it over) so that I could not proceed until I'd left the country.

Working legally isn't always going to prevent you from getting stung by the hogwan. In this instance the actions of the hogwan were supported by the International Head teacher, a foreigner who should have known better.

Please keep my personal details annon as this is being followed up through legal channels.

Subject: Hamilton School

Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004

Dear Jon,

On april 14th you recieved at letter from a teacher who used to work for Hamilton school here in Seoul. All of what the author says is true. Although we are employed at public elementary schools were are officially property of Mr XXX and his wretched company Hamilton Language Centre OR Korea Campus Group - and at the whim of him and his awful wife whom we all affectionately call "Dragon Lady".

Just recently 4 of us were improperly, paid late or not at all. And it was literally a Battle Royale attempting to get our money.

The classes are terribly disorganized. We did not recieve books for a month and although we were promised a max of 20 kids.. most of us are teaching WAYYYY more than that. In addition, although promised, most schools were not provided with a Korean- speaking coworker or co-ordinator to communicate with the Korean speakers and ourselves.

We have all had the problem of Mr Lee and his crazy wife attempting to take our passports from us. And at one point a teacher had her passport picked up at immigration without permission or reciept. Some how, through connections and palm-greasing, these people were able to pick up her reciept and hold it for 6 days without her knowledge. Immigration was obviously alarmed and she was informed to call the police. She has since been threatened because of apparent problems and warnings from immigration since then. Most of us do not have health care yet.

We do not have completed or signed copies of our contract - they have only been filled out by us with the rest of the information blank. We were forced to recieve humiliating physicals - of which we have not seen the results.

These people call us at all hours of the day - weekends, early morning.. they expect us to jump when they ask. And do not take "no" well at all. I personally have been threatened with firing and "punishment" for not co-operating with things such as handing over my passport or coming in and doing things on weekends.

And worse - others have been treated even worse. Recently, one teacher from Australia was dumped in an awful apartment not unlike my own - but he was left there for 3 days with no heat or blankets. Eventually he contracted pneumonia and was unable to work. But because our "paperwork" for healthcare has not been done, he had difficulty seeing a doctor or communicating his problem to the office. The office does not answer the phone and does not have an english speaker available at most times - we appear to lose staff on an alarmingly quick basis. Our poor sick aussie was fired and sent home ill... apparently a lesson to us all.

Another teacher recently came home to find all of his stuff in the hall of his apartment building. Long story short, our beloved leader had decided to fire a teacher and kick him out of his house --- unfortunately it was the wrong teacher. This one lost some expensive personal belongings. We are still waiting to see what happens there. BUT no appologizies were issued.

Staff with Korean wives are often threatened as well - apparently because of the fact that their wives are able to communicate to the non-english speaking managers we work for. They are regularily threatened of being fired for such behaviour. Recently, one of the wives who was there to help translate our pay dispute was told to go home and stay in the kitchen - this was said by the evil dragon lady wife herself.

Many people have quit in the last little bit and I know that many have been fired. I also know that immigration is starting to catch on about them picking up passports illegally. Also, the public schools themselves are starting to find out about the shared bank accounts that they think they are paying us with... however it is becoming incredably obvious to us all that we are simply laundering money for these bastards.

To be honest, this is a dangerous and dodgy school. These people are clearly running an operation that is not "proper". We are nervous about them and simply they cannot be trusted. But we are also very very aware that soon they will be found out by immigration or by the public schools. And if that does not happen, I suspect that numerous teachers will be taking them to the labour board soon.

Please DO not sign a contract with this school - most of us are trying to get out. I would love to tell you more - but obviously I fear being fired - and as a result there is no way in the world that I would actually be paid before coming home and finding my belongings in the hall. However, we are plotting our escape and subsiquent vengence!

Subject: Hamiliton College and/ or Korea Campus

Date: Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004

Dear Jon,

I am writing to ask teachers considering Hamiliton College and/ or Korea Campus group to reconsider. Think very carefully before you sign a contract with Mr. XXX

I have been teaching in Korea for three years, and have lived and worked in seven different countries. I have never seen anything so dodgy or shady as this guy. He should be in prison, but instead he makes a great living farming English teachers.

All the teachers in this school were duped and lied to when signing the contracts. Be very careful when dealing with this guy.

He runs a government contract to provide english teachers to Korean public schools.

1. Although he claims the teacher will live and work in good areas of town (naming them specifically) teachers never work where they were promised and they all live in tiny, cramped dorm style apartements in a really dodgy area of town.

2. Most teachers commute over an hour to work one way.

3. he holds teachers documents and passports.

4. he has a 'friend' at immigration who helps him keep track of teachers, who releases documents to him with out teachers permission, who helps him get around Korean laws.

5. he has run other simmilar buisnesses in the past, but got in so much legal hot water that he picked up and ran, leaving many teachers hanging.

6. he won't pay teachers unless they create a joint bank account with him, the teachers have no access to the records of these accounts.

7. Teachers are often sent to three of more schools in a week to 'teach' more than 30 students in a class, with no materials or curriculam.

8. He has numerous different names for his business, these are the two most common. But teachers have contracts with 5 different names on them These are just a few examples, I want to avoid specifics because I hope to return to Korea, but am afraid of retribution by him.

Subject: EWHA ALS (American Language School) in Mansu Dong, Incheon.

Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004

Avoid working for EWHA ALS (American Language School) in Mansu Dong, Incheon. The owner, Mr. Axxxxxx, is very difficult to get along with. So far only one person has successfully finished a one year contract with this hogwan. Most teachers leave before one year because of problems with the owner. Although the contract that foreign teachers sign states that the employee will receive 15 days of vacation, the owner of the school has tried to get around this by saying that weekends count as vacation time. Foreign teachers are expected to do a lot of work outside of teaching. Foreign teachers are supposed to make and grade exams each term (there are six terms in a year). They are also expected to call each of their students when they're at home and have a conversation in English. During the intensive periods (twice a year and each period lasts a month) foreign teachers are expected to teach 9 classes most days and there is no overtime or bonus given for extra hours worked (despite what the contract says).

Subject: REI, Andong

Date: Mon, 05 Apr 2004


i just wanted to let you know about REI andong; i was working there on a non-contract basis for two months. i had considered signing a contract with the owner, kxx yxxx hxx, but after reading the following post from a former REI employee mark robinson on, i decided against signing away a year of my life.

i left the job because i was justifiably concerned with whether or not i'd start getting paid after i signed on, as he was paying me in full but not paying any of the other 5 teachers who worked there. the korean employees would bow their heads and then go home crying because they hadn't been paid for two months. the man's own brother worked there and got paid 40,000\ here, 30,000\ there. the other foreigner working there, who was under contract, was owed upwards of 2 million, and was getting 120,000\ here, 200,000\ there, not to mention footing the bill for repairs for the director's house, his apartment and the school - to the tune of 125,000 \, all because he couldn't read hangeul.

i was living in the director's house. he promised me an apartment and then told me once i'd moved in that he'd find me an apartment after i signed a contract... it smelled fishy as hell. so i left the day after payday. got paid in full and bailed on the guy.

later i found out he is telling people i didn't leave, i was actually fired for hitting a student. he has crossed a line and made an enemy now... so i'm telling everyone about him. he did the same to mark robinson, who can vouch for my story. i'll give you his email address upon request.

he currently has a teacher who has quasi-legal status. the man plans to work this american until he has a new teacher signed on, then kick the kid out with no pay. all i can say is i hope that anyone answering ads from andong reads this first.

please stay away!!!


Subject: Kukje (Gukje) Language Institute in Suwon City

Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2004

I am writing to recommend an Kukje (Gukje) Language Institute in Suwon City for your Gray and Black Lists. I arrived here 2 months ago from the US. I realize that I am most likely still under going culture shock. I am trying to be objective and here is my story. Some background info on me... I'm a female 30 years old with a Psych. degree and TEFEL certified with 1 years teaching experience.

I arrived at Incheon Airport at 10pm and driven an hour and a half to my studio apartment. It was a Thursday night and I was to report to the school the following morning at 8:30am. No problem I thought I'll be ok even though I had just flown 18 hours. The first few weeks went by and I still hadn't met with the director. He was out of the country. Ok I thought I"ll just manage with advice from the other teachers.......Bad idea....all I heard were complaints and negatives comments about the school and Korea. I was told that the director will try to make me work illegally for him at other companies. I don't want to be in any type of illegalities in my own county let alone a foreign one. I do realize that the teachers telling me these complaints were under going their own culture shock. But they do stem from the truth. I decided to just keep working my job and wait until I spoke to director.

When he finally got back into town. I met him very briefly in not a true meeting just a short intro and hellos. He told me about a company job he wanted me to work. I let him know right away that I did not want to work illegally and get in to immigration troubles. He looked me strangely and asked "who told me it was illegal?" I just said some of the other teachers. Then he assured me it was not illegal. When I told the other teachers this they said "he's a liar ...get used to it." At this point I was very nervous and scared. I went to the company jobs but in the meantime I asked around for advice on the legalities. This and the long split shift hours and my culture shock began to ware on me. I came in late twice to my 7:40am class. (only by 5mins) The class doesn't show up until 7:50am. But I was technically late because I clocked in at 7:45am. I can own that. I had to ask the director for a loan that would be taken from my first pay check because I arrived in the middle of the month and was only paid for 2 days of work so far. He didn't like that I asked for a loan but he did give it to me. At this point I still had not received a refrigerator for my apartment. So I could not keep groceries in my place. All of these things are somewhat small but they add up to the frustration of moving to a new country.

Anyway he asked me how things were going and I made the mistake of telling him my concerns about the legalities of working off site and that I still needed a refrigerator. I also let him know that I had caught a cold of some sort. The next day he called me into his office and said "I think you are not happy here. You have been late for class and students complain about you. I think you are homesick and I will release you from you contract so you can go home." I asked him to tell me about the complaints so I can correct them for the future. He said "no he could not discuss it." All this was put on me right before I was to teach my last two classes of the day. Plus my cold was at the worst part. I just sat there stunned and tears came to my eyes. He asked my why I would cry and said I should teach the rest of my classes until the end of the month and leave my apartment at the end of the month. So here I am in Korea with no job and completely culture shocked. If you plan on teaching here make sure you can handle being treated like complete trash or you will hate it and don't be obvious about your complaints. This director is deducting the airfare ticket from my trip here from my last pay check.

I feel abused and confused.

I still haven't decided what to do now.

Subject: Michigan Language Academy in Suwon

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004


I am sending this message you and another blacklist site about Michigan Language Academy in Suwon. XXX XXX XXX, the director, will look for any and every excuse to not pay you if you work for him. He's not violent, but he's certainly not honest either! He makes up student complaints and tries to use these bogus complaints as an excuse to cut your classes and in turn your salary, as happened to me. He has been extremely uncooperative with the Ministry of Labor, after I spoke to them about my problems getting paid.

He will also try to lay guilt trips upon you about how the school is running out of money to try to get you to accept a lower-paying contract, despite the fact that he makes frequent pleasure trips to the United States. He fed me a sob story about how he would have to sell his apartment. I stood my ground and forbid him from changing my contract. He got vindictive and cut all my classes and pay in retaliation.

Furthermore, he's a liar. As demonstrated by his cooking up bogus complaints, he will lie to and about you. He suggested training for me after my probation period. I accepted the offer, but then he changed his mind and decided to give up on me. A colleague later told me that Mr. XXX told him that I refused to be trained!

And just because Mr. XXX is not violent doesn't mean he won't intimidate you. He does so verbally, threatening to sue you if you decide to bail. He also threatens to call Immigration to keep you from leaving Korea, even though exit bans are reserved for felonies, such as punching this scumbag in the face, which I felt like doing on many occasions but fortunately never did. Ironically, he's more willing to pay his lawyers and travel agents than his teachers.

I would urge anyone considering working in Korea to read the Korean Labor Standards Act. Also, always make sure you have a copy of your contract. If your employer refuses to give you a copy, go to your local Immigration office and request a copy from them. They will have a copy. And above all, read the blacklists!

And the response:

Subject: Michigan Language Academy (MLA)

DATE: Thu, 16 Sep 2004

Dear Jon,

Congrats on your effort to help people have a good experience in Korea. I know I have. I'm on my fifth stay.

I'm writing because the place I'm working at -- Michigan Language Academy (MLA) -- has a write up on your blacklist side that I don't think it deserves, and I would like to either get the story removed, or put something in on the greenlist side to offset it.

If you are interested, here are some more details on the MLA story:

I've worked with the director of MLA on each of my stays in Korea. He's been fair and good to work with. (If he wasn't good to work with, I wouldn't keep coming back to work with him.)

The teacher that wrote up this complaint signed on to work at MLA as an Academic Director. He was hired to manage teachers and run computers. He understood this when he was applying and interviewing, but lied about his qualifications in these areas.

When the teacher got to Korea and started working, the director found this person could neither manage people nor run computers. The "revised contract" the teacher complains about in his story was a last ditch effort on the part of the director to keep him on board just as a teacher.

But, by then the teacher had developed a sour attitude, and the attitude affected his classroom work -- his students were dropping out. (something he mentions in his story)

I'm familiar with this story because I was hired as this teacher's replacement as Academic Director; I've had to clean up his mess.

So, I don't think MLA is a good choice for blacklisting. If you'd like to see more about MLA, check out our web site at

Now, here's a piece for your greenlist side:

Dear Jon,

I'd like to tell you about my super experience teaching at Michigan Language Academy in Suwon, Korea. The academy is in Young tong- dong, a prosperous "new town" suburb on Suwon's east side.

Here I have been working with older elementary school and middle school students for six months now, and I'm amazed at how enjoyable they are!

I've taught in Korea and in the US, and historically I've taught adult students, not children. I've taught adults because I like my students to be polite and respectful.

What I have found is that my Korean students here, even though they are young, are very polite and respectuful, and very enthusiastic as well! It's a super combination!

It's given me a whole new outlook on teaching, and I hope others who come to Korea are having as interesting and satisfying an experience as I am.

Keep up the good work on your site,


And the response:

Subject: Re: Michigan Language Academy in Suwon, rebuttal of response

Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2005

Dear Jon:

I have recently found the response to my posting sent by Roger Xxxxx, who is actually a close business associate of Kxx Xxx Xxx. As I expected, the posting is completely wrong on many points.

The teacher that wrote up this complaint signed on to work at MLA as an Academic Director. He was hired to manage teachers and run computers. He understood this when he was applying and interviewing, but lied about his qualifications in these areas. When the teacher got to Korea and started working, the director found this person could neither manage people nor run computers.

First of all, I did not lie about my qualifications at all. I have a Master's Degree in teaching with TEFL certification granted by the State of California, and I built the computer I'm writing this on, which is running Windows NT 4.0. There were actually two academic directors, the other one being a native Korean, and this other director was given the real managing power over the teachers. My 'academic directorship' was just a token title designed to lure unsuspecting teachers into a bad situation under false pretext and broken promises.

Rxxxxxx has never met me and thus has no grounds to assess my performance or to attack me. Apparently, he is strictly going on what Kxx told him.

The 'revised contract' the teacher complains about in his story was a last ditch effort on the part of the director to keep him on board just as a teacher.

The academic director before me, who was a teacher when I was there, warned me about the game that Kxx plays with new teachers, namely fabricating complaints and financial troubles as an excuse to cut the teacher's pay after the fact. I'm surprised he didn't try the same with Roger.

But, by then the teacher had developed a sour attitude, and the attitude affected his classroom work -- his students were dropping out. (something he mentions in his story).

My 'sour attitude' was a natural human response to being overworked, underpaid, insulted to my face, threatened, lied to and lied about day after day. All of the teachers there when I was there, all of whom have now moved on, had the same "sour attitude" that I had. Kx's arrogance was the common cause of our 'sour attitudes.' The students were actually dropping out because Kxx raised the tuition too high.

I'm familiar with this story because I was hired as this teacher's replacement as Academic Director; I've had to clean up his mess.

The mess that Roger had to clean up was that of the native Korean academic director, not mine. Having had no real power, I had no opportunity to make a mess.

In short, Michigan Language Academy belongs on the blacklist right where it is.


For information about protecting your rights as a worker in Korea, contact the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions at +82-2-2636-0165 or visit the KCTU website at

Subject: SBSi Kids English School in Yatop, Kyunnggi-do

Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2004

This is in regards to a previous posting that I put on this web site regarding SBSi Kids School in Yatop. The school was sold towards the end of March. The new owners took over the running of the school during my last week of employment and apparently the old director no longer has anything to do with the school. This is most likely a good thing since the previous owner was a completely dishonest man. Despite the school being sold and the new owners taking over I was not given what was owed to me. I was given one month's salary but no bonus and no air ticket. The Korean teacher I worked with at that school still has not been paid and has filed a complaint with the labor board. The bus drivers that worked at the school during my time also have not gotten the money that is owed to them and I believe they too are trying to get their money through the labor board. However, I must be clear that there is new ownership at the school and the new owners have demanded that I write this as they are having problems getting teachers to come and work at this school. My opinion and situation have not changed but my opinion of the school stands.

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2004


I just want to put out a warning to teachers who may be approached through a recruiter to teach at SBSi Kids English School in Yatop, Kyunnggi-do. The director seems very kind at first but does not pay his teachers. He will allow them to work for the month and then on pay day simply say "I have no money". This is true for the Korean staff since July of last year and for the foreign teachers since January of this year. Labor Board is currently investigating the director Mr. XXXX and his business practices and I am certain he will be shut down soon. However, in the mean time he is continuing to bring new teachers here. Beware!

Subject:Kyungnam University in Masan

Date: 10 Mar 2004


Please post this on your site so that others need no suffer.

I recently finished a year at Kyungnam University in Masan. I am not sad I left. Not at all. Not one iota.

The problem at Kyungnam is not that they do not pay well. In fact, the pay and hours are par for the course. The accommodations are also not bad.

The problem is that you are treated like disposable waygook trash. Teaching? Nobody gives a shit if you teach anything to anybody. The secret at Kyungnam is stroking the boss's ego. We will call him "Mr Stay."

Mr Stay has a good gig. He is not qualified to do any job in Korea buy by some kind of savant miracle, he speaks English reasonably well. He is not a teacher and knows nothing about teaching. Thus, he is the head of the English Education Institution. Stay has a great business; the contract says you will get paid for airfare. Stay gets that money and puts it in his pocket. If you complain about that, you will not get a second contract.

Stay is "in charge" of dealing with the foreign teachers' problems. Have one? Don't hold your breath waiting for it to be fixed. Stay could care less.

Kyungnam is a degree mill. If you have money, you are in. The secret to success at Kyungnam is keeping your mouth shut and sucking up to Stay. Kyungnam students are all taxi driver material. Ever walk into a room with 40 kids and have them all ignore you? Welcome to Kyungnam.

Stay is quite clever in his little way. He has a head teacher who is over 50 and unemployable in his home country. The head of the institute classes is a fifty something closet gay, also unemployable. If you have a problem, do not see either of them. They are interested in only one thing...making themselves as much money as they can. Since they write their own schedules, they get the best hours and classes.

Have a problem at Kyungnam? Better keep it to yourself. No heat? Get a blanket. No phone? Use a pay phone. Just never complain.

But is Korea really worth W2.0m a month and a dorm room? You have to ask yourself this:

At my age, is the money I make in Korea worth the crap I have to take all the time?

My answer was "no."

Subject: E-ton Language School also known as Jung IL Future Academy, in Mokpo

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2004

I would like to post a warning about a shady hagwon called E-ton Language School also known as Jung IL Future Academy, in Mokpo, South Korea..

I would like to warn prospective teachers away from this school and I wish that someone had warned me. They are not on any blacklist I have checked and they should be. I am sending copies of this warning to every blacklist site I can find.

I began working for this outfit last July. I was provided with a tiny "officetel" basically in the middle of a construction site. Every morning I am awakened by jackhammers and bulldozers. This construction is still in progress. The construction of the officetel itself is questionable; fixtures tend to fell apart when touched, the loose windows ensure a plentiful supply of insect visitors in the warmer months, the toilet backs up on a regular basis and there appears to be a brisk trade in prostitution going on, judging from the number of prostitutes I encounter in the halls and elevator. But this is all relatively minor and I was willing to overlook it.

Just as for eight months I overlooked the rampant disorganization and chaos of the place; the canceled classes and textbook switches that I was never informed of in advance, the fact that the students were not grouped according to ability so that there were beginner level students in advanced classes and vice versa, and so much more. It was annoying but I could live with it.

I was even able to put behind me the fact that they tried to get out of paying the 50% of the medical insurance stipulated in the contract and the fact that a member of management screamed at me when I insisted that they honour the terms of the contract.

What I was not able to overlook however, is the fact that one day, eight months into the contract, I was summoned to the director's lair and informed that my full time hours were being reduced to 13.5 hours per week and that my salary would be reduced accordingly. Well, this "conversation" (director's word for it) disintegrated rapidly into verbal abuse from them. I was deeply shaken and had to keep taking deep breaths to remain calm, knowing that a display of anger on my part would only worsen the situation. I was getting the strong impression that they wanted me gone, but had no basis to fire me. I had after all, done an exemplary job for them, which they had told me several times in the past, and had gone the extra mile, taking on additional tasks without being asked. I told them that my letter of resignation would be on their desk the following day.

I have had a chance to check around and I spoke to another hagwon owner in town (a friend's boss) and he told me that E-ton Language School is notorious among the local hagwon owners for mistreating and cheating its teachers, both foreign AND Korean. With foreign teachers, it is apparently a pattern for them to oust a teacher, either by firing them or by forcing them to quit as they did with me before the end of the contract in order to avoid paying the end of contract severance. With the Korean teachers, they get rid of them by one means or another after the first year to avoid giving them pay rises. In my eight months there, I have seen five Korean teachers quit. Two more of them confided to me that they are about to give notice. I am the only foreign teacher there and have learned that my predecessors lasted eleven and four months respectively.

The guy behind all the skulduggery is an unsavory looking guy, who looks as if he should be wearing a sharkskin suit and living in the penthouse of a Las Vegas casino hotel. He has a pockmarked face, a hooked nose, permed gelled hair, a prominent and flashy diamond ring and he speaks in this whispery voice. He has an air of menace to him. His hired goon (and I use the term advisedly, as you will see) does his dirty work for him. He calls himself - and I am NOT making this up - Goonie. This clown is a pathological and serial liar. Pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth, both large matters and small, turns out to be a lie. He seems to lie the way other people breathe. He made it clear early on that he hates foreigners - we are a necessary evil as far as he is concerned, and he hasn't the time of day for us. Unfortunately though, he is the only one at the school who can speak English well enough to communicate and so we are forced to deal with him, which is like dealing with a slippery eel; a lying slippery eel. He is an oily little weasel who will make your life there hell.

Let me sum this up by issuing a strong warning against working at this hagwon. They will cheat you, rip you off, treat you like dirt, break their contractual obligations and generally make your life hell. They presently have a notice on Dave's ESL Cafe for a teacher (to replace me) and I wince when I think of a new and fresh unsuspecting victim going through what I and others have endured. I wish someone had blacklisted them before so that I could have been warned off. But they aren't blacklisted - YET - so I am taking it upon myself to do it. Trust me on this: avoid E-ton Language School in Mokpo like the plague - It IS the plague.

Please do not use my real name. I prefer to be kept anonymous. Thank you.

Subject: Kyoyon Academy (a.k.a. Kyoyon Language Institute or CES Language Institute)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004

I'm writing to let everyone who is interested know that the school that my husband and I were working for, called Kyoyon Academy (a.k.a. Kyoyon Language Institute or CES Language Institute) is absolutely terrible. The location of the school(s) are Incheon areas called Ka Jwa, Ka Jung, and Shin Hyun all near each other.

The whole ordeal for us began when we arrived in Korea. We were met by two representatives of our school which we thought was called CES Language Institute, located in Bupyeong, Incheon. When we arrived at the apartment the school was providing for us, it was in a really run down area, in a back alley, with stray dog and cats running around. When we asked if we were in Bupyeong, of course they said no. They had provided us with two single beds pushed together, all bedding was for singles, the TV didn't work, and we had no telephone, which remained the case for our entire three month stay at the school.

Later that day they also told us that we would not be working at the school together, but that we would be at two seperate schools owned by the same boss. They left us alone for the weekend and then brought us to one of the schools on Monday where we had a meeting with one of the head people and a supervisor. We reviewed the contract we had signed in Canada with them and confronted them with the discrepancies, but they explained that the school was actually a branch of CES and it's name was Kyoyon Academy, our apartment would be changed when the lease was up or if they could find new tenenants earlier, the double bed would be provided, TV fixed, phone given to us ASAP, etc. Everything they promised either didn't happen at all, or did after us begging them for a month and a half straight. We ended up getting a broken cell phone, a TV that wouldn't show all of the cable channels that we were paying for (had installed) and the apartment got extremely cold, the pipes in the floor busted flooding the apartment underneith ours, which the neighbors continually hounded us about, until and after the super had it "fixed". On top of this, the boss decided to deduct a few days pay from us and when we complained he kept putting off the answer as to whether or not he would pay us the money. Then, during the vacation our water stopped working all together and when we asked people from our school to help, they did nothing, so we had to stay with friends. When we returned to our apartment we discovered that our gas had run out for the millionth time (our gas for the stove, heating and hot water came in big gas tanks that we had to order when ever we ran out, which was about every two weeks). We quit shortly after that.

The schools themselves (which ended up to be three) were run fairly smoothly by the teachers there, as long as the boss didn't interfer. The students were as good as any kids and my husband and I really enjoyed teaching them. We both had to teach at the third school once a week, and this one was new, and not run professionally. We had no books to teach with because the boss didn't want to bother the parents with the cost of another English book for the foreign teacher's class. The teachers also had to buy all their own teaching materials, and were required to work on Saturdays to make up for the holiday. We refused to work the Saturday hours. He had actually said once ( through translation, because he didn't speak a word of English) that he hated English. When we were in negotions for the letter of release he said that he just didn't want us to teach in Korea ever again. He really didn't care at all about our well being while we were working there, even though he had gotten tons of pleasant reviews from the students themselves about us. This man is some one who noone should have to come in contact with.

Another warning, this school uses the recruiting company OMEGA Consulting, a recruiter by the name of DXXXX, who provided us with absolutely no help, and was going to find the school more teachers after we left and who had recruited the teachers previous to us who had also quit after about four months.

Hope this helps anyone who comes in contact with this school.

Subject: Seoul English Insitute, Goedok Dong Seoul

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004

I taught for this school for 2 years. It started out good, but then the school lost students during my 2nd year, and the owner didn't pay the same over-time rate she paid me a couple of times before. I had my words with her on that, of which she denied what she used to paid me at first. And, she get's away with not paying severance pay, and Korean Pension,too. Both of them are national laws in Korea...of which I didn't realize that until after I left the school. It's in the works for me to get the money due to me.


Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004

SLP is a chain of about 15 hogwans and its branches are over-represented on your list! However I and I think most teachers think that the different branches have different cultures - so although I knew many branches were listed, I took a gamble when I went because my prospecitve school wasn't.

My SLP is one of two branches in Suwon (a city 45 mins from Seoul). It is in an area called Youngton (spellings vary but this is the most common). I think the clearest location would be SLP SUWON (YOUNGTON BRANCH).

SLP was a good school to work for until it started to lose pupils. This happened a whole bunch of new Hogwans opened in the local area (many cheaper).

The response to the loss of pupils was to make the work environment more and more uncomfortable over a period of two months and this ended in the scariest meeting ever....

Teacher after teacher were named (this done all in Korean with live translation from a crying Korean teacher), their faults and their punishments.

The outcome?

1 A British teacher who had been outstanding for 10 1/2 months was fired.

2 A Korean teacher was busted from full time to half time.

3 An American teacher was fined 400,000 Won ($400 approx.)

4 Our head teacher (Korean) was disciplined.

The American teacher was fined $400 for not writing all his lesson plans that week. Why hadnt he written them? Because he had volunteered to cover for another sick teacher and so hadnt had time.

The British teacher was fired for lateness (just not true), having her lesson plans on her desk and not in its special holder (the plans were written) and watching a video with a class (a normal practice).

The director refused to speak to the British girl after firing her and would give her none of the ESSENTIAL information you need when you have been fired in Korea.

He also refused to speak to our head teacher - so none of us could get any information about our futures.

The British teacher, after two weeks of worry over a lack of information contacted the Korean labor board for guidance as to her rights... On her second to last day the director finally agreed to see her. When she said she had spoken to the Labor board he said because of this she would get no flight home, no notice period pay and no letter of release (effectively making it impossible for her to get another job in Korea).

Even if there was a real reason for all the above (other than SLP saving many millions of Won) our contracts state that a verbal warning and two written warnings must be given before punishment. No warnings of any kind were given to these teachers. Mainly because they were working hard for SLP!

We were a happy, hard working team. The atmosphere now seems to be all about paranoia and fear with no one feeling secure about their severance pay or even just keeping their jobs.

There are many good schools in Korea but I would really advise against this one.


Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004

Dear Jon

I'm writing to you to lodge my experiences of working with a school in the south korean city of Daejon. The school's name is Kalma Language School or KLS as it's known. I've been working at this establishment for six months now and at the end of last month felt so pushed into a corner that i had to give notice of my resignation.

I had a disagreement with the director who accused me of spreading rubbish out side the school, which was completely unfounded. The director of the school Mr Kang preceded to hammer on the door of my apartment at 7am and scream at me in korean being physically hostile grabbing my arm. I was rather angry about this as you can imagine and called him a daft little man and requested he leave. The next day I was invited to his office and apologized for the scene, in my eyes all was left to rest and that was the end of the story.

It was about a week or so latter on friday i had an unsuccessful pay review. I was called into the office after my evaluation and given a typed report. The reasons for not giving me this tiny amount of cash extra a month were as follows, 1. Your board marker was to squeaky, 2.Your tape player was substandard [College provided and complaint lodged two weeks earlier] 3. Your attitude to upper management require rethinking. It was then that i calmly gave my feed back about how i felt about this situation and the meeting was sharply concluded by management. The monday after that weekend i was called into the office and told that i would be given a month to rectify my attitude and substandard teaching practices or i would be fired.

One week later i was informed that my morning classes were not going to be paid any longer a clear breach of contract that effectively means i lost over 100 pounds sterling monthly. I gave notice of my resignation by letter that day.

Upon handing in my letter of resignation the school has been trying to make my life incredibly difficult, scheduling meetings for just myself every other day, giving me cover schedules with long hours that other teachers don't have and other such petty matters.

They informed me that they would be keeping 300,000 won from my pay check to cover "cleaning expenses" this was outside my contract. To rub it in even more they'd already taken a sum of 300,000 in the form of a deposit from my first months pay.

Another main breach of contract then occurred, a memo was given out that outlined a series of fines that would be enforced ranging from 15,000 won to 52,000 won. Not mentioned in any contract and the teachers at the school were not even asked to sign another contract.

I've been an ESL and business teacher working abroad for the last two years in china and korea feel i've been treated awfully by this particular institution who have a flagrant disregard for employees rights. I've since taken this matter up with the Korean labor board and a full inquiry is underway by both them and the immigration department.

Yours Faithfully


Did i forget to mention the racist member of korean staff and generally hostile vibe in the staff room?

May i add that barring the work i've had a wonderful life in korea and that i don't wish this statement to reflect negatively on a great country. Onwards to Germany and a well paid job! :)

And a reply:

Subject: Kalma Language School

Date: 17 May 2005

I was doing a google search to find any information on my old hagwon and I was disappointed to find they had been undeservingly black listed. I worked for KLS from 10-02 to 12-03 and I always found them to be fair to me and all six of us foreign teachers. I liked teaching there so much, in fact, I extended my contract for 2 months and the director was very helpful in that process. According to Korean foreign labor law, severance equals the number of years works times ending month salary. When I left, I was given a higher severance, one-sixth more, because he added the extra 2 months (1/6 year.) We were all given raises every six months and severance was paid a few weeks after leaving. Our deposits, the 300,000 won "cleaning fee," were returned in 4-6 weeks after leaving, once our final bills were paid.

Subject: CERTO hagwon in Hayang, outside Daegu

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 2004

I would like to make an addition. This is about a hagwon named CERTO hagwon in Hayang, a town outside of Daegu.

The manager's name is Mr. XXX and his good friend recruited me over from Canada. They fired me after two months of work with five days notice, and then charged me rent and utilities after they fired me.

Also, they didn't pay up my last month's salary, my salary was late almost every pay day, and the management was generally chaotic and dishonest.

Could you put this on your blacklist. I really appreciate it. Currently, I'm trying to collect compensation from them for my Visa trip to Japan (since I had to fork that out from my own pocket) and trying to collect my last month's salary. However, they refuse to do it so I have no choice but to put them onto blacklists over the Web.

Thanks for your help.

Subject: Institute in Geum Chon

Date: Sat, 03 Jan 2004

Hi Jon,

Working in Korea is potentially threatening to your health and welfare. During my two- month stay at ESL (English Second Language) Institute in Geum Chon ending on December 31th 2003, I was defrauded of 5.1 million won in lost wages and airfare, due to the criminal and immoral practices of one of employment agent by the name of SXXXXXXXX XXX from FT Union, and one school director by the name of XXXXX X. XXXX. In Korea there are schools and agents that should be blacklisted, but regrettably, there are ones that also should be prosecuted and jailed.

After the first month, I was expecting two million won in salary, but Xxxxx, without warning or comment, paid 1.8 million won. I told her to meet her salary obligations, and she responded my stating that I she would pay the remainder of the salary at the end of the month. However, on the day I was to be paid the remainder of my first months contract, I was fired and told to leave immediately. The director had already hired a new teacher who was coming from abroad to teach at the end of the week. She had for three weeks been planning to fire me, and then not pay me. Therefore, what she meant to say was at the end of the month, I will fire you and not pay you.

Upon being fired and told that no salary or reimbursements would be paid, I was told to get out of my apartment, regardless of the fact that I had no means of acquiring further employment in Korea. My director had lost or refused to return my transcripts and without them, my only option was to return to Canada. Therefore, for three weeks my director had conspired to defraud me out of my full months salary, plus the remaining portion of my last months check. She contacted the agent from FT Union, to find another teacher and when the new teacher was ready to teach, she fired me and left me for dead. Her fraud amounted to 2.2 million won in lost wages, .9 million won for a trip back to Canada, and thirty days notice pay at 2.0 million won. The total damages amounts to 5.1 million won.

Both my director and my agent conspired for the purpose of making a profit. I had not been informed of any workplace infraction, nor had there been any mention of any impropriety on my part. There was no written warnings or verbal statements that my actions had violated the contract or were suitable for immediate termination. My director and my agent willfully conspired to defraud for purpose of monetary gain.

My life is not over, but my life in Korea is over. My image of Korea has changed for the worse, and I regret that I had to leave friends behind. What has occurred include, gross violations of the law and a complete disregard for basic human dignity. My words are both meant to educate and those who wish to teach in Korea and to detract those that might teach for XXXXX XXXX or use the employment services of FT Union.

If you can provide any assistance or if you would like additional information, you can contact me at

Andy Oakden

Subject: Kidsland in Dongnimmun

Date: Mon, 05 Jan 2004

Dear Sir,

I was just fired from a school that I need to be reported. The school name is Kidsland in Dongnimmun. About a month ago the foreign teachers decided to go to the gym down stairs during our 2 hour lunch break. I basically told him since I was the longest most experienced teacher in the school that includes the Korean teachers that He can't tell us what we can and can not do in our free time as long is not working out side the school. He got angry and I got upset but keep my cool.. He said that I am not his boss and so he is breaking the law he doesn't care. We must do what every wants because he is our boss. I told him that this is not true... he must uphold to the Korean laws.

Well.... his wife said to me that I getting 30days notice. I said that is fine since my contract ended in less then 30 days... anyway.

November 21 he asked me to resign a contract but for less money I told him I could not this... On November 24 he offered me a new contract for the exact same amount of the last contract. I told him that I would have to call my wife about this. My wife said fine ok if I wanted so I told him ok... and I cancelled all my job interviews that I had lined up. Then he changed his mind.... Well today he reoffered me a new contract. This time I told him NO he can't play games with me this is not how you do business. He said, that I would work until the 15th and I said yes... I told him I would need airfare back home and my bonus and he said that since he fired me that he would not have to give me these things and that I was fired... I when upstairs visualy upset.... and my co-teachers wanted to know why. I told them.. at this time.. my boss came into the class and was angry saying this was my business and I had no right to tell other teachers...

He told me to get the F@ck out and I had to leave... now I am not sure what I have to do...

other then go to lawyers...

some of the bad points of working at this school...

1. the owner... he is controlling and doesn't want to listen to reason..

2. teachers are paid 2.3 sure but have to pay for their own housing.. so minus 400,000won for rent. also you have to buy all your furniture.

3. When you get to Korea their is no one to help you... Other foreign teachers are the only people there for you....

4. You must work from 8:50am to 7:00pm you get a lunch break but you don't get to do what you want..

5. You have a gym downstairs which is a plus.... but you are not allow to go to that one since he has already fired 2 teachers for going down there...

6. Teachers houses have problem with heaters and broken doors.. And he is refusing or just to lazy to do anything about it...

7. In the winter the class rooms are very cold and even though the teachers and children are complainting about it... he doesn't do anything about it... Showing you he really doesn't care about other people.

++++ Update Jan 5th +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Well I have an update about Kidsland in Dongnimmun... well it's over.... I have gone to the labor board and i have just found out that My employer can cheat me out of 19 months of severance pay...

I was due over 4 million won plus a month salary but.... all I got was 980,000 won. They fired me 20 days before the end of my contract... He even tried to make me pay for the electric and gas bill for the month of December even though I was no longer living in his apartment...

I'm writing this not just because I am mad... I still could go to court to over turn this... but the cost would be greater than the money I would the law suit...

so I have decided to drop the case.

PLEASE TEACHERS KEEP THIS IN MIND... If he can do this to a teacher with a 98% approval rating by the parents of the students he teaches... had almost 2 years loyal teaching experience with them.... only was sick one day in two years... and the only time I took anytime off was for the birth of my child... They can do this to you also...

There are toooo many good school out there to be take the chance with this one...

Subject: Pupyong wonderland

Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003

Hi Jon,

I just found your site and I must commend you for taking the initiative to help warn prospective teahers from taking positons in wonderland especially the Pupyong branch in Incheon.

Last year I took a position there because a friend of mine had worked there for a year, he was relativey happy and I decided to take the plunge and go to Korea. Well I can say that there were very positive experiences at first. I enjoy teaching and quickly became quite adept at my profession. Wonderland is run by non english speaking Koreans, or at least very poorly speaking Koreans who implement a less than adequat cirriculum. Teachers spend a lot of wasted time doing tasks which essentially are there for Looks and not function.

Beware "Volunteer" aspects of the contract. Essentially, it say that you are to work for no pay at the employers discretion and yes it is enforced with monthly phone conversations with students and monthly family day and several other tasks with no financial reimbursment.

My real problem with this particular Hogwan however, is what happend to me last year. In April, I was eight months into my contract looking forward for my bonus and return airfare, the school had its negative points, but I was not going to turn down my bonus untill my mother was stricken with Cancer, it was terminal, and after unsuccesfull chemo, she took a stroke and was on her last legs. I simply had to return to her(Koreans pride themselves on family but as you will see, it is often not the case when it comes to foreigners).

I left on reasonably good terms and they wished me the best. My mother passed away soon after, I was the executor of her will and it took me several months to complete her wishes. Once I did so, I returned to Korea looking for work. My friend who was still working there, told me I could stay with him as the apartment they provided had an extra room. So I landed with the hopes of eventually trying to get a post at a university.

When I arrived my friend told me how they had a new director and that working conditions had really deteriorated and that they were working more and more hours and given more and more meaningless tasks. At the same time, his mother was also sick with cancer and would not likeely see another Christmas. His father emailed him one day and told him that his mother was not eating. He went to the new director and gave his one month notice after working there for three years and putting up with more than any other teacher there.

They fired him. And to further impose discipline, kicked me out of the apartment and refused to give me a reccomendation to any other institutions. I would like to say that I was never late or did not miss a class. When I left, several of my students were crying. The reason given was that "it was not company policy" to give a recommendation after a breach of contract. Although it is no where stated in the cherished Wonderland contract. They would not even speak with me and when I stoped by, the new supervisor Frank, was very rude. I asked him why they could not even say I was a good worker(which they all agreed I was) or say that I had to break my contract because of my mothers Cancer. He said things such as,"What's your problem?" And, "you just don't get it. Do you?"

I obviously did not "get it" because I do not get such ruthless acts of revenge. I had an interview which went very well. They called Wonderland and asked for a recommendation which the Wong ji nam refused and at the same time, refused to explain why he would not give one.

This place is now a living hell according to the foreign teachers I have talked to. I would advise any one who is thinking of working there, to stay away. They even fired my friends Korean girlfriend two weeks after he went back to Canada. Who, was by far the best Korean teacher there.

Subject: Choi Younee School Kumi Korea

Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2003

Dear Jon:

The major problems were the following:

1) simply no reliable transportation to get around the the different corporations to teach. The public buses were unpredictable, the Choi Younee School bus was trying everything not be pick up teachers. The driver also drank heavily after 5 p.m. on most days. Many times I was forced to walk in the blazing sun, hitch to the school because the Choi Younee bus never came at all. The van service provide my trip at a company from 1200am to 130am was on time, perfect and a great guy. The rest of the whole day was totally crazy with the other bus driver.

2) The director took out about $120.00 each month from your paycheck, in case you try to "run off" as she said.

3) The women teachers were crushed 4 into an apartment which only meant for 2 teachers. They make artificial walls. The male teachers were forced to have korean male staff live with them in tiny quarters with only 1 bathroom.

4) unpaid for cancelled lessons. Meaning even if you went all the way to the corporation, sat in the guard house or classroom for an hour, you were not paid anything. All cancellations were unpaid. In my case it was about $1800 US dollars lost wages. The director got paid in full for all the cancellations, just decided to multiply her profits and not pay the teachers anything.

5) The schedule was completely mad Mon to Friday: 630-730 a.m.

730-830 a.m.

1200-130 p.m.

230-330 p.m.

600-900 p.m. This does not count all the time traveling to 3 corporations away from the school.

6) The first month when I arrived, I was only given 1 class a day and paid only for 1 class the first 4 weeks. It was both isolating and expensive not to be paid anything that was close to the contract. Then the second month and this complete schedule from hell.

7) When I contacted the teacher by email and telephone that I was to replace, she lied completely about the situation at the school. Her 2 year contract started to end and all the money the director withheld from her -last months wages, monthly reduction for 24 months in case she fled would be used to forced her to lie to whoever replaced her. After this teacher was paid in full and safely out of the country was when my new found fellow teachers told me the full truth about Choi Younee.


The Director, as scatterbrained as she was, never yelled at anybody which was very nice. She treated everyone like idiots both korean and foreign, but keep professional while doing it. She would even order people when they could raise their chopsticks while eating, when to talk, when to shutup like we were all dogs and cats. This was within reason. I can't say this is any kind of violation even though it was horribly insulting.


This school is really something else, most teachers are just too afraid to say anything because it may hurt their friends left behind finishing up their contracts. I know at least 5 teachers that broke their contract and fled. Considering they have only 5 foreign teachers at any time, this is a lot.

Subject: Ewha American Language School in Daegu

Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2003

Dear Jon,

Ewha American Language School in Daegu is a sweatshop run by a Nazi. Upon arrival of the new teachers from Canada, they were informed that they would have to work Saturdays essentially breaking their contract. The teachers refused and were never paid for their return trip or given letters of release. In fact, the new principal, a witched named "MS." Xx, wanted to know who the new school's principal was where they were going farther south, so as to fanagle a deal as a middle man.

She also mercillessly screamed at the head Korean teacher until she cried. Ms. Xx raised her hand as if to hit her. Ms. Xx told her to go in the office with her and close the door. The head teacher refused to close the door. Ms. Xx said the head teacher had mental problems and tried to get her to go down on her knees and pray to God for help.

The entire Korean teaching staff was fired and then asked to work there again when the next batch quit.

The old group of teachers and head teacher were far superior to any that came after and were smart enough not to work there again.

The other group of Canadians were not paid their end of contract bonuses of course and I quit before my year was up because she also yelled at me one too many times for problems she created being the mentally ill Christian control freak that she is despite her education in psychology she claims to posess.

We worked overtime and weren't paid for that. And we had to call all of our students once a month, who could often not be reached, for an extra hour every night. God help those who didn't meet their quota.

Students were crammed into the classrooms and scared shitless of the principal.

The building is a severe fire hazard with no fire escape like the rest of Korea and almost a dozen gas canisters in storage without a fire wall in a closet in one of the classrooms!

We were required to be there for mandtory meetings 2x a week which were primarily in Korean anyway. Since there was no 2-waycommuniction, a memo would have been better.

She embarassed herself at a meeting with many of the parents by having the parents parrot back to her, pop psychology and positive thinking affirmations in a blatant attempt to brainwash them. More than 75 students didn't come to school anymore the very next day, and she had the nerve to blame the teachers. Hello?

We had to make a shit load of tests every session using mostly 1 computer with only last minutes notice to her exacting standards which were not communicated in advance. We made all our tests at least twice, if not more.

To say that the atmosphere there is miserable would be an understatement.

I left naturally and because she yelled at me one too many times for problems she created being the mentally ill manipulative Christian control freak that she is despite her education in psychology she claims to posess and be an expert on. NOT!!!

She supposedly used to be a teacher of Korean. She probably lost that job and their family had to do something for money e.g. open a Hagwon. Her husband is the owner.

She also did not send teachers to Japan who needed their work Visas in her desperate attempt to save money while managing their business into the ground.

Working there is like a giant black cloud had permanently blocked out the sun with an S.S. officer standing on your neck in jackboots.

If I have eliminated the last milliliter of whatever chemical in your brain made you think about working at Ewha American Language School in Daegu, Good.

Subject: English Spectrum

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003

Don't use English Spectrum . They are using this website to turn in recruiters and teachers to immigration for a fee . Immigration once worked with hogwons to bust part time teachers and recruiters but now many websites are doing it . English Spectrum get's one million won for every teacher they turn into Immigration . It's a much more lucrative business than just charging hogwons and recruiters to post messages .

My friend is in Canada right now . ****** one of the owners of English Spectrum is not to be trusted . He is helping immigration . He is the African American male you see on the main page of the website . His thug image is true to his real character .

Subject: Little America - Daejon

Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 22:27:40 +0000

Dear Jon:

Thanks for running this service. I taught in Korea in 1996 (Kwangju) and had a nice time. When I came back I began to recruit and have been doing so ever since. One of my clients has gone sour on me however and I feel the need to black-list them based on remarks made about the teachers I have hired for them. In the past they were wonderful to their teachers and had no problems. Then, when the recession hit, they wanted to hire two teachers. Here is where it gets interesting. They were awesome, as always, right through the hiring process then, once the teachers were in Korea, they cut off all contact. They did not pay me for my services and I am very fearful they will fire these two young teachers in the 11th month of their contract before their bonus is due. The teachers are still working at the school but they have been changing their hours, Korean teachers have been leaving left, right and centre and I KNOW they will not be paid in full for their service. This post is meant to encourage other teachers to STAY AWAY from LITTLE AMERICA in Daejon. Head office, who have always been fair, now have no control over their franchise schools and once that control is gone you may as well be working at a "Mom and Pops" school in nowheredong, Korea. PLEASE avoid LITTLE AMERICA as you will get burned.

Suject: Andong, Oh-sung-sik

Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 19:19:19

Last year I worked for an SLP that became GDA- it has two schools. It has cameras in all the rooms, elevators, etc. & microphones. The administrative workload is huge & they constantly change their forms etc. so many of us spent 6 days a week there since Sat was for prepping for classes, etc. & completing their lesson plans & incredible report cards that required grading the students on about 30+ points & then 4 long paragraphs paraphrasing those grades. Many teachers skipped but those that worked all those hours because they wanted to continue ESL teaching found that the school blacklists all ex-teachers. they do pay on time & the Seocheo-Ku area is safe though highly polluted and a strain for many, expecially asthmatics. The US agent lied-you cannot get your us meds in Korea, they aren't the same, you can't have your computers shipped to you unless you want to pay an 80% import tax on them as if they are new & Korean computers are $2,000 & up.

I now am working in Andong for a school called Oh-sung-sik but it will be changing its name soon. I was told I would be 5 minutes walk from work-it is a 20 min taxi drive, they sent me a contract but refused to make me legal until they realized after a month that I would leave. Their intent was to have the teacher illegal & talk them into depositing payment back into their bank accounts "for safe keeping". I didn't agree to either.

I was told I would be paid for overtime. I worked overtime without being paid for 2 months-then told them that I wouldn't anymore so I have been washing in cold water for a month. I am a 54 year old vegetarian female-I have been attacked by drunks & beaten twice while a plethora of Korean towns people just watched. I was told I was just a foreigner so what should I expect. Avoid small towns and schools where you are the only teacher. I was told this is a stable school. I am the only foreign teacher. When I got here there were about 12 students. They expected the arrival of a foreign teacher to magically increase their rolls. It is about 30 but probably needs to be at 100.

Subject: Evan Moor in Suncheon City, Jellonamdo

Date: Tue, 09 Dec 2003

My wife and I chose to end our one-year contract, with EVAN-MOOR SCHOOL

(Yu-Shim-Cheon building), after six months. Those six months working at Evan-Moor were horrible! The current director, Cxxx XXXX XXX (Mr Cxxx) is an extremely dishonest person. He disregarded our contracts and pocketed our tax. My wife and I were completely worn down from having to stand up for ourselves everyday. We had to persistently fight to get our apartment furnished (as in the contract), to get paid on time and to be taxed at the right rate. The school is in serious financial trouble, which Mr Cxxx blames on his foreign teachers. He also has an anger management problem and is unable to have a rational discussion. We wish we never met him, as he single-handedly ruined our experience of Korea. Dont be fooled by the recruiters, the free gym membership is NOT worth the trouble of working for Mr Cxxx.

Subject: Daehak (Hamilton) Language Centre

Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 02:06:03 +1100 (EST)

Dear Jon,

I arrived in Korea (Incheon) on a chilly April morning, 2003. Having flown for seemingly endless miles, but excited by the upcoming adventure, the high of the journey from the airport soon took the low road. The car pulled up by my first and sinking impression - a towering apartment block, cement cracked, teetering on the brink of maintaining its erection. There in my "comfortable" "clean" and "modern" studio apartment, as per my contract, I found myself perched over a cracked toilet seat hovering above the caked scum and tell-tale signs of recent passage. The stench of the 1/4 inch thick mould covering the bathroom tiles filled the air. My very first purchase was two bottles of heavy-duty bleach (shaken, but not stirred). Welcome to the Republic of South Korea.

This high-point of the journey didn't last long. Moves were underfoot by the Director of the Hagwon from Hell. The unfolding drama included non-payment of salary; non payment of medical insurance; deductions from salary for utilities but non-payment of such; electricity being disconnected; being visited twice at night by fist-wielding thugs demanding the known whereabouts of the Director; overnight relocation of the Hagwon to an undisclosed location someplace in the bowels of Seoul etc. Suffice to say I left Korea with no notice, no pay, no ticket and no inclination of ever returning or arguing any point in favour of its geographical or political existence.

A visit to the Korean Labor Office, accompanied by a translator, was to no avail. The gum-chewing dismissive desk- jockey was seemingly more concerned with his decision to pass wind to the left or right.

My point is sadly this. All the while of my stay I taught in public schools directly under the noses of professional, university qualified Korean teachers and principals, some of whom where education in Canada and the USA. They frequently and favourably commended me for my efforts in and out of the class room. But despite my friendship with them, notwithstanding that they knew of each and every crime and misdemeanour being perpetrated against me by the Director, they said nothing. They did nothing. It was the "Korean way", no less.

To all Koreans I say this: "Bad things can only happen when good people do nothing!"


Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 22:51:27 -0700


Hi there battle with the labor board and my school just ended so here is the full story:

I was working for KIDS HERALD SCHOOL in CHEONAN-SHI for over 9 months when the owners called me into their office and told me I was fired....that's it, no notice, no plane ticket home, no severance pay. They said I had to leave the country and move out of my apartment in 5 days. My contract says they needed to give me 2 month's notice in case of firing and they said, "We don't care, we're breaking your contract, other foreigners have broken contracts on us."

I went back that night with a Korean and a Canadian friend and requested in writing the details of the firing, dates, when they would pay me my last month's salary, even why I was fired...etc...etc. They refused to give me anything in writing.

The firing basically came down to having one too many foreign teachers for the amount of students and I was the closest to finishing my contract as well as the one with the weakest relationship with them. I will admit, I was no super-teacher BUT I was never sick, never late, never drunk, always was prompt with paperwork, did all the little field trips and stuff and was generally well-liked by the kids and the parents. The said numerous small things I was doing wrong (the main one being too much bingo) and I offered to change all of it but they said it was too late.

To add more fuel to the fire when I went to immigration a couple days later to sort out my visa status I was told my school told immigration that I quit. This was only the beginning of their downard spiral of lies.

So I've already covered the whole labor board/immigration thing in another post (what to do if you get fired) but I ended up getting one million won and a plane ticket home, which I'm generally satisfied with. Not as much as they owe me, but the main thing is that I'm now free from that horrible place and these people are out of my life forever (well hopefully!). It sure felt good at the labor board today to say to the owner... "lies, lies, can you live with yourself?" It was also good times to count the money she gave me very slowly and carefully saying, "I don't trust you." Also, phoning Air Canada to make sure the ticket wasn't cancelled somehow and making her wait was enjoyable. Very enjoyable indeed :-). Asking the labor board man what would happen if she somehow cancelled my plane ticket was funny too, she was squirming with embarassment. It's highly recommended for all you people out there that get screwed by your hagwon.

So the moral of this story is to NEVER WORK AT KIDS HERALD SCHOOL IN CHEONAN. It's all bad news...for further bad news about this place feel free to send me a private message and I'll give you my email. I don't want this post to get too nasty so I'll restrain myself!

If you are considering working there, please read the contract very carefully....there's a few shady things in there. Oh wait...not that they honor the contract anyway! They seem like nice people fact I even liked them for about the first 3 months but then their impressive facade will start to crumble. Please save yourself some grief...there's better places to work.

Subject: Direct English, Jongno branch in Seoul

Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 20:45:00 -0500

Dear Jon,

Your site seems to be an appropriate place to share my extremely negative experience working at Direct English, Jongno branch in Seoul. I was inspired to write about it after having read a post on your site written by a couple who very accurately described their nightmare working for this huge and utterly dysfunctional corporation. Previously I thought it best to just move on, which I have successfully and happily done, and not contribute any more to the enormous amount of disturbing accounts of working in Korean hagwons available on the various ESL websites. I feel however, that if I can offer some backup to the story provided by this couple, that I might prevent some potentially unfortunate soul from accepting a job at Direct English.

Initially I thought my experience was unique, and a direct result of the nazi style manager working there (and still working there) at the time. Apparently I am not alone, nor was my experience limited to my branch.

I worked there for four months, after which time I thought I would loose my mind, and so opting for the healthier choice, I quit. This was not met with enthusiasm or even a reasonable response by the management, and head office team at PAGODA in Gangnam. Although I gave them the 45 days notice required in my contract they immediately informed me that they would be withholding a month and a half's salary and would not return it to me unless I found someone to take over my lease on the apartment they had provided. Having stupidly signed for a year I was responsible for the remaining 8 months of rent. Either I had to find a new tenant or come up with the 5 million won key money and continue renting it myself at 500,000 won a month! I couldn't find anyone to take it over, which in retrospect is not surprising, because only an ignorant foreigner such as myself would be stupid enough to live in such a shithole for that kind of money. Since I was planning on staying in Korea, I reluctantly ended up providing the key money and am still living in the same apartment until the end of February.

I guess it's my own fault for having signed a lease, but I never expected them to respond so coldly and severely. This was really just the last straw. What really made the experience unbearable were the split shifts, the disappointing reality that the salary is not what they promise it will be and the absolute disregard by management towards your health. Once when I was so dreadfully sick with a cold that I could hardly talk anymore, and told them that I needed to go home, they responded by telling me that I was acting unprofessionally because I hadn't taken better care of my health, and was thinking about myself before the business or the students. This was after 5 days of suffering through my classes until I just couldn't do it anymore. Fucking assholes!

Anyways, that's enough, I've said my piece and I could go on, but hopefully this will get the point across. Don't work for Direct English.

I will never work in a hagwon again,


Subject: American School

Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 01:01:18 EST


Please submit this horrible experience before someone makes a costly decision.

Thank you,


Upon my arrival in Korea, I was informed about the quality of program at American School. I was told it was a quality institution of which made great strides towards excellence. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Education took a "back seat" to monetary greed and personal gain. This place is highly disorganized, a fictitious insurance plan, mandatory overtime, lies of limited funds, are just a few of the illegal activities of which are a recurring theme at American School. The place can best be defined as a toxic waste dump. Needless to say, this worthless operation has undergone several different names within the last two years and numerous teachers have left. Whenever there's a problem that needs to be addressed, it's like doing an Abbott and Costello routine.

The spineless slug behind this evil empire is Mr. S**, a self-proclaimed Kim Jung Il. He rules indiscriminately with an iron fist searching for his next prey. The first month he will arbitrarily steal one-weeks worth of wages, steal through a corrupt insurance plan, inflate utility bills and then pocket the rest; moreover, if you're a female, plan on being sexually harassed. Sadly, a former employee, who later became pregnant, was forced to have an abortion or be fired. This man works impulsively, and when he's done destroying you, he will brag to his peers. He has his hands involved in every form of illegal activity throughout Korea, but more importantly, he views westerners as dispensable with absolutely no rights whatsoever.

His partner in crime is David J*** a self-righteous quack whose only ambition in life is to download all the biblical jargon the Internet has to offer. He spent eight years in Australia studying English, however, when there's an issue with a teacher, he mysteriously becomes incoherent. On payday he pulls his usual Houdini act and can never be found. This place is a horrible nightmare driven by broken promises and never ending lies. David J*** has been a hogwan whore for about a year now. He's cerebrally challenged and refers to himself as a servant of God. I have asked him several times how he can look at himself in the mirror; however, he believes it's okay to lie, cheat, commit adultery, steal, mislead etc. One time I was looking at him wondering what he was thinking, and then it hit me, "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat." "Okay Bullwhinkle."

One more spineless slug needs to be recognized in the infamous hall of shame. You guessed it, the recruiter. And this honor goes to no other than Chris R*******. A man with absolutely no integrity who sits around screening his calls all day because he knows he's burned a lot of bridges. This man would sell his own mother just to score another trick. Shames on you Chris-get a real job! Please don't make the same horrible mistake I did.

And the response

Hi Jon,

I am writing in regards to the posting made by "James" in 2003 regarding American School in Cheongju. Currently this school is listed on the blacklist.

My girlfriend and I just returned from Korea after teaching at American School for 19 months. While we were there we found everyone to be very pleasant, and our situation was definitely a far cry from what James has written in his description of the school.

In fact, while in Korea, I asked a few of the Korean teachers what they thought of James and they wrote him off as a flake who would show up drunk to work, and unhappy that the manager reprimanded him for showing up hungover and late.

Then one day he failed to show up for work. It turns out he returned to his hometown in America. Then, later that week he called the school, from America, and demanded the pay he was due!

Needless to say the school wasn't going to wire this man money after he pulled a runner, leaving the school in a precarious position.

In any case my girlfriend and I both found the school to be more than a agreeable place to work, and have actually recommended it as a place to work to some of our friends.

I would ask that you take down James' posting as it is nothing more than an angry employee attempting to slander a good school.

Subject: o.s.s. English club, Shin Jeju, Jeju City

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 18:18:59 +0900

I've been working for Oh Sung Sik English Club in Shin Jeju, Jeju City for the past 8 months and it has been an incredibly tense working environment. I have to fight constantly with my directer over basic contractual agreements. I am now fighting for my last pay cheque. I strongly urge you to NOT work at this school. She is now looking for a new foreign teacher so beware. You have now been warned! Thank-you

Subject: MLS (My Language School)

Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003

I was surprised to see that Oe Dae made the blacklist. I had a short 1 month contract at the one in Jaeson-dong in Busan and know a girl who works at the one near Busan University of Education and she loves it. All the English teachers at the one I worked at had no complaints and felt lucky to be at a decent school.

On the other hand, stay away from MLS (My Language School) formerly known as Miraero in Daeyeon Dong, Busan. The apartments are great and there was never a problem with salary being paid on time, plane tickets etc. but they try to pull and have pulled fast ones everywhere. Because its an adult school, classes run between 6:40am-10pm but they make up weird schedules so you can have a smattering of classes all day whereas at Pagoda, they have split schedules but at least the schedule makes some sort of sense. Not worth the hassle or even the good apartments. There are better more reputable adult schools if teaching kids is not your bag.

Subject: Evan Moor in Suji, Yong In,

Date: September 28, 2003

Hi Jon,

This intuitute is Evan Moor in Suji, Yong In, 2 minutes away from Pizza Hut at the top of the hill in the Hanguk OUegook Oh Hak dang building. Just to mention that the second floor and 6th floor people are in opposition to him and are very very nice.

A month and a half ago it was bought out by a new guy "Mr. K*********" Beside the fact that he dies his hair orange at 45 years of age, the rumours that he was a dishonest man didn't influence one teacher and he decided to stay. One day later he fired that teacher because he said he didnt like him. He complained that the 2 days notice wasn't fair even though he had given no reason for firing him so he gave the teacher a month to test him (this is 6 months into the teacher's contract without a single complaint and happy students). As this is going on we are hearing from everyone that he is bad news. Also in the meantime we are seeing him walk in every day with two huge muscular bodyguards. Then one day he tells us that he is part of the mafia. SELF CONFESSED. The same day one of the teachers in his other institutes gets beaten up (a female) by him and one of his men for asking for her 2 month late pay. The next day he threatens to kill teachers at the school if they say anything about his business (conerning the mafia). This is a children's institute. At the end of the month he, having made a sizeable profit from the students in his 'summer camp', yet paid NO ONE, not even a cent. Every one of his staff remains unpaid. He has since been evasive and no one can contact him. He has taken all the money, presumable paid his body guards and God knows what he's done wit the rest of it. He threatens to kill anyone who interferes and he and his men have beaten up a lady and he has sent his men after other teachers who have fled the country for fear of their lives. He tricks the foreign teachers into thinking they will get housing etc and they end up with sleeping on a blanketless, sheetless, nothingless hard cold floor, like I did, with about 2 or 3 people per room in his apartment and nothing else. He has told sources that he is bankrupt and my concern is not only for me and the teachers but also for the bus drivers who have families and children and have not received a cent, yet they have to pay for the bus petrol and gas as well. It's really a nightmare and no one can do anything about it. I hope that his constistant recruiting of unsuspecting foreigners is stopped by this posting. All other things aside, his management skills are pathetic and he is very unreliable. At times students (in his one class a week) wait for an hour and a half for him.

One teacher went to collect his money and he , on two occasions, beat him up quite severely, with his body guard. THe teacher has been sent to hospital. The violence included being thrown to the ground and kicked in the chest. Attempts were also made to slash his throat with smashed glass. The whole case has been taken to the public prosecutors office and an investigations have begun. In the mean time, the owner K**** continues his run of violence by not paying all new teachers who finally flea for their lives. He has not said one honest thing and uses violence and his mafia body guards to get himself out of trouble. Now all appropriate authorities have been advised and all procedings to imprison him are underway.

Please heed my warning, some teachers didn't when i first warned them and are out on the street with nothing but fear for their lives. One has been hospitalised in September 2003

Subject: Oh Sung Sik English Club, Youngtong, Suwon

Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003

Hi Jon,

Love the website - very helpful.

Please see the following complaints from myself and my co-worker. We are both Canadians (and long-time friends) working at the Oh Sung Sik English Club in Youngtong neighbourhood in Suwon.

Here's my story.

I was hired to teach Elementary and Middle school students from 2-8 Monday to Friday. When I arrived I was informed that my first two weeks of work would be unpaid training. Then I was told that would teach Kindergarten in the morning (10-12) and then elementary and middle school students from 2 or 3 until 7. When I complained that was not what was negotiated (verbally - doh!) I was promised a Korean-speaking assistant for the kindy classes. This assistant never materialized. Then I was to get the assistant director's help. Any empty promise as she was never around. Then it was waiting for text books, etc. etc.

At the same time I was expected to be present for the kindy lunch break and help feed them and clean up after they had tossed thier kimchi under the table. All this was all unpaid time.

After four months of this I found a job at a univeristy. I requested a release letter. They refused this request and I had to decline the uni post. During this time the wajagnim cut off the internet, cut off our phonecards, yelled and screamed at us. This lasted about 1 week. Note that they did not hire a recruiter to find me and I offered to pay back the airfare so that they would not be out of pocket. I even provided them with an English teacher who could step in and fill my position.

Finally, during the intensive summer program I asked to be paid my overtime. About 4 hours per week. They refused because it was too expensive. One week later my co-worker refused to re-sign her contract because they changed the language to read 1 hour = 60 minutes. Now, the employer has told me that my contract (which reads 30 classroom hours per week maximum before overtime) means 30 hours (not classes). He informed me in a letter that if I want to persue the matter I will have to sue him and pay 50% of all costs and if I lose then I pay 100% of all costs.

I will be making a full report to the Labour Board. All this and I am only 1 week away from the 6 month mark in my contract.

My Co-Worker

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I have been working for Oh Sung Sik in Youngtong for eleven months. It is a new school and I have gone through the growing pains with the director and other staff. Our original contracts were not worded very well and there was ambiguity over the number of hours versus the number of classes to be worked every week. The teachers chose to intepret the contract in this way: the normal class length is 50 minutes, therefore a classroom hour is 50 minutes. The director prefers to intepret the language that a classroom hour equals 60 minutes, therefore the teachers can be required to work seven classes per day, or 140 per month, before qualifying for overtime. I verbally agreed back in May to extend my contract and because of my good relationship with the director and was not concerned when I had not signed any papers. On August 4th, three weeks before the expiration of my original contract, I was presented with a revised version of my contract that explicitly states a classroom hour is 60 minutes and the monthly expectation is 120 hours (or 140 classes). I flatly refused the contract based solely on that new language. I now have three weeks to clear out and figure out what the hell I'm going to do now, not to mention fight for my last month's pay, severance, plane ticket and W500,000 deposit.

I think this new contract is really bad news for teachers and absolutely would not recommend that anyone who is not a hyper-human speed freak consider working for OSS club in Youngtong, Suwon. In addition, the other foreign teacher was hired under a lack of information, so when she arrived she was expected to teach kindergarten and do a daily split shift, not to mention lack of resources for kindie, an empty promise of an in-class assistant, and a slightly wacky Korean co-worker. She was very unhappy with her working conditions and after futile conferences with the director she gave the hagwon her 30-day notice. In the meantime she found a much better job at a university. We soon learned of the vengeful potential of the director's husband, Mr. Kxx. He freaked on us, cut off our internet access, and threatened to fire me too. Once the dust settled, and we could talk rationally, it became clear that because of a directors' association agreement, they will never give release letters to foreign teachers. Her options were to stay or leave Korea for the duration of her contract. She chose to stay, but we are getting more and more convinced that it may not have been the right decision.

The director seems to be really pumped up the on the idea of trust, loyalty and integrity, but here are a couple of incidents where I was lied to: I was twice promised severence, even though it wasn't written into my contract and then the promises were recinded unilaterally by my director. I later learned that severance is a matter of law, not preference on the part of employers. After refusing the contract, my director told me that I had to have a plane ticket out of Korea the day my visa expired and was pressing me to book a ticket. I disagreed, having read information to the contrary on popular ESL websites. (and with the shock of two days notice to leave the country, I was feeling in no way prepared to book a flight) I confirmed with Immigration that I could in fact easily apply for a 30-day tourist visa near the time that my work visa expired. I gave her the information and after conferring with her husband she confessed that he lied to her when he insisted that I leave the country. She added that he basically doesn't like me because I challenged his authority by not re-signing the contract and he no longer wants me around.

There's my two cents, hope it saves you more than that!

Subject: SBSi Kids in Pusan

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003

SBSi Kids in Pusan

My partner and I worked here. Our main complaints centred on the delayed and non-payment of money owed, something which we are still trying to remedy, and which the boss maintains he will not pay. These are wages and our deposit, and no reason is offered except that he doesn't want to.

We handed in 30 days notice, as we agreed with the supervisor, Paul, who hired us and was then fired himself in an explosion of chair throwing and threats of violence. Our decision was because the bosss behaviour had become so unacceptable. The tirade was as inevitable as it was unnecessary. We were told we should leave immediately, would face reduced wages and were not paid for the month we had already worked. We tried to be reasonable and let him blow off steam, worked through our period of notice, and on our last day, the one on which it had been agreed we would receive all money owed, he changed his mind. The last note was an insistence we l leave the apartment a day earlier than we had discussed, and when we were firm that this was unacceptable we were actually told we would be charged for it. Not included here are fictional taxes charged, no payment of pension or the income tax that we had to pay, the non-provision of health insurance for the majority of our time there. My partner and I have both taught in Korea before, and are very aware of the differences that can be anticipated. This goes well beyond that. Should this letter not deter any interested parties from going to the school, do not count on any money before it is in your account, regard deposits, taxes etc. as money lost, and when you decide to leave the school, do a midnight run.

Subject: Brighton Junior English School

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 12:54:18 +0100

Hi Jon

Please please please please black list this school. I have just returned from Korea after working in this school for three months, and it nearly killed me. Brighton Junior English School, 2nd Floor Brighton Ville, 717-5, 2 Dong, Sangrok-gu, Ansan-Si.

The owners of the school own the building where the school is and the accomodation is in the same building. They consequently walk in and out of our apartments when they wish, even when your in the shower and some employees didnt even have doors on their bathrooms. They do not adhere to their contract, making us work more hours (10 a day) and force us to attend meetings outside work at the weekends. When I was unexpectedly admitted to hospital i was blackmailed to work the same day i left hospital. They didnt have my medical insurance so I had to go under a fellow employees details, which is illegal. they also don't pay our national pension which is illegal. Since being discharged from hospital I was sick of the treatment the employees of the school were subjected to, so i followed my contract and gave 45 days notice. thay then ignored my resignation, blackmailed me, threatened me, and told lies over and over again to make me afraid of contacting immigration. They then accused me of hitting the children i taught and then after all that they pleaded with me to stay!!! I went to the labor office when my resignation was ignored but they didnt turn up to the appointment, and i have contacted a lawyer, as i told my school i was leaving anyway. They refused to pay me for my last months work, so i was left in Korea with no money and no accommodation, so luckily i had friends i could stay with and i came home to the UK. I want to warn anyone from working in this school as it was hell on earth and the people who run the school are pure evil and our supervisor - Sue- was the anti-christ himself!! I wouldn't wish this school on my worse enemy.

Please blacklist this school! if you need anymore info please let me know.


Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 12:42:59 +1000

I have got to say that i had both good and bad experiences in Korea. I saved a large sum of money ($10,000AUS)....but at a cost. My employer was not great to work for...the boss was a mean old lady (we called her the dragon lady). I worked for CASTLE LANGUAGE SCHOOL in Daegu, Korea - please put it on the black list. I worked there for 6 months - and that was enough! I paid my own airfare in return for a shorter contract (6 months).

My apartment was comfrotanble....BUT obviously unsafe - as i was straggled and assaulted in the worst possible way - on my second last night in korea. For all women who go to korea to teach english - i suggest that you have SHARED accomodation - and make sure that you are adament on getting that. I almost lost my life in korea ... and am very lucky to be alive to this very day. I spent my final day in korea at a police office, and it was dreadful.

:) KC

Gold Coast, Australia

Please keep my full name anonymous, as i would prefer it that way!

Subject: Kim Lin's Kids English

Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003

I am alerting you to the necessity to blacklist the Kim Lin's Kids English school in Suwon. The director is Kxxxxxxxxx and her husband. I won a case of unfair dismissal from this school with the Ministry of Labour in South Korea. However, the ruling was to reinstate my job with backpay which was impractical considering the treatment I received at this school. My collegue is now involved in a case with the Ministry of Labour for unfair dismissal and physical abuse from the director's husband. I urge all foreigners to avoid this school. It is possible to have a fabulous experience in South Korea, but not at this school.

Kind regards,


Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003

Hi Jon,

I think you have a great website and it will definitely benefit others. Please post this message on your blacklist. Thank you

DO NOT WORK AT ECC DAECHI! There are about 110 ECC schools in Korea, under the corporation of YBM. I don't know about the rest of the schools, but ECC Daechi in Seoul is horrible.

First, the contract which is produced by YBM is poorly worded and therefore has created many miscommunications. Be very careful when reading contracts.

The problem I had was getting cheated out of my sick pay and bonus which totaled 400,000 won. Because I had another teacher cover a few classes while my parents were in town, Mr. Sxxxxxx, the director considered those sick days. I had previously asked the supervisor if having another teacher cover a few classes would be okay and she said that was fine. The hours I missed were deducted from my salary. I had no idea that these would be considered sick days and I would lose my sick day pay and bonus.

Unfortunately I had already told the director I would CONSIDER staying two days longer because two of the foreign teachers were arriving later than planned. When the director told me he would not pay the sick days and bonus, I told him I was unable to stay any longer. However, in the meantime, he had cancelled my ticket and arranged for me to fly out two days later. He said he tried to get my reservation back, but could not confirm the information. He was of no help and he gave me conflicting information when I questioned him. He then told me to go ahead and go to the airport as scheduled. I thought he was trying to scare me into believing I didn't have a reservation so I would work two more days.

Well my reservation had been cancelled and there was nothing United Airlines or the travel agent could do to help me. There was a seat available in business class, but that meant more money. The travel agent phoned the director and we had a heated conversation with him ranting and raving and yelling at me. He absolutely refused to pay for a seat in business class and I was left stranded at the airport.

Besides my personal dilemma, the school is disgustingly filthy. The classrooms are in shambles with holes in the walls, torn wallpaper, writing and swear words on the walls and tables and floors that look like they have never been swept or cleaned. ECC Daechi is definitely not a good environment for children or teachers.

Subject: Oe Dae Institure in Ilsan

Date: Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003

i was recruited to work for a hagwan in korea by the name of Oe Dae Institure in Ilsan. Although there is a bigger Institute called Oe Dae, which may or may not have a good reputation, this Oe Dae that i will describe has nothing to do with the other one but just uses the name.

Upon talking to my recruitor i was told that the school was a good one and that i would have my own room in a shared apt. and that i would be teaching middle and high school students. Upon arriving, i found out that i had to share a one bedroom apt. with another teacher and i was promptly placed within the kindergarten and elementary classroom. Before leaving to korea, i made it perfectly clear that i did not want to teach small children and they made every assurance that i woudn't have to.

Well, i figured i would just try it anyway. Everything was fine for about two weeks until the Korean teacher who sat next to me began complaining that she smelled alcohol on my person. The truth is, the night before I had gone out with co-workers and had a few beers. Well, i was made to endure an hour of interrogations and questions like, where were you, how much did you drink, did you think of the consequences etc... I felt like garbage. The Korean teacher had children in that kindergarten and when they weren't in class, they were allowed to sit at my computer and play games. God forbid that I would need the computer to prepare for classes.

In addition to this, my Korean supervisor acted more like my mother than my boss. She would insist on prying into my private life with questions like, where did you go this weekend? who were you with? where is the place you went? etc. She was such a disgusting person. I still get queezy when i think of her. She used to do a stupid little dance while she said hello to you in Korean. It's amazing how stupid lonely and ugly korean women can be at times.

Well, one guy quit his job but not before he borrowed 700,000 won from the director. He then left in the middle of the night for Taiwan. Since his apt. was then vacant they wanted me to move into his apt. His apt. is with three women who work at the school and i have a korean girlfriend. I tried to explain this to them but all they would say is, "I'ts okay". But i said that it wasnt' and i quit. Upon quitting i had to pay back the airfair and recruiter's fee in order to obtain my diploma and release letter. Because they had fraudulently switched the name of the school on my visa, because the wife and husband both own different schools, the immigration had a problem. In order to avoid a heavy fine, the director's wife told immigration that she fired me, even though i had to type out a resignation letter. Now I have an excellent job teaching adult business people for a reputable school called Pagoda. I'm very happy now and my girlfriend and I can go on with our lives.

Oh yeah, after i left, the Korean teacher who had such a problem with my excessive drinking was arrested for dui just a week after i quit. ha ha ha

Subject: Brainy English School, Youngju

Date: Wed, 09 Jul 2003 02:28:06 -0400

Hi Jon. Just wanted to send you the name of my school, which is very bad. It's in Youngju, South Korea, and the name of the academy is Brainy English School, run by K*********. (They sent me to the airport without a bonus or my last months pay, but with a ticket in hand, which hadn't been paid either! I didn't discover this until I arrived at the airport.)

Subject: SLP Ilsan/ Hong Jae Hwa

Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 23:26:32 +1200

A word of warning about this school.

My problem is not big by hogwan standards but I am posting it for general information and will blacklist the school and continue to broadcast their failings until they cough up. Why ? Because I have given them every chance to be reasonable and they have failed. And when we let hogwans get away with it even on a moderate scale they will continue to make life difficult for other people. And in the power imbalance between hogwan/employee the internet is an equaliser that should be used.

I resigned from this school about two years ago after seven months cos of breach of contract by the school. A family member died and I was entitled to emergency leave to attend the funeral. Rather than doing their best to help me they made my leave conditional upon paying a W1,000,000 bond to the school (in breach of my contract, cos emergency leave was unconditional) which at the time almost made it impossible for me to attend the funeral in New Zealand. I was dissatisfied with this so when I returned I gave them the required 2 months notice in my contract. (Unlike three other dissatisfied teachers who did the midnight run during my time there.)

When I finished at this hogwan they took W300,000 out of my last pay to cover any outstanding bills and then pay the balance to me. Well, I settled all my apartment bills with my roomate before I left and left my room in immaculate condition. All that had to be paid was one cellphone bill by Director Hong Jae Hwa, probably about W 50,000.

But that was the last I saw of my W300,000 and Hong Jae Hwa. Hong Jae Hwa gave me the standard run around after I left. I call him, he promises to pay the money owing into my account asap, I wait, nothing happens. I Repeat this process half a dozen times over the next few months and he stops answering my phone calls and doesn't return my messages. When I do catch him out by phoning from a different number I get the same promise followed by failure to pay, again.

I tried calling him at SLP Ilsan. But he wasn't there because he was working at another SLP hogwan, though still a Director at SLP Ilsan. So I visited SLP Ilsan twice but on both ocassions he wasn't there, the other directors couldn't speak english, and the academic supervisor refused to translate. Instead she fobbed me off, telling me to phone Hong Jae Hwa because she said only he knew about my money. So I telephoned him again and he didn't answer or return my messages.....

Of course the school cancelled my visa when I finished and Mr Hong may have been hoping I would just leave and he could pocket my cash. Well, I came back and got a good job at a great school.

I was going to put it down to experience, not a bad option depending on circumstances, but since decided why should I let them keep my hard earned cash ?

So I e-mailed the school a week ago, sent a follow up e-mail, and they didn't answer. Telephoned and new owner denies any responsibility to pay me..So that's my experience and given their continued failure to pay me I would have to recommend against working there.

(Note: There are three responses to this post -- Jon)

Subject: St. Paul Academy, Daegu

Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 05:35:51

Hello there -

I am one of a number of teachers who has been cheated by Kxxxxxxxxxx at St. Paul Academy in Daegu since it opened in 2001. K**** plays fast and loose with contracts, but follows them to the letter when it comes to his employees' behavior. Every teacher who has finished a contract at St. Paul Academy has been cheated in some way by Kxx. He deducted 1.2 million won from my final pay for another teacher's expenses. He even itemized it on my paycheck as expenses for the plane ticket and utilities for another teacher who had been smart and done a midnight runner. This was after his repeated promises to honor our agreement and give me my pay in full on my last day of work. Kxx then promised to reimburse me for half of the salary withheld after I left via wire transfer. Of course, he hadn't three months later, so I made a phone call to him, at which point he stammered out a list of fabricated contract violations on my part (this guy has a lot of nerve) and said I had no recourse. I know better, and am now pursuing this through an attorney in Korea.

In another case, Kxxxxx refused to honor the contractually-guaranteed promise of return airfare at the end of the 12 month contract. He reneged at the last minute, leaving the teacher to find his own way back to North America. With two other teachers, he refused to pay them their one-month bonus salary unless they agreed to work three extra weeks, unpaid.

Kxx has also been known to hire teachers without work visas, loading them with hours and paying them salaries as low as 1.5 million per month for over 30 classroom hours. He talks from both sides of his mouth, praising a teacher in person and holding meetings behind the teacher's back undermining his or her teaching methods. This school should be avoided at all costs - it isn't apparent until too late that K*****'s business methods are devious and underhanded.

If you have any more questions regarding the truth about St. Paul Academy, don't hesitate to send me an email.


And for the first response:

Subject: St. Paul Blacklist

Date: Mon, 26 May 2003

Hi Jon,

I'm a regular checker of your site and I noticed today something which really bugged me. My school had been blacklisted. I feel, I don't know. Awful is the word. I'm wondering if it is possible to make a comment, or reply to the post, as I feel that it was unfairly laid at the door of my school, which I would say goes out of it's way to be reputable.

The person who is complaining chose to leave his contract early, and was penalized according to the terms of his contract. He was aware of this at the time. His reason for leaving the school turned out to be false, and the "smart teacher" he refered to happened to be his girlfriend, who ran out on Korea, then returned a few days before he left.

I've been working at St. Paul for a year now. K** has gone out of his way for his employee's. He takes he staff out for dinner and drinks on a weekly basis. We are invited to family functions but not forced to go. He has organized several sight seeing tours that would have been impossible to manage, where we could have fun together as a group and build bonds and a stronger working relationship. He has helped myself and other teachers when we were sick or needed to get medical attention. On two occasions he sent teachers home when they were too sick to work, rather than forcing them to teach. When I first got to Korea I had very little money and for four months in a row K***** happily advanced money on my salary, when not outright paying for things I need without asking for compensation.

I work very hard and on at least two occasions he has given me an on the spot bonus because he feels I deserve it. Not an advance, just free money for me because of the work I do. I can't imagine many directors in Korea who would do that. K** tells me to go home and sleep, or to take it easy, he has never forced me to work harder. I find that admirable and repsectable.

He provides clean and livable apartments and any time I have requested matience he has helped immediatly. He is open and willing to help. He speaks wonderful English (not perfect but not bad by any means) and is honest about all of the arrangments he has made with teachers. You don't have to take my word, you can contact all of the teachers who have finished a contract with St. Paul and I am sure they will agree. I shall provide emails, and ask each of them to send in a word about St. Paul.

St. Paul, unlike many of the Hogwons here, is actually interested in Education. The school does not make obscene money, and there are times when we barely scrap by but K**** stands by his the standards that he has set to provide a quality english education to our students. The curriculm has a good structure, and he provides new teachers with almost two weeks of training and class observation before they have their first class. The observation is paid.

K****, like all Korean Directors, has his faults, but I feel that truly the pro's outway all the cons. I agreed to stay for a second year long before my first contract expired I was so comfortable with K**** and the school environment.

We are currently at the point were the teachers who are finishing contracts on time are being replaced. I can only imagine that this blacklisting (three months after the teacher left) was done to spite us in our search for new teachers for the upcoming year. The job market is difficult enough right now with the North Korea situation and SARS and I feel that blacklisting really could do serious harm to a school that is my home.

I believe strongly that every person is entitled to there opinion and everyone has the right to complain, loudly protest, and even degrade the job that they had and quit, or even that they had and liked. I don't begrudge the departing teacher that. However I feel that, considering the situtation, I would like to promote a serious dialouge for teachers who might be convinced to turn down St. Paul because of one persons opinion. So, for what it is worth, there is mine.


mmm....the sounds of beethoven...the smell of desire.....


And yet another response:

Date: Wed, 28 May 2003

Hello Jon,

I was recently informed that a former colleague submitted a letter condemning the school that he was working for, St. Paul Academy. I being the one that hired this teacher, felt it was necessary to clarify some of his comments. He stated that two teachers were forced to stay an extra three weeks without pay, if they ever wanted to be paid. I was one of those two teachers, and my friend and I AGREED with the director to stay on for an extra two weeks, so that we could help this teacher and his girlfriend get comfortable with their new surroundings. We even went so far as moving into a hotel, so that they could begin their new lives in our old apartments. We tried to introduce them to the school, how it runs, class structure, etc, with little or no attention paid. We were never thanked by this pair, and felt pretty frustrated at the fact that we CHOSE to stay on to help these ungrateful and rather selfish individuals. I do not know what happened after I left, nor do I care to, and of course with many hogwan director, there will be problems and major frustrations, coming from cultural differences and at times, ethical choices, but I was always paid on time, and had a decent roof over my head. Hope this helps with a more balanced outlook.


An annoyed man


And a third response:

Hello Jon. I am a new voice to this discussion. Although I am extremely reluctant to get involved, I feel it is necessary to correct some of the information about my former school that was posted on this list.

I do feel that the person who wrote in on the first post about St. Paul was treated unfairly. He should have been paid what he earned. However, the reasons he gave for his departure from the school were not actually true, and when this was found out, the director withheld money from his pay. This employee gave the required amount of time for vacating his contract, he never really needed any reasons, so he should have been paid in full.

I was a teacher who left prematurely a few weeks after this person did. I left because I had a serious ongoing medical emergency that needed attention and I was fearful of further treatment by Korean doctors. I left without telling anyone because a.) I made the choice and left the same day and b.) I was afraid if I did tell my school, they might prevent me from leaving or make it difficult because of what happened to the above person. I personally feel very guilty for leaving in the way I did as I was always treated fairly by Mr. K**** and St. Paul.

I came to Korea with a different school than St. Paul. If anyone wants to talk about nightmares, this was one of the biggest. I was paid the 1.5 million won (actually 1.46) by this former school. I am hesitant to even name this school as I was violently assaulted by the director of that previous school on the street (which has affected me even to this day) and also my family was threatened over email. I took the job at St. Paul's that the other teacher's girlfriend vacated. I was offered the typical starting salary by Mr. K**** at the time of 1.8. I was annoyed at the time, as I knew the other teachers made more, and working for St. Paul is more like working for a regular school, not fake babysitting. But, because I was so grateful to Mr. K****** for rescuing me, I did not tell him about my previous teaching experience or haggle over my salary. I also knew that he was offering my previous employer A LOT of money to get me out of my situation. I know if I would have had the balls at the time, I could have gotten higher pay, but I'm ashamed to admit that Korea had taken the balls outta me from the first day.

During my time at St. Paul, I discovered a few things about St. Paul in comparison to other hogwans. It was cleaner and had far better resources than other schools. It was run professionally and you are required to do quite a bit of prep. Mr. K*** will actually handle your discipline problems for you. This is NOT reality in most Korean hogwons. My first hogwon, I was locked into a classroom with 30 kids the day after I arrived and sent to live in a premium roach infested hovel. Our accommodations with St. Paul were clean and average older studio apartments. The pay for the teachers, apart from me, was definitely above average. We always got paid on time. If you needed anything, like a pay advance or help with transportation or language, Mr. K**** was more than willing. In the beginning, I got pay advances for 3 months in a row until I caught up. He actually translated my list of symptoms for my medical problem for me and even offered to take me to Seoul when I needed to see a specialist. He also took us out regularly (and paid) and invited us to functions with his family. We went to his daughter's first birthday party with his whole family at the best hotel in Daegu. He also offered to help find my fiance a job when his school started to go down the toilet. I think he is a Korean businessman and behaved accordingly, but he treated us FAR better than any of the hogwan directors I had come across or heard of.

One of the things I took a lot of pride in, was that St. Paul is actually concerned with education. This is not the case in most hogwons. They are very selective about the teachers they employ and the curriculum they are developing. But, hogwans are businesses above all, and they are there to make money. This school is also a business. This is how the hogwan system in Korea works.

Again, I don't really want to get involved as I no longer live in Korea, but I wrote this letter not only because some of the things mentioned about my former school weren't exactly correct, but for a more important reason. This was actually a GREAT school to work for. If you decide to teach English in Korea, which I DON"T recommend, and you decide to eliminate St. Paul from your choices because of that letter, you may get stuck with another choice, which could be a BAD one. Like I first did and many others often do, you could find yourself in a nightmare.

Subject: Jung Chul Interlab in Bugae, Seoul

Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 19:31:09 -0700

I am (or was) a teacher at this school - Jung Chul Interlab in Bugae, Seoul. I got this job through an agency and at the end of my first month, discovered I hadn't been paid. I called the agency, who told me that the school hadn't paid so they couldn't pay me. Well, after much arguing the agency gave me the money but then said that I had to get the rest out of the school myself as the owner of the school wasn't answering calls or e-mails.

I called the owner (Mrs Lee) who told me that I didn't want to work at her school anymore so she wasn't going to pay me. First of all, I never said anything about not working at her school anymore, so I don't know where she got that information from. And anyway, even if I had said that, what about money she owed me for work that I had already done??

I have yet to see any money from this school. She owes me about 700,000 won and although it's not much I know that this is an ongoing problem.

They also have another school downstairs from the Jung Chul the teacher that was working there disappeared overnight. I'm not sure what happened but I know they wanted to get rid of him because they asked me if I would take his job!

They employ all kinds of underhand tactics like this so unless you like to teach english for free I would not recommend this school.

JUNG CHUL INTERLAB, Bugae, Seoul and their associate school located downstairs.

Subject: ..maple leaf college

Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003

Greetings Jon,

I best write to you about this Hagwon in Namcheon-do, Busan, South Korea. The name of the School is Maple Leaf College. While I was there:

Things started-off relatively fine or tolerable, but then it started to become sour after about 3 months.

The first day I arrived the director didn't even know that I did. I had to call from the airport to let him know. I waited, then his associate came and drove me to the hogwan and I had to attend a staff meeting. I was dead tired, flying-in from Canada. To top it off, I had to sleep at the director's home, because one teacher didn't leave the apartment yet. Anyway, a few days turned into two weeks. Finally, the teacher left and then I moved into the apartment. The apartment was small, dirty and coachroach-ridden.

After a few months of teaching; a difficult process due to great disorganization. I was given word by a female American teacher that she was spied on during her teaching sessions. I was given bits and pieces of advice from teachers already present. I knew then that I may be in for trouble.

Soon the staff meetings started to become lectures on the 'dos and don'ts' on working there. The director even admitted that he was 'greedy' and wanted to make more money. It was only later, that I realized he would act on this aspect with regard.

I noticed that my contract was slightly different then the rest of the teachers. My severance pay was higher then some of teachers and this brought great surprise to the foreign staff. Some teachers told me that they were lied to about several things, apartment conditions, schedules etc.

The hagwon was losing a few students and this was seen (by the director) as a direct result of the foreign teachers.

After three months, I was ask to have a meeting with the director himself. His wife was present, which made no sense, since she couldn't understand or speak a word of english. At times she paraded-around the school like a gestapo looking for the slightest reason to complain. This is the topper. During the meeting I was told by the director that some of the parents (of the students) saw me and complained that I didn't 'look' like a teacher. He said that these same parents saw me shopping at 'mega mart' and I wasn't dressed according to their tastes. He also stated that he would see me walking outside, alone, during my free time and thought this was bizarre. He even went as far as saying that all the teachers hated me and that's why I walked alone. He continuely remarked about my private life. I finally said that was none of his business and had nothing to do with my work. He digressed, almost searching for cause. He said that he didn't like the way that I worked with the children. He saw my friendliness with the kids as perverted or sexual, when there were no such complaints or proof. I was outraged. He gave me only two weeks notice and I had to quickly look for another job.

I thought it best to forget about the 'good fight' and focus my efforts toward positive and productive means. Get this. The director offered to give me a letter of recommendation, before I left. HE EVEN WANTED TO GO OUT DRINKING WITH ME!! Please, steer clear away from this Hogwan.

If you have any further questions Jon, let me know.


Subject: The Red Bank Institue--Chonan, Korea

Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003

The following comes after working in Korea as an English teacher, and recognizing that the people of Korea (may I add not all ) but perhaps most need a lesson in apporiate business etiquette. People planning on working here must know that some people here purposely use the excuse of"cultural differences" to justify not following a contract.

My story begins with the usual scenario of an employer not wanting to fully comply with the contract we had agreed upon. Unfortunately, I've found out that "The Red Bank Institute, in Chonan" has a history of regularly losing their employees because of non-compliance on their behalf. This hag won has failed to pay for my medical insurance, and currently they are advertising that they do offer such coverage.. .Let me tell you, THEY DON'T! The owner has dismissed me because I refused to work without insurance, and furthermore, use a Korean teachers health card, which she had forced me to do the first time I was sick. If this is illegal in Canada, I'm sure it is here.

In the past she fired my co-worker, and failed to give him a release letter. Now she is forced to re-hire him and has put him up in a small shack behind her house. She even goes as far as taxing me, and the other teachers there, while we know that she keeps the money without claiming it, because she refuses to give us an official receipt from the Korean government. Apparently, the Korean teachers that have worked there can't even claim their taxes because she keeps the money instead of paying it to the government. This owner cannot be trusted. She will claim that everything is a "cultural difference," meanwhile she just clearly lacks professionalism, and the ability to be honest, and truthful. A definite disappointment, because the staff and children are great, I will truly miss them, but all the hassles and lies in this school is not worth my time.

Subject: Direct English (a subsidiary of Pagoda)

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 00:01:30

Dear Prospective English teacher,

Please don't make the same mistake we did! The following is an essay about why you shouldn't work for Direct English (a subsidiary of Pagoda).

Last November my boyfriend and I were looking for teaching positions in Korea. Being veteran teachers from children's academies we thought the job search would be a snap. Much to our chagrin, finding employment wasn't that easy, especially for my boyfriend who is from New Zealand. After about a month of searching we started to feel desperate so we decided to sign with a company named Direct English. We were so overjoyed to find a position for both of us that we didn't do the necessary research. Shame on us! DON'T LET THESE PEOPLE FOOL YOU TOO!

Here's a list of the problems we've encountered during the first four months of our employment with Direct English:

1) False Promises: The Direct English recruiter made promises to us regarding our salaries, our schedules, and possible employment with Direct English branches in other countries (specifically England). These promises can most aptly be described as bald-faced LIES. For instance, the recruiter said that our salaries would be around 2.3 or 2.4 million won. The pay structure is so complicated I won't get into it here but what he failed to fully explain was that the minimum salary is 1.8 million won. If your branch isn't doing well that month you will certainly not be making anywhere near 2.4 million won. In fact, to make that much money would mean that you were working overtime.

Secondly, on the basis that we would be given a block shift (8 hours of working time scheduled from 7-3, 1:30-9:30) in a maximum of 4-5 months, we agreed to take a split shift for a short amount of time(scheduled working hours are from 7-11AM and 5:30-9:30PM during a split shift). But alas, 4 months have come and gone and only one of us has a block shift. Who knows when the next block shift will be alotted to us. Management doesn't seem to care if we're overworked, exhausted or ill.

Finally, since we are interested in living in the UK after this year we were interested in transferring from a Direct English in Korea to a branch in the UK (which we were told was indeed possible). The recruiter conveniently left out the bit about there not being a Direct English School in the UK. Corporate headquarters are located there, but there's no actual school.

2) The training we were given for this school is a joke. They sit you in front of a computer for three days and make you watch videos correlating to the course material. No outside advice or comment is given on how to teach the lessons. Later they will complain that you are unprepared. In addition, a teacher is not given their own set of course books. This results in the teachers running from room to room to look for a certain book. There are also NO TEACHER'S GUIDES.

3)Vacation/Sick Days: There is no such thing as paid vacation at this school. They try to make up for this by giving you 4 weeks of unpaid vacation. What they don't tell you is that you are responsible for finding a substitute for your own classes. This makes it very difficult to take a vacation. Nobody wants to cover a colleague's classes because it means a 13-14 hour working day. They also fail to mention that it is in VIOLATION OF THE LABOR LAWS to deny an employee vacation time or sick days. Oh, and just try and call in sick - they will threaten and coerce you into coming to work, saying "what can I do, you must come into work, there is no one to cover!"

4) The housing plan : Direct English will provide you with 5 million won key money (deposit) and a housing allowance of 150,000 won. You (with the assistance of a housing manager) will select an apartment. Sounds like an okay deal right? Believe me, 150,000 won/month will get you nothing but a shack in Seoul. Therefore you will have to pay additional rent (out of your already meager salary) if you want to get any kind of decent housing. And, out of the kindness of their hearts, Direct English will provide you with a bed, a fridge, a washer and a gas range -

THAT'S IT! You must buy all other needed furnishings (chairs, bookshelves, closet, chest of drawers, etc....) yourself. And forget about them helping you maintain the appliances they give you. For instance, our second month in the apartment our refrigerator broke (too bad we had just bought groceries in the amount of 100,000Won). We waited over a week for a new refrigerator which meant we had to eat out at every meal.

5) Health insurance : Well, we've been waiting for 4 months and we still haven't received any information about our health insurance plans, even though we've asked more than once. Thank god we haven't gotten SARS!

6) Flight payment : If you are seeking employment while already in Korea, Direct English does not reimburse your flight costs. They will fly you to Japan to sort the visa out, but you are responsible for paying for the visa and all extraneous costs during your trip (approximately $100). They also do not provide return airfare to your country of origin.

7) High Turnover Rate among teachers and desk staff : In the 4 months that I've worked at Direct English, two Korean tutors have quit with little or no notice, 1 native tutor was fired (probably because he complained a little too loudly about the above procedures), and the desk staff changes from week to week. This proves to be an unstable environment for both the staff and the students, causing a high dropout rate among students, translating into less pay for the teachers.

8) Obvious favoritism :If you complain about anything at this school (even if it is a valid complaint) it will mean that they will schedule less classes for you and you will make less money. The prejudice is so glaring that you'd have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to notice that while you are making 1.8/won/month, another teacher is making 2.5/won/month. There is no attempt to equalize teachers schedules. If they don't like you they just freeze you out.

In short, we were blind-sided by a recruiter promising options and great opportunities. Direct English is just like every other corporate franchise English school. They use you to make more money, and they couldn't care less about you as a teacher or as a person.

Subject: FSL Cheongju

Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 18:49:47

Hi, my name is Sebastian and I worked at FSL (Fantastic Story Book) in Cheongju. The Hakwon is poorly managed, the manager, Robert Wxxxxxx, and the owner, Mr. Sxxxxx, are not honest people. They never paid me in full for my one-way tkt to Korea, even though it was stated in the contract they should. They also offered a very small and dirty apartment, with old furnitures, located in the heart of the red-light district. When I said I was going to leave, they threated to sue me, my wife, and my relatives. I also heard from other teachers that FSL Cheongju was the worst Hakwon in that city, and now, unfortunatelly too late, I know they are right. So, if you want to be harrassed, threatened, and not paid, FSL Cheongju is the place for you.

Thank you,


Subject: Ding Ding Dang, Daegu

Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003

Ding Ding Dang in Daegu violated my contract from the day that I arrived, in April 2002. I was placed with 2 roommates, even thoughht my contract states that should have only one. My complaints were ignored.

After a teacher ran away in mid-September, I was required to work overtime. At least now I had only1 roomate. I was paid for this, but was so exhausted that I was chronically sick. I warned my director that I was thinking of leaving also. I also complained that my heat didn't work, but this was ignored also. She promised that things would be better soon. Help did not arrive until January.

I recieved a Health Insurance card in Novemember, but should have had that from the beginning.

After 2 months of freezing, our heat was fixed and help arrived the first week in January.

A new supervisor took over in January. We had a minor disagreement, when I declined her request to collect a 5,000 won contribution from all the teachers. Suddenly, she told me that she hated me and I was assigned "telephone teaching" of 103 students per week. Many of them were not in my current classes, and I complained that therefore it was not part of "administrative duites related to classroom duties.

My very last week of work was a nightmare. On Monday night, by supervisor came to my apartment, looked around, and said that it had to be clean by noon or they'd charge me for a cleaning person, and a plumber because the sink drain was slow. She also threatened to cancel my plane reservation and prevent me from recieving the funds that I contributed to Korean National pension.

I convinced the director that I needed more time, and she agreed to check apartment at noon on Thursday. She did not come at noon, while I was there. Both my supervisor were rude and insulting my last few weeks, and I thought that the tension and animosity would end when she saw my glowingly clean apartment.

After my very last class, I asked for my plane ticket home. My supervisor still wanted to check that I'd washed the bedding provided, so that it would be ready for my replacement.

At 10 p.m., she came but still refused to give me my ticket. She said that we wanted to get my keys. I offered the keys, but she said that I couldn't have the ticket until I was leaving.

I'd done everything that she asked. She stubbornly refused. She said that she was staying until I left in the morning. I asked my roomate whether she'd invited the spervisor to spend the night, and she said "No." The supervisor called me dirty, ugly and stupid in front of most of my former co-workers.

They had a party at my house to celebrate my leaving, with beer bought the the director, and I wasn't invited.

I got my ticket and left at 5 a.m., noticing a trace of vomit in my bathroom

Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003

Subject: Kwandong University, Kangneung


This is to warn about Kwandong University in Kangneung. Depite massive personal abuse at this school I suffered at the hands of the Korean director of the English program and the foreign coordinator I will stick to the cogent facts that prospective teachers may want to know. This school has had a near 100% turnover rate for the last ten years at least. They ripped me and other teachers off for at least $1000 each in overtime pay in the last year alone. I taught 30 hours a week managing over 600 students each semester. The administrative staff is non-supportive at best and beligerent at worst. The housing (a dorm) often lacked hot water and sometimes the water went out completely. My requests for repair were ignored and only answered after repeated attempts. Class sizes were at average around 45 students with some as high as 70. Severence pay was not given on time as were other pay(overtime/monthly). At least one teacher quit mid-semester last year because of the contract violations. As one of the lowest ranked universities in Korea student motivation is nil. Though they are instituting reforms I am quite sure various abuses will continue as the same management is still in place. This information can be independently verified by other ex-teachers who quickly exited to greener pastures. To be avoided would be an understatement about this school.

Subject: General Warning:

Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003

To All considering teaching in Korea; please be aware that once you arrive you are an instant advertising tool to increase the schools profit margin. The schools use foreigners as a tax break, school Directors believe in ownership so you are considered a piece of property.

Also the school will charge you a tax that they do not pay to the government it is subsidized and the school does not pay an actual tax it is fraudulent. The schools will use, abuse, and totally funk you over in any way possible all for cash.

The schools in Korea are fueled by greed and all contracts have special clauses in them and will NEVER hold up in a Court of Law in your favor, because it is not written in Korean, that is a separate contract that you will never see, sign, or understand and Koreans use American attorney's against you because they ONLY work for the Educational Institutions will not find an attorney here in Korea before your money runs out or they find a way to deport you at your own expense.

I love many Korean people because they all suffer the same abuse from their own employers but what can they do they have large families to support and they exist in a CATCH 22. The schools will maintain power trips over all employees Korean and Foreigners, and I have yet to meet a Canadian, American, or any Native English who has received a full severance and a plane ticket home.

The only people who survive are ultra shady back stabbers who enjoy working for free. The school directors all seem nice and even some of the foreigners seem nice until after about one to two months afterwards. Most people here are fleeing from some kind of serious issue or want to travel, save money, and see the world.

So I would like to say that all schools should be considered as a Black Listed school. The schools do not care about teaching an actual accepted academic program. IT IS ALL FOR MONEY! Not one school in Korea would pass an American or Canadian Educational School Board License.

If you took out all of the foreigners of Korea truthfully speaking Korea's economy would sustain a blow. Last item on the board, you will never ever win a legal battle in Korea if you are a foreigner, you are not Korean so therefore you do not exist. Human Rights was recognized in Korea within the last decade.

Dear Jon, Subject: English Friends Academy Ilsan

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003

I wasn't going to do this but thought why should they get away with treating English and Korean teachers so shabbily. I recently returned from a year teaching in a hell hole of a school ruled by a total bitch of a director. I must warn all my fellow comrades out there that this is a place to stay away from.

The head of the school Mrs C is an evil and unpleasent person who is very close to having a mental illness. She loves nothing better then making you the subject of her frequent mood swings. She treats the teachers like dirt and is so fake that it makes you want to be physically Ill. I survived 12 months in this environment because I am loyal but if you are shown this school run away.

The finances of the school are something to be desired as it is a lucky day when you actually get paid on your payday. Of course there is never any communication why the money is later just that it is late. I cannot stress that the teachers and the kids you teach are great and that you always have a positive experience with them.

The way the school is organised is very "fly by the seat of your pants", as they always change philosophy of teaching and your duties. Usually without telling you these new ideas or responsibilities just expecting you to know. The head teacher is an ass as he has no communication skills, no organisational ability and his command of English leaves something to be desired. He is basically a yes man who gives no voice to the teachers just to Mrs C.

This school would be a great place to work except for the headcase in Mrs C and the lapdog of the head teacher, they really are evil and stupid people and I can't stree enough how bad they are.


Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2003 10:46:36 +0900

Subject: Hallym University in Chuncheon, Thanks.


I need to give the heads up on the events that have happened to me the last few weeks with Hallym University in Chuncheon. Hopefully this will keep qualified people from wasting their time and money as I did. The position was advertised on Daves ESL as 15 hours a week, 2,335,000 won a month and 40,000 for the time teaching during the vacations, and severance pay.

I talk to them several times and interviewed. Things where fine, I verified the salary and conditions before accepting and at the interview. I had not gone to the first round but told them I was busy. They called and asked me to come to another time they set up a couple of weeks later. They even said they would pay for the trip. ( I am still waiting for that.)

Anyway I checked on the other factors to make sure as well, such as severance again, national pension and health insurance, they indicated that everything was indeed going to be included as required by Korean Law.

Well to make it easy and for you to make your own decision, I would like to paste the contract they sent me, which when I asked them to include the above mentioned and to correct the amounts they refused and instead withdrew their offer.

I apologize for the poor formatting, but that is how it was sent to me, only worse, I actually deleted many blank spaces. I have been here for three years and just want people to know they should NOT sign something like this. None of the legal requirements are included, such as the severance and pension, etc. Not even to get into the fact that what the advertisement said was different and also what they told me on the phone and when I interviewed. Of course you can and take your chances as well. (They did indicate that you would be teaching 18 to 21 as well. Paid at the overtime rate of 15,000 won/hour)


Subject: General Advice

Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 01:55:46 -0600

This experience in Korea, seems to be Universal, though I have met people who love it. The one thing that anyone entering into any other country needs to realize is that it is a totally different culture. Research it. The business to these people is super important.

I spent a year teaching in Seoul, and found that yeah, there are some unfair changes that may occur, but I never had anything happen without notice or discussion. THere was always a discussion and some compromise. When going to Korea, think about why you are doing it, for how long and how flexible you can be. Saying no is okay, just be sure it isn't your only answer. THe students can really be rewarding, and discipline isn't always something that parents can control, not to mention it isn't always mean. It is something that Korean parents like to think they have control over, but hey, you have to teach them. Just do it in a constructive manner.

It is probably one of the hardest experiences spending a year in another country, but it has some great rewards. Koreans can be very hospitable, but just watch your back and stick up for your self, and communicate with your employer. They aren't all bad. Research the school, the area and the people you will be working for. :) Good luck!


Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2003 01:55:02 -0500

Dear Jon,

Please do not include my name in any way, but I have been working for a new school (aug.2002) named, BIT ENGLISH SCHOOL. It's a hogwan in Nammok (dong-gu), Ulsan City, South Korea. Until recently my experience was okay, despite the consistently cold temperature in my school and apt. Even though my contract stated that I got 6 sick days, when it came down to actually needing to use them, all hell broke loose. I was ordered to come in to work regardless of the state of my health, and my director showed zero concern about my health in general. This really upset me as I am a human being - not a robot. He also showed no understanding or empathy about how I felt as a foreign teacher in a different culture on the opposite side of the world. I know for a fact that he is more concerned about his business, than the well-being of his foreign employee, who he supposedly needs so much. Unfortunately for me, I was his first ever foreign employee, and it clearly showed by the way he treated me. I have now quit my job and am returning to Canada because I refuse to work for someone who demonstrates such an obvious disregard for not only my feelings but for my rights (as outlined in my contract) as well. I honestly feel that I gave that school everything that I possibly could, time, effort, supplies. It's just too bad that after all of the "positive" feedback I received form not only parents and employees but the director himself as well, that it has all come down to this.

Thank you for your time, and I hope this email helps to deter someone who would have the misfortune of going through the same bull *$#* as I did.

yours truly,

Subject: Sarah Han International English School

Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002

Dear Jon,

Okay where do I start? I have just come back from the Chun Chon Labor Office where I lodged a complaint against my previous employee, SARAH HAN INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH SCHOOL, myong - dong in Chun Chon, Kangwon province. I advise anyone being offered employment in this school to look elsewhere. She is a stupid little woman who lies and cheats and is physically abusive. Today she tried to push me out of a classroom in front of preschool children.

Of course it is all over severence pay and other labor standard act breaches. This is the second time I have been ripped off by a Korean hagwon owner ( Yes I know, I should have learnt the first time.) But at least the other guy was honest enough to let me know he was dodgy. This woman is meant to be a Christian, but sees no problem with repeatedly making promises she has no intention of keeping and then breaking her word.

It pains me greatly to be the sucker, as I have had so many wonderful experiences here, and I did actually enjoy teaching. My students were wonderful, well behaved, quick learners who made the teaching process rewarding. Many of my friends, including my husband, have had positive experiences here, and I know of at least three people who have re- signed. I guess the only way to safe guard yourself is to get everything in writing, get multiple copies of all agreements, never agree to anything verbally, READ THE KOREAN LABOR STANDARDS ACT BEFORE YOU SIGN A CONTRACT AND MAKE SURE YOUR CONTRACT COMPLIES, IF IT DOESN'T, DON'T SIGN!!!!!!!!

Obviously I can't stress this enough.

Thankyou for your web site, I wish I knew of it before...

Subject: High Society

Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2002 04:25:36 -0500

Hi Jon...please add this to your blacklist ASAP...I don't want anyone else getting screwed! The High Society hagwan in Iksan, Korea.....used to be called the World Children's English School but has recently changed names in hopes of dissipating a terrible reputation due to terrible management!!!

Please make sure this one gets posted! It's (the hagwan) worth missing !!!


Subject: Megaton Schools Ulsan

Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 13:58:48 +0000

Stay away from this expanding franchise. They ride you like a slave and stick you in crummy apartments. The chubby owner can't speak English and can't pay on time and his girlfriend is very demanding and controlling. When you do get your pay, it's preceded by a condescending lecture about your poor performance. The worst part is that they constantly ask you to teach extra classes but never offer extra pay. And they almost always ask you at dinner parties in front of everyone. Also, you're not aloud to discipline the students in any way because they are rich kids...classes are always chaotic. Take my advice. All of the schools in their Ulsan chain are the same.

Subject: good hogwan!

Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2002

My husband and I are very distressed to read about such horrific stories. We believe them because we've talked to a handful of harrassed teachers. I feel compelled to say that there are good hogwans and good directors and we're fortunate enough to be working for one, for those of you who are considering teaching. Prospective teachers have to be so cautious and, like Jon said, you need/MUST to talk to the foreigners presently working at the hogwan under consideration. Our director cares for us and takes good care of us. She has bestowed so many "gifts" on our family and has taken good care of us. The hogwan suffers from some typical cultural flaws, disorganization and uncleanliness, but nothing that we can't endure. We chalk it up to the "Korean way". When we request to turn up the heat, she cooperates (they tolerate cold better than we do) easily. And although she is a few days late paying our salary, when asked when she's going to pay it, she promises to do it within the day and she's good to her word.

Their ways are far from ours, but they are a country recovering from war and inner turmoil brought about from a history of suffering and corruption. We are sympathetic for those suffering from abuse; had we known read some of these stories prior to our arrival I doubt we would have come. I want those contemplating a stint in Korea to know that you must be cautious and guarded, but know that it's possible to find a very caring director who's running a reputable institute.

We are employed with Oh sung-sik English Club (it's a well known chain) and have not seen their name on the blacklist yet. The founder, Oh sung-sik, lived in the states for many years beforing establishing his chain. Perhaps he was influenced by the American way to run a business. I'm only guessing though.

Subject: Catholic University of Korea Songsim Campus Bucheon

Date: Thu, 07 Nov 2002 16:40:28

For those people looking for information on the Catholic University of Korea. I would not recommend working at Catholic University in Bucheon, Songsim campus. I have been in Korea for three years, and this has been the worse I have been treated. I have heard of a lot worse, but unless you are ready to engage in ass kissing activities and take all the crap, then dont go here. No respect is shown to the professors at all. No requests are considered. We are kicked off the tennis courts by other professors, yelled at by the security if we go out running and our request for a printer was refused. Just to name a few. It is painfully obvious that we are considered dirt.

The teacher who addressed these issues has been fired. He made no demands, just suggestions and concerns. So while the pay is better then some, and their has been no serious trouble for anyone who wishes to kiss ass. If you want a nice place to work, this is not it. One other thing, the director supposedly has a Ph.D. From Shelbourne University, If you do a little research on the place you will quickly discover it is one of those places you receive the spam from which offers degrees for about $969.00 to anyone. So ask yourself if you want to work for people like this? I dont, and will leave as soon as I find a new place to go.

Subject: United Language School in Sunhwa-Dong

Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2002

Unfortunately with much regret I would like to submit only one of the three United Language School in Sunhwa-Dong for the black list. The director Hui Soo Jey, stole my last paycheck, then lied and fabricated lie after lie in order to gain support for not paying me. He didn't even pay the Korean teachers. I ended up quiting. But I do like Korea and Koreans. So I am sad that this man acted in this manner.


Subject: Oedae Language School

Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2002

Dear Jon

I know of a school that really needs to be blacklisted. It is Oedae Language School in Daechi-dong, Seoul. I have just been fired from there, 3 months before completion of my contract. And I am the 7th consecutive teacher to be fired before their contracts are finished. Since this location opened up about 2 years ago they have fired EVERYONE of their teachers before the contracts are finshed. People need to warned to stay well clear of these assholes.

Subject: Black List Yes Schools

Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 09:43:26

When applying through the internet for a position, myself and my partner sent a photo.

The school replied and said they didn't hire 'black' teachers.

We replyed and told them about equal opportunities based on ability.

This is the reply (From Yes Schools):

Get over it. This is Korea, not New Zealand. Things don't work the same way here so if you can't deal with that, stay home.

Subject: Cherry Creek School in Suwon

Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002

Avoid Cherry Creek School in Suwon.

They have had a high staff turnover. Some teachers have lasted one or two weeks.

Air tickets have been asked to be returned, and they don't pay wages in the first week as its called staff training. Video cameras watch you. Lots of unnecessary paper work. Some salaries are bad, and teachers are judged on outward appearances.Many hirings and firings!

Subject: Namseoul University in Seonghwan-eup, Choongnam Province

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002

Please post in your website.

Namseoul University in Seonghwan-eup, Choongnam Province is a place to avoid at all costs. The students are very unruly and often display potential violent behavior towards the teachers. The Korean professors who teach English think they are all highly intelligent people, because they have degrees in linguistics and phonetics. They have no idea how to use the language for anything, which really speaks for their level of intelligence and understanding of English usage.

The president of the university has questionable morals. You do not want to have anything to do with him or any other staff members.

The police in Seonghwan-eup are corrupt. If you become involved in a police matter, most likely it will be a very bad experience. This is probably true for most of the Choongnam Provincial Police.

These people are also very racist. They use racist words in public, which I believe speaks for what kind of people they really are.

If you take a posting at this school, you are placing yourself in great risk.

Date: Thu, 17 Oct 2002 08:06:39 +0100 (BST)



Location: Pyeongchon Dong, Anyang City, Korea (and elsewhere)

Although Yes Youngdo English school offers an attractive holiday of 6 weeks, it is only a little comfort for all the unpaid report writing hours, abuse, and camera spying you are not aware of when you sign.

The managers Jonathan Hxx and BJ treat us like cattle and we are getting fired left right and centre, for little reason. We are all walking on egg shells here.

I know this school has become black listed, which doesn't surprise me. A new rule is brought into action every week. The latest is that compulsory blood tests are to be taken from every teacher once a month, and teachers have been told to "stop posting messages on Daves". The school viciously protects its reputation and will fire you at the drop of a hat, if they feel you are giving off a negative vibe.

Avoid this school at all costs. They will be wonderful until you sign. Don't make the same mistake as me.


Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 05:54:23 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: Re: Koje College, Geojedo, Gyeongsangnamdo

Dear Jon,

Please post this message on your website for the benefit of other potential victims at the school I used to teach at.

I am a former teacher at Koje College, in Geoje Island (South Gyeongsang Province) . I recently finished my contract there, and am now far away from there and feeling safe again. But I feel obligated to inform others about some recent incidents there.

The school has not only refused to pay my severance pay, but they are also telling me that I owe them money for staying in the dormitory, among other things (although housing is provided according to my contract as well as immigration sponsorship laws as well as Korean labor law). This school has made it very difficult for me to find additional work in Korea. The director is a habitual liar and a very disturbed individual. I would advise any prospective teacher to look elsewhere for a teaching position.

The director saw to it that my pay was withheld on more than one occasion during my stint at the school. He refused to recognize Korean labor law by not allowing me to quit my job there, despite my giving adequate notice, and despite having had another prospective teacher on hand to take my place, thereby causing problems for that teacher as well as myself. He attempted to have me evicted from the dormitory in which I was lodging, again blatantly disregarding Korean labor laws and immigration sponsorship laws which ensure that a school must provide accomodation along with proper remuneration for foreign hirelings, rather than tossing them out on the street when they are no longer held to be useful or instrumental for lucrative gain.

Therefore, be advised that Koje College is not a particularly comfortable or amenable locus in which to work, let alone one in which to function or develop as a professional EFL conversation instructor.

Not a nice place. Stay away from it.

Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002

Subject: Put Masan/Kimhae Hyundai Tranlation Acadamy....

Dear Jon,

Put MASAN/KIMHAE Hyundai translation hawgon on your black list.

To save readers time with all the woes I encountered I just want to say that no one got paid on time. What more do you need?

Thanks for providing this website..

Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 19:47:58 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: OXFORD Language Institute, Sasang Gu, Pusan

This is related to Oxford language Institute in Sasang Gu, Pusan near Home Plus Shopping center. The owners name is jane. She doesnt have a clue about owning or operating a Hogwan. I took that job in an emergency, I needed a job immediately. What a mistake. All I heard is yelling and screaming, children and teachers are freezing in the cold because she doesnt turn the heat on to save money in the coldest days even. She cocnstantly yells and screams and makes the teacher go and hand out papers in front of public schools to advertise. Anyway after having one too many altercations with her, I gave her a months notice to quit. I had a horrible experience, she hired an illegal worker after me and there was an illegal teacher working there for 3 months before me. She is simply nuts and she beats the crap out of little students after freeezing them in sub zero temperatures in the classroom. As a matter of fact I am thinking BOUT GOING THERE WITH A POLICE OFFICER AND TAKING HER TO COURT FOR HARRASMENT.


Date: Sept 2, 2002

Subject: EPIK

Hi, I just stumbled on your web sight and saw the Korea-bashing and needed to add to it. I was a 1997 victim of the EPIK program. I was lied to in the United States about the position and all of the details. The fact that the U.S. government allows people to recruit from Korean consulates is pretty sick. I was put in a shack in a small town and told to sleep with the lights and TV on because homeless people were used to climbing in the screenless windows every night. I also had no running water. My contract said I would be in a large city housed with another foreigner. I was supposed to be "team-teaching" in a junior highschool. The only problem was that not one teacher spoke English in the town. I was expected to teach at all four schools in the town and also teach the teachers English. When I tried to change the situation it got worse. I met with the supervisor and he lied to me and had hoped that stringing me along that I would capitulate. When he became physical one afternoon I knew I was in over my head. That was the day when he tried to get my passport to "make copies" for his office. I told him I would return after lunch with it and I never did. I strung him along for a few days by telephone trying to negotiate a new deal but he continued to put me off for another day. He kept promising to send me to a place called, "Boen" (maybe?) but it was always another day. I gave him one last chance and when he failed I told him I would be in his office on Monday (this was a Saturday) and I would give him my passport. I left Korea on Sunday and escaped to Japan and have been here for 5 years now. I have many more deatils about my time there but I must be going. If you are at all interested in anything more I would be happy to tell you. Thanks, Keith

Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002

Subject: MIT Language Institute, Boeun, Chungbuk.

Hi Jon

Another one for the list. MIT Language Institute formerly trading as SEL Language Institute in Boeun, Chungbuk. Our director fired us with five days notice with no reason and was really difficult about severence and air tickets. Also expected overtime without pay and spies on 'her' teachers. The Korean teachers beat and verbally abuse the students. Sick days and holidays were also forbidden.3 out of the past 4 sets of teachers have left early - AVOID -


Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002

Subject: Cambridge Language School in Jeongeup

Dear Jon,

Avoid Cambridge Language School in Jeongeup. The director doesn't provide health insurance. I had to share a house with a convicted felon, and he wouldn't tell me what he went to prison "many times" for! The school has the worst behavior in the city. However, good materials are provided. AVOID.

Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 06:02:27

Subject: Dong-gu Castle Language School in Taegu.

Just want to tell you about Dong-gu Castle Language School in Taegu. It's probably not the worst school on this list, but I had enough problems with them to strongly caution anyone who is considering working there.

Firstly, and not surprisingly, a very high turnover rate both in Korean and Foriegn teachers. I was there nine months, and when I left only one teacher had been there longer than me. The entire staff rotated several times. I can think of seven different foreign teachers in as many months, and god knows how many Korean teachers. At one point some kids went through three of four teachers in a month.

I received nothing the contract promised, with the exception of monthly payment which they were generally pretty good about. When I enquired about my health insurance I was told it was only for car accidents, and I had to pretend to be a Mr.. K**. Granted a lot of people in Korea are named Mr.. K**, but I still don't think I'd pass for one. I gave them plenty of notice for my vacation: three weeks to be precise. This is much more notice than they gave me before assigning me a new class, which was typically about five minutes before said class started. They of course told me I couldn't take the vacation specified in my contract. When I said that others teachers in the past had taken vacations, I was told the rules had changed. Then they told me I could go on vacation if I'd accept a pay cut. There's the matter of airfare and severance, but I'll get to that later. They didn't do this to me personally, but they did to another foreign teacher. They wrote up a new contract and then signed her name to it. They also told another foreign teacher to lie, and say she was my girlfriend if immigration came around.

When I'd been there about nine months they took me aside and said I'd taken too many sick days (4 out of 10 in 9 months, 2 months of which I had pneumonia and bronchitis). Then they asked me to quit, but said they wanted me to stay another month until they found a replacement. Later that week they tell me they've found a replacement, and to be out of my apartment in four days. Naturally no airfare or severance. Just to make things fun I'm broke, and there's nowhere to stay because it's the middle of the World Cup. Another Castle school did the same thing to one of their foreign teachers at nine months also.

Those are most of the facts that I can remember, although I've certainly forgotten things. The rest is just my opinion, which happened to be the same as a lot of other people who passed through. The director of the school Mrs.. KXXX is an unpleasant person to say the least. When a new teacher arrives you can almost set your watch by the amount of time it takes for them to go from cheerful and enthusiastic to the picture of pure misery. Koreans generally describe her at that point as "not nice." She is two faced. Sounds like a judgment, but it's the most accurate description I can think of. Had Korean witnesses from time to time. Hopefully you won't meet her. I could tell you about being the only foreign teacher there and being sick with pneumonia, and being told I wasn't working hard enough, but I think it would be redundant.

Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 01:48:16 -0400

Subject: (SLP) Sogang Language Program Institute, Hwajeong-Dong, Dukyang-Ku, koyang-city

I wanted to report on (SLP) Sogang Language Program Institute, Hwajeong-Dong, Dukyang-Ku, koyang-city.

I don't even know where to begin. They don't pay sick time nor training days properly. They invent bills that don't exist on your pay. At best they always pay severence more than 3 months late only after you beg for it on the phone. If they don't like you, the school won't pay you at all. Best of all, the president has been in jail for assaulting a teacher with whom he had a relationship.

I could go on. Lack of vacation pay (as is guaranteed in the contract), abusive treatment (screaming at teachers in front of students without cause), and a generally poor work environment with a constant turnover of korean and foreign teachers (as high as 5 teachers leaving in 4 days). And, as is normal, the management will make up anything on the phone to get you to come to the school, lying about your pay, living conditions and whatever you are interested in.

Even the contract they handed me once i arrived was different than the one they faxed me in at home (minor details like salary were "accidently" significantly lower).

Stay far away from this school.

The only benefit is that the other teachers you work with are exceptionally nice people. But of course, they won't be around for long.

normally mellow bob

Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 09:42:47 +0300

Subject: LCI Kids Club, Daegu (Susung-gu branch)

Hello, I am currently a teacher at LCI Kids Club, Daegu (Susung-gu branch). My relationship with Kids Club and my employers has been one of persistent frustration and abuse. My employers (the Kxxxx) not only commit tax fraud, but where threatening when confronted about the difference between the tax taken out of my paycheck and that which was written down on the official tax form. They only refunded part of my income tax after I gave them a friend's income tax receipt that he had received with his tax refund from another hagwon franchise. A month later most, but not all, of my 2001 income tax was returned with the exact same tax form I had given them, except my name instead of my friends was inserted. Thus, proving that they do not file taxes officially and had been pocketing my overcharged tax money. They do not provide me with medical insurance (although they did give me an old medical insurance policy form with no date and no official name on it when I first started), and when questioned they said that i shouldnt complain because I was actually benefiting from not ever having to pay for medical insurance. And I am now experiencing more difficulties with my employers regarding tickets home and travel dates.

I have read many mixed reviews of teachers experiences with the LCI kids club franchise on Dave's ESL, but nothing is mixed about my opinion of the LCI KIds Club Daegu,Susung-gu hagwon. AVOID it like the plague. Aside from the poor teaching materials, lack of english-speaking staff, excess paperwork and preparation required, the Kxxxx are abusive, swindlers who will try every trick in the book to make money off of you and keep you quiet. They are disrespectful, unaccommodating, and constantly act under the notion that you owe them (time, money) for your employment opportunity, I can provide more information if necessary, but I hope this at least provides a case for avoidance of the Kxxxx and a blacklist of their Daegu, Susung-gu hagwon. Thankyou very much,

Wed, 15 May 2002

Subject: Many Schools:

The following list is made up of institutes or schools who have had repeated complaints by native teachers for sundry reasons. In certain cases I am personally familiar with the mentioned organization but for the vast majority I am not. This list will not be posted as being unable to ascertain the veracity of the complaints firsthand, it would be unfair of me to publicly say the claims are true. This list is intended only to advise interested parties that the mentioned institutions bear an exceptionally close look before associating with them:

1) "LIKE"---everywhere. 2) Kyonggi University, 3) Kids college-"babysitting", 4) Wonderland-"babysitting, 5) Chinhae Foreign Language Institute, 6) Top schools-everywhere, 7) Choi Younhee Language School, 8) Global-many locations, 9) Namhae college, 11) Best, 12) Sisa, 13) Seattle Language Academy, 14) Mido---personal experience--avoid entirely. 15) Manpower-personal experience-avoid entirely, 16) Anam Language School, 17) Honam University, 18) ECC, EMI, Youngin Junior College, 20) Kyung?Hee University, 21) sorry about numeration but there are always changes and I just don't have the time to make corrections. YBM, 23) Yonsei University, 24) ODEAE-personal experience-bad everywhere from the word go, 25) World Vision, 26) MRI, 27) EWHA, 28) English World, 29) HBS consulting. 30) Woosung. 31) EMI- Ulsan, MRI., 32) Mr Kang, Dong?Hwan the director of the Sogang Language Program has been charged with the rape of a native speaker. Enough said?, 33) English Friends, 35) Global in Kwang Yang city dosen't pay severence, 36)?Woo Song is a lie, they are associated with a university but thats a scam. They want to work your Nixon off and make money. I am not knocking working your Nixon off and making?money but they need to be upfront with you. 37)?Pup-yong Global. By the way, the city of Puhang is considered by Koreans to be the armpit of their country. I went to look around before accepting a job. It is a pit in all ways and not worth a year of your life for 2-3 times the normal salary. I was recently upbraided for mentioning a chain name and not diferentiating between schools which are associated with that chain the point is folks, these affiliated schools use a chain name for advertising purposes. The affiiates can be good or rotten. Do not let the number of schools affiliated with a chain sway you. In fact, the larger the chain the more possibility of rotten apples in the company barrel. You are much more expendable too. Some of the chains are having their reputations tarnished by a few of their schools. Here are a few that I know are chains: Ding Ding Dang, BCM. Wonderland, CYLS, Global, World, Like, Kid's College, Yale, Pagoda, ECC, Little Campus, English 20-20, YBM, TOP. Write to me at any time for more info. Itta. 38) Kwak, 39)kukje, Remember, your contract in Korea isn't worth yesterdays trash. They will never respect your rights no matter what. You are a foreign devil and don't forget it. Your job in Korea depends on an intimate contact, an instinct that you and your employer will be compatible. Trust your gut feeling and get your bum on the net so that you are not "raped by a Hakwon director". Regretfully, some of my list was lost but here as always. Here are some additions: B&B Consulting, Kwanak ECC near Naksongdae station, EOS in Suwon, EMI in Ulsan, Choi Youn Hee Language School. Before you commit, send me your contract. I'm a friend. The Great Language Institute, Global Education and Culture Center. To the best of my knowledge ECO is also ODEAE. Avoid like the plague, nothing but bad news about these creatures. Also,Sungsa or Seo Taegu ECC. A new report is that Pagoda is now on the skids. EWHA is hiding behind the new name of Princeton Academy. They are bad news. Hawon University, EOS-Suwon, ELS-Taegu all have bad reports. Pretty depressing. I do know of good schools. Avoid S.O.T in Seoul , Howon University, Jxxx Kxxx in Shillim, Ja Sung in Uijongbu, Olympic Wonderland in Kangdong-gu, Yonsei University has a rotten rep. Wonderland in Ilsan. Latest word is to avoid ALL Wonderlands. United Language Schools, Day by Day Language Institute, Oregon Language Institute-Taegu, Acaemy of Foreign Languages Institute in Kimhae,Korea Education Media (KEM), English Friends Academy, Dongseo University in Pusan, YBM/SISA. I realize that there are repeats in this list but I don't edit it so the repeated ones will really get the readers attention. Taewoo phonglish in Sungsoo, Chonan University, Kyungpook National University in Taegu, Sisa in Kangnung, and sochon, Kyunghee university, Seoul Ed. Dev. Looks like a bad scene but there are a minority of reputable schools. I think that you should choose another country but the Korean women are really beautiful. Avoid Wondweland in Uijongbu,

Date: Tue, 14 May 2002

Subject: Global education and Culture center, Suwon

Hello Jon.

My name is Casey,and I would like you to add a school to your list.It is called Global education and Culture center.It is located in Suwon South Korea.The reason I want this school added is because of the following reasons.First the pays

I was promised 2,000,000\ before I arrived only to have them chamge it too 1,600,000 when I arrived.they also informed me that the pay day was on the 18th of every month for the prevouus I would not be getting paid until the second month.This turned out to be not true it in fact was actually the third month.When i asked for an advance i was told that the school was having money problems.this was true because i was there for 6 months and never got paid on time or in full.There is also the problem with the apt.I was told that i would have my own place,once again when I arrived I was asked to live with my boss until the apt was ready.I lived with him and his family the whole time I was there.I never had any privacy and was treated like a 10 year old.If you want to enjoy your time in korea do not go and work for this school you will regreat it.

Date: Mon, 13 May 2002

Subject: Swaton Language School for Kids (franchise school)

Dear Jon,

Please post this message ASAP.

Swaton Language School for Kids is a franchise school in Korea. They are ran by Ixxxxxx and Jungxxx. So stay away from those names as well. Swaton in CheongJu should be avoided at all costs. This school has only been open for 5 months and they have already lost 4 teachers, one being Korean. I just pulled a midnight run because I (and the other teachers) were not paid the full salary. I was told this was because their business isn't doing that good right now. Is that my fault? I have a contract, but that doesn't matter to the owners. The owners thought that they would get rich quick. But for any business it takes time to make money. Furthermore, there is no health insurance and pension. They just decided to start taking out taxes this past month, and back taxed all of us. I know that this money isn't going to the proper place either.

My coworkers and I have been lied to, cheated to and treated with absolutly no respect. The 30 hours have turned into 60 hours with all the extra work. Everyday it's something new. Phone tests, open class with parents, come in on saturdays, monthly reports, weekly reports, daily reports and so much more. I really feel sorry for the Korean teachers there too. They are stuck there and have no choice to say no or do anything about the bad treatment.

I just want this to be posted to save other foreigners from a big headache and problems. No one deserves to be treated the way that myself and other teachers there are being treated.

The only good thing that I can say about the school is the housing is nice. I would rather live on the streets though than be treated the way that I had been treated.

Thank you for posting this message.

PS now I am back in Thailand working for my old boss and I am happy.

Date: Sun, 12 May 2002 22:57:38 +0900

Subject: Haba playschool of Jeju Island

Please place Haba playschool of Jeju Island on the blacklist.

The directors do not speak English but they certainly yell very loudly. The first months' pay from Haba was 10 days late. And now my second months pay has been refused. I went to Mr. Joxxx, the director of Haba, and asked for my salary which was already a week late. Instead of an explanation or apology for his tardiness he became very angry and said only, "Go home." Now, with the help of some Korean friends, I am fighting for my money.

Besides the money issue, the director and his wife are very unpleasant people to work for. And if that's not enough to dissuade you, how about teaching English to a one year old baby.

Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 23:36:56 +0900

Subject: Jung Chul in the Kangnam Station district


My names Aaron Cha and I want you to black list Jung Chul in the Kangnam Station district.The owner black listed me and cancelled my visa so I haven't been able to get a job since.I've suffered for over six months.

I quit Jung Cul because they didn't want to pay all my rent.My contract stated that housing would be covered by the Institute.

If you have any questions please Email me at

Yours Truly,

Aaron Charpxxxxxxxx

Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 16:07:12 +1300

Subject: JungChul Academy in Ilsan

HI, Just wanting to blacklist JungChul Academy in Ilsan. When I first began there everyone was very nice. However there is no curriculum in place, complaints from parents about everything under the sun, the boss had to be badgered to pay on time. You were always being told you were doing something wrong. The bosses could not speak english which is crap and the translator always translated things wrong. They were always trying to come up with some new bright idea like phone conversations, comments and trying to blame someone for complaints.

Subject: Cherry Creek School/Kids School Kwangmyung

Date: Sat, 02 Mar 2002

Hi Jon,

I just felt it was necessary to inform you about some of the goings on at this hogwon:

- altering of contracts;

- no payment of enforced over-time and sleepovers;

- half pay for "training" period (no training takes place - training period determined by them);

- seizing of plane tickets and sometimes passports;

- firing without due cause simply because they don't like you and failing to pay for work or return ticket home (this did not happen to me, but another employee);

- enforced accomodationbond and security deposit taken from salary without informing you of this (not in contract);

- firing of employees just before their contract is completed so as to avoid paying the bonus.

In addition there are the usual things such as no teaching program at all, no resources, continual lying (to you and parents), constant classroom observation, and taking gifts given by parents (in particular monet at Christmas and Chusok). They also frequently enter your accomodation... This place is bad news.



And the response

Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002

This letter was posted and 95% of them are not true. How do I know? I used to work there.

For altering of contract, there was none. There were some changes made and they have always asked before things were decided.

No payment enforced? they had many different teachers and all of them had different contracts. The one who wrote this must have 40hpw contract and any over time was given for fact and is recorded and reported to the government. Yes, half payment was given but they have informed that it will be so for the durration of 1month for this person's contract. seizing of plane tickets? depending on how the wording goes I guess.. but yes hakwon kept the ticket but it was given back to the person when the person left and you can ask the teacher who did get his back. The person who wrote this didn't had the tickets kept by the hakwon. sezing of the passport was never done. only person the hakwon fired was an australian male who was hitting children. think of it, if your child was being hit, would you like to have that teacher kept at the class for your child? As for accomdationbond.. it's legal to keep a security deposit. Because the person who wrote this left before the contr! act was over and didn't say anything to the school and just disappealed to their own country, the children had to suffer.

And as for firing the employees.. the married couple who left without saying that they will end the contract.. is not considered firing. They left without any notification after 11month. As for the male from the couple, didn't wanted to work. Yes, there is no teaching program such as text books, but different resource to use. constant classroom obervations.. were notified to teachers that it will be done. taking gifts given by parents... money was never and as for gifts given, they shared with teachers and have told teachers who brought them in. entering accomodation is notified. When there is something to be fix that was said by the teacher and with the permittion(teacher had to give the key to hakwon personal) was only time when place was entered. And as for name Darcie, there was no such person named worked at this place. I am not saying that ! this place is god given place. but the person who wrote this is lying to their teeth. This is a fact from a real person who worked at CCS KwangMyung. There was a married couple who worked there. They were both loved by the children and the female teacher has put lots of effort into her children.

She even made class plans and all the things for her husband because he didn't want to teach but liked the pay. She was teaching preschool and husband didn't have his preschool class at the time. When hakwon asked him to teach the class after few months into their contract, they left without notification. They didn't pay for the bills. Hakwon didn't enforced international suit while I have suggested to do so. I have been getting less payment then those teachers, and had to do double the work. I know the details of what was going on until I have left that place. What I really like to point out is that, don't put up a such lying letters just to satify yourself. Because of! the persons like above, the teachers who actually work there is getting blamed. The people who have passed by that hakwon and still teaching there are great people. Now Darcie, you have wrote things of bad side that you have made up (most of them), why don't you put up a letter about you working out of the hakwon, teaching private? What about accepting money from one of the student's mom? How do I know this? that mother called me and asked me to accept money. I have told that person I will not and it will cost me my job, but she said that you did. She wasn't only one who said that. Anyhow. the wife did do great work. If any hakwon wants to hire this woman, she is great teacher but as for the husband? if you want a person who would put effort into it then you can hire him too. Wish she had chance to say bye to those children....

Thank you for reading my scrambled letter. Kandy

Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2002

Subject: Kyungnam University, Masan

Dear Jon,

A warning to all job applicants:

I had an interview for an English teaching position at Kyungnam University, Masan on November 11th, 2001. On December 5th, 2001, I received the following email from the interviewer:

"This email is to notify you of an official offer of a teaching position here at Kyungnam University. I would appreciate it if you could give me an "official" response via email, and then I will submitt all of your paperwork to the hiring committee for the preperation of your contract and sponsorship."

I duly accepted the offer and my email was acknowledged as having been received.

Being confident as to the solidity of this message I declined two further interviews at other institutions and waited patiently for a contract to arrive, which I presumed would be nearer to my start date of March 1st, 2002.

On February 18th, I telephoned the University and was told that the man who had offered me the job was no longer in charge and had returned to the U.S. I was also told, "there is no job for you here". No apology was offered and no explanation as to why I had not been informed of this.

Yours sincerely


Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2002 20:32:51 +1100 (EST)

Subject: Sejong Hogwon in Yang Sun City 30 minutes from Busan

Dear Sir Madam,

I am a New Zealander and I have had quite a bad experience teaching English in Korea.And in particular I would like to list Sejong Hogwon in Yang Sun City 30 minets from Busan.At the start of {2001} was lied to right from the beginning back in NZ.I was told that I would get my own single private apartment.Just before I went there,I was asked if I would like to live at the directors apartment for two weeks as a cultural experience.

Well the cultural experience turned into three months during this time,I had to live with his whole family,his mother his wife and his children.I had no freedom privacy or individuality.During this time I frequently asked him to provide the promised apartment,which was also stipulated in my contract.After all this he said that there was an apartment.It was just down the road and he told me to take a look at it, and tell him what I thought.

The apartment was an absolute dump.It was a dirty little hut that had no bathroom no furniture or anything in it.The toliet was was a small shed about ten meters from the hut.It was a long drop toliet which had no flush system.It was dirty filthy and disgusting.So I told him my opinion about the hut etc.After this he told me that he couldn't afford a decent apartment and asked me if I could stay with his fairly for the rest of the contract.

I told him that I could not do what he wanted.After that I arranged a good cheap apartment through some other English teachers that I knew in the area.He did not agree to this.His excuse to me was that it was to far from the school.But I found out that he said that he did not want to invest that much money in a teacher.So I quit that job but he would not give me a letter of release until I paid him 500,000 won. I'm pretty sure it's illegal under Korean law to charge for a letter of release.

The director there has no excuses as his English is excellent.He spent five years in Australia during that time he achieved a university education.He understands the western cultural value system of privacy, feedom and individuality very well. But he couldn't care less about western people and their culture. And in my case he just wanted me to live with him and his family,so that he could manipulate control and monitor me,as well as geting free English lessons.On the outside he seems like a very nice caring and considerate man.But on the inside he is full of lies deviousness and dishonesty he couldn't care about you or your cultural values or making your stay in Korea a good experience.He only sees you as a business proposition and his aim is to save and make as much money as he can.

As far as my teaching experience at the school is concerned. My time table was continually changed and I was continually shunted into different classrooms in the school.So I was unable to get into a good teaching rythum or routine.I ended up sharing the computer room with one of the Korean computer teachers.I didn't like this as this room largely consisted of glass doors and windows were everybody could peer in.And often the other children would disturb the classes which I found extreamly frustrating and annoying.So be warned and beware do not work at Sejong Hogwon,Yang San city thirty minets from Busan.The director {owner} of the school is nothing but a lier.

Last but not least I went through an agent named sally k*** formally of Gold Valley.She said that if anything went wrong,that she would help and that she was my friend. I went to her for help during my time at the school.But she didn't help and when I quit I asked her for to help me get another job.Her excuses were that the company didn't help anyone that didn't finish their contract.And that her only responsibility was to introduce me to the school.And her last excuse was that she wouldn't help me because I had a British accent and the schools that she recruited for wanted a teacher with an American or Canadain accent.

Also she only gave the school a two month guarantee on the recruiting fee.So she made sure that if their were any problems she could just take her money and run.All this amounted to the fact that she washed her hands off me.I'm not sure who she works for now or if she is still in the teacher recuirting business.As the web site doesn't seem to exist anymore.But I would like to list her as well.

The reason I am telling you about my experiences of the above school and recruiting company is that recently.I was offered another job in Yang San City and I told the experience to the prospective school.She rang Sejong Hogwan and the director told more lies about me.So I am not putting up with these kind of lies any more.I'm going to put this school on as many Internet blacklists as I can. And I am going to register the school at all the English speaking embassies and consulates in Korea.Hope to hear from you soon.

Subject: Kid's Herald in Pyungchon, Anyang Korea

I would caution anyone who wants to work for Kid's Herald in Pyungchon, Anyang Korea. The Korean head teacher is a racist b*tch and she hates the sight of foreigners. You will get no respect and you will have no self esteem left after you finish working here. The Korean teachers constantly misunderstand what is being said and they bring their version of the info. to the boss who doesn't ask us foreigners about our version of what happened. The hate toward the foreign teachers just builds and builds. They are all racist and they hate working with foreigners. They never tell us anything in advance and threaten with lawsuits and so on.


Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2002 20:20:32 -0400

Dear Jon,

Through the telling of our experience, this message serves the purpose of warning people interested in teaching in Korean hogwans, or more specifically, of warning those foreign or Korean people interested in working at Andong Wonderland, Ltd.--one specific school under the national company of the greater Wonderland, one of the most significant and apparently reputable such businesses in the market.

The Wonderland Language Institutes, the first of which I believe was opened in 1994, have at last count 91 different schools located throughout Korea. While it is said that the company is of good standing, several recruitment agencies have admitted that some of these are not recommendable, and even some have been black-listed, so to speak. To these the name of ANDONG WONDERLAND should be added.

Our reason for stating is a harsh dissatisfaction with our employer, Mr. W*, under whom Nadia and I worked from November of 2000 to November of 2001.

Our main concern regards the severence pay which he has NEVER PAID, the total amount of which was around 2,600,00 won (approx. 3100 $can). We were told that this amount would be paid before we left, but on our last night, the date was pucched to the end of November. After that, it was pushed to the end of December--a LIE which he fabricated in order to protect his own-self image. Then, the date was pushed to January 15th, which has since passed. Note that we have called and written many times, but all to no avail.

This has angered us significantly. This money was crutial to our return; but not only that, it is our money, for which we had worked quite hard. This 3000-odd dollars is STOLEN MONEY PUT INTO THE BOSS'S POCKETS.

Not once have we been difficult, and often we have shown great tolerence before his INCOMPETENCE both as a employer and as a decent human being. THERE IS NO HONOUR BEHIND THIS MAN, Mr. W*.

Our RETURN TICKETS themselves took much obstinate demanding and verification on our part, as always the awaited date of departure was pushed beyond the completion of our contract. After a year in a foreign country, we did not need to experience such STRESS during a period which should have been joyous.

Also, Nadia, Kirsten (another teacher at the time) and myself had worked four months of intensive over-time. This, we had agreed upon when we were first warned about the prospect, was only supposed to last one month at the most--but as always LIES and FABRICATIONS were used as devices of MANIPULATION, playing with our naive trust in a man which supposedly--and should have--treated us with respect.

It also comes to mind that Mr. W* was taken into court, and found GUILTY of a certain affair which involved him not paying our old head-teacher.

In all, our experience does not paint a pretty picture of the man nor of the school. Thus: AVOID ANDONG WONDERLAND--it makes one think of a monkey-operation founded on deceit and falsities.

Still greater, we wish to call WONDERLAND LANGUAGE SCHOOLS into this as well, for not assuming the responsibility and initiative of verify schools under its name. What good is a bureaucracy is naught favorable comes of it, and no responsible leadership assumed?

To those who have read, we thank you for your interest.

Francois Ouellette

Nadia Robichaud


Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002

Greetings Jon,

I submitted a warning sometime ago.You had advised me to be more clear. I will try this time.

I want to warn teachers, interested in working in Korea, as well as the recruiters out there about this language institute. The name is commonly known as ECC Eunpyung. It is in the northwest corner of the capital,Seoul. To be clear,I worked for this institute for 4 years. I had seen many teachers both Korean and Native English come ago in that time,as well as 4 academic directors(they are responsible for the performance of the teachers they hire). I have worked with competant directors and as of late some not so competant.

Over four years I gained much responsibility and what I thought was respect. I recruited teachers,trained and assured them that it was a good school. As long as I was there to help everyone. I became the senior teacher and also the assitant to the academic director.

I did not break my contract or leave because of ill treatment. In my time there I watched the changes in the overall ESL industry in Korea. Such as better pay,hours etc.

This ECC institute does not feel it necessary to change with the time.The owner has said and I quote "Teachers need and want my money".Not realizing that teachers don't need or want 'less' money for working more hours than other schools who pay more money for the same hours of work.Also the owner of the school does not take an active part in the business. Over four years of working there I can honestly say that she may visit the office 3 times a month. Not the way to run a school I think.

The academic director I worked closely with during my last contract did not take initiative in improving the work standards of the employees. Not until after I made it aware to the management that teachers would not perform and the quality of teaching would drop if the conditions didnt change. The director also lacked the ability to communicate to both Korean and Foreign Native teachers. Due to her own inabilities and lack of experience. Again the onus falls on the owner who is not interested in proper education but the inflation of her wallet.

The owner states that contract conditions cant change in the middle of a contract. They altered my contract at my request. Therefore the claim is a lie.They can and do change the conditions. They also do not adequately inform new teachers of the duties and responsibilities a teacher has to follow. Yet

another flaw in the academic directors inability to do her job.

Why did I stay so long if its such a bad school? I rose through the ranks there at a quick rate. Gaining extra responsibility all the time.I did the job as assistant director to better help the school and the staff to perform well. I left because I DRAW THE LINE AT HELPING STUPIDITY FLOURISH IN THE WORKPLACE. Especially when management is the source of the stupidity.

Final note. Just BEWARE of this institute. I worked closely with them for a long time trying to give them a good reputation. They did not learn. DO NOT WORK THERE.

Also, a teacher did quit before his contract was complete, he followed certain procedures to split amicably but they refused. So he didnt show work. They contacted and told him he was fired.he said fine. They went to immigration told them he fled. with no notice. untrue there were witnesses to the phone conversation between the teacher and academic teacher. The academic director tries to act tough,she tried with me as well,making idle threats. A lawsuit pending would not look good on an institutes record.Not to mention the defamation of a teacher from his or her employer.

And finally, myself and the teacher mentioned above quit,so did 2 korean teachers. all at the same time. all of us veteran teachers. with experience and the truth at how the institute is poorly managed. i say again DONT WORK for them

thank you,

Subject: Kids Herald School- Kangnam Campus

Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002

Dear Jon,

A word to the wise....if you are planning to make the move to Korea to teach English please beware of the following school and the following people. Kids Herald School- Kangnam Campus which is located in Ilwon-Dong. If you are taking the subway it is on the orange line and you get off at the Daecheong stop. The people running the school are Mr and Mrs. Song who are probably in my oppinion the most vile, snake like, cold and heartless people I have met in my lifetime. I came to Korea in September. The school had only been open for a few weeks when I started and at first all seemed fine. My first night there I went out with the other foreign teachers and they filled me in on the situation so far. In the first week of the school being open the Songs had fired a supervisor and a foreign teacher..I was a little shocked at this information. My first oppinion of the school was good and the Songs went out of their way for me to make sure I was happy and comfortable..but the act didn't last for is just their way of sucking you in..they did it to all of the foreign teachers there. Oh I should also mention the Songs do not speak English which makes life very difficult if there are things you need to discuss.

From my experience in Korea this Kids Herald School is one of the only Hagwons with Korean English teachers working there. There are 4 Korean English teachers who work there..and frankly they can't even string an English sentence together most of the you can imagine the quality of English the students are getting..I have no problem naming the Korean teachers there because if you decide to take a job there you should at least know who to avoid...first off there is W*****...she seems sweet at first but she is a vulture who is working hand in hand with the Songs...don't tell her anything or do anything outside of work with her...because she will tell the Songs everything you do and make up stories about you if she feels like it...she was hanging out with one of the foreign male teachers for awhile and when he didn't respond to her advances she went and told the Songs he had a collection of porn in his apartment and that his girlfriend was a prostitute...all because he wasn't interested in her..let me just say the Songs took the Korean teachers side and the foreign teacher had problems after that...if you are around W***** it is best to speak English very fast so she does not understand what you are saying..because like I mentioned every word you say gets back to the Songs through her.

Next there is C****..most of the male foreigners thinks she is a "hottie" but she is evil and vicious just like W*****..don't let the pretty face fool you..she's hand and hand with the Songs as well and will do anything in her power to screw over a foreign teacher..the other Korean English teachers at the school..will help you..but remember when it comes down to it..they will take the Korean teachers side everytime even if it means screwing you into the ground! The school having Korean English teachers causes more problems than I can explain because this will be a huge posting by the time I am finished anyway...the Korean English teachers were doing placement tests, level tests and they couldn't even speak proper many many students suffered due to their poor judegment and lack of English ability which caused them to drop out of the school. If students leave the foreign teachers get in more trouble than you can imagine...if things go wrong it is definitly your fault as a foreigner..the Koreans make no mistakes!

When the foreign teachers suggested it would be best for them to take care of testing new students and placing students..we were pretty much laughed is a sad fact that the Songs don't give a damn about the education that is being provided to their students and the quality of English..all they care about is the almighty won they are getting for each head that walks off the school bus. This is true of most Korean Hagwons..but I went to Korea because I love kids and care about them and wanted them to learn as much from me as possible...but you can throw that notion out the window when you start working for the Songs. When you walk through the door in the morning for your shift they want you to act like a clown...they expect you to wander through the school looking for them if they aren't around when you come into the school..just to say goodmorning..if you don't..they get really pissy about aren't allowed to leave the school on your'd think that would be your own time right?? WRONG...they own you..they even told can't even blink without their you are NOT allowed to be sick..they tell you that..even though you are allowed sick days in your contract..they won't honor them...oh you can call in sick in the morning and they will act like it is ok..but a few hours later they will be at your apartment knocking on your door to drag you to matter how sick you are..they don't care...they make up bs lines like..oh the parents are calling and complaining that you aren't at school..something they say often..which is not true..I know for a fact..if they are angry with you for something they won't tell you they are..they'll say a parent called in a complaint so you don't get upset with them..99% of the time..this is absolute don't fall for it..oh yeah..split shifts..and lots of them..also forget over time at this school..they are the only school I have encountered that pay you by the minute not the hour or the class..and even if you keep accurate records of how often you work..if they owe you overtime they will find a way to not pay you....they'll tell you your math is incorrect....or something to that effect. They also claim there is no weekend work involved in your contract with them..haha again BS! and any work you do on the don't get paid for..and if you fail to show up..they'll come knocking at your's a proven fact. The Songs are also completely disorganized and it shows in the daily opporations of the school..things are falling apart at the seams at that school...and they take none of the all rests on the foreign teachers shoulders...and they love to scream and yell at you in Korean..especially Mr Song..and then they get even more angry when you don't understand....they also like to check up on you all the time..forget having your own life...they have the security gaurds in the apartment building watching you..if they find out you are having a party..they'll show up unannounced...not a pleasent experience..they ask you many many questions and want to know indepth details of your life...don't tell them..they'll twist everything to screw you when they can...they've done it..only to the foreigners I should add..the Korean teachers can do whatever they like and live their their oppinion the foreigners are below them..we even had a supervisor tell us we were low class compaired to the there are the cameras...they watch your every move...when you teach you are always on the tv screens in their office..volume on...and they have no problems walking into your class and yelling at you in Korean in front of your students..we had this happen to one foreign teacher..and she was very embarrassed after the scene the Songs put on..

If that isn't enough information to keep you away from the school..I'll give you some more..they had a foreign teacher who started the day before I did...he was a great teacher and the students loved him..however the Songs did not..he had problems with another hagwon before he started at Kids Herald..and he needed to get a new alien registration card and get some visa information changed..the Songs said no problem..however they didn't get off their lazy asses to take care of it...and in October the laws changed in Korea stating you can not get work visas without a University degree...this teachers had TESOL and College...anyway..two of the other foreign teachers found resumes lying around and I found a visa application form for a new foreign teacher..and we didn't need any new teachers at the time...anyway to make a long story short..they had a teacher working illegally for them for 3 months..and than canned him because they were to lazy to get the proper information that was needed for him to work there..and then after he found out he was out of there..they had the nerve to ask him to work until the new foreign teacher arrived!!! but they wanted him out of his apartment?! and they withheld his pay...well he was smart and did a run...that was the middle of November 2001...things got much much worse at the school after that...they went through another that is 2 supervisors and 2 foreign teachers in the first 3 months of them being open...great for business huh? It got to the point where we all were very very miserable working there...only the students kept our spirits was like working in a prison camp and we were the prisoners...eventually things just got to far out of hand and the Songs were screaming at us every minute of the day...I'm not the type of person who likes to be pushed around....and I just couldn't take it anymore...not even the great friends.wonderful students and fun life I had out of school could keep me mid January of 02 I was called into the Songs office...they told me that I was in trouble for a trip I took the previous weekend to see a it was any of their business I can't figure out..anyway..they were super pissed off I went and they told me I was fired....I know seems hard to believe...that someone would get fired over that..but it's the honest to goodness truth..then they turned around and told me I owed them like 5 grand!! for what I have no idea...I didn't owe them a cent..they said I could stay in my apartment for the remainder of the week so I could get their money..haha..not a chance..within 10 hrs of being let go I was on a plane out of that country to never have to see the Songs again...I spoke with the 2 foreign teachers left when I got to my final desination outside of Korea..and I was told they were banned from talking to any of my students for fear of them actually telling the kids the truth why I was girl was physically removed from the kindergarten class where she was telling my students why I had left...the two remaining teachers were also given warnings after I left telling them they could be's a sad place to work with insane gets worse with each passing day...and it isn't worth the mental damage you'll do to yourself working there...there are many good schools in Korea...stay away from Kids Herald especially this one..they all have bad reputations...this school being the absolute the time I had left..they had gone through 3 foreign teachers and 3 supervisors..that should speak for itself....please if you have any respect for yourself..stay the hell away from the Songs and this school....

Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 Subject: Beware of Prime Language School in Gumi, S. Korea.

Dear Jon:

I would like to tell you about Prime Language School in Gumi, S. Korea. The owner's name is XX Xxxxxxxxxx XX. He is an awful employer. He fires teachers at the 10th month of their 12 month contracts to avoid paying them severance pay, he often underpays, and sometimes he doesn't pay at all. He also hires illegal teachers and then doesn't pay or underpays them. His word is like the wind, always changing. This guy is the worst hogwan owner in the world. Please warn other teachers to be wary of working there.





Here's another story of getting screwed by a hakwan owner:

Eastern Language Academy 26B Sangmo-Dong Kumi, Korea 730-120 054-645-XXXX

I'm in my 10th month of my contract in a small mom and pop hakwan in a small town near Taegu. The place is a little more that one year old and at best is mediocre. I'm the only foreign teacher and they've had nearly a 100% turnover of Korean teachers since I've been here. The hakwan isn't doing too well, several hakwans have opened up this year including one just down the street--this one set up by the assistant mangager and 3 teachers who left and started thier own hakwan. Being a small town, the competition is pretty fierce! A lot of students have come and gone and the recrutiment rate for new students is pretty low.

I came into work today and out of the blue was informed that I have one month (as per our contract)to be out of my apartment. The reason I was given is that "20 students have quit because of me" and "the other teachers don't like me." He can't tell me when or who, just that 20 have quit! A hell of alot more than 20 students have quit recently. The other teachers don't even talk to me, and I don't talk to them, I wouldn't know if they don't like me or not! I know this place isn't doing too well, but of course since I'm the only foreigner, I'm to blame! There is virtually no communication between me and anyone here. I was informed about the winter change of schedule the night before it changed, last summer I was informed about the change by phone an hour before classes started!

The thing is, the hakwan isn't that great and nice shiny new hakwans have opened up nearby. This place after one year, looks like it's 5 years old with torn up furniture as well as the wallpaper hanging off the wall in shreds. I haven't enjoyed it much but I've hung in there since last March. The Chinese New Year holiday is in a month and according to our contract, he has to pay a bonus for this as well as

the fact that he's basically screwing out of my last month bonus pay and the plane ticket. More than US$2000.

He will probably be looking for another teacher soon, so beware of this place!

Jim Wentz

Kumi, Korea

Jan 2002

Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2001

Subject: Suwon Wonderland

I was a supervisor here and let me tell you, did it suck! For your readers, I will make a list:

Unfair wages for hours worked. Including teaching, preparation time and phone english conversationm they work an average of 50-60 hours a week including Saturdays.

The boss changes the schedule daily Teachers work without breaks Mysterious deductions in one's wages Having to work with the boss's wife as your superior: conflict of interest if you disagree with her Constant reprimanding of teachers Broken promises by recruiter and owner of the institute Ethics of school and the means by which it is governed False accusations made against teachers without proof Severance pay held

These are the top ten issues that I am aware and was informed of by the owner. Any foreign teacher who makes the decision to go there will regret it!

Paul Chung Ex-supervisor of Suwon Wonderland

Thu, 18 Apr 2002

Hi Jon,

I would like you to please remove as soon as possible, the post about Mokpo Wonderland. Today the school finally paid the amount owing, and from what I've heard from the teachers there, the hogwon has improved. Your site made the management change, they have been unable since its posting to get new teachers. Thanks for all your help.

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2001

Hi Jon,

I worked for Mokpo Wonderland. This school fits the grey list. The place was a nightmare.

In the time I was there I was illegally confined for two months, as punishment. When I rebelled I was threatened, interrogated and told it was kindness they didn't fire me. In the time I was there, I wrote down over two pages of threats.

They almost caused a teacher to have a nervous breakdown, such was the atmosphere. Of the teachers that have worked a year, none have come back. The school refuses to pay me the last months salary owing.

Wonderland gets verbally abusive when asked to honor there commitment. Requesting help from head office goes no where, so one is left with one month worked for free. Although that is not the official story after waiting, writing and going through channels for three months. I don't want any other teacher to go through my experiences, this school belongs on the grey list.

The latest postings on eslcafe write of physical beatings, the place has gotten worse from when I worked there. Help prevent other teachers from seeing the increasing nightmare, thanks.

Maybe other former teachers have written you about Mokpo, they had the same nightmare. The schools website paints a pretty picture, but they used to offer 1.7 to start, its now 1.6, all to save money.

If you have any questions let me know, thanks. Please do not use my name, am unreasonable hopeful about getting that bit of salary.

Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 Dear Jon,

I grabbed a job quickly in Daejeon, and when I spoke to the supervisor she said I could work with older students. When I arrived the Director asked me if I knew how to teach preschoolers and I said no, I think they need Phonics, don't they? He said well just speak slowly to them. He had me work with Preschoolers for 2 months. They were 3 years old western age, and 5 in Korea. I have a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Hawaii. I kept asking the Hagwon-SLP in Daejeon to get the book; One child, Two Languages by Tabor, it tells you how to teach English to preschoolers. Anyways I didn't like working with Preschoolers the Korean way of memorization for 8o minutes, it made the children have behavior problems. Mr. Nxxxx the director said I made a promise, and he would not let me work 3pm to 9 pm. He wouldn't listen to anything I had to say, he kept on budding in and yelling at me, really obnoxious behaivor. I own yu and you will do as I say!! I had to use my Conflict Resolution skills, and finally got him to listen, but of course he wouldn't go my way. He fired me.

Also all the teachers in the lounge were always talking negative. All the foreign teachers. It was not a healthy enviroment to work in. I have my CELTA from Yonsei University and I paid 2 million won for that. I wanted to work with older kids and I told the supervisor that by e-mail, before coming to Daejeon. She said yes.

Also I didn't have a classroom. I had to travel around carrying all my stuff; books etc. Then they let me use other teacher's classes and one male teacher would complain ; Did you take my stick?' Then another teacher thought my kids wrote the F word on his classroom 's desk. Nope ! We studied classroom management at the University of Hawaii and I know how to teach children discipline. I would black list SLP in Daejeon. I had no planning time either. I worked 9:30 am to 12:30 pm for Prschool, then again at 3 pm to 7: 30. Oh, and the pay was too low-1.5 million won.

All the foreign teachers tho were always complaining. Too negative of an atmosphere. Thanks, Jane XXXXXX. Oh, also they lost my degree and my CELTA letter so the University of Hawaii has to get it from California!!!!! Also the books they used; Hi Kids 1 etc. all had bad grammar in them. I used New Headway, because Hi Kids had no goals or objectives.

Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001

Dear Jon,

My apologies that this has taken so long, but I have been busy trying to get a new position in China. But here goes.

I worked in Korea for Washington Language school in 1999/2000. I had many problems at the school, but this is standard for working in Korea. Some are as follows:

1. Given no preparation time. Being told to teach this page as you walk to the class. I did ask for at least 5 minutes so I could prepare, but did not get it.

2. Having the timetable changed when you arrive, so you are not teaching then, but have to wait perhaps an hour.

3. Not given much help with finding the things for living in a foreign country. When the oil ran out, we were left pretty much to ourselves to find out how and where to buy more.

4. The original contract was for 8 months, as I said I could only work until 1/7/00, because of my return air ticket. This was then changed to 12/7/00. This was impossible for me, so I was then told that I did not finish my contract. Consequently, my pay was less and the severence pay was much less.

5. Even being asked to sign forms in Korean without them translating or explaining what it is. This I had great difficulty with and ended up only initialising it and not signing it. They did not seem to know the difference.

These are difficulties that we all might get in Korea, because of language and culture problems. However, I did not expect the following from Washington Language School.

After I left, I applied for a job in China, also teaching English. The people for the Chinese job requested some paper showing that I worked in Korea, like a reference. I asked for something from Washington Language School. This took a long time, but they agreed, provided I write it. So I did. Nothing fancy, just saying I worked there, the hours and the books used. (They were American books used in many schools in Korea.) I sent that to them and waited again. No response.

Using friends in Korea, I eventually found out that they refused to sign it unless I went personnally to Korea and asked for it. Then they would consider it. This was after they had already agreed to sign it. Hence I lost the job in China.

It was such a little thing for the director of Washington Language school to do. But she lied to me and would not do it. Why? I don't really know. My friends think it might have been because the person after me caused problems.

Yours sincerely,

This is what I posted on Dave's ESL cafe. There is a lot more to tell but I tried to keep it short. If you need more information please let me know. Thank you.

Avoid Taejon Little America at all costs!!

Posted By: Burnt

Date: Thursday, 20 September 2001

The head office/school is in Manyondong (sp) Taejon. The man who owns the Little America name is in charge of this school. He is the most manipulative, childish, and dishonest person I have ever come across. Besides my own experiences w/him (which included him throwing a chunk of papers at my head), many others have had horrible encounters w/him. One poor guy was there for three weeks before going to a different school. He lived in a cruddy basement apartment w/no heat and no lights in late winter/early spring. The boss kept 500 000 won from this guy for "bills"!! He is extremely tight w/money and will lie and cheat so he doesn't have to pay. This is getting too long so I won't go into the other examples.

This hagwon is in charge of recruiting for the other Little America schools. Many of the other Little America school owners are furious w/the boss because he promised to provide English teachers, training for the Korean teachers, supplies, etc., which he can't do. He is desperate for teachers right now and w/good reason - no one wants to work for him. The Korean teachers have an extremely high turnover rate. Many leave because they think he is crazy. The boss is notorious among other hagwons, English teachers, and Korean teachers.

He will not pay more than 1.9 million (which is what the teacher w/the most seniority is getting, so chances are 1.8 million). With so many other better paying jobs out there, please take care of yourself and don't go there!!

Mon, 10 Sep 2001

Dear Jon,

This is a warning to all teachers who have the desire to work in Pusan. Beware of Sajik Little Campus in Sajik 3-dong, Dongnae-gu 132-9, Pusan. I had worked there for approximately seven months. In that time, the other foreign teacher and I were paid on time about five times between us. No medical insurance was provided. We were afforded very good accomodation; however, the apartment was situated right next to the owners' apartment. We had no privacy. Our apartment was used as storage space for books and a baby grand piano. On more than one occasion my roommate awoke only to see one of the owners standing in our apartment.

The manager of the school was beyond incompetent. She pleaded ignorance about severance pay. She pretended to not know what it was. She didn't know what an E2 visa was (I didn't know if she was playing games or if she was really that ignorant to such things). The school asked me to stay for the remainder of the year. The school had made a good first impression, so I agreed to stay. One stipulation: I would need a few weeks off in the summer to take care of some family matters. I was assured that it would not be a problem. All visa work was to be taken care of while I was gone (it never happened). Upon my return to Korea, on a tourist visa, I was told that I no longer had a job at the institute. One of the managers met with me a gave me the story. He said that the school didn't know if I was returning. Hard to believe considering that I left my materials at the school, my clothing in the apartment, my money in the bank, had a return ticket and had sent them a copy of my degree to get another E2 visa. I told him what action I was going to take, but he tried to tell me that it was of no use to do such a thing. He then offered to pay for me stay at a very expensive hotel and that he had a much better job lined up for me. He was scared of something.

The next day, I went to the school to get my materials. It looked like the manager's world had turned upside down. She put on her best sad face. It was brought to my attention that she would let me work there for 90 days (the required notification before date of dismissal). After 90 days, I would then be released. At that point it would be less than one month short of a year (No severance pay). However, they had breached the contract in so many places, so many times that it would not make any difference. So many illegal doings have taken place.

Also... Beware of a foreigner who works for Little Campus and recruits for them, too. He has lied to other teachers to get them here. This chain of schools has also gained a poor reputation among immigration officials.

Hi again Jon,

Thanks you very much.

I forgot to mention a very vital piece of info though:

***There are two Little Campuses in Sajik dong. The one which I'm referring to is located between Pusan University of Education and the Pusan Sports Complex.***

I'll miss Pusan, too. It is a decent city... Russian sailors, cocky American soldiers, attractive ladies, etc etc etc. Take care.

For more info on Andong, click here.



June 2001. Please beware of this Language Center. In the last year 7 teachers have left. and 4 more will be leaving in August, 2001, And 6 more will be leaving in February 2002.

The director has been changed 5 times in 3 years. There is no consistency with what they tell you in the interview and what happens. 1.7 mill and 20 hours sounds ok. But, you will be working 25 hours or more, and the overtime pay is paid months late, if at all.

The pay issue is a ballgame that no one can explain. You lose pay for all holidays and school festivals but are "paid" at the end of the semesters when you make up the time. Four teachers left in Winter 2000 because they got sick and tired of arguing with the office people who have no accounting training. All of them know they are still owed money.

Housing was 10 mins from campus. Now housing is 30 mins. from campus, if you drive, or a bus ride of 45 mins. after you walk 20 mins to the bus stop. Housing has gone from 15 py. to 8 py.

The directors all seem to have the same problem. They lie. The latest one is also violent. He struck a Korean staff member and when the foreign teachers protested, we were informed it was NOT our business. We found out he has a history of violence and has been sued in Korean courts at least once for hitting a female Korean professor causing injury so bad she was hospitalized. He denies this.

This was a wonderful university to work for in 1998. Things have gone from good to bad and are now on the slide to hell.


Dear Adam,

Following our phone discussion I have, as promised, detailed the problems I had with the director Mr XXXX, of Kwaks English Academy in Taegu. My main complaints and the reasons I took the initiative to leave Taegu were as follows.

I arrived on the Thursday ready to start work. As the teacher who was replacing me hadn't yet left there was no accommodation for me. For the first 2 nights I slept in Mr XXXX's daughter's bed while she slept on the couch. Following this, the next 2 nights Mr XXXX placed me in the Hong Kong Inn. Although the room itself was clean and tidy I did not realise I was being placed in cheap accommodation for prostitutes. In the night I was awoken by screaming women and shouting men outside my door. I believed the women to be prostitutes, as when I came home from work on the Saturday evening I was staying there I saw many prostitutes cards with pictures of exposed body parts on the front steps of the inn.

I felt very distressed and was unsure of Mr XXXX's intention for me, as he had also given me 2 videos to watch in my room, one of which was a sex video, with a naked woman on the cover, entitled `One Last Fling'. I also felt afraid with the shouting and screaming outside my door in the middle of the night. In the morning I went for a walk and met a Korean Dr. of English Literature, Dr XXX, Kyu-taek, who confirmed Mr XXXX had placed me in a cheap and dangerous place.

When I got back from my walk in the afternoon Mr XXXX was waiting to take me to my permanent accommodation around the corner in the main street. I told Mr XXXX that to place me in the inn was wrong and the reasons why. He wouldn't answer and instead took me to what was to be my `flat'. I was disgusted to find this was a small dark and dirty room, with the tiniest of spaces for cooking and washing I had ever seen. There were filthy duvets on the bed and rubbish in plastic bags in the cooking area. The previous occupant was a Canadian professor, I only knew by the name of Fred. He was concerned enough about the accommodation to tell me before hand to have a look at it, which I had tried to do when I had visited earlier in the afternoon. However, no one answered the door when I knocked and no one answered any of the other doors I tried on that floor. Fred also told me the room had cockroaches. I complained again to Mr XXXX about my room. He seemed surprised. When I repeated my disgust at my accommodation his reply was that good accommodation was expensive. At that point I decided I had had enough and was not prepared to live in a slum, or allow myself to be placed in any more unsafe situations. I told Mr XXX this and took my luggage out of the building to the main street, where I hailed a cab to take me to the airport. From Mr XXXX's gestures when the cab stopped for me it was apparent he was telling the cab driver to drive away without me. I became very anxious at that point and insisted the cab driver stay. I was even more distressed when I found Mr XXXX had followed me to the airport.

I tried to explain my predicament to airport officials, who didn't appear to understand English. With no one to immediately help me, and feeling threatened by Mr XXXX's presence, I decided the most immediate thing I could do was to leave the country, as I had a return air ticket to take me home. I do not consider I did the wrong thing in such an immediately threatening situation. I didn't know how to use the phones and couldn't find anyone to help me.

I must assume neither you nor William XX of The Chris International Korea Co. Ltd has had much dealing with Mr XXXX to allow me to be put in such a dangerous place as the inn and such an unhygienic living situation. Because I have been so traumatised by this situation I do not intend to return to Korea. I am also seeking all costs from Teach International associated with my travel and teaching materials I purchased that were recommended by your organisation. I have provided copies of the receipts of the same. Your urgent attention is required to this matter. No doubt you will carry out your own `independent' evaluation of the Hong Kong Inn and the proposed permanent accommodation I have described. I would like your assurance that no other person sent to Korea by your company will have to go through this again.

Yours sincerely,

June 5,2001

Dear Jon,

I am responding to the e-mail regarding K**,Mun Su,Director of Easy Foreign Language Institute in Chon-An.

I have known K**,M** ***** for 18 months,in fact ,he was the first Korean I met on my arrival in Korea. I am presently working at Mun Su's Easy Institute in Suwon City. I have been working at Easy for 5 months.

In all the time I have known Mun XX,I have had nothing but good dealings. He has been helpful,generous,understanding,and has been eager to help me with any questions or concerns I have had. I must say I was very surprised when I read the above mentioned e-mail on your "Grey List". I have had no indication whatsoever, of the man described therein.

In my opinion,the author of the slanderous e-mail has given only a one-sided,distorted version of the situation.It is also my opinion that the actual truth has been fogged by the author's desire to exact some sort of revenge.

I think, Jon, that all e-mails you post on your list should be dated and signed by the senders.It is my understanding that the e-mail I have been referring ,is about three years old.It has not been signed by the authors,which indicates to me that the authors are unwilling to stand behind the things they have said. It also casts doubt on the authenticity of the source of the e-mail itself.

In my opinion, that particular e-mail should be regarded as "sour grapes". (perhaps a reference number for each e-mail on your list would be helpful)

Thanks Jon for making available a forum for comments, warnings, advice etc. It serves a good purpose and I hope it continues. Please take into consideration what I have suggested.


And the response:

Subject: Response about Kim, Mun Su-EASY Ins. in Chon-An.

Thu, 07 Jun 2001

Dear Jon,

I'm an Korean-English teacher in Korea. I'd like to response about a bad story for Kim, Mun Su and EASY foreign language institute in Chon-An. Please post my e-mail as soon as you can. Thank you.

I was employed that time and worked with the teachers who posted a bad story on your site so that I know very well about my prior director, Kxxx Mxx Sxx as well as the teachers.

Their name are Kelly XXXXX and Konrad *. XXXXX.

They worked in Chon-An EASY Ins. for 8 months and then ran way all of sudden.

It's a few years ago (I think that it was 1996 ~ 1997), but I still remember when I picked them up at the airport with the director, Kxx Mxx XX and other stories about them.

I remember that Kelly and Konard , they were a couple. The director, Kim, Mun XX treated them with respect always and took care of them like real good friends. But the director, found out that they tutored elementary school students illegally. According to their contract, they can't work privately without the director's permission. I understand that most of foreign teachers in Korea, they came to our country for money.

But when Korean director invite foreign teachers, the director expect to earn enough money with foreign teachers' classes, that's why Korean directors provide airfare and accommodation and so on...... Anyway, the director, Kim, Mun Su didn't report to immigration office that Kelly and Konrad were working illegally in addition, he pretended not to know about that.

It's because the director understood that they came to Korea for money and understood that how difficult to make money in Canada. But the problem was that the teachers changed their behavior in their classes as not energetic , unprofessional and looked tired in front of their students.

This school is for adults basically so that most of students were University students, business people and some secondary school students. Because of their changed behavior , this school started to lose students. And during the school vacation, this school needs to open more classes as like other schools. So the director asked Kelly and Konrad to work for over-time but they refused to.

It was because they already had much enough private classes out of institute so that they couldn't even concentrated in their classes in this institute.

So the director couldn't stand them any longer and told them that they were not supposed to work privately. To get their formal answer, the director asked me to made an " Agreement". It was of course , to protect all, the students, and Kim, Mun XX. Because the teachers already affected this school's business and school students. A few days later, they showed up with a formal letter which is asking the director to pay their salaries in advance. So the director, gave them a whole month salaries without any suspicious. But very next day, we found out that they ran away without any notes. They might be afraid that they would be expelled if the director report to immigration office about their illegal work. Or after they signed "agreement", they were depressed because they can't make money as much as they made.

Who knows their mind!

I just would like to inform all other teachers that not to think only on the teachers's side. If the director, Kim, Mun XX was really violent and mean-spirited as they said, how come they both worked under this director for 8 months? As I remember Kim, Mun Su, he always treated teachers respectfully and he was very reasonable. But the teachers, Kelly and Konard were unprofessional and dishonest until at their last moment in this institute. To tell the truth, the director, Kim, Mun-XX actually, acted violently in front of teachers.

It was because a high school girl showed up with crying and said that the other foreign teacher, Greg abused her sexually. Her mother said that she would sue both him and the teacher, Greg. That's why the director acted violently in front of the teacher, Greg. I wish I could prove earlier about this school and my prior director, Kim, Mun XX.

Anyhow, we heard about it yesterday from my partner in Australia. I'll welcome any teachers' e-mail for asking about the director, Kim, Mun XX. Eddi


Dear Jon,

Please post this on the blacklist linked to your site.

This is a warning for any teachers thinking of going to Korea.

Do not work at Easy Foreign Language Institute in Ch*onan City. It is owned by BL (British Language) International. The director is Kxxx Mxx Sxx.

Korea can be a great place to visit. It's a beautiful country. The food and the people are fabulous. Korea might be a good place to teach English if you do a lot of research, including reading all "Grey Lists!" beforehand.

We (my wife and I) did our research. We thought we had an okay job at an okay institute in Ch'onan City. We didn't. The first 3 months were okay, the next 3 months were trying and the final 2 months were terrible. It is a poorly organized school with a maniacal director prone to violent mood swings. We left after many months of increasingly unreasonable behaviour on his part.

The catalyst for our departure was an "agreement" he was trying to force us to sign. (If any one is interested in obtaining a copy of this "agreement" we would be happy to oblige; we'll send it by snailmail; contact us through the "Grey List.") The "agreement" blamed us for all his business woes. Kxxx Mxxx XX is an incompetent businessman. He was having problems before we arrived. He does not advertise. He loses students because of his personality problems. He has also lost 5 teachers including us in the last year. Besides having violent mood swings he is also mean-spirited and greedy. He reneged on verbal and written agreements which we made in good faith.

The final straw was his violence towards one of our students. A number of students were upset because he reneged on contracts he made with them. They confronted him (something almost unheard of in Korea, but they did it with respect using all the proper higher forms of speech). He yelled at them and insulted them using the lowest form of speech until one student could no longer bear his rudeness and got up to leave. At this point the director tried to hit the student and only failed to do so because another student stopped him. Once we heard this we felt it would only be a matter of time before he tried to use physical violence to subdue us as well, so we left.

We didn't want to leave. We liked our students and had built a strong network of friends (Korean and foreign) in and around Ch*onan. We tried hard to complete our contract: we had only 4 months remaining, but Mr. Kxxxx made it impossible for us to teach.

He is interested in maintaining the school only for his own financial gain. His employees' and the students' interests are annoyances to which he pays lip service hoping no one will notice his lies and greediness. However, the students did notice and so did we. In the final 3 months that we were at Easy, most of our long-term students confided in us that they were not renewing their contracts. They also told us about the other teachers who were there before us and how they left after only 2 or 3 months of working at Easy. We managed to stay 8 months because there were two of us and together we were able to resist the madness of the situation.

We pity the poor solitary soul who has replaced us. Kxxx Mxxx XX and Easy Foreign Language Institute should be avoided if you want to have a positive experience in Korea.



I'll keep this short.

Koreans and Westerners BEWARE!

I like Kumi, it's a decent little city in the center of Korea, but there are a couple hagwons here that deserve some negative attention, and one that deserves to be shut down.

One is the Choi Younhee Academy, which falls in line with most of the standard comments about "bad" hagwons. The owner cheats on teachers' hours, withholds money, changes her mind about what she tells people almost on a daily basis, et cetera. Some people make it through, others don't. Same old same old--caveat emptor. And yes, I have personal experience with this place. I survived, but I don't recommend it to others.

But there's a new place in town, an Ipshi hagwon named CERTO, and the owner Mr.XXXXX goes above and beyond the normal levels of horror stories, to foreigners and Koreans alike. He's a rare form of a$$#@le,like the

villian out of a political intrigue novel.

"My friend" worked for him, and within two months of being there saw 8 people fired, three without any pay and two more with only partial pay. One teacher was told to do a little shady paperwork, and if you live here you know how difficult it is for a young Korean to go against an elder. So this teacher did it, WITH THE BOSS' HELP, i.e. he had a hand in it, too--this was witnessed.

The boss never turned the papers in, but filed them away. When the employee finally decided s/he had had enough of his lies and mis-treatement (constant yelling and changing instructions and sexually harassing ALL female employees), the boss pulled out those illegal papers and sued the ex-employee for forgery and got the person charged as a con. The employee spent a night in jail and is facing some serious trouble. The witness was nullified, and almost jailed along with the other employee.

If you want to work in Kumi, fine, welcome, there're some good people here; but watch which place you choose. And if you're asked to work for the CERTO hagwon, run away screaming. This man is very literally dangerous.

thank you for the space


Hi Jon,

I want to know if I can add a school to your blacklist. I think that it is extremely necessary that this is done to prevent any further damage to English teacher's pride and lives.

The school's name is SISA Foreign Language Institute in Kangnung/Sokcho. The director's name is Jeong Sue Kyung. The school has been operating for the last 6 years. Only 1 teacher has actually finished his contract. His name is Ashley ----. Anyway, all the information that I am presenting is factual and I am not doing this mainly for personal gain, but for prevention. James XXXXXX was a teacher who was fired before I arrived. The director always seems to have a plan so that she can give a reason why she didn't give the bonus at the end. For example, Ashley finished his contract, but he never received his bonus because he missed a few days work and was late a few times. Anyway, in my case there were too many broken promises and it was chaos. I only stayed over a month and I only received have of my money and some of the bus money that I had to pay myself and she said that she would reinburse me on pay day. I would have to spend 15,000 won out of my own pocket to travel from Kangnung to Sokcho. I told her that I couldn't wait until pay day. Then she made me feel like a beggar and ask her almost everyday for bus fair. On top of that, I was working from 7:30am -8:30 at Kangnung school. Then travel on a bus from 9:15 - 10:15. Work at Sokcho from !0:30-3:00pm, then take a bus back to Kangnung and work from 5:30- 9:30pm. So I was basically on the go from 7:30am - 9:30pm.

I was supposed to have my own apartment as promised in my contract. I had to live with an alcoholic and I knew that it was impossible to get my own apartment. The student enrollment was also down so she also suggested that she would not be able to pay the salary in full this month (March 2001). There were so many head games. It was just crazy, this woman hates not only foreigners and wants to exploit them, but she wants to torture them. She is very cunning, and terrific liar; so, I would seriously avoid any contact with this woman. I was in shock not to find this school on the blacklist. I am sure that many teachers beofre me must have somethings to add.



I read some of the stories at your blacklist site and have one that you can add to it. It has now been almost three years since my return from hell, but my recent reconstruction surgery to repair the damage I suffered there has caused me to reflect upon my experience. Please use my story but do not include my name or e-mail address.


I taught at the JEL Language Institute in Tageu. Compared to some of the bosses I just read about, my boss was actually a very kind and compasionate man. His wife however who seemed to basically be the one in charged was very much in cool contrast to her husband. Our appartment was pretty good too. I suffered the usual minor foreign English teacher inconveniences such as lower pay and more work than my contract had promised and problems with things like health insurance, no sick days and being forced work when I was desperately ill, cold appartment etc. Life as an ESL teacher was nothing close to what I had been promised it would be. I watched my room mates get screwed in various capacities but I didn't really experience the true terror of the Korean experience until a freak accident left me with broken bones in my face. The first hospital that I went to said I probably had broken bones and a concusion but they sent me away because I couldn't pay for catscans. The second hospital that I went to the next day with more money said I was fine. I wasn't fine. I was in excrusiating pain, loosing blood and I knew I had bones broken in my face.

As the days went on I felt continually worse and my bosses forced me to work my regular hours and then some since one coworker had just recently taken off and the rest of us had to pick up the slack. The proverbial midnight run was my only option. My bosses found out about my impending departure and tried to force me to stay with every thinkable tactic from minimizing my problem (There's nothing wrong with you, you're just homesick.)to guilt (You should be ashamed of yourself. Think of all the Korean students who won't have a teacher.) to intimidation (We'll send the police to the airport if you try to leave.) Ultimately they told me one day that they were keeping me at school until I gave them my passport. I said, "Get comfy." I eventually convinced them that I didn't actually have enough money to leave and when they'd finished laughing they told me how lucky I was to have such wonderful bosses who were willing to let me stay and work at half my salary until I had enough money to leave.

Long story short. I went back to my appartment, packed what I could carry, took the next cab to the bus station, and stayed with an aquaintance in Seoul until I could get a flight home. I lost some money from a bank as well which I assume my boss got to first seeing that palm greasing is the Korean way. When I returned home an intern diagnosed me with multiple fractures before I even saw a catscan. Ultimately I was diagnosed with a tripple blow out fracture to my face and extensive nerve damage. The doctors said that I should have went blind in one eye.

I had a lot of positive experiences in my short time in South Korea. The average Korean person was very good to us and I loved my students. Compared to the conditions that some of my friends lived and worked under, I had it good. But when the chips were down and I was in trouble, there was no support and no alternative other than to keep my wits about me and get out of there the best way I could. It was unbelievably scary and difficult.


Here is a new school to add to the blacklist. It is YBM ECC Ilsan. There is no concept of the word compromise. When a teacher leaves before the contract is up they don't think how can we make it better for everyone. They think of ways to stick it to the new teacher such as making the new teacher pay 750,000 Won in deposit. Making the new teacher teach 165 units a month before they are able to get overtime. This is a very bad place to work. The owner is very controlling. He was upset when one of the previous teachers played Santa Claus for students at the karate institute that he attended. The Korean teachers are not allowed to socialize with the foreign teachers. The address is Jang-Hang Bldg 804, Madoo-Dong Ilsan.

Please think twice before you decide to work with this school. In the past four months three teachers have left before their contracts were due. Their record of keeping teachers is very poor. It is a fairly new school about three years old. In that time four teachers have left and they have had only about 12 teachers in that period of time. They have also fired two. One of the teachers only had a month left on her contract. Thank you for your time


Hi there. I just have yet another hogwan for your list. When we came to 21 C E.L.I. (21st Century English Language Institute, or ee-ship-ill-seg-gee-au-hog-wan in Korean) all was well. My husband and I were very happy with everything. We were treated well and got everything that was due to us in the contract. We started in June, 2000. By late June 2000, while trying to coax mosquitoes from their roosting spots in our living room ceiling light, we found a piece of paper written by the last teacher here. He had hidden it in hopes that we'd find it. We did. He warned us to leave, that things would be good at first, but rapidly turn downhill at the end. We stuck on. Needless to say, the mystery teacher was right. In mid-August we asked for Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving (USA) weekend off, which would have been in November. Since my husband and I are the only foreign teachers at this school, we thought it'd be fair to let them know extremely early, and hoped we'd get a response by the beginning of November. We didn't. Two days before Thanksgiving, we pressed again, and the director got angry and shut down the school for that Thursday, but we had to work on Friday. All fine and good. By this time we had been informed that we had to come to Friday morning "workshops" that we wouldn't get paid for.

About January 2001, he wanted everyone to be at work an hour before classes began, ostensibly to prepare, but with no payment. Our secretary left quickly. It was said that she had stomach pains, and was in the hospital, but for a month?!?! Finally, we pressured for the truth. She'd left with no warning.

In March, my husband was sick on a US Air Force base. He has bad asthma and was wheezing a lot, with a high fever. The doctor said we had to stay and wouldn't release him. This was on a Sunday night. I called the director's cohort and told him what was up, and that we couldn't leave for work tomorrow. Then he told us we literally weren't ALLOWED to get sick. When my husband's fever came down, we came back to our town and prepared for work for Tuesday. On Tuesday, they told B*** to stay home because he was still obviously sick. I was given a list of his classes I'd take over and all was well. Later that night, they tried to force me to stay for another class that wasn't on my schedule. I said no and walked out to get home to my husband. On payday for that month, they deducted 180,000 won for his being sick, even though he was in the emergency room on one day and the next day they told him to stay home. However, he's on a monthly salary, so he shouldn't have had that deducted. He hadn't had it deducted before when he had to take a day off. And the director tried to take more off because we hadn't apologized for being out.... What's this? In the USA, we never apologize, because if someone takes over your classes, they are paid for it. Not here, I guess. Then, we found out that the other teachers that helped

to cover his classes weren?t paid for it. Mr. Lxxxxx (the director) pocketed the cash, with no compensation to the Korean teachers who took over the extra classes. He's been late with paychecks, hasn't gotten us new medical cards and won't give us the time off specifically listed in the contracts.

In California, one teaching hour is one class if that class is up to sixty minutes but not over, in length. Here, they try to say that one teaching hour is the same as one hour OF teaching, i.e. your class was 50 minutes, so you only get 50 minutes of pay, not one hour's worth, regardless if you?re stuck at the school for the 10 minute long ?passing period.?.

We were brought to this school by HBS Consulting who had never even visited this institute before and didn't know if we'd have things like linens, dishes, etc You might be careful of HBS, as they don?t appear to ever check the school?s particular situations. It is a very large consulting service based in Seoul. It had been agreed that we'd teach mostly adults, with a couple of children's classes and no split schedules. Well, my husband has a split schedule and we both teach mostly children. He has no adult classes, and I have only one. Really, we aren't teachers, we're walking, talking billboards. That's it.

Korea is a beautiful country all year-round and the people are super-nice, but culturally we're very different. If you are very concerned with manners, don't come to Korea. What's polite in the USA isn't polite in Korea and is in fact very rude, usually. And yes, they do beat bad students with bamboo rods here. We're looking into making the midnight run here soon, and there are rumors of an American-owned institute near Pusan that takes in runaway teachers.... We'll write another letter as soon as something cemented. If we stick on at this school, we'll let you know if we get our severance pay or not, etc, etc, etc. Thanks!

Another dump to add to your list is YOUNG HOON KIM Language institute in Yong-in . ALL of us from Canada left unpaid, screamed at, threatened, thrown in a filthy room,,etc. the director, Mr.Kxxxx. His Canadian associate Jeffrey Craig will lie saying that 'KIm is the greatest' because Craig is fat and lazy and wants more people to show up to take off some of his hours. My experience was horrendous and so was that of us all. STAY HOME> Do not even think about teaching in korea. I can't begin to tell you how much I know about this country. Paul/Toronto

Jon: 2/14/01

One more for your list: Palace Language Center in Inchon.

There's only one complaint, but it's an important one. This company refuses to pay severance.

DON'T BELIEVE the contract or anything they might say or write. It doesn't matter if you complete your contract or not, whether you stay one year or three ... they simply will not pay your year-end severance / bonus.

Now if you are prepared to work 8 hours a day on a terrible split schedule,

and then be cheated out of a month's pay; this might be a good place to work for you. But if you want to work for an honest employer and receive all the money you've earned (and believe me, you have earned it), than my words of advice are these: STAY AWAY!


Jon, I previously emailed regarding posting on your blacklist. You replied that I may submit the posting. Here it is. Please do not include my name.


There is a disparity between what the contract provides and what the school actually provides to foreign teachers. Breach of contract/agreement is not the only deterrent to working at this hagwon. The same man owns both of these hagwons in Northern Seoul. Thus, the staff is somewhat interchangeable. One is in Kirum, Dobong/Tobong-Gu and the other is in Sanggye-Dong, Nowon-Gu. There are other Wonderlands in Seoul and Korea. This pertains specifically to the Wonderlands in Seoul owned by this man, Mr. Kxxxx. Here are only a few of the incidences I came across.

The manager lunged at a female foreign teacher after an argument. He was restrained and dragged away by another man. The rest of the school management witnessed this but never addressed it. The school likes to pay teachers in cash. This means that someone counts out pay for each employee in the school by hand in 10,000 Won notes (approximately equivalent to $10.00 bills). The school refuses to transfer it or deposit it in an account. Obviously, there is a margin for error. On more than 1 occasion a teacher was short-changed. The teacher was accused of miscounting. A foreign teacher returned to the United States for less than a week when her grandmother died. The school deducted the teacher's severance pay because the management did not consider it reasonable for her to stop teaching in order to attend the funeral. (Contract states teacher may leave for such an emergency.) When foreign teachers asked the school to service a broke appliance or problem with the apartment, the management left the apartment and keys unattended with strangers.

The supervisor and owner told foreign teachers they would not have their classes covered if they called in sick. The supervisor also did not believe teachers were sick/unable to teach and told them so; even when someone needed emergency dental treatment. There were shouting matches and calls made to teachers at home throughout the day asking them if there were actually sick. (Contract provides sick days.) More than 1 foreign teacher did not receive the severance and/or housing deposit and/or return plane ticket the school agreed to include as part of the contract/agreement. (Again, contract states amount of severance and housing deposit, airfare, etc.) The school puts 2 teachers in a 1 bedroom apartment. (Contract states 2 teachers in a 2 bedroom apartment.) Workday duration is from 9:00am - 7:30pm. The first half of the day revolves around 4-5 class periods of very young children (3-7yrs). The second half revolves around 4-5+ classes of young kids (5yrs-13yrs). There were also teacher meetings in the middle of the day. Teachers were expected to spend 30-60 minutes everyday in the staff room preparing before the afternoon and morning classes began. In short, it is a long, long workday. (Remember, you are only paid for classtime, that part of the contract they adhere to.) This is not the only school I worked at in Korea. Any school in Korea is going to challenge a foreigner's expectations of the workplace and teaching.

However, I found this school to be extremely difficult, to put it kindly. Does this mean any of the above will happen to you??? Maybe/Maybe not... Just make an informed decision, and know this school has a track record of not honoring the contract or any verbal agreements made with foreign teachers, to put it kindly. --

Subject: Presenting LCI Kids Club - Incheon

Date: 1999

To all those interested in this institute:

Kids' Club is a private English school with a facade of respectability. The director pays on time and in full. Unfortunately, the working environment and the conditions of the contract are such that a Kids' Club teacher soon forgets about these "pay benefits". Some of the problems a teacher will encounter are as follows:

* Sickness is not tolerated. Teachers are not allowed any time off even if they have a severe case of influenza or worse. * There is a high level of rigidity in terms of the curriculum and student placement. Through the presence of administrative staff and cameras in classrooms, teaching is strictly monitored and controlled by the director (Mr Jxxxx). Teachers (except those who are in favour - see below) are expected to interpret the teaching materials literally; there is little room for creativity and initiative. Students are not placed according to age or ability level, but rather are placed according to where their parents think they ought to be, resulting in wildly incompatible ability and maturity levels. * New teachers are treated very well, until they have been working for a few months and other new teachers arrive. Teachers who attempt to resist the aforementioned rigidity are treated as "outcasts" by the director and other administrative staff. It is very easy to fall out of favour with the director (at which point a teacher will be treated with rudeness and disrespect), in fact often a teacher will not know what she/he has done wrong. Some teachers who might be described as "yes-men", are treated as though they were part of the director's family, while others are sneered at and slandered by the director (Mr Jxxxx) and his deputy (Mr Park). This often takes place in the form of gossip exchanged between the director and his "favourites". * Breaks between classes have been reduced to the point of absurdity. New rules are being formulated constantly at Kids' Club, and one recent example is the requirement that teachers must be in class three minutes early, reducing five minutes between afternoon classes to two minutes, making it somewhat difficult to prepare for the next class and go to the bathroom. * Some teachers are coerced into working hours that are outside the contract requirements, even teaching classes late into the evening. Teachers are "asked" if they wish to teach such a class, but they dare not express any unwillingness. * Kids' Club withholds a security deposit of W600 000 from each teacher's salary, a necessity to guard against the high number of teachers who 'escape in the night'due to the above conditions. * There is no real flow of information from administration to the teachers, not even on a "need-to-know" basis. Teachers are not informed of any changes being made in the school (which are frequent), even as they happen. A teacher will hear about the change eventually "through the grapevine". This refers to major and minor changes alike. There is no advance notice given when a new student joins a class, sometimes the student will be 'inserted' into the classroom right in the middle of a class. There is also a high turn-over of secretarial staff. There have been approximately 12 secretaries in employment at Kids' Club in the last two years. * The contract allows a teacher to leave before the termination date, provided that teacher gives sixty days advance notice of intention to leave. THIS IS IN FACT NONSENSE. A teacher who attempts to do the above will either be fired on the spot or coerced into remaining until the contract is complete. The director (Mr Jxxx) has used blackmail in an attempt keep a teacher from leaving (such was experienced by this writer). * Be aware that Kids' Club teachers are often asked to talk about the various aspects of the school with prospective employees over the telephone, and that the director monitors these calls and determines what the teacher will say. The writer of this entry was required to do this, and therefore had to be 'economical with the truth', to put it mildly. * Overall, the working environment at Kids' Club is one of constant uncertainty, excessive rigidity, gossip and backstabbing by the director (Mr Jxxx), and a general, almost indescribable sense of dread which teachers seem to develop after their first few months of employment. Things are not what they first appear to be at Kids' Club, and by the time a teacher discovers this it is usually too late to do anything about it. - Matthew Wxxxx

In regard to LCI Kid's Club Language Institute in Incheon, KOREA, Matthew Wxxx's excellent essay is absolutely correct in every detail. There is more that he did not find the time to say about the petty childish evil of which the administration is capable, which indeed takes the form of fluctuating favoritism and active persecution.

* To give some example of how the favorite system works: The director explains to new teachers that he wants only qualified teachers; they are not to go drinking during the week, and they are expected not to smell, and they will be jailed immediately if they moonlight.

Every hogwon seems to have a Judas Goat to lead the others to slaughter. The most favored teacher, and the resident Judas Goat, Jim Rutten, who is the one assigned to speak to applicants on the telephone, a few inches from the Director at his desk, doesn't even have legal qualifications to work in Korea. He has a two-year diploma rather than a bachellor's degree. He is a burgeoning alcoholic who drinks every night, frequents brothels (the director and his assistant even take him drinking on occasion, and have at least once offered to buy him a prostitute at one of their favored establishments), and he has even contrated pubic lice from the "yellow house" which seems to be his favorite pasttime. He comes to work unwashed, with matted hair, stinking of God knows what, is making huge sums of money teaching privates after work, and is everything the director professes to despise in a foreign teacher. Jim occupies this position, perhaps even safely, because he is willing to lie about conditions at the institute, and is willing to do absolutely anything the director says even when it is bad for the students or involves deceiving the parents. He has confided in other teachers what we all know about Mr. Jxxx, but to is face he pretends that Jxxx is some sort of demigod, and that those of us not as adept at his art simply don't understand.

As to teachers who fall from favor, the administration even goes through their desks during the vacations, and teachers return to find that they no longer have the use of staplers, scissors, tape, etc. but must make bricks without straw, as it were. In my own situation, the director won't even let me thank the parents of mys students for the many birthday gifts which I received (he would rather pretend that I have no personal relationship to them whatsoever). On their birthdays, he pulls them out of my class for a cake and photo with Jim (I am not even told it's their birthday) who doesn't even know their names, and I have to sneak down to the store on ground level and get them a gift at the last minute, which they spirit away in their backpacks.

In fact, this Jim has told me that he will be gone in a year, isn't planning to be a teacher and so doesn't have to put much into it, the students won't remember anything anyway, so the idea is just to keep them entertained and keep everybody happy until one is gone. I actually have my students conversing with each other in clear, complete, concise English sentences, but this creates problems in that parents call up to enquire why their students in other teachers' classes aren't doing as well. I have been told to dumb down my classes to the level of those like Jim's or else. Meanwhile that person takes the songs, games, and activities that I invent, and uses them daily, all the while I am being told that my ideas are no good, and he is given credit. This may sound like whining, and really I wouldn't care if the students were being served, but they're not and the irony is so blatant.

Part of this is that the director is obsessive about finding a foreign teacher who will be his personal friend. He asks each foreign male upon arrival to agree to play tennis with him on Sundays, but most of us agree that working six days a week is enough; we don't want to see the director during the one day we have for rest, and in my case I am married and want to see my wife at some time other than early morning or late at night. Jim, of course, went off to play tennis with the director (after church) and gets drunk with him on weeknights, so anyone who won't do that just isn't playing ball, if you'll excuse the pun.

As to the lies:

The director has twice gone to one teacher, who wrote to this list, Matthew Wxxxx, claiming that Jim really wants to teach TOEIC classes alone at night (in violation of the contract hours), and so other teachers are expected to do the same thing. Jim says this is horse sh*t, and admits that his patron is an out and out liar. It is possible that the director is stupid enough to think that teachers do not talk amongst themselves, a practice which is frowned upon at any rate, but in any case the idea is that even when we know he is lying to our faces we are expected to pretend that we think it's the truth, and God help anyone who lets pass across his eyes the glimmer of knowledge that it is yet another of the great frauds at this place.

The "quality of education" about which the director brags of being concerned is also an outright fraud. After the first round of teacher-student evaluations this year, two things occurred. There had been a handful of students who had "studied" English for several years, but didn't even know the alphabet, and couldn't answer the most basic questions, such as the date, time, and "How is the weather?". Their parents called in demanding that the classes be made easier and less demanding on their children. There were a majority of students especially, I am proud to say, under my care, who made phenomenal progress. The parents of those students often called in asking that they be promoted to higher-level classes, asking why their siblings in some other classes hadn't made as much progress, and so on. The director responded by ordering that all teachers follow the textbook to the letter, play many more games, and generally dumb down the curriculum. All classes should progress evenly, with respect to a level of easily-imitable mediocrity rather than outstanding quality of education. We are told to go as slowly as possible, the apparent reason being to maximize the amount of time money can be collected and minimize any concern over mediocrity in some classes.

He went into several rages, bursting into my classes, for instance, ripping the papers out of the students' hands, and piling them all on his desk, demanding to know where they were to be found in the textbook. When he was proven wrong, he didn't apologize, instead he acted as though I were wrong for knowing that he was wrong. He has often suddenly entered other teachers' classes, strutting around with a stick like some sort of rooster, to suddenly slam it down inches from a student and scare the daylights out of him for some trivial thing, then go about bellowing in rage at the class, followed by walking out and slamming the door. All of this is not supposed to be met with any concern on the part of the teacher in control of the class. We are, after all, simpling implementing the textbook and nothing else.

Comments by other teachers include: "No matter how wrong they are or what they do, they will never say I am sorry." and "They invite any and all ideas to improve education, so long as those ideas are games and not teaching techniques or things that would actually be successful.

Finally, one teacher was fed up and gave his two month's written notice required for voluntary self-dismissal according to the contract's escape clause (which turns out to be a lie too). The director fired him on the spot, then called the police and immigration and told them that the teacher had breached the contract by quitting. That teacher fortunately made it out of the country and was in the air just one step ahead of the authorities. I can bear witness that he did everything according to the contract and with the utmost professionalism, and that he was incidentally and outstanding teacher, and a man of great personal integrity. This was just the last straw for me, so I have decided to fly the coop at the earliest possible moment. I dare not give notice because the director will be ready to leap upon the next teacher who tries to leave with the full force of his lies and vengeance. To anyone who thinks I am exaggerating the point, the tape of the meeting wherein he tried to blackmail the last teacher who gave contractual notice, and his fury, is available in exerpt on the net, for your listening pleasure. And, of course, you can always go to work there and see for yourself.

Good luck. -- Daniel


Here's another bad one...

The hagwon is called Cheong Cheol Interlab/Han-mi and the owner/director's name is (name deleted). The hagwon is located in Nonsan, Korea.

The position is not one in which actual teaching is necessary. There is no curriculum and there is not one in development. It's basically a full-time babysitting job.

This is the brief story: A Korean friend of mine here in Colorado is from Nonsan and he's childhood friends with this man, Seon Byeong-Deog. I had been researching jobs in Korea for about a year and my Korean friend knew that, so once he heard that his friend had a position open at his hagwon, I was told of it. I trusted my friend about his childhood friend and the credibility of the hagwon...My "friend" went ahead and told this director all about my personal family history. So, when I got to Nonsan, this director didn't want to just be my employer. He wanted to be my "Korean Brother". He knew all these things about me and my family and I had no intentions of having any sort of personal relationship with my employer in Korea...He pushed my buttons.

I couldn't handle working with him anymore, so I gave him my notice that I would be leaving his hagwon. He got angry and yelled at me 4 times, called me lazy...He told me that he would hold onto my salary until I left, but I couldn't leave until I found him a new teacher. How could I recommend this hagwon to anyone? How could I let another teacher come to a school where the director runs a very chaotic situation and has deeply rooted prejudices and racism? I tried to get the director to sign a letter of release and I tried to get my back pay, but he said no, not until "our problem is solved."

I found out later that one teacher had already run-out on this director and that pretty much all the other teachers had been illegal. The whole working of the hagwon is fishy. He only pays in cash. All calculations are done in pencil. It's not a SCHOOL in my opinion. I had to push to even see a contract. He just wanted me to come to Korea right away with no contract...

So, I left the school. I went to the Department of Education in Nonsan with a friend to translate for me. When the director found out who helped me, he went after her and threatened to have her fired from her university position if she didn't stop helping me. He began telling all these lies about me, making me out to be this huge alcoholic, needy, lazy American, and he bought me all this stuff, including maxi pads...all lies. All I heard when I was hiding out was how he wanted to meet me face-to-face to settle things. Obviously, I was not going to do that...I left the country as soon as I could.

If you post this, please keep it anonymous...

Thank you much.


(name deleted)

Subject: Another Korean creep inflicting damage on another American.

It is extremely unfortunate that good-hearted teachers trust that percentage of Koreans who are corrupt, rotten slime balls. English Teachers are too naive and trusting, and usually try to see the good side of people. When it come to working in Korea that is a big mistake. Anyone going to work in Korea must be very careful of llies, broken contracts, mistreatment and exploitation.

Jack Hxxxxxxx

Subject: Re: is Korea dangerous

Date: Sun, Dec 27, 1998 9:51 PM


is Korea dangerous

My experience in Korea was as an ESL teacher in one of the many private institutions. I did not believe my first roommate when he told me the director of the school was a tyrant.Why should/how could I as I had just arrived? I grew weary of the director cutting off my phone service because he did not want me to have contact with my first roommate who had quit. I was disappointed that the school didn't really seem interested in a good curriculum nor were they particularly concerned with the quality of the booksfrom which the student was to learn.The women were something akin to spies so when they gave the illusion of being interested in you and what you had to say they were really acting as minions for the director. He was interested in every move we made and every word we spoke.

We would negotiate a fee to teach at a particular institution such as Samsung, Hyundai or the government. When payday came the director would advise us that he could not afford to pay us what we had agreed upon. I had decided that I would seek work elsewhere when I realized that I would not be treated fairly. In return I was slapped around a bit in my apartment by the director of my school while the director of another school and two large Korean men watched. To add insult I was told that if I left I would be killed.

...I would suggest that if you are interested in teaching in Korea you should speak directly with a Westerner who is teaching at the school where you would like to teach.

Being threatened with death or violence by a Korean employer does not happen to every English teacher or foreign factory worker, but mean cruelty and lack of human decency happens all to often to many unsuspecting persons employed in Korea.

JH/AETACK (American English Teachers Attacking Corrupt Koreans)

Hi: In regard to your article about the tendency for Universities in Korea to turn their English Language depts. into hogwans. This phenomena has added a new word to the loanwords of the English language which include cheabol, bulgogi etc.. I have heard the term " hogwanization" of Korean Universities and belief it is a valid term to become the latest English loan word to be incorporated into the English language when describing this uniquely Korean phenomena. I am from Toronto which in the past was called 'Hogtown" by everyone in Canada. It was not a term of endearment but rather tended to describe its sleasy side. This makes the term ' "Hogwanization" even more appropriate as it refers to the English word " hog" as well, as the Korean word "hogwan". Please spread the word and enrich the English language and keep it alive and creative. Hogwanization of Korean English Language Education continues unabated. The demand is for intellectual 3 D workers ( Difficult, Dangerous, Dirty) not for English Language professors. That was in the past. Sincerely

Mark B

Hi Jon,

When I left Korea under amical circumstances I got neither the 13th month bonus (not required, they said, for workers under a pension plan) nor my pension plan payments. I'm not sure, but I think I paid my own air-fare back (didn't cost anything, my daughter works for an airline). They also didn't pay me my overtime for the last month worked. And the contract was worded so that the pay was supposed to be the won equivalent of $2000 a month, but wasn't revised after the won dropped to 900. I have some lawyers working on this (for a percentage of anything recovered) but even if I got a favorable court settlement there would be no way to enforce it. And I figure I got a good deal!

Hi Jon,

Here is another one to add to your personal list. Damoa Foreign Language Institute in Wol Pyong Dong - Taejon.

I arrived last August contract in hand for 2 weeks paid vacation, full utilities paid, and free housing. When questioned about the contract we were informed that it was invalid (myself and the other 2 new teachers) That it was in fact 2 years old. The three of us hashed it out with the director and agreed to stay. Free housing, no money for utilities and 1 week vacation the end of July. Our apartment was very nice within 2 minutes of work in a clean, safe area.

A month ago they informed us that they couldn't afford the lease again and had found us a "house" across the road. It turned out to be a 2nd floor apt in a commercial building 15-20 minutes from work. The real problems started when I refused to move into the apt. My married roomates were given a room that easily comprised 1/4 to 1/3 of the total sq footage in the apt. I got a 9 x 9 room with a window opening onto the neighboring wall. I offered optional living arrangements at no expense to the hogwan but instead was fired. My honest opinion is that he used "saving face" as an excuse but the real reason is they could no longer afford 3 teachers and I was an easy solution.

He refused to pay me until I vacated the things they had moved to the new apt. Although he refused to give me a key and told my roommates not to give me a key. I moved the next day with some help from Korean friends. When I called asking for my money he said not until I showed up with a plane ticket. Having already contacted the Immigration office I knew that I had 14 days. So he agreed to pay me this evening. When I showed up to collect my money he had deducted the last 3 days of my pay. On the day he fired me he signed a letter of release stating that I would receive all my salary less Korean taxes. I refused to accept the money until I talk to the Foreign Workers Council in Seoul on Monday. So here I sit with 8 Chon Won in my pocket and no plane ticket. I have secured a job elsewhere however.

I prefer not to leave my name but you can of course re e-mail me.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Jon's note: a week later I got this note:

Well thought I would update you on the Damoa Hogwan situation. After I left Friday after refusing to accept partial payment, Both of my roommates walked out. The Director with severral other Koreans in tow showed up at their apartment. The teachers offerred to stay 1 month because they realized that three weere now no teachers. The response was "you will stay but you will not get your money because we can not trust you". They then pulled the phone off the wall. And unfortunatle at this point my friends lost their cool.... They vacated the apt this am. and are at an unknown location. I called the Ministry of Education who say they can't do anything (I think because we are already terminated) but the gentlement spent several minutes trying to recruit me for the government program (if yoou can beliieve that!) and then I attempted to call the Labor Board with no success. Our plan is to still call the Seaol Bar Assoc. on Monday.

Thanks again. If this helps even 1 foreigner from having to endure this type of treatment its worth it!

Bull's Academy in Kunsan, R.O.K. is a big no-no. 

They will deduct your plane ticket from your salary, make late payments and fire you before your contract is finished.  In my case, they fired me three weeks before I would have completed my contract.  The official reason, straight from director Shim Younmg Su's mouth, was that they couldn't

pay the money they owed me according to the contract.  Anyway, I've been in the court system for about half a year now attempting to get my backpay.  If you are offered a job by this company, it's probably in your best interest to stay away.

Please add my email address to my posting.

Attention all teacher!!!! Unless you are into S&M, avoid Oxford Language School a.k.a Segue Language School in Chongju (Just North of Taejon) like the plague.

The "owner" is a little man call Kxxx Mxx Oxxx. He promised me a nice apartment for myself and my Korean wife since I was paying for my airfare to and from Korea.

When I got to the apartment, it turned out to be two small filthy rooms behind a soju bar with a shared washroom to be used with the drunk patrons.

I told Mr. Kxxxxx that this was not acceptable and ask what was he pulling.

At that time, Mr. Kxxxxx's screws in his head were turning on how to make my life miserable.

He told me that he spend 2.4 million won for the place. We called up the owner of the soju bar and he told us that he spent only 200,000 won for the rent. Mr. Kxxxxxx kept on pushing that he spent 2.4 million to make us feel bad and to give him our pity.

Mr. Kxxxx is in the habit of placing teachers in front of pres-schools, middle schools where it seem that the children are in fear of the Korean teachers because they slap them around. My classes in pre-school were basically in front of 25-30 children, hungry at lunch time with only flash cards to keep them happy. I was to play the part of the clown to "entertain" them. The Korean children view Western teachers as fun time and a break from the hard regime of Korean teachers He also kept lying saying that it was legal to teach at schools and apartments outside the hogwon (it is not).

Mr. Kxxxx is just a poor business man. He does not have a morning secretary or a telephone answering machine to return calls about people wanting to go to the language school. In the traditional Korean mentallity, he aimed his failures at a teacher to feel better about himself, shaming people tends to be Mr. Kxxxxx best profession.

At the end, I left because my wife was expecting and we were both starting to chew at each other because of the stress Mr. Kxxxxxx brought to our lives. Mr. Kxxxxxx once had a teacher's meeting and told me in front of the other teacher "I could fire you, but I am a Christian." When I quit, he called up my wife's sister to tell her the he had to fire me. he played the father figure were he tried his best with me, and that I was the deviant son. After getting in a converstion with my wife's sister, he promised to give me my alien registration card back to me (it was in process in Taejon and he illegally picked it up), a release form, and the remainder of my money that he owned me (889,000 won). It did not happen.

My wife called his home and tried to talk to Mr. Kxxxxx's wife thinking that she would have some common sense. Her response was that she was just the owner and that she was not in charge of the school (Does that defy logic). Mr. Kxxxxx did this because when he had to go to court because he ripped off another teacher of 10,000,000 won because he was paying the teacher "bit by bit." He said that he was just a worker and that he did not own the language school. In my time there (2 months) not did not once see Mrs. Kxxxxx come in.

Due to the stress I believe in part, my wife had a one month premature baby. My wife and my baby are ok now, but now that I could not work legally in Korea I found it hard to work so I was forced to work illegally on a tourist visa.

I enjoyed Korea. The students are friendly and kind and my wife is Korean. It is just a shame that maggots like Mr. Kxxxx exist to spoil it. I finish my first contact in Inchon in 1995, so I am not some whining person. I am Canadian, and we are taught in life that a deal is a deal and that a contract is a promise. So often, this is not so in Korea. I am now back in Canada and I feel that I will not go back to Korea to teach again because of this scumball class one.

I would also like to thank that the Taejon Immigartion Department for their "help". My wife telephoned them and ask told them about our situation with Mr. Kxxxx and his abuse of power. The immigration guy bluntly said that the Korean owner is always right and that Western teacher deserve what comes to them. He also told my wife that it was my fault that I signed the contract and for coming to Korea!!!!

If you need any more information about him or if you want me to talk to a friend that is thinking about teaching in Korea, give me a ring at

Later Michael Kelly, BA.

From: Robert H. Toomey, Education Director, REC

Re: Your email to TESLJB-L, 6Dec97.


After receiving your email, I am very interested in responding to you. I worked in a language institute (hogwan) in Suwon, Korea, called Sung Il Hogwan. The owner is one of the worst people I have ever met. Besides being a chauvanistic Korean male, he is completely unstable. His violence was ever-present. He threw a coffee cup at one teacher, which broke on the wall and shards of ceramic hit the teacher in the face. The director would hit children, who were students, with a stick (is this normal Korean behavior?). Every teacher I knew for the year I was in Korea, broke the contract and left, and the information I have is that other teachers since have left, too. I was transferred to another hogwan where things were much better, except that the hogwan director's brother was a thief and stole some money from me. I protested, but I was a foreigner and I knew better.

The big problem is that this man can travel to the US and recruit people from universities and colleges. They go there and then run away. I wrote to the United States Consolate a list of complaints about this guy, recommending that they revoke his travel visa. Maybe now he is recruiting in Canada. There are a lot of Canadian teachers in Suwon and Korea.

The Director got in a fight with one teacher and later in the evening three thugs and the dirctor showed up at the teacher's home and they beat up the teacher. The teacher left the next day, of course.

I think this sums up most of the overall negative experiences I and many other techers have about Korea. I have read some people's articles in TESOL papers, who were in Suwon also. I believe they wrote about positive experiences because they were fairly unconscious and naive. Of course, some people probably have not had the horror experience I had. But many have had that and worse.

Robert Txxxxxxxx

Dear Jon:

I urge you to add Chonan College of Foreign Studies/Chonan Christian University/Chonan University to your Korea greylist/blacklist. I worked there last year. The thing that shocked me the most was that they tried to make me change religion and attend the church of their choice. They unilaterally cut my pay in half, and then, when I left, stiffed me for two months of the contract. And I had to fight to get my severance pay. Trouble was, I wouldn't go along with a few illegalities, like forging papers claiming we were holding classes we weren't, and arbitrarily raising student grades to circumvent government requirements. At one point I was getting threatening phone calls, and administrators banging on my door in the night. Very ugly bunch.

They hired six or seven new teachers when I left. None are now renewing their contracts. So I guess they haven't changed.

Best get the word out, and nobody else need get burned.

Warning: Kookmin University,Seoul.

In February 1997 Kookmin University hired 8 new teachers for the Foreign Language Department.

Three of the previous 4 teachers decided not to resign their contracts.

July 1997 one unhappy teacher decided to quit. Another teacher was hired.

November 1997,7 teachers have been asked to renew their contracts for February of next year.

Six teachers have, or in all probability will, refuse to sign again. The person who signed in July 1997 is seriously considering cutting her contract.

Kookmin University Foreign Language Department is not a happy place to work at.

Kookmin University Foreign Language Department is currently hiring new teachers.(11/28/97)

Reader beware.

Subject: John & Michael's Foreign Language Institute/3S Corporation/Han Pyong Foreign Language School

The subject school needs to be put on the watch list:

1. Ph: (02) 525-55xxx, Seocho Station, Seoul 2. English speaking point of contact: Douglas Kim 3. Owner: Mr. Cxxxx 4. The school has gone through teachers like water ever since I began there February 11, 1996. 5. They're in severe financial hot water in the moment. 6. I was called by Dxxxxxxxx Kxxx and told November 24, 1997 that the school is closing. 7. November 25, 1997 I met Douglas Kxxxx and he indicated that one teacher will continue to teach there through the expiration ofher contract in May 1998. He also indicated that he's seeking other employment. Why he's dragging around people to introduce them in situations where they may very well not be paid is beyond me. 8. Another teacher is leaving next week. His contract doesn't expire till February 1998. 9. My contract doesn't expire unti l March 1998. 10. This school is currently trying to recruit teachers to broker out. They've asked a friend, a broker with whom I've worked, to field their calls for this purpose using his (02) 292-5xxxxx phone number. Apparently they're doing this to conceal who the actual employer is and this is a desperate attempt to get the cash together to reopen. 11. Between March 1997 and November 1997 this school has laid off the office manager, me, effective October 1, the office support staff, and the marketing department. Further, they've rented out the 4th floor and remodeled the 3rd floor to make it smaller. 12. In February 1997 I was told they'd rented out their 3rd floor school in Shinsol-dong to another party but I later learned that another teacher on staff was teaching my classes for less per hour. 13. When I was laid off another person was hired to teach the classes I'd been teaching for less per hour; I was told that the classes were being canceled.

The people at this school have as a rule always been kind to me and have tried to consider my personal financial situation with which they are intimately aware. However, they have resorted to acts of desperation during 1997 and this has clouded the judgment of Mr. Cxxxx who on more occasion has flown off the handle and threatened to have me deported, reported to immigration, and what have you. Do yourselves a favor and don't invite stress into your life. There are other working situations in many locations throughout Korea.

Kyungnam University in Masan, Korea is a university you should avoid in your future job searches. Though the administration has been good about honoring contracts, the director of the foreign teaching staff, Kxxx Wxxx Sxxx, is irrational and impossible to work with. He does not know how to deal with foreigners working in Korea, and is petty, vindictive and thoroughly disliked by Koreans and foreigners alike. He has often resorted to threats, following teachers activities while off duty, and subtle innuendo to intimidate foreign faculty. So far this year, two instructors hired by Dr. Kim Wei Saeng have left mid-semester fed up with his behavior.

Again we, three former instructors at Kyungnam University, strongly recommend that as long as Kxxx Wxxx Sxxxx is the the language director at Kyungnam University, that you find another university at which to work.

And the response:

June 27, 1999

To whom it may concern:

I am writing in response to a letter about the administration at Kyungnam University that is posted on your Internet website. This letter was brought to my attention from a friend of mine who is working at a university in Seoul. As a foreign faculty member at Kyungnam University (KU), I felt it necessary to respond to your letter so as to clear up any misconceptions others may have about our current foreign language department.

To begin, I have been working as an EFL instructor at Kyungnam University since February of 1998. Since that time, the College of Continuing Educations Foreign Language department has been under the direction of Dr. Lee Gwang Won, a well-educated and highly respected man in the community. Under his direction, our language department has blossomed into a pleasurable environment for the English faculty members to teach and conduct research. My colleagues and I are all on our second or third year of our contracts, and the majority of us wish to stay for a longer period of time as we have found our relationships with the university adminstration, Korean faculty, students, and each other all to be quite complementary. Only two of our members are leaving this summer --- both of whom are leaving on favorable terms --- to return home to undertake postgraduate studies in North America.

The letter on your website concerning the unsuitablility of our university as a place of employment for EFL teachers contains dated information, as its contents strict concern is with the character of our departments past director (1995-1997). I would like to assure you that the problems professors may have faced in the past with the administration have been ameliorated, now making KU an enviable place for foreign teachers to work. It is with these regards that I kindly ask that this discriminating information directed at KU be removed from your website, so that our faculty may continue to improve our English language programs and attract English language professionals on a level equitable with the other educational institutes in Korea.

If you wish to confirm my reports with any of the other members of our current or recent faculty, please dont hesitate to contact me by e-mail at, or by phone at my home 0551-248-xxxxxx, and I will forward their contact information to you. Thank you for your time and I sincerely look forward to hearing your response in the very near future.


Dean Ouellette

Kyungnam University


I have been working for E-zone, which is a recruitment agency located in Chang-dong, Seoul. I worked there for 3 weeks as a recruiter until I finally realised what sort of person I was working for. The manager of E-zone is a Mr Peter Rxxxx, who has spent some time in America. At first he comes over as a reasonably nice guy however he is really out to hurt foreigners. He does not like them and he sees any business with them as an exercise in exploitation. I am currently taking him to court as he refuses to pay me for work that I have done and there are many people in the same boat as I under his recruitment. I am not so much worried about the money (about $900 US) that is owing but it is people like this that create a bad image of Korea abroad. I think your blacklist is a good idea to warn potential employees. Yours sincerely



I am writing this letter to warn future teachers away form Jel World Language Institute in Ulsan. The school has been opened only two years, and has had approximately twelve teachers. Of those, only three have finished their one year contracts. I worked with two of the teachers that finished their contracts and they did not leave happy, but only stayed out of the need to pay off bills. I could write pages off all the ways the director and his wife have scammed money from the foreign teachers, but I will only tell my personal story here. The director of Jel World brought me to Korea to contract me out to another school. After working their for five months, I discovered that the school he was contracting me out to was not legal for foreign teachers to work at as it was a preschool. I refused to work at the illegal school and demanded that he move me to Jel World where my visa said that I worked. After three days of no decisiion from him, I finally got a call from my recruiter who said that James (the director) had threatened that he would go to immigration about me as he had "connections" in Ulsan immigration. He was threatening me after he was the one who brought me all the way to Korea to work illegally! I contacted the Canadian Embassy who assured me I would be okay and offered to call me director and set him straight on who would be in trouble here. My director soon telephoned me for a meeting at which time he offered me a job at his school although I would have to take a pay cut and sign on for another year meaning I would not get the severance that would have been coming to me in November. I had no choice but to accept or leave Korea. Now I am stuck here until next May. To top this all off, my director told me I would not be paid for the time I had worked that month at the illegal school unless I went to teach there one more day. I said 'forget it' since I should have been paid this money no questions asked. I never got the money and my director had the nerve to say to me that he was 'very angry' with me. On top of this he has been ripping me off on tax every month, charging me 7% and only paying 4% to the tax office. The difference has been going into his pocket. He has done this to every teacher that ever came to JEL. He wrote a written promise to the last teacher to leave, that he would pay her back the tax when her contract finished, but reneged on the deal before she left knowing that she had only a short time to catch her flight and, therefore, couldn't go to the labour office. He also chose to rip her off on her overtime on the last pay too, but he does this often so we weren't surprised.

We now have only three teachers at our school with one going to do the midnight run next week as she is fed up with our director. The two of us left wish we could do the same, but will be left, instead, with about 200 students to teach.

The bottom line: stay away from Jel World Language Institute in Ulsan.

Dear Sir;

I am writing this letter in case there are any future inquiries concerning the Sae Kye Foreign Language Institution in Tongnae-Ku, Pusan, Korea. I have been there teaching for three months.

The first two months I lived in a cheap hotel. Now I am living in a poorly constructed apartment. I suffered a mild concussion due to faulty installation of ceiling lights. The bathroom facilities are public bathrooms. There is no cooking appliance. There is no hot water for showers or washing dishes. The plumbing is such that the food from other floors drains into our restroom. This clogs all the drains and floods the bathroom. Heating is going to be a major problem in the winter. It is a wind tunnel for mosquitoes, rain, cold and pollution.

Thank you for your time,


And others to avoid:

Myung Moon Academy in Pusan

Chinju City, Kyong Province--The entire city.

From: wentz

Chicago Language Academy in Seoul an Chinju is to be avoided at all costs. After working for 3 months we finally got a kitchen table! (Before that we were to buy our own) I gave my notice after getting tired of no support, bad text books, the office was in Seoul no-one spoke English, and passed the buck-I was paid less than half my salary because of various deductions. I was already in Korea and they didn't pay for me to come out here. You'll find bad things about them in other blacklists, but like I said-AVOID THESE PEOPLE LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!!!!!

Hi Jon,

If you're on your way to Pohang, Korea be adviced of a school called "Time Foreign Language Institute". It's a joke. The people don't have a clue about how to run a business let alone a school. I lived in a classroom! I had no shower or kitchen. The school promised medical insurance and didn't deliver. Pohnag is a steel town so don't let any fast talking placement agencies tell you that it is a beautiful paradise. The agency that sent me here said it was the windsurfing capital of Korea.......NOT. Pohang is a steel town so don't let any fast talking placement agencies tell you that it is a beautiful paradise. It's a nightmare!!

Truthfully, Marcus


I would like to add Mr. Kxxx Yxxxxx Hx and his two businesses, KUK JAE FOREIGN LANGUAGE INSTITUTE in Suwon and INTERNATIONAL KOREA (formerly Universal Korea), to the blacklist. Mr. Kxxxxx has a long record of firing good teachers, refusing severance pay, and trying to cheat every penny possible out of his employees. He has told new teachers upon arrival that there was a "mistake"in their contracts so their pay would be less than what they had signed to. He has ratted on other hagwons that use illegal teachers, while doing the same thing himself. He has video cameras set up not only in all of the classrooms, but also in the hallways, waiting rooms, and teachers'lounge. Kxxxx Yxxxx Hx is one of the greediest, most mean-spirited people I have ever met. Please everyone, avoid his businesses at all costs! Sincerely,

And the response:

Dear. Jon

My name is Tracy Xxxxxx. I have been reviewing the Korean Blacklist entries as posted on your page. I am concerned about a particular entry which is over two years old, entered against Kukjae Foreign Language Institute in Suwon, S.Korea. I have been working for them now for about 4 months and I have been treated very well. I have not had any sort of complaints from either the director or any of the other instructors. I would ask that you post this letter in response to the blacklist entry which I have copied below for your inspection, or, if possible, please remove it. It has no bearing on the current working conditions at Kukjae. I feel that Kukjae is a great place to work. I speak from experience, since I had been informed of many of the problems described concerning OTHER institutes here, but not Kukjae. The mention of video cameras in each of the rooms has nothing to do with "spying" but is in fact a useful tool to allow students to observe a class in session so they can decide whether or not to join it. There is a P.A.system in the school which is used to make general announcements.. In my experience, Mr. Kxxxx is a very nice guy and has never troubled me in any way. The allegation that he is "mean spirited" and so forth is simply an unfounded emotional response in my opinion. I honestly don't have any other details as to what may have happened with Axxx Rxxx, but I doubt if any of these things have any realistic foundation.

Finally, I have no knowledge of him ever firing any teachers, or withholding any unsubstantiated deductions from my pay. Also, to my knowledge, he has never "ratted" on any other hogwans about using illegal teachers, and he has paid me exactly as was specified in my contract. Any deductions found in my salary are required by the Korean government for medical insurance and taxes. If this entry is allowed to stand unchallenged, it will cause many problems for Kukjae. I feel that it is wrong to leave the allegations suggested in Axxx Rxxx's comments in the blacklist because I have never had any problems, and none of the teachers I've worked with here have had ANY of these issues. I think, perhaps that this person may have been suffering from some of the culture shock and other issues that are connected generally with living in Korea, rather than any specific problems with Kukjae. One further note. There is, to my knowledge and belief, no school known as International Korea or Universal Korea associated with Kukjae in any way.

Unfortunately, this entry has existed on the blacklist for over two years, and no one has taken the time to explain why it should be removed. It seems to me that it is time to at least post this response so that people considering working at Kukjae can make an informed decision, rather than offhandedly rejecting any offer to work here without hearing both sides of the story.


Mr. Tracy R Xxxxx

English Instructor: Kukjae Foreign Language Institute.

Avoid English Training Center, Kangnam-ku, Yucksam-dong, Seoul. Main office is very near the Kangnam subway station, off Teheranno. I could rant and rave, but suffice it to say that ETC is best avoided unless your idea of great work is not being paid, having your contract vacation time slashed or unpaid, not being paid for working holidays, being lied to, being threatened, being coerced, and generally being mistreated as an employee. 9 contract teachers got hammered when new ownership took over what was a pretty reasonable place to work. Perhaps the most odious thing about it is the American "Academic Director", who is essentially a mouthpiece for the owner, and gets paid really well to serve that function. He knowingly sabatoged efforts to confront the owner over pay issues etc... the whole time maintaining that he was availing himself of the downtrodden teachers. This is one of those schools that serves as an example of what can go wrong when teaching in Korea. Thanks for posting this. Mark.

Koretta Warning

WARNING for people considering applying to the KORETTA/EPIK teaching program now being promoted in the USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, IRELAND and the UK.

This program is being run through the Korean Ministry of Education and seeks to recruit native speakers to teach English conversation in Korean public middle and high schools. Contracts are for one year, pay abou US$24,000 and promise housing, medical coverage, one month's vacation and the chance to extend for a second year.

The program would seem to be an ideal alternative to working in Hagwon Hell, and Korea has persuaded the diplomatic corps of some of the above-mentioned countries to promote it among their citizens interested in overseas teaching work. Obviously, the program has ambitions of emulating the successful JET program in Japan.

However, there are BIG problems at this point. Anyone thinking of applying to KORETTA/EPIK should read the following and consider very carefully whether they want to deal with these hassles.

* Lack of Clear Management Structure/Lack of Support: No one is quite sure who the hell is running this program and it's a maddening ordeal trying to find out. The people you apply to are very nice, as are the folks who run the two-week training program in the central city of Cheongju. But once you leave training and get assigned to a particular education district (which could be anywhere in the country) you become the responsibility of the local authorities. KORETTA/EPIK, as such, basically cuts its ties to you and they can't offer much in the way of help when things go wrong. And things will DEFINITELY go wrong. (See below.)

The local authorities are in most cases unequipped and ill-prepared to deal with you and your problems. In many cases even making yourself understood will be a problem because of a lack of translation capacity. If you feel that the terms of your contract are not being met, you have no recourse to any central authority. Your contract may, or may not, be considered worth the paper it's written on. The local folks set the terms and if you don't like them, your only choices are to suck it up and cope or else head for the airport.

* Housing: Nine out of ten times teachers have arrived at their sites to find that no housing has been arranged for them. Though a shared apartment with other KORETTA teachers is promised in the contract, in many cases teachers have been pressured to accept "homestays" with Korean families, usually a Korean public school teacher, which is uncomfortable and an inconvenience to say the least. Often, when housing has eventually been arranged, it has been less than satisfactory. Teachers who get placed in major cities (i.e. Seoul, Pusan) can definitely expect to face problems getting good housing due to high property values. (Some teachers in Seoul, for example, have been living in sleazy "love hotels" for months, waiting for a proper apartment to come through for them.)

* VISA and Travel Arrangement Problems: In many cases people have had their visas approved just days before they were supposed to be leaving for Korea, creating unnecessary stress and strain. Also, travel arrangements have been less than satisfactory; people have been told just days before the fact when they were supposed to be leaving, and many didn't have their tickets in hand until they went to the airport.

And if you're planning to come over here with your wife and/or kids, you'd better forget it. The folks at the education ministry may say bringing dependents over is no problem, but they aren't communicating very well with the ministry of justice folks, who have the power to grant -- and deny -- visas. (This is not even mentioning the housing problems you'll have if you want to have a place for your family to enjoy alone.)

* Lack of Translation Capacity/Cross-cultural Miscommunication Sure, the folks who hire and train you are great; they've had experience dealing with westerners and most of them speak pretty good English. But once you get to your work site, expect to confront a different world. This is Korea, and none of the rules that govern western-style employer-employee relations seem to apply. It's amazing how many problems the language barrier alone can lead to. But more troublesome is the fact that rarely does anyone think your complaints are valid, and no one wants you to talk to the person in charge, who might have the power to help. Complaining about unmet contract conditions is in most cases like talking to a brick wall. Again, be prepared to face the choice of putting up with stupid bullshit or else just leaving the country.

In conclusion, it suffices to say that despite Korea's amibitions of taking its part on the world stage as a developed country, foreigners who come here through KORETTA/EPIK can expect to confront some Third than two years old -- and SOME of the folks running it seem eager to make it better and are listening to complaints like these listed above. But considering how slow this Confucian-influenced bureacracy seems to work, you can expect that it will at least be a few years before the kinks get worked out.

This warning has been written by someone who has stuck it out and who, despite all the problems, still thinks it has been a good opportunity. No doubt -- if you get passed all the crap and take some responsibility for making your situation here comfortable (e.g. look for your own house) this can turn into a sweet job. But at this point, only the hale and hearty need apply.

- Anonymous


The following is not copyrighted and typed out word for word with the anonymous author(s) permission of the underground 'rag' entitled: "The Pusan Underground."





CHO YOUNG GYO and any schools associated with her name: Sli, Yes and the airline English school. Ms Cho has abused, fired and deported 4 teachers in 8 months. Her contract violates 4 counts of Korean Labor Law.

CHO BYOUNG HONG and his schools - namely ETS. Teachers are often unpaid and have to live in Mr. Cxxxx's house (here he can monitor them). He has lost 10 teachers in the last 6 months.

JUNG HEE KUN and all EBS agencies. First, EBS is not an offical school. It is an agency that farms teachers out to different schools for profit. It cannot legally hire nor provide work permits. Mr. Jxxxx confiscates his teachers passports to hold them hostage. He also physically threatens teachers.

LIKE schools and DAVID HOUSE have similar reputations for not honoring contracts, cheating teachers out of pay and for poor housing.

Response to the David House:

jon --

hey! i just interviewed a teacher regarding a job at the hagwon i work at in pusan city, tong-nae gu, sajik-1-dong, david english house. she informed me that many david english houses have been blacklisted by the list you carry. upon examining the list, i found one vague reference from an article from the old pusan underground.

this is extremely unfair to david english house! david paul has worked extremely hard to build up a name for his teaching method. he has franchised very few places to act as institutes. there is only one leagally franchised david english house in pusan, and that is the above mentioned one in sajik-1-dong. many may use the name, but there is only one that is legal.

i am the first and so far, the only native english speaking teacher at david english house. director kim has gone out of his way to make my employment comfortable and enjoyable and rewarding. he has honored every term of the contract without me needing to mention it. he has been kind and generous.

david paul has been very helpful to me as well, and anyone working for a david english house will have the opprotunity to meet him, also. it is a tremendous advantage to working for any other organization.

also, i have lived in pusan for a year and have had a terrific time. i have had no negative experiences and many many possitive and rewarding ones. i know that many of the hagwon directors have cheated their teachers, but i've been cheated by employers back in the states as well. we all must watch ourselves and defend ourselves and not put ourselves in vulnerable positions.

this is a positive voice coming out of korea, and a positive voice for david english house. before you work for a david english house, however, be sure it is a legally franchised place.

please contact me at for further information.

thank you, jon

And another Clarification on David House (5/99):

Regarding any English language institute(s) in Korea named "David House" or "David English House," there is no affiliation or connection between those institutes, either currently operating or defunct, to the individual David House. Yes, David House, who is from the Portland, Oregon, area of the United States, once taught English conversation in Korea, at Oxford Language School in Taegu and Hayan Nuri Education Center in Seoul from 1993 to 1994. David House is now the editor-publisher of Korea Inc., a daily business news site at based in Portland and Seoul, and the copy editor and contributor to the monthly magazine Business Korea, based in Seoul. David House wishes to express to his former students, former fellow Korean and non-Korean teachers, current and prospective business associates and journalists, and prospective teachers looking for work in Korea that he has no connection to any language school bearing his name or a similar name, and that he has ! not taught at any institute of any name since the end of 1994. To institute owners and operators: Please cease using the name David House.

Thank you in advance for posting this clarification.