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All Blacklist and Greenlist postings after four years has passed will be removed.

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.

Note to Hokwon Owners:

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.

Note to posters: Recently I have been taking a more active role in moderating posts. Three rules:

  1. No personal attacks.
  2. No names or identifiers (the director of this place, the owner, "he," "she," etc).
  3. No claims of illegal activity.

The reason for this is that everyone on this site is kept anonymous. This includes the poster, the "sinner" and everyone else.

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.

This is my first attempt at text search. Note that both these searches work with Fire Fox, and neither work with Internet Explorer, unfortunately.

Here's a search highlighter. Give it a try.

Pyeongtaek English Education Centre

Jan 11 at 5:01 AM

I would like to add Pyeongtaek English Education Centre to the list. I was thrown in on the first day without any training, teaching kids and adults. When the adult numbers started to fall, I consulted the supervisor who assured me that it was normal for this time of year. She later inspected my class (along with everyone else's) and gave me good feedback.

Then three months after I started she took me into my classroom and said that due to complaints about my lessons, they were terminating my contract. She told me it was not her decision but the director's. I asked to have a meeting to the director and was refused at every attempt.

Throughout this horrible month, I was expected to attend a staff dinner with my replacement, give her advice with the materials I prepared for the camp. Then on my last day, the director had the nerve to ask to see me so she could say goodbye.

The stress and hurt that they put me through is hard to put into words. And through all this, they acted like everything was normal and playing happy family with the other foreign teachers.

I advise anyone who is thinking of teaching in Korea to stay away from this horrid place.

Lighthouse English Center, Hagwi

Jan 3 at 1:20 AM

First of all, they refused to pay me what was promised; they paid me less than that. When I raised an issue on this they blatantly lied to me that I was making a wrong calculation on my payment, although I was referring to the wage agreed to by both the employer and I (the employee) before my employment. When I pointed out another labor law they broke in regards to my employment (they did not write a labor contract for me) they first made me feel guilty for asserting my rights (you are a bad teacher, etc...) and later hesitantly paid me for what I should have been paid in the first place.

I do not know if this happened to all employees, but they refused to sign a labor contract with some of the employees, which can potentially put them in legal jeopardy.

To simply put, they do not have the fundamental respect for human dignity. They prioritize money over the labor you will provide; money > your labor. Therefore they will do anything to save a dime instead of appreciating your labor. Avoid working with such people at all cost. You deserve so much better.

Gangnam English Academy, Apgujeong

Dec 26, 2017 at 9:52 AM

High salary, 15 days PTO, "a curriculum centered around fun"... Sounds like a dream, right?

Sadly it is. After a comprehensive interview process (to serve the purpose of tricking you into thinking the school is exclusive), it doesn't take more than a week to see that this school doesn't care at all about its teachers. They are desparate for staff, and you are just a commodity. It usually takes less than a week before you get that sudden feeling of dread as you realize that your next 12 months will be filled with weekly doses of unappreciation and belittlement.

Expect to be disciplined instead of retrained, zero assistance with troubled kids, frequent last minute changes to your schedule, poorly leveled classes, filtered/edited report card comments, and an incredibly mind-numbing curriculum. Most weeks you can forget about prep-time, but don't you dare exhibit any signs of unpreparedness unless you enjoy stern talking-to's from your boss.

Oh but it's not all bad... you can expect the occasional cookie-cutter compliment before being given an additional task outside of your normal job duties. And those 15 PTO's that you can choose whenever you want... they make it easy and choose most of them for you! Bonus for next year is that they are increasing the class size!

No need to look any further than the yearly turnover of staff to see the unhappiness. Maybe 4/20 teachers re-signing for next year (that doesn't even begin to describe the rapid turnover of Korean staff). It's sad that a team of such positive and qualified teachers feels so unmotivated and under appreciated.

Wake up before signing the contract and don't let this promised dream job turn into a nightmare.

SOT (school of tomorrow) in Seocho

Dec 6, 2017 at 7:20 PM

This is about SOT (school of tomorrow) in Seocho. I am writing this to help future teachers avoid a possible negative experience teaching in Korea. My contract with them has ended. I will only state facts. This school has 16 teachers with only 4 who are resigning. There is a legitimate reason for this. Though I cannot state specifically as to why, please take this into consideration. The contract may seem appealing but the stress from the micromanaging, little to no classroom support, ďcurriculumĒ, and the very long teaching hours with only a 30 minute lunch break is something that former teachers did not think about until it was happening to them. There are other issues but for legal reasons I cannot state them. Please think over your decision to accept a position with them carefully, otherwise RUN!

Global Aviation college affiliated with Guardian airlines in Gangseo gu near Gimpo airport

December 5, 2017

It seems oh so enticing at first, the world of aviation conjours up images of travel, and the life of luxury. The students are all young student pilots studying to become the future of Korean Airlines, Asiana and the like. What could look better than to have this kind of teaching experience on your resume? The owner and managers of this school use this image to lure unsuspecting teachers only to rip them off in every typical way you've already read about on this blacklist site. This includes late payment, no payment, no visa sponsorship, no key money, sudden extra classes, non of which you will ever get paid for etc. You know it's bad when the students are already warning you that you're never going to receive your salary and it's only the second day you've taught them. To make matters worse, the students at this school also get ripped of if they decided to quit. No wonder why the company has changed it's name so many times.

English Kindergarten, just outside Migeum & Dongcheong-dong in Bundang/Suji area.

Nov 30, 2017 at 10:54 PM

Hello, I want to blacklist PIA school. It's not that new now but it also hasn't been around for long so there is no information online.

It's an independent English Kindergarten located just outside of Migeum and Dongcheong-dong in Bundang/Suji area.

-No training or guidance as to what is expected when you first arrive. Day 1, straight in there with the crying kids who miss their parents and you have no idea what to do.

-Teachers are often made to CLEAN the whole school, DEEP CLEAN, after the working hours without pay.

-Sometimes work Saturdays for parent meetings, it's okay(ish), BUT you don't get paid for it.

-Threatened to fire a foreign teacher after minor disagreements in the school monthly craft projects. Refused to calmly discuss a resolution.

-One bus driver yells at both kids and teachers.

-NO break time. Lunch time is for helping kids eat and pee. Good luck trying to eat your own lunch. "Free" classes are for preparing your other classes but in reality you are still in the classroom and expected to observe and look out for kids or help them go toilet.

-When the students go home and you think you can finally do lesson prep but NOPE you need to supervise the kids whose parents pick them up late or you need to tutor elementary kids. Again no extra pay.

-Agreed to extend a foreign teacher's contract for 6 more months with a pay rise but 2 weeks before this new contract was supposed to come into action they told the teacher to stay 1 year or not at all, in hopes they would stay another full year in this hell. Leaving the foreign teacher with 2 weeks to pack up and find a new job. (that teacher dodged a bullet I guess)

-Decided to combine 2 classes into one and thus cut a foreign and Korean teacher from their jobs with just 3 weeks notice. This particular foreign teacher had been at the school for 2-3 years and had not received the full severance and will not receive this year's one either without a fight since they cut their job early.

-Told a Korean teacher who had an accident and needed time to recover to come into work, and if not would be replaced, coworker proceeded to work in a very bad condition.

-Took money out of pay each month for medical insurance. After leaving the school the foreign teacher received a bill for unpaid medical insurance... the school were taking it out of the pay but not paying it to the medical insurance.. After contacting the school, was then told its not their problem now.

KnK International Homeschool / Bundang

Nov 29, 2017 at 4:20 PM

This school is hiring teachers on the wrong visa. Teachers are teaching a variety of subjects besides conversational English (like Social Studies, Literature, etc.). Immigration can bust in at any time and deport the teachers.

It looks like the owner has someone in immigration that he's bribing or something because he would suddenly fire everyone on E2s right before some people would come in and inspect the school.

The pay is high so it seems like an attractive school to work at but IT IS NOT WORTH IT.

If you take their housing, it's terrible. It's run down and unlivable. And the owner does not pay the housing bills and rent on time!!! We are all constantly getting signs on our doors to pay our rent and even getting people knocking on our doors and yelling at us!!!

If you get housing allowance, expect to get shorted or the owner will 'forget' to pay the housing allowance.

The kids are all spoiled rich kids and won't listen to you. They think they're the smartest kids in the world because their parents have been paying for their grades so far so if you break their reality they'll go nuts.

All of my coworkers were miserable working there and I'm so glad I left. I hope they are able to escape this hell soon as well.

5 Touch Language in Giheung, Yongin

Nov 29, 2017 at 3:08 PM

This is a kindy childcare center. You don't actually teach English, you teach them art in English. This means that E2 visas should not work here as it is illegal. You should have an F visa to work it.

For the native English teachers here we are basically dancing monkeys for the kids. We sing, dance, and clean up vomit from the kids.

Pay is constantly late and they short us by like 50,000 won here and there and when we ask about it they say, "that's nothing. not a big deal. Forget about it. It will be fixed next month."

If you are on an E2 with them they can threaten you that you are working the wrong visa at their school, but it's actually THEM who hired you on an E2 so it's illegal for them too. But you will most likely get deported while they'll just get a small fine, so they do have an upper hand with this aspect.

They are losing a lot of students (other staff members are very rough with the children!!!) so they are cutting left and right while trying to hire (coughtrickcough) some pretty blonde female faces to attract new students.

Triple A English Academy near Seohyeon Station in Bundang

Nov 29, 2017 at 3:00 PM

This hagwon has a HUGE turnover rate. On my first day of work, I met all 4 of my other coworkers - it was their first day of work the day before me! I was the only native English speaking foreigner working at the time, they stopped having native speakers a couple of years ago and started hiring native Koreans (not Korean-Americans/Canadians or gyopos) and South East Asians who had a decent grasp of English.

The owner seems REALLY nice but she is not a good teacher and cannot seem to handle the students well. The students run all over her and speak to her in banmal (informal speech).

She fires people when "things don't feel right" so that's why there's a huge turnover rate. Doesn't matter if you're a good teacher or not.

Curriculum is all over the place and she just photocopies stuff for the teacher to use day by day instead of giving us a full copy of the textbook or just spend 10,000 won and give us a textbook! All the kids have their own textbooks, thankfully. But that means we can't prepare for our lessons in advance by more than a day.

You get your schedule the day you arrive at work so you really don't know what the heck you're doing and what you're teaching until the minute you arrive to work so you have to arrive to work early if you want to prepare. And there's no paid preparation time.

Since I left, I heard that she is just hiring people on an hourly basis. Not sure if she even hires native English speakers anymore or if she's sticking with native Koreans and South East Asians.

Worwick Franklin Institute - Wirye (New town/ Shindoshi)

Nov 28, 2017 at 9:22 PM

Find another school! There are so many other options in Korea which pay better money, have better hours and are less demanding. This school does not give you a break everyday even though you work 9hrs and your contract says you should have one. When told that this is illegal, the school made no changes but said to resign if not happy. On days with no lunch break, you are also not allowed to leave the building and you don't get paid overtime for staying. There are only ~5hrs of prep time per week because they keep adding afternoon elementary classes. Even though your contract says max of 30 teaching hrs per week, they don't count all the hours that you are forced to feed or supervise kids as "active teaching hours" so you end up spending ~35hrs with them with no time to plan or complete all the administrative things they want done for each class you have. If you take a job here, don't expect to be hired as an English Instructor: you're perceived as a general labourer: lunch giver, classroom cleaner, private tutor, r&d (i.e. you create all the tests which are given multiple times a week). Some kids (5 and 6 years old) don't know how to wipe their butt after they poo and if the parents want you to do it for their kid, the school expects you to do it - the head teacher will tell you to. There is a ridiculous amount of micromanaging ("stand up at lunch while you supervise the kids"). Do yourself a favour and just don't get involved in this! There are greener pastures I promise you.

Kaylee English School in Cheonan, South Korea.

Nov 24, 2017 at 6:19 PM

This is for Kaylee English School in Cheonan, South Korea.

I just want to start with AVOID at all cost. The school is extremely disorganized and is literally a walking contradiction. No training is given, yet teachers are expected to be the very best in the business. Guidelines are given on how to address the class, but is met with contradictory and new guidelines of how to teach the class.

AND don't even think of explaining how that works; you will never be correct and never gain any praise for anything you do. All criticisms and ALL you'll hear is everything you have been doing wrong, even though it might not be your fault.

The owner is batshit crazy that might be going through some of kind of mental crisis. She takes out any of her anger at the teachers. If she's having an emotional or a bad day that has nothing related to how the teachers are doing, I guarantee you'll get a mouthful of yelling.

FURTHERMORE, before my arrival, she hired two native teachers illegally. One of these workers had no bank of account because of this and paid his utility bills by giving money to the owner to have her pay for the bills, but for 2-3 months, she never paid and kept all of it.

In ADDITION, no workers were given any sort of pension and health insurance, even after asking and mentioning it, which is just plain ridiculous.

THEN, she takes advantage of one of my co-workers by making her work at a different location that not even related to the hagwon she signed with. She also refuses to pay for any holidays, like Chuseok even though our contract explicitly states we are all salary and not paid hourly. So we get pro-rated from our pay.

This all sounds excessive, but I at least was able to get a 1 hour voice recording of yelling and them admitting that they KNEW we were not being given health insurance and pension even though it is illegal by Korean law. I also have proof from monthly payment of my transfer that excludes any deductions for health insurance and pension.

There is definitely more I can say, but I'll stop here. This is definitely not a place to work at.

SPEP/One-Stop Prep, Based Out of Gangnam in Seoul

Nov 21, 2017 at 2:18 AM

SPEP/One-Stop Prep, Based Out of Gangnam in Seoul The following is a description of a short and costly mistake I made agreeing to accept a teaching position with SPEP/One-stop prep, based out of Gangnam in Seoul. Before accepting any job with this organization I would suggest reading the following article very carefully. I sincerely hope that by sharing this experience it will prevent other foreign teachers from making the same mistake that I did.

As a new teacher to Korea I was targeting the adult hagwons during my job search. After a month of looking I had two job offers and SPEP/One-stop prep seemed like the better choice because you teach during normal work hours, instead of having split shifts like most adult hagwons. Immediately after reading the contract I could see that it was very one sided, half of the document talked exclusively about all the different reasons you could be fired with just 24 hours-notice and the various penalties you would be forced to pay (for your reference, if YOU wish to cancel the contract you need to give 3 months-notice). Iíll admit this made me feel very uncomfortable, but during the interviews on Skype the staff seemed nice on the surface, and adult teaching positions without split shifts were hard to find, so I cautiously went ahead.

(It is very important to note: based on what I was told after I arrived, the driver would pick you up early in the morning to take you to your client offices, and from there your classes could be spread out throughout the day until the early evening. Before arriving in Korea I had been told I would just be teaching during normal work hours, along with block scheduling. So, it was a very unpleasant surprise to find out I was going to be working split shifts anyways. The only difference was going to be that I would have to spend the hours in between classes hanging around company lunch rooms, instead of being in an apartment next to my school. This is what the other position was offering, an apartment of my choice, near my branch location and with split shifts.)

At this point I naturally began to ask questions about accommodation, but only received vague answers. I had assumed since they gave a 400,000 won housing allowance, instead of providing the accommodation themselves, that I would be able to choose where I wanted to live. Well, that wasnít the case. I requested that I be allowed to select my own apartment during the time after I arrived in Korea, but before my contract started, which was denied because of ďtime constraints and language barriers.Ē It was at that point that their HR officer explained that they select your apartment for you and minimal furnishings meant a completely empty apartment with nothing except a fridge and microwave. After I was to move into my apartment the afternoon before my contract and classes started (ďextra trainingĒ was scheduled in the morning), I was told at that point I could purchase a mattress of my choice and sleep on the floor that night. This is where things started to go in the wrong direction. The culture of this organization expects its teachers to be completely obedient and compliant with every decision they make, so by making requests regarding the apartment I would be paying for and living in for an inflexible one-year commitment, I was branded as ďdifficult and demanding.Ē

Once I finally got them to agree to at least provide a bed for my apartment it was time for me to book my flight. I had been told there would be 4 days of training before my contract would begin (paid at a ďspecial training rateĒ of $4 an hour), so I booked my flight 9 days in advance to give myself enough time to adjust to the 16 hour time difference between Vancouver and Korea. I then sent off the travel itinerary to the HR officer who I had been dealing with. At this point I began to relax a bit and feel a little more optimistic, that was until I received my ďrevisedĒ training and arrival schedule.

After my 11 hour flight from Vancouver I finally arrived at Incheon Airport at 2pm, I was then to use some instructions I had been given to buy a SIM card, travel card and find an air-bnb hidden on a small side street at the opposite end of the city using a map written in Korean (again, I had never been to Korea before, donít speak Korean, google maps doesnít work properly in Korea and Seoul has around 25 million people). Then, after unsuccessfully getting my SIM card registered after repeated attempts, I took my travel card and headed off with my suitcase on a 3 hour public transit journey to the small, run down building where I would be staying. I did eventually find the apartment, however once I arrived I found out that the address the HR officer gave me didnít have the room number. So, now I obviously had a problem since my SIM card didnít work. Luckily, there was a man who saw me wondering around with my suitcase looking for a pay phone and asked if I needed help.

So, at around 7pm and 20 hours of international travel with no sleep (it was a day flight) I finally arrived at my apartment! At this point I wasnít sure what to do first. I needed to unpack my clothes, take a shower and try to find something to eat. After all of that, I could finally go to sleep at about 10pm. The problem was the cheap construction of the building let swarms of mosquitoes in, so most of the night was spent swatting and scratching in a desperate attempt to catch up on some sleep. Fast forward to 8am, I had to wake up and use another Korean map to find an obscure clinic on the second floor of a building in another part of the city. 4 hours later I was back at my apartment for a quick lunch before my ďmandatoryĒ meeting at 1pm.

I arrived at the SPEP/One-stop prep office a few minutes before my meeting and was promptly met by a new staff member from the HR department. She asked me briefly where I was from and then started talking about Canada for a few minutes before going abruptly into job formalities. She spent the next 30 minutes talking about company rules and regulations, and I also had to sign a stack of documents which I had never seen before or been informed about in advance.

The ďrevisedĒ training schedule I had received in Canada had 7 full days of training and formalities, with only Sunday off during the 8 full days after I arrived in Korea and before my classes started. I had mentioned during the meeting that I was feeling a bit let-lagged and tired, but the HR girl just smiled and said she understood. The meeting finished 30 min early, then I was told to immediately report to the 2nd floor to begin my training. I then had to sit in a small room for 5 straight hours without a break, during which a new girl mostly talked about more company rules, procedures etc. Towards the end, I was forced to watch an hour long video of 2 very boring sample classes. Once they were finished, the girl came back in the room and asked me to take 15 min to prepare a demo class based on a chapter in the textbook. Once the 15 min was up, she asked me to begin the demo and took out her I-pad to record me for company records. Admitted, at this point I was starting to feel a little annoyed that I was being forced to do this after just arriving in Korea the day before (it was about 2am Vancouver time).

Upon finishing the training session at about 6:30pm the trainer asked me to give her my phone number so we could contact each other in case we needed too. I then handed her my phone (the SIM card was now registered) and she entered her number into my phone. At this point I finally got to go back to my hotel room and I found something to eat, something which I had done only once in nearly 24 hours because of the medical check that morning. As much as I was fatigued and hungry, I think I was more disoriented than anything. The staff at SPEP/One-stop prep were very mechanical and ridged in my dealings with them throughout the process of getting hired, and they didnít take into account any factors other than dates and times when organizing my 9 day schedule before my contract started. From their point of view I had arrived 4 days earlier than necessary, so they may as well use that time to add some ďextra training,Ē rather than allowing me the opportunity to adjust myself after just arriving to a new country from the other side of the world. Their actions clearly demonstrated that as a new teacher you are just viewed as another company asset, and things such as courtesy, politeness, and basic human considerations, which should normally be extended to any new employee who has just arrived from another country, didnít even enter into their thought process.

Fast forward now to my second morning in Korea, after I had spent another night battling mosquitoes and an internal sleep schedule that was completely turned upside down. My alarm went off an hour before I was supposed to report to the office for a full day of training, and I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a freight train. I was completely fatigued, both mentally and physically, and looking ahead at the rest of the week there wasnít going to be any opportunity to get any rest and catch my breath. So, I then sent a simple text message to the HR girl who had given me her number, explained that I was feeling extremely jet-lagged and tired, apologized for the inconvenience, and told her that I need just 1 day to rest before going back into the office to resume my training. Then, after killing a few more mosquitoes, I put my phone on silent mode and fell back asleep.

Here is where the story gets really good, prospective teachers considering this company should pay special attention to this part! About an hour after the scheduled start of training the head HR girl, the one who I had the meeting with the day before, showed up at my hotel room and apparently knocked on the door. Because I had fallen back asleep I obviously didnít answer. She then called the landlord, had him open the door to the room, and then preceded to let herself into my room, wake me up, and then began shouting at me for not reporting to the office for training. During 11 years teaching in Thailand and China I had never dealt with an employer like this, so I was naturally unsure how to react. She was literally in the middle of my room shouting at me while I was lying in bed wearing nothing but my boxer shorts! I decided to just repeat what I had said in the text message, told the girl I would report to the office tomorrow, and politely asked her to please leave the room because her actions were bizarre and totally inappropriate. She then said she would see me tomorrow and slammed the door shut.

The next day I arrived at the office 30 min early, was met by the same HR girl, and then was promptly fired for failing to report for training. The only explanation I was given was that I apparently didnít follow the correct procedure, didnít answer the door when she knocked, and that they couldnít accept me being absent on the second day of training (also my 2nd full day in the country). She also said that she regularly visits teachers at their homes and when she does she expects them to answer the door and let her in. Iím nearly 40 years old and Iíve never had a job (anywhere in the world) where your employer reserves the right to visit your home residence at their discretion. She then handed me an envelope with 20,000 won for 4 of the 5 hours of training I had done, gave me 24 hours to check out of the air-bnb, told me that my visa would be cancelled and gave me a week or less to exit the country. No refund was offered for any of my $2,000 cad in expenses.

As ridiculous as it sounds, and as hard as it is to believe, that was my brief experience working for SPEP/One-stop prep, based out of Gangnam in Seoul. Iím not saying you shouldnít try working for this company, perhaps I just had a bad experience, however based on what happened to me and the behaviour of the SPEP/One-stop prep staff, I would highly recommend looking into other options first before you sign up for what would undoubtedly be a year of misery, assuming of course you are able to make it to the end of the contract. I hope that this article has been informative and useful to all the teachers considering Korea as an option, and if you still decide to sign a contract with this company then I wish you the best of luck!

Bambini Edu in Songpa

October 31, 2017 9:13 PM

This is a reconfirmation of the post from 2012? This school still has the same shady ways. The school took a big hit because it lost a large number of students. Now corners are being cut as far as pay goes. You can expect to be paid on time but expect to always have excuses as to why so much money is being taken out of your monthly paychecks. There Is a positive review on Glassdoor by a nervous pressured foreign teacher but it is completely inaccurate. Maybe at one point the foreign teachers were treated and paid well, but now foreign teachers are treated as a dime a dozen. If offered a position here, run! Donít walk, run!

Avalon, Tae Jon Dong, Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do

October 19, 2017 1:13 PM

I worked at Avalon in Gwangju, Tae Jon Dong and if I were you I'd avoid it at all costs.

Itís hard to list just how bad this place is but this is some of the shit I had to put up with:

Was never paid any overtime whatsoever despite putting long hours in. Frequently had no breaks between classes despite being promised so.

Owners claimed Ďdamagesí in my accommodation (terrible standard apartment) and deducted my pay Ė I had no way of contesting this.

Terrible communication with the owners who made no effort to respond or deal with any of my complaints.

Thatís just a snapshot of it. I was in contact with an English teacher there who was in the process of leaving and at the time she had only good things to say. However, about a month after Iíd started and began to realize just how terrible the place was, I emailed her again about how they did me over on my contract by changing the terms, and she said theyíd bullied her into finding a replacement for her because she was leaving and made her feel like it was her responsibility and threatened to deny her severance pay.

Any Avalon that is not owned directly by the parent company should be avoided because then the XXXXX can do whatever they want.

There are two Avalons in Gwangju both not directly owned by the parent company. I only learned right before I left that not even the teachers like the director, but they are afraid to leave. Thankfully I have other teaching places for references as I was treated like dirt just for wanting to leave. Of the very scant positives about this place, they did pay me on time (although thatís without any overtime) and the kids werenít particularly unruly or unfriendly.

The couple hired just after me have been advertising this job online for the boss. Another trick the boss does to save money on the recruitment fee - asks teachers to find a replacement - usually be threatening deductions in a passive way - scrutinizing the CCTV and writing warning letters in your 10th month.

Apologies for the long review, rant over. I think it goes without saying that this Avalon is one to avoid.

Worwik franklin institute Ulsan

October 12, 2017 1:13 PM

I would like to make a post about "Worwik franklin institute Ulsan." XXXXX let cut my contract short when I fell at home and broke my shoulder, XX demanded that I move out of my apartment 2-3 days after my surgery to repair my shoulder, and I still had two metal pins in it holding it in place. Xxx also refuses to pay me the money I am owed for the work that I had done previously and keeps "threatening to sue me".

Gimpo POLY, Seoul

October 6, 2017 1:13 PM

I was quite nervous about this school because it was on the black list back in 2015. I thought that things had changed and that they would have made things more pleasant for staff. Boy, was I wrong.

I'll start with what happened to a fellow teacher and then explain what happened to me. My coworker (Foreign Teacher) became extremely sick because Korean moms send their children to school when they are severely sick. Add the VERY bad air quality in Gimpo, and she developed bad pneumonia. We are only able to go to the doctor on Saturday because it is not allowed to take off for an hour to go. She was told by the doctor after 2 weeks of pneumonia that she would have to be hospitalized for 1-2 weeks if she did not take the week off. As a person who has had pneumonia, I understand how dangerous it is. When she told our director, he laughed in her face. When she told our vice-director (American/Gyopo who married a Korean), he thought she was lying. She tried to be strong, but ended up being in so much pain that she was crying in her class. Luckily our main boss (owner of 3 Poly campuses) was visiting and stepped in. He was not happy about everything and made the bosses take over her classes. I thought that she would have enough time to recover. Afterwards, she told us that our vice-director was messaging her every hour of work asking her to come in or guilting her. She also told us that he had asked her if she needed to be replaced. I was utterly offended with how they treat foreign teachers.

Now my own story. I was working for 1 month, when my Korean Teacher decided to quit. They replaced her with a crazy lady who physically attacked another Korean Teacher just because she was jealous and had a crush on the director (who is married). While the attack occurred, two of the three males at the campus huddled in the corner telling the lady being punched to get away from the crazy lady and come towards them.

Additionally, I had gotten into a relationship that my parents did not approve of. My dad visited and seemed like he wanted to take me from the country. Eventually, my vice-director heard and pulled me aside at the end of the school day. He asked me, "What is going on? Do I need to replace you?" He then proceeded to say that he was a dad and had a daughter, so he understood my dad. He then told me that I should listen to my dad.

The ONLY plus of this campus is the money. Managment is TERRIBLE!!! They seem so nice until you are under contract. They do not think of teachers as people but as objects or goods. FTs and KTs are sooooo replaceable. Don't think that you are going to get it lucky unless you are a male and a gyopo.

If you have an interview with them, be careful.

BTW, this all happened in August 2016-August 2017, if you're curious.

Songdo International Language Center (SILC) in Songdo, Incheon

Sept 4, 2017 2:18 PM

The owner started this hakwon 7-8 years ago. However, he had someone else manage it until February. Since February, when he and his wife began managing it, there has been a 200% turnover rate (including receptionists). The owners favor men over women, which is a common discussion topic among all the teachers, both male and female.

Many teachers quit because the receptionist (ie. wife) is rude and insulting, although many say the same about the owner himself (Korean standards, not western). Students complain regularly, saying that they are "fake friendly", inflexible, and unapproachable.

Paychecks are only partial for most employees, and you have to beg for the rest. He views paychecks as a privilege. He also insisted to all teachers they arrive earlier than their scheduled shift that was agreed upon in the contract. He views contracts as terminable at any time.The man sometimes verbally abuses people by speaking negatively to his wife or female employees. They are not willing to assist you in making your class or classroom better. They are better than that, because they are the owners (ie. God).

Common demands are no talking in the hallway and office, and no laughing. They regularly patrol all the classrooms and look through the windows. (These are adults, remember.)

At first, they will be VERY friendly. They will invite you out to eat, or to their home. They will be extremely cooperative and helpful. But don't be fooled, the honeymoon will be over soon enough.

Nagwon Feinschule Hagwon in Bonseon-dong in Nam-gu, Gwangju

Sept 12, 2017 2:49 AM

I worked at Nagwon Feinschule Hagwon in Bonseon-dong in Nam-gu, Gwangju for 1 year 3 months and I will touch on the problems that caused with my visa later on.

I had issues from the get go. First off the apartment I was given, I had to share with the principal. Despite saying the apartment is mine, the other room was full of her stuff and she came and went into my apartment as she pleased and even stayed over despite my protests she couldnít and me constantly changing the door code. This was extremely stressful and even when I went on vacation and a good friend volunteered to pet sit for the duration of 2 weeks at my apartment, I was told the principal would be staying there and she couldnít so I had to find another way for someone to pet sit my cat. Which of course was very stressful and infuriating. Not to mention this apartment meant taking 2 buses to get home. The principal also used to gossip with the teachers about the cleanliness of my apartment and any male friends who came to see me. The next day all the teachers would know about it.

My time working there was horrendous, they overworked me, changed timetable so often, I got confused about times of classes finishing. I had no support or co-teachers to assist me in my classes and I felt alone and a complete outsider. They had high expectations but hardly any materials to supplement my classes as the principal was very greedy with money and it was clear to see she didnít want to put money into the Hagwon at all.

The contract means nothing when working for this company, they always made me stay behind after work with no notice, unpaid and they refused to let me go home even If I declined. They also were very forceful in working on weekends and Friday nights mostly. Even when the contract stated 5 unpaid Saturdays, I am certain it was more than that. I was never compensated for any extra work at all. One occasion the teachers ganged up on me and physically blocked the door so I could not leave, because I had to stay behind after work which they told me only 3 hours before it took place. Time of work in the contract does not mean anything either. I was meant to be at work at 10am. I was told I had to help on the school bus from 9am and yes that wasnít paid as overtime. Not to mention they changed the finishing time to 30 minutes later than my contract which I again, did not agree to and was not compensated for either.

There was one teacher there that was just as bad as the principal, she was always in a bad mood and took her anger and stress out on me for no reason, sometimes she would be nice but most of the time she was in a foul mood. One time I was humiliated because I had an emergency personal appointment at a womanís clinic and I was told I had to be at work at a certain time, I of course didnít make it, despite them being aware I wouldnít be back in time. I have never been subjected to such emotional and verbal abuse until I worked there. I was worn down so far, I was depressed, no self-confidence and low self-esteem.

My 1 year contract finished and I decided I would stick it for 3 months, so I can join the next intake for the public school system. I was shocked when they gave me a 1 year contract, I knew this wasnít right and when I addressed this with them, they told me it was solely for me leaving the country for vacation for immigration so I can get back in and they would provide me with a new different contract. They never did. I bought what they said and signed and this caused further problems later. It was time for my departure from the school, they told me I had to provide a 1 year lesson plan for Kindergarten and a 6 month for Elementary. When I submitted it they were still not satisfied. I think this was solely done out of spite, as I cannot fathom to see how that would be necessary.

Before leaving, three teachers knew I was changing to public school, these people made me believe they were my friends, but it was clear to see they were also just as snide and sly as the other teachers. The principal doesn't speak English at all may I add, so these 2 teachers usually had to speak to her on my behalf. This teacher straight up told me she didnít tell the Principal I was leaving but I was going back to England to study, because she wonít release me from the contract otherwise (the 1 year contract signing for a 3 month extension was another way they could blackmail and control me). They later denied this and the teachers believed them over me and said I was a liar.

So I left with my pay but no severance, (they said they would pay that within 2 weeks, it never came) and I went to orientation for 2 weeks with my new job, when it came to going to immigration for my new job it started to become a huge problem. They called the Hagwon, the principal lied and said I had run away. (Which makes no sense as they provided me a reference letter for that very job). This became an issue, so as one final way to control and spite me the Principal invented up a false scenario. Apparently, the apartment I had stayed at was completely wrecked and cost more than my severance. So, they blackmailed me into getting a release letter if I accept the severance can pay for ďdamagesĒ. I took them to the labour board and I didn't win either, despite the law stating the school are not to withhold my severance, as that's my money I paid into every month from my pay.

I would highly suggest If you want to stay sane and not be taken advantage of to stay away from this place. I can genuinely say they have affected my mental health severely. So much so when I worked at my next job at a great Public School, I was always on edge I was going to annoy someone or get shouted at because I made a simple mistake, this of course never happened because they treated me like a human being not like property. I would not wish this place on my worse enemy. Prison labour isnít this degrading and mentally debilitating.

Considering Korean culture is all about saving face, I was shocked I experienced such humiliation and degrading behaviour, not to mention that Koreanís are private people so it was weird that the Principal wanted to share an apartment with me.

STAY WELL CLEAR OF THIS PLACE!!!! The principal is so drunk with power and greed she will do anything to control you and find ways of avoiding to paying you. I know past teachers and a teacher after me also experienced similar difficulties in pay and their experience of working there.

YBM in Apujeong

Aug 17, 2017 2:49 AM

Hi Everyone! I taught abroad for 6 years and overall had a great experience. My last Hagwon I worked for YBM in Apujeong seemed very nice when I started. The president of the school comes off as helpful but they want you to tell them 3 months in advance prior to your contract ending if you are renewing. If you say no they add more classes and take away breaks. They also treat you like a second class person. Aside from that, my contract ended in May and I didn't finish getting all my pay situated with them until mid July. Other former employers warned me and I didn't listen. Recently, my friend/ co worker messaged me concerned. She was told because she didn't tell them 2 months in advance she was leaving once her contract ended they needed to extend it by 3 additional months. She was worried and I told her not to sign any additional contracts and that her initial contract ending date was valid. She did that and now they are trying to withhold her pension. This is why I'm posting, we come for the opportunity to yeah not be bullied by a corporate company trying to take advantage of a foreign who is not familiar to laws. I worked at Poly as well and besides their long hours the Guru campus was always fair to me.

Dr.Jung E Class - Gwangjin-Gu Branch

Aug 16, 2017 10:42 PM

A few weeks ago, I applied for a position in a English academy. Dr.Jung E Class - Gwangjin-Gu Branch

Everything went well during the interview, but they did not have a contract ready. So I asked if I could have a contract emailed to me before I began work. Obviously just to make sure that everything was in order and for assurance. I should have got a hint that something was off when the boss agreed but gave a funny face and asked why I need such a thing... really?

A week later I received nothing, so I emailed a reminder to the academy asking for a copy of the contract. I was now at a point where I was finished with my contract at my previous work place and currently unemployed, expecting to start at Dr.Jung E Class on the following week.

The email I received was very aggressive, threatening, and rude to say the least. They flat out told me they have no problem hiring someone else if I don't agree to these conditions, while trying to convince me that I need this position since they knew I was no longer employed.

The boss now said that I will receive my contract after my first few classes working at the academy. I respectfully and thoughtfully said that even though I will have to try and look at other places I think it's best to decline. After this, they replied back in a much nicer tone saying that she was a little out of line and aked me to reconsider...

No, I have not actually worked in the academy, but I'm experienced enough in Korea to know a red flag when I see one. For the consideration of others, I would advise high caution if you consider approaching this academy.

Gyeongsang National University

Aug 9, 2017 10:42 PM

Hello Jon,

After a merger of departments at this university and a revamp of staff and teachers, the new administrative team is dishonest and immoral. They have had job offers (from other work places for teachers) rescinded because it is "too hard to find a replacement" and they are outright asking teachers to plagiarize textbooks for the new dean's gain.

Be wary when applying here. Teachers are treated worse that first year hogwon teachers.

Dongtan kids College, Dongtan, Seoul.

July 25, 2017 03:02 PM

Hello Jon,

I run a recruitment agency who has worked with Dongtan kids College for many years. However, a new owner took over named Xxxxxx, and although XX resumed our partnership with them, and hired our teacher, Xx decided to never pay us. We had placed a teacher there the year prior, whom left xxx contract after 10 months (mostly due to the poor way in which the new owner was managing. Standard guarantee on a contract is 3 months, in which a replacement teacher is provided. And although we gave Xxx a discount regardless, xx decided to not pay. Xxx never said as much, just ignored calls for 6 months, and sent a few texts making false promises. Then give an ultimatum, Xx never responded. As such, I am posting this.

I have kept in touch with our teachers and have been told the school is not good anymore. Complaints of overwork, late payments, and doctored contracts and more, since Xxxxx took over. A nightmare, and teachers are threatened with financial penalties if they decide to leave.

DO NOT teach at this school. it will be a long year of disorganization, distrust and uncertainty for you.

Daegu, Sangin April/CDI

July 4, 2017 8:18 PM

Daegu, Sangin April/CDI is a horribly run hagwon with a management team that goes out of their way to make your life miserable if you do not agree to illegal amendments to your contract. I personally had to sue them over a week of paid vacation that they did not pay me for, and was told before doing so that I will have to sue them if I want to see my money. They are petty and go out of their way to punish those who stand up to them and wish to stick to what the original contract says.

iSponge branch located in Geomdan Sageori

Jun 27, 2017 11:23 AM

I'd rather not use my real name.

I would like to add the iSponge branch located in Geomdan Sageori to the blacklist. I have sources that tell me they fire both Korean and English teachers without notice. Communication at this place seems like a luxery, as well as class materials and schedules. It seems like it is normal for the owner to blame a teacher and then fire the said teacher.

That is what I would like to submit. I don't want to include that the employer intends to withhold 2 months of my salary yet. I know this is illegal for sure.

Jungchul Academy, Cheolsan Dong, Gwangmyeong

Jun 20, 2017 8:51 PM

Jungchul Academy, Cheolsan Dong, Gwangmyeong. This is a warning to any teacher(Foreign and Korean) considering employment at Jungchul. The Xxxxx is extremely unprofessional and disrespectful. Xxxx takes advantage of both Korean and Foreign teachers which is a disgusting because there are nice people who work here. Do not expect them to honor your contract, the Xxxxx will break it to screw you over and pocket your money. Just in case you do accept a job here(you definitely shouldn't), BE SURE to keep a record of everything(pay stub, health insurance etc.). I'd also recommend connecting with a lawyer to make sure your contract is valid and you are actually signed up for pension. Many teachers in the past have ended up going to the labor board to receive what they were contractually owed. Some won, some didn't. It is also struggling financially and could be in danger of going out of business within the next year. AVOID JUNG CHUL AT ALL COSTS unless you enjoy unnecessary stress and being scammed.

Banana Kids school, Uijeongbu, South Korea

Jun 16, 2017 8:51 PM

I'd like to add BNK school - otherwise known as Banana Kids school - to the Korean Hagwon Blacklist. The school sometimes advertises as an international school. The school is located in Uijeongbu, South Korea.

The school brought us into the country on tourist visas. My girlfriend and I started working right away, a big no-no as far as immigration is concerned. They told us that we could obtain our FBI background check and the rest of our documents while in Korea. They attempted to charge us 1,000,000 won to get the documents rushed and apostilled. We declined and eventually settled on paying 200,000 won each.

As per our contract, we were allotted 3 sick-days a year. Regardless of the state of our health, the school would fight with us about coming into work. We could be vomiting with a sick-note in hand, and the school would still threaten us with loss of pay should we not show up to work.

The school will do everything in their power to deny you overtime pay. They will claim that the 2-minutes you take getting your children ready to leave school doesn't count as "teaching time," and will nickel and dime every minute of your day. Basic teaching supplies like pencils, erasers, hot glue, etc... will come out of your pocket. This is especially problematic when you start preparing for a big performance at the end of the year.

You'll be forced to pay a 600,000 won security deposit. My girlfriend and I both had to pay 600,000, (1,200,000 won total) and we still have no received our deposit back. It's been over 2-months. We've already filed a petition with the Ministry of Employment and Labor. A friend of ours who left the school a few months ago has not received his deposit back and it's been nearly 8-months.

They will try and intimidate you to change your contract to benefit their business but hurt your interests. Sick days, vacation days, your contract bonus... are all in jeopardy if you are not careful. A new employee was recently intimidated into having her 3 sick-days reduced to 1 paid sick day, 1 unpaid sick day.

The school has recently taken to hiring the student's moms. This is especially problematic because these "supervisors" have no teaching experience and a limited English background. They also tend to focus on their own children as opposed to their particular classes.

Your contract states that you have 10-paid vacation days a year, 5 in summer and 5 in winter. What will really frustrate you is that those days are not Monday-Friday, they are generally Wednesday to Tuesday. This may seem like a minor issue, but it will generally prevent you from traveling to far.

Lastly, your contract states that you will be teaching one kindergarten class. They will completely disregard this and assign you more than one class in order to save money on foreign teacher costs. This gives you twice the workload of a normal teacher and no additional pay.

Avoid BNK - Banana Kids school at ALL COSTS!

Banana Kids school

Jun 13, 2017 at 8:07 PM

Circle College in Sadang gives really low wage for the amount of work you are expected to do (10 hours a day with a less than 40 minute lunch break) This means staying after and working overtime unpaid and some Saturdays. Even though they pay on's exhausting work with barely any breaks between classes. A lot of meaningless paper work that could easily be made less with technology (scantrons anyone?) Once you sign your soul'll be hard to quit

SLP Jungnang

Jun 5, 2017 at 3:11 PM

SLP Jungnang should definitely be on this list. I won't say much here for fear of retaliation, and you can Google to learn more. I'll just say that once you get to Korea they will change your hours, give you more hours, and/or give you extra work outside of the classes like making new textbooks. There are a ton more serious problems going on at that institution, but that alone should be reason enough to stay away.

Evine (Junggye-dong branch in Nowon-gu).

Jun 5, 2017 at 11:20 AM

I worked at Evine (Junggye-dong branch in Nowon-gu). I started on February 1st, 2017. I broke my contract and left at the end of April because one of the male Korean teachers started to stalk me. He made a lot of obsessive and inappropriate comments about me and started showing up outside my apartment. I complained to my supervisor, but he lied and said it wasn't him. In my opinion, some of my other coworkers also lied to protect him from getting into trouble. My supervisor refused to do anything because it was my word against his. He still works there, so any prospective teachers should be extremely careful about deciding to work there!

Brain Talk English Academy, Mokpo/Namak, South Korea

May 25, 2017 at 5:36 AM

I think the facts speak for themselves on this, so I'll keep this brief. While I was working at this school, the following happened to me:

* I was told when leaving the school that I would not be allowed to work in the same city, even though I had a girlfriend, community, and church in the area by that time. When I asked the labor board if this was acceptable, they said there was absolutely no basis for the demand, even if it was on a signed contract.

* I was told that the labor board did not have my best interests at heart, did not know the labor laws, and that I should ignore them.

* I saw over 10 faculty members come and go within the year, at a 4 person faculty facility.

* I was threatened with firing, then had the threat retracted, and afterwards had constant 'visits' to my classroom during teaching hours.

* I was contacted by several recruiters that told me they could not find me a job because other schools had been told not to hire me, all within the month that I started looking for a new job.

* I never had a set schedule. Classes were circulated randomly each day, so that each teacher never knew which class they would be teaching until five minutes beforehand.

* I was sweared at, demeaned, and insulted every day by kids that knew that no discipline was forthcoming.

* I was not allowed to finish my contract on the date specified, and was told that I needed to wait a full month after my contracts expiration so that they could get another teacher to fill my place. When I went to the labor board I was told that this was also false.

* All messages in my final month at the school were directed through proxies.

Like I said, the facts speak for themselves. I've heard this school is having a hard time nowadays, and I can say in the sternest language possible that I DO NOT RECOMMEND WORKING HERE.

Dongrae Yonje SLP in Sajik, Busan.

Apr 23, 2017 at 11:37 AM

I need to add a further review of Dongrae Yonje SLP in Sajik, Busan. It was the worst job. A limited, non-complete list of the horrible things they did:

- Late payment. We were paid on time once in six months. We reminded them to pay us and provide pay slips every month.

- No materials. The computer that all the foreign teachers were expected to share (yes, one!) had parts that had been ripped out. It eventually stopped working and could not be repaired. No pencils, board markers, crayons, science materials, or even paper for long periods of time.

- No books. Although the most important thing was to make sure to fill in at least six pages in whatever book(s) one 'taught' in a 40 minute class, books were very hard to obtain. Management routinely took money from parents (sometimes more than $100 US), but did not order the books. This went on for months. Teachers were blamed for this, although we could not order the books ourselves and had told management repeatedly and on time to order books.

- Photocopying books. Teachers are expected to photocopy 40-50 pages per student due to the 'missing' books (even though their parents had paid). No time to do this.

- Very little care for student development or safety. Look, we know the hagwon system isn't all about making students develop well and is often about money above all. However, it is not normal to leave 3-6 year olds alone and with no adult supervision for long periods of time. This resulted in serious injuries (stitches, 3 weeks hospitalisation, etc.) in more than one case, as well as a highly-stressful situation for the smallest kids. At one point, their badly-organised bus schedule left a six year old on the street corner, alone, for more than an hour. They had no way to find her, either.

- Needlessly-stressful special events. Every month, the school would come up with some event to force the kindergarten students into. With the very poor organisation skills of the school, the teachers would never know what was going on. Often teachers were asked to stay very late after hours or come in on Saturdays to prepare. No overtime payment, obviously.

- Asking the impossible. The management would often ask for impossible things, and then shout and yell when it could not get done. Personal attacks and shouting (calling us, 'lazy foreigners' in front of colleagues, etc.) were very common. Almost daily. Foreign teachers were blamed for every problem the school or students had, without reason. Pulling a teacher aside into a room to yell at them for an hour was not uncommon. We were told to 'just say yes' to every request because otherwise we were 'being mean.'

- Long, impossible schedules. Don't believe them if they say, 'You'll be a Kindergarten teacher only!' They will tell you anything to get you in country. Our schedules included 45 class periods per week, with very minimal breaks. Five-six kindy classes in the morning, and then straight into four-five elementary classes until 6PM or 8PM. Schedules change on an almost daily basis, and management will yell and shout because they forgot to tell you that a new class had appeared on your schedule. Often 10 - 20 minutes into the class period.

Often every single class period of the day was full (ten or eleven classes in a row). If you need to use the toilet, they will be angry with you for being late to a class that starts exactly when your last one ends (i.e. 3:40 end, 3:40 start). After ten classes, phone teaching for an hour once per week. Management often rolled their eyes at me when I said I needed to plan lessons. No planning time.

- Petty stealing. When we arrived, they insisted on paying our bills for utilities. This was not necessary. However, they refused to make it possible for us to pay them by having the bills delivered to them directly. They eventually stopped paying our gas and electricity (since January). When a notice arrived, management freaked out and yelled at me about how we were supposed to be paying (????). I explained for the sixth time in six months that we wanted to, but that they had to provide the paper bills to us so that we could. They refused. I called the companies and found out that they had been taking money on our payslips for months, without paying. They took about $120 total through overcharging.

When I pointed this out and they realised I'd figured out they hadn't paid, one member of ownership rushed me and tried to physically take the payslip (a week late) out of my hands and out of my purse. This was essentially the straw that broke the camel's back.

There were other issues, including illegal contract clauses about recruiter fees. It's impossible to put it all down, really.

That's a lot here, but this is the kicker: the entire staff turned over at least twice while we worked there. ALL the teachers had just quit (korean and foreign) when we arrived, and it was rare for anyone to last more than a month. At least five people came in for their first shift and immediately quit. One ran out in tears after only an hour or so.

Under no circumstances work for this 'school.' They will lie, steal, and cheat while blaming you for anything that goes wrong.

Gyeongsang National University in Jinju Korea.

Apr 19, 2017 at 9:50 AM

Gyeongsang National University in Jinju Korea.

The contract has a set number of hours but very general language. Teachers will be forced into mandatory Korean classes. Despite being a national University, there is no job security. Teachers will be forced to reapply for their job every year despite false promises of increasing salary on a yearly basis. Extra duties beyond the contract are piled on, such as creating up to 7 textbooks with 3 months, random unpaid interview hours, and meetings. Shifts are chaotic with teachers having to be available from 8am to almost 9pm. Some teachers have shifts spread throughout the day while others have block shifts without meal opportunities. "New apartments" have black mold, no desks. Old apartments are actually cleaner but have government controlled hot water timers. Just pray you don't run out of hot water before 9pm. Teachers with over a decade of experience, both Korean and Foreign, are being forced out through nefarious schemes and demands. Be very cautious when applying. Ask many questions in the interview about the general "extra" work required in the contract.

I-garten in Cheongdahm

Apr 17, 2017 at 1:04 AM

I wanted to report a private Kindergarten in Cheongdahm called I-garten. It was formerly known as IDEA Kids Language Assets. They merged with the Chungdam April company and became I-garten. I'll just mention the financial problems.

To start things off, the school promises so many things to help 'ease' the way for the teachers. Unsurprisingly they fall through. When they ask you to do things outside of your contract and you refuse, they threaten to withhold your severance.

On their job posting, the school says they will pay for insurance and pension. However it took them months before they actually registered you into the programs even while deducting money from you. They will charge you random and absurd amounts of money to take care of your 'apartment maintenance' but will not provide a bill to prove the actual costs. Our severance was also randomly deducted money and we couldn't argue as our flights left the next morning.

Another major problem was with our pension. After over a month of waiting to receive my lump sum pension refund, I had called the pension office to ask what the problem was. The pension office reported that the school had sent a letter saying they would not be paying for the last few months of pension, WHILE deducting money for pension from our paychecks. When contacting the school, the school claimed that the name change had affected the payment. This was then contradicted by the pension office forwarding the letter the school had sent, it was translated by a Korean friend.

Kim & Lee Language Institute in Suwon

Mar 28, 2017 at 6:39 AM

I would like to add Kim & Lee Language Institute in Suwon to the Black List. This school was awful to work for. Both Xxxxx made the environment such a toxic one. The Korean and foreign teachers were separated from each other, rather encouraged not to talk with each other. The Xxxxx constantly bragged about her English ability, but was impossible to understand during foreigner meetings. Not being able to speak English is not the problem, but not being able to understand what is needed from xxx, and then being scolded for it is. Lastly, it was assumed that the foreign teachers would create an extravagant Halloween setup in October. The kids really enjoyed it, thanks to our hardwork. However, we were assumed to stay at the school until 2 - 3 A.M. working on it. We were even assumed to work on it during the weekends, for more than 5 hours at a time. I was NOT compensated whatsoever for this time. Also, I wasn't even thanked for my hard work. Just an awful school to work for. Avoid at all cost. AND A REPLY: Aug 6, 2017

Hello Jon,

To whoever may have read the Black List posting about Kim & Lee, I would like to take a moment of your time to clarify a recent blacklisted posting...

I am a Foreign Teacher (FT) at Kim & Lee Language Center; Iíve been working at Kim&Lee for a total of 5 years now. I want to inform every one that the latest negative posting about Kim&Lee is absurd and absolutely false! The post had made undeniably false accusations towards Xxxxx and Kim&Lee. I know every foreigner has their right to express their opinions on how they worked and lived teaching in Korea, but this posting is not a helpful warning but rather an act of petty retaliation against Xxxxx and the hogwan.

Clearly the posting is by a very disgruntled former FT. We did in the past have to let an FT go due to the lack of his/her teaching abilities. Clearly the post is slander and is trying to tarnish Kim&Leeís positive reputation. Itís fair to say that not all hogwans are 100% great and all the same. Just like any job, work is work but to work in another country can become even more challenging, difficult and overwhelming which may be too much for one to handle all at once especially if it is their first time teaching overseas. So, for this former FT to throw out all of these lies, please disregard them so it does not discourage you and other potential interested FTs from applying or even giving Kim&Lee an option. Not one single complaint is true and valid.

Xxxxx is by far the best person I have worked for; hence why I have STILL continued to work for both the Xxxxx and Kim & Lee Language Center. I have worked and interviewed at other English Learning Institutions. None of them met up to my standards compared to Kim&Leeís. The work environment is never hostile nor ďtoxic.Ē There is no such policy or encouragement for Korean Teachers (KT) and FTs to be separated from each other and not allowed to talk to each other. In fact, Xxxxx has us communicating constantly with one another to make sure we are all doing our job and on the same page. Communication is the key to making any business great and that is exactly what we do with our Korean Teachers. Also, not only do we just talk about work, we do socialize with each other about non-work related topics and go out for casual meals or drinks.

Xxxxx has never bragged about his/her English speaking ability. Xxxxx and I can have a perfect English conversation without using any Konglish and Xxxxx still thinks he/she canít speak English well. Xxxxx is quite modest and always denying his/her great speaking ability.. The FT had a thick accent and used terms and phrases that even other Foreign English Teachers could not understand. So, the ďimpossible to understandĒ during our FT meetings, well, then Iíd have to agree that it was hard for Xxxxx along with the rest of the FTs from understanding him/her. This bewildered FT needs to look back from the other point of view, when he/she was communicating with both Xxxxx and the other FTs. As for the ďscolded,Ē not one FT or KT has ever been scolded. We go through a chain of commands where the FT Manager and KT Manager talks to the other FTs and KTs first before anything escalates.

Lastly, it was never ďassumedĒ that the FTs would have to stay till 2-3amworking on our annual Halloween party. The FT who posted this message got his/her wires crossed because the FTs voluntarily chose to stay late. We all enjoyed staying late and having fun decorating, eating junk food, socializing, (I know, sounds like a cheesy movie, right?) and anything purchased out of pocket WAS reimbursed. Now, not all FTs stayed late. By choice they would stay until they wanted to leave or finished.

"Assumed to work for more than 5 hours on weekendsĒ is completely not true. Where did this previous FT come up with such an accusation? I donít ever remember working on the weekends by demand, obligations or ďassumed to.Ē We were also compensated, every year, for the hard work by having great dinner parties with fun awards and prizes handed out to both FTs and KTs. This former FT obviously misheard/misinterpreted the working hours during the Halloween season.

I honestly canít believe I have to write a correction letter about a petty topic; ďassumingly having to work a few extra hours to decorate for a Halloween party at our hogwan.Ē Come on, really?

As a Foreign Teacher from America, teaching at Kim&Lee Language Center for my first 2 years and then returning for 3 years ongoing, it is a pleasure but sad at the same time to see all the wonderful Foreign Teachers from all over the world come and go. Itís great to meet new FTs from Canada, Ireland, England, Australia, and even from within my own country. Meeting people from different religious to political views and cultural to social backgrounds are many of the great reasons to teach at Kim&Lee. I know some hogwans only hire just Europeans or only Americans, but Kim&Lee does not discriminate. Xxxxx continues to do his/her best job to make every Foreign Teacher feel at home!! He/She has even assisted other FTs after they left the academy.

When Iím at Kim&Lee, I feel like Iím working back at home. If anyone is afraid to work at a hogwan that is TRULY awful, have them contact me and I can tell them from my own experiences and my friendsí experiences of awful places where they should really ďavoid at all cost!Ē

Thank you for your time and I really do hope you reconsider your thoughts from the vengeful post on this site by the former disgruntled FT. Kim&Lee Language Center is really great to work for. Not only that but Xxxxx is absolutely helpful, caring, understanding, cheerful, and amazing to work for!!

International Language School (ILS), Bongdam-eup

Mar 27, 2017 at 3:07 AM

The school is International Language School (ILS). I have been here for two months and when I arrived at the airport in Seoul at 1pm the schools driver met me and took me stright to the school to observe lessons until 7pm. After 32 hours travelling it wasn't fun. Only after was I taken to my apartment to start work the next day.

I have had problems being paid as it is often late by approximately a week. The owner of the school does not obey the date that it states I will get paid on my contract, stating that it was a mistake on my contract and that I won't get paid on this date.

The staff at ILS are extremely unhelpful and speak very poor English. They never speak English to me and if they do it is to complain that I'm doing something wrong, only to find out that it is because they have not given me adequate instructions to avoid such errors.

My Korean colleagues have ostracised myself and the other foreign teacher working at the school which has been quite unpleasant. Emphasis is always places on finishing the test books the students have which is always too advanced for them.

The owner of the school will not give the foreign teachers a pension which is illegal in South Korea. The owner of ILS will also insist that the foreign teacher pays for any repairs that need to be done in the apartment while they are living in it.

Talkster Waegook Hagwon in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do

Mar 27, 2017 at 2:20 AM

I would like to TOTALLY agree with the post previously written about Talkster Waegook Hagwon in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do. I actually taught before this couple and was let go for the same exact thing. Everything they said in their review is 100% accurate (I have no knowledge about their individual situation), but everything about working at the school is spot on. Also, their exact situation happened to me. I felt like I was reliving it while reading. The apartment was unacceptable. Burn holes in the floor, disgusting walls, and no natural sunlight. I didn't even know it was daytime before stepping outside. The teaching objectives were completely ridiculous. They told you to ONLY play with the students, which became a total waste of everybody's time and the parent's money. They then blamed you for the students parent's complaining. The owners were not pleasant to work for. The Korean owner was so cold and difficult to work with. Once again, a totally accurate portrayal. Do not work at this school.

Aphabet Street School in seoho

Mar 13, 2017 at 10:20 AM

Aphabet Street School in seoho

One word that sums up the horrible incident that happened in school. FIRE!

We had a massive fire in the cooking room during a cooking class. The fire spread and everything was burning in the room. Nobody knew what to do and everyone was in panic.

Teachers had no fire drill training whatsoever and The school brought students down in the basement. Basement!! It was smokey AF and we were suffering with the air quality.

No one called 119 and few of the teachers ran into the room, covering their mouth in hopes to put out the fire thrmselves. They eventually put out the fire but they also everyone's life in danger.

Whenever the fire department comes they close the door to the cooking room to hide the fact that they have a secret cooking room.

In terms of the school, the XXXxxxxx is totally condescending! She talks to you as if you are a baby and doesn't care anything other than her money and her minions. Speaking of her minions... the "XXxxxxx" do such a shitty job. Major power tripping people.

Edu Pro in Bangi Dong

Mar 11, 2017 at 8:08 AM

I would like to add Edu Pro in Bangi Dong to the black list AGAIN. Don't get me wrong, parts of the experience here were positive, and I don't think the management are bad people, BUT I wish I had never have taken this job, and it was advertised to me [and still is] as something which it is not. If I had have known the true nature of my role, I would have never taken it, and I believe that in itself is wrong. The apartment they gave me was DISGUSTING mould EVERYWHERE I developed respiratory problems while living there and they refused to help me or re house me, they also refused to pay for someone to clean they hazardous air conditioning which cost me 100 won to clean.

They allow cash advances which I truly appreciated the time i needed it [to help cover hospital bill from said respiratory problem from mould in apartment] but they also deducted unaccountable amounts of money which differed from month to month. One month it amounted to almost 200 won of surprise deduction without a just explanation. I found out through my doctor at the time that my insurance had been cancelled by them 2 months prior, yet insurance was still being deducted from my pay.

I would also like to add my contract stated 30 hours of work, in reality all of the teachers and management [bar the principle] worked 40 plus easily, with most of any break you had spent with the kids, so its debatable you received a break at all. The work load was so ridiculous that any break you did receive was completely dedicated to lesson prep, lesson plans, and whatever 40 reports were due that week.

Look, if there was a grey list, I would add it. I liked the staff, and the kids were kids were just so sweet and kind. However, I just wanted to post my reality while working there. It is an insane amount of work and your quality of life is compromised and you risk getting that mouldy apartment.

And Edu Pro, if you read this, please remove my picture and WRONG information from your website. Thank you for the experience, I am much happier and more passionate teaching in a school which respects the needs of the teacher's just as much as the students. You have fabulous teachers working with you, you should appreciate them more. I wish you all happiness, too.

JLEE Preparatory, Bundang area

Mar 9, 2017 at 12:14 AM

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add JLEE Preparatory on the blacklist. Based in the Bundang area, JLEE has been around for about 8+ years. From what I used to hear, JLEE was a great place to work... until I've actually experienced myself.

Reviews that date back from 2009 talk about its high pay and great environment. Unfortunately, this is simply all a facade.

Yes, it is true that they give you quite a good sum of money, but the stability of this place is notoriously shaky. Back when they first started, JLEE was a great place to work in, but nowadays... I feel that the light that was once there is long gone. New deductions started being implemented and we started getting paid from two bank accounts, rather than one. It's weird because you get almost 15% in deductions but you don't get any benefits at all.

In addition, you're supposed to get a "severance" which is actually not a severance. It's a lump sum that you get from all the deductions. This was originally not part of the system, but was added on to avoid the new labor laws from what I heard.

As for the work environment, I actually enjoyed working here. The pay was great, even though they deducted quite a big amount from your pay, but there is a ridiculous turnover rate. I've seen at least 4 people coming and going within months because of the most trivial complaints! A really good friend of mine broke down in tears because she had to be "let go"; they said her class was "out of control", even though that was not the case.

Parents have all the power here and this place is primarily focused on their assets, not the teachers. I don't know why they decided to switch their gears, but it is absolutely not what it used to be when I started.

I want to place this institution on the blacklist, not only because of my experience, but also because they are not what they seem. I could go on about how they've promised me a higher position, only to lie about it later.

It's been a while since I've worked there, but my friend suggested that I post my experience here on the blacklist so that other teachers wouldn't have to go through their ridiculously cutthroat policies.

However, I still want to say that they will give you good money for the work you do. But you have to also calculate the fact that they do not provide any other benefits except their so-called "severance". Please be careful with this place.

GrapeTree Academy/GrapeTree English Learning Center, Gangdong gu, Gildong, Seoul

Feb 15, 2017 at 9:51 AM

I would like to add my academy to the black list. If only to warn future teachers to avoid a lot of stress, lying, and mistreatment disguised a christian values.

Please do not take any job offer from GrapeTree Academy or GrapeTree English Learning Center in Gangdong gu, Gildong in Seoul or whatever name they go by. It is a seemingly pleasant place on the surface run by a Xxxxx and also the 'English Kindergarten' next door called Bansuk Kindergarten. You will also teach there even though itís not in the contract. This school is very disorganized and you will pay the price for it on a daily basis. You will be asked to work above and beyond your contract and they will tell you afterward that it wasn't Ďmandatoryí so they can avoid paying overtime. They will also not honor the contract if it doesn't suit them. Or claim that what it says, means something different. Actually don't expect them to even know what is in your contract because they just copied it from another school.

The school has changed management 4 times in 3 years and this will be the second year in a row EVERY teacher is leaving. This year alone we lost over 15 students. They lie to the students and parents about why teachers are leaving and they lie to the parents about their children's progress. They will tell you that students bad behavior is your fault because it is your job to be a teacher AND teach them discipline, because that is why parents send their kids to English hagwons. They make up stories, like how itís against ĎHagwon Lawí to expel any student for any reason, even if it is assault or throwing objects out of a fourth floor window at people.

We had faulty fire extinguishers and instead of getting them serviced or new ones they switched them out at the other school when the fire department came. Every student is an angel according to management and can do no wrong. You will be treated like a second class citizen and ignored, belittled and made to feel stupid. They once actually refused to hire a Korean English teacher because they said she was disabled because she had a limp. This place is just like the other money hungry hagwon businesses that don't care about the studentsí education. They only care about their reputation and money. Quantity over quality. There is so much more that I could write a novel. Keep looking, there has to be some good ones out there, I hope.

Chungdahm Institute I-Garten (formally IDEA KIDS ASSETS) Cheongdam, Seoul

Feb 3, 2017 at 2:13 PM

Recently this school was involved in some sort of merger/buy out of Chungdahm Institute. It was recently independent and known as IDEA KIDS ASSETS, but is now known as Chungdahm I-Garten. Yes, the same Chungdahm Institute branch that has affected many others throughout Korea. They recently started to try and teach pre-school ages Korean 3-7. Thereís only one other school in Seocho, so this whole new age group is completely new to them.

This school is located a short 5-min walk from Cheongdam station. Its located in the rich area of Cheongdam and often referred to as the Beverly Hill. This means there are rich parents/celebrities and spoiled and rude kids in the school. No one lives here, everyone travels to work here.

I'll preface by saying the only reason I stayed for 2 years was because of the company of friends and a higher housing allowance than any other school Ive seen or worked for.

Just stay away from this school. Their job postings are questionable at best. False advertising is common, and this school excels at false facades. Labeled as a Korean/English pre-school, you will always have some form of unwarranted micro-managing from someone whoís not in a teaching position. In other words, you have a Korean person (manager, director, or just a co-teacher who all speak no English) telling you how to teach, when they have no concept of your materials or schedules. If an personal problem or issue arises with your job or lifestyle, your supervisor will threaten to not help you with anything because it is not her job, but she is the only Korean to translate what comes down the line to you. In essence, you need to follow what they say or your wrong, and if itís not up to the other Koreansí standards, your still wrong.

What youíre actually expected to do varies greatly from what they say in the interview. The mislabeling of your job title is never explained and your required duties are always changing to make you more of a part-time observer of students instead of a Teacher. Even the working times have English teachers from 9-5 but Koreans 9-6. They constantly throw this in your face saying Koreans are working longer so you should stay later and work harder. Forcing you into uncomfortable positions is also constant. Threatening to not pay severance or a monthly salary if your open class doesnít go well or parents complain. Never being notified of a major monthly event until a few weeks prior or told at the last minute on the day of the event that another thing has changed or your responsibilities have changed. For example, telling English teachers they are not going on a field trip so they should use the time to prepared for monthly reports, but on the day of the trip, telling them they have to go with and that reports are due sooner. No thought is given to what you are doing, you are just expected to act like a Korean and get it done, preferably by staying later without extra pay.

Moms control most of the decision making as they are paying an arm and leg each month for tuition. Complaints of not smiling in the morning, your voice sounds scary, or even a male teacher getting his haircut too short, and students going home and crying because of it. These studentsí age ranges from Korean 3-7. Apparently a 3-yr discusses the finer points of your teaching and clothing style and itís always wrong.

Every solution to every teaching issue is to use a song CD or flashcards.

Overtime is a joke and the contract mislabels how thatís handled. Even negotiating pension/health insurance is sketchy and vastly delayed from when you start. Housing money, maintenance fees have gone unpaid from previous teacher and the school had attached late payments onto my coworkers paycheck, siting they didnít know about it but you are in charge of it now.

Over the last 2 years of working here, 10 Koreans have simply walked out without a word. Numerous times a Korean will not show up to work and nothing is penalized towards them. 3 Foreigners have quit early into their contracts, and as this new transition from the old school style to the new Chungdahm style, all 4 current English teachers are leaving. Even when I re-signed for a second year (2016-2017), the idea of paying more was ignored as no Korean was getting more so why should I? They finally settled for an increase in 50,000 but magically, health insurance changed this year so they took off more. I contacted the NHS about my account and the school was reporting my income as a drastically smaller amount, but still charging me a large percentage from my real salary for health insurance. They cited there insurance was private. Upon trying to only stick to their motto of hiring only in Korea, they attempted to hire a man from the US, and at first thought it was simply acceptable to have them only purchase a one way ticket from Air China with numerous stops. Air China was the cheapest flight and the thought of spending more than 500 dollars was too much to them.

They donít value anyone who works here and this should be one of the biggest red flags as anyone who has been in Korea long enough knows, being valued at a school is a good quality of a school. I been in Korea for almost 6years and Im married. Im lucky to have an F6, so housing or visa isnít held over my head, but the ones here now with E2s were scared they would be kicked out on unfair terms and conditions.

So the name: Chungdahm I-Garten

The place: Cheongdam

The advice- Run, run away and never come back.

KJC21 hagwon, Jangyu, Gimhae.

Feb 2, 2017 at 6:39 PM

Where to start... I've been working here since September 2016 and quit a couple days ago. The hagwon has been struggling financially (students quitting left and right) and the Xxxxx I signed on with, sold both his hagwons (KJC21 Jangyu and KJC21 Yulha) without notifying the employees. The work itself was easy, relative to other hagwons; smaller classes and less students. Now for the bad part.

After my first paycheque I discovered Xxxxxx didn't pay for pension or health insurance. I asked the new Xxxxxxx to rectify this and they stated that they would look over my contract.

There are three executives that I know of: After looking things over, the Xxxxxx agreed to provide health care, but not the pension. Better than nothing I suppose? I foolishly gave him my contract thinking I'd be signing a new one. Fast forward 4 and a half months, I still don't have my original contract or the new one for that matter. Needless to say, I wasn't enrolled for health insurance... This isn't even the worst part. My pay was a few days late the first month (no explanation or apology), this continued until they paid nearly 3 weeks late in November. All the while, I tried contacting the management but my texts and calls were ignored for months. The administrator stopped coming to work in mid November through December and I had no other way of contacting the management. My co-teachers were also paid late. I decided to find a new job and gave them notice of my resignation in the first week of January and worked until the 31st. I have not been paid yet and frankly I don't think I will.

Long story short, KJC21 Jangyu = deceitful Xxxxxx, late payment, no health insurance or pension and financially struggling hagwon. If you do decide to work here... Tread with caution.

Suwon Global Village

Feb 1, 2017 at 1:20 AM

I want to warn teachers about Suwon Global Village.

If you are a Korean, don't work here. Koreans are treated as less-than in every respect. You are made to do more work, spoken to very disrespectfully, expected to stay later, you can't choose vacation days until after the native teachers etc. SWGV makes it an "us" vs. "them" situation. Korean teachers are discouraged from hanging out with non-korean teachers outside of work.

If you are a non-Korean, stay away. This applies especially to those who are coming to Korea for the first time. You will have no help setting up your bank, no help with immigration, medical check, pension, taxes, setting up a phone etc. Most poly schools and hagwans will help you with this. Suwon Global Village will not.

The teachers have had their jobs threatened numerous times, usually when they are requesting to be paid for holidays or weekends (even though your contract says you will be paid overtime, you will never be paid over time). You are told that if you bring up your contract ever again your "life will be made a living hell until you quit or are fired within the month". There was a teacher who evidently did not decorate her classroom enough, to which the response was "I will kill her!"

On many occassions teachers are video recorded after explictly stating that we are not comfortable with it.

While I worked here, cups were thrown across the office, shattering...all because the teachers weren't moving fast enough. There is blatant favoritism, and it is NOT based on work ethic or quality teaching.

There have been 6 educational managers within the last 14 months. Of the teachers currently working there, only one native teacher has worked there more than a year.

Honestly- I love teaching. And I wanted to be a great teacher. Suwon Global Village made me hate this so much. You can never do enough work and the work will nevee been good enough. Even if your work is exceptional and other teachers tell you this, management will not recognize this- they don't want you to know you're valued because then you have the "power".

If you want to be a really good teacher, if you're a hard worker and you like acknowledgement for a job well done, don't work here. if you're new to korea or don't speak korean, don't work here.

If you've been in Korea a while and yoj speak Korean and you are looking to have a chill job (minus the management and pay issues), then this would probably be okay honestly.

Just... do your research okay? Ask how many managers they went through or why the teacher turnover rate is so high. Or ask to talk to a teacher who isnt the head teacher.


Bono language world- Gumi, Okgye-dong.

Jan 18, 2017 at 9:02 AM

Bono language world- Gumi, Okgye-dong.

The area is very isolated, not many foreigners or things to do, a good 40 minute bus journey to the center or an expensive taxi ride.

Xxxxxx doesn't speak English. Communicating is very difficult. Unless the other foreign teacher will help you it's generally difficult to know how to get things sorted, bank, phone, pay bills etc, as communication is bad.

The schedule changed dramatically to what I thought it was going to be. I was told it was 10-6 with maximum teaching hours 30. But you are expected to look after the children during lunch breaks and my hours increased with no pay rise. You are not supposed to leave school during 9-6. So you constantly surrounded with children for 45 hours per week.There is no staff room.

They fired a teacher 5 weeks before her contract was up which means she didn't get her flight home or severence. After working with no other co teacher for 2 months when one did a midnight run.

3 other teachers left dramatically, (so total of 5 people leaving unhappy) either doing midnight runs or after month long fights with the other staff due to feeling unsupported and unhappy.

Jobs are easy to find in korea, get a different one!

RISE Korea Ė Bundang/Boondang Campus

Jan 13, 2017 at 10:41 AM

RISE Korea Ė Bundang/Boondang Campus: Not the worst, but a far cry from the best.

RISE Bundang is a shady, unprofessionally run business, and these instances reflect my own personal experiences and the experiences of those who I worked with.

One teacher was hired to replace someone who had previously quit and the company had begged to stay. They fired her the day before the new teacher got there with no warning. They really aren't big on warnings there, as they often assigned extra classes with 5-10 minutes notice before you had to be there, with the students, teaching them, with just an ďoh sorryĒ to make you feel better. In addition to that, after getting these new whack classes and having no time to prepare for them, they would often have a laundry list of complaints about what you did wrong during the lesson, but then offer no solution for how to change or fix it. One person was even told once by management, ďYou figure it out. That's your problem, not mine.Ē

There was one class that a new person took over that was the problem class, because all of the moms were very involved and picky from a time before the teacher even got there, so automatically, they were under scrutiny.

Someone was once given a class with 7 year olds who spoke not even a word of English and was expected to teach them phonics, without the help of a coteacher. The kids complained to their moms that the teacher was scary; their response: well of course I was, I can't converse with them at all and I was speaking to them in a language they don't understand, that's probably terrifying. Then they were told to play games with them, anything to make it fun; so they asked: ďDoes it have to be an educational game? Because I doubt I'll be able to explain anything to them if it's too difficult.Ē Management's response: ďNo, it doesn't have to be educational this time, just fun!Ē So the teacher played games with them and then gave them color by number pages and try to explain colors and numbers in English, just something small. Class was interrupted with five minutes to spare and I was told to make them read their books ASAP. I'm like ďWhat are they going to learn in five minutes?Ē Their response:

ďJust do it.Ē There were also times that pay was deducted without warning for no other reason than because you made a higher up mad.

It's notable to mention as well that while I was there, three people midnight ran (two of them together), and prior to my arrival another also ran. Two other teachers quit, though they both gave notice and legitimate reasons to do so. Oh, but that's just the foreign staff. As for Korean staff, there was almost a complete turnover of coteachers from the beginning of the year with seven or eight of them quitting because of management, two of those coteachers were from the same class: the problem class mentioned earlier with the tiger moms. Ah, right, plus the two women who worked at the front desk who quit.

I will say that I find the school shady because with each person that quit, they almost always had an immediate backup to take their place, especially with Korean staff. When one of the foreign teachers gave her notice, they actually initially asked her to leave earlier than when she gave notice for, but then later asked her to stay longer (on multiple occasions), despite her need to leave. In addition to that, they had a multitude of excuses for why teachers were dropping like flies, from being ďvery sickĒ to even saying they were in horrible car accidents.

One of the Korean teachers that quit told me personally that ALL Korean staff were told at the beginning of the year to not trust or be friends with their foreign coteachers, and that they should, essentially, spy on them for management and tell them everything they do. You can imagine that this does not provide for healthy working relationships in the classroom.

The school follows no set standards and easily bends to the will of moms who complain. It's impossible to please everyone, but rather than defend the teachers, who are doing their best, they pocket the moms' money and say ďokayĒ to every little request.

They don't listen to what the foreign teachers have to say either, and there was one period that lasted several months where if the foreign teachers needed to know anything important, they had to learn it from their coteachers because management stopped holding meetings for the pure fact that they got tired of listening to the foreigners complain. Mind you, they were complaining about sensible things, like some of the things noted above.

If you apply to RISE and ask to speak to someone who works there, there is a 99% chance you will talk to one particular foreigner who will tell you everything is great. They originally let other people talk to interviewees, but then they found out that those teachers were being too honest by saying ďit was hard work,Ē so they designated another teacher to do all of the correspondence, and even some of the interviews, with the new recruits.

Misogyny is also pretty rampant in this branch, with men receiving preferential treatment left and right. Recently, two female teachers were told directly by management, ďIt's because they are little and you are a woman.Ē Prior to that, just a glance at everyone's schedule could tell you that the women were pulling more afternoon hours than the men, and when asked about it, management used the excuse that people who had fewer classes would have to help around the office more. First of all, those two tasks aren't even comparable. Secondly, the men who had fewer classes spent their afternoon time at the gym working out or shooting the breeze. Meanwhile, the ones who were teaching more classes were still being asked to help with the books that the school created by proofreading and helping with content.

One thing I can say for RISE is that you get paid when you're supposed to, and generally speaking, the paycheck doesn't vary. They do give you an itemized list of deductions and additions to pay each month, but there has been conflict with that for some people in the past.

Most of the coteachers are fantastic, and it was truly disappointing to see them go; though some of the coteachers were hardcore gossips who would spread your business like wildfire, especially if it was bad business.

There are other RISE campuses that have much better reputations and don't have half the problems that this campus does, so if you are looking for a job with RISE Korea, definitely avoid Bundang. I've heard Jukjeon is amazing.

Most of the problems with the school are mainly to do with the management of the branch, so in the future a good question to ask is how long the current management has been there. Keep in mind that RISE just took over/started this branch in the beginning of 2016.

Chungdahm Institute in Uijeongbu

Jan 6, 2017 at 10:14 AM

I would like to add the Uijeongbu Chungdahm branch to the blacklist. Here is a partial list of all the stuff I experienced/witnessed while I was there. It's sad because the students are really nice and well-behaved and smart, but the administration is so awful it's sometimes scary. I really liked the kids but I wish I hadn't stayed the full year.

1. Xxxxxxx revealed himself to and employee and attempted to give that employee sleeping medication (outside of working hours)

2. Pay women significantly less than men

3. Xxxxxxx stroked employeeís face without consent

4. Kicked out of apartment morning of last day of work -- not given the final night to move out

5. New instructors hosted on old instructorís floor instead of in a hotel or own apartment

6. Hostile misogynistic work environment - racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic jokes

7. Denied contract-mandated vacation time

8. Some teachers are not paid on time or asked to accept delayed payment

9. Renegotiated contract after arrival -- contract you sign is NOT the true contract

10. Unwilling to grant emergency leave

11. Xxxxxxxx gossips about employeesí personal information to other teachers

12. Xxxxxxxx doesnít show up for work, is constantly late

13. Tried to change our arrival time from 30min before class to 2hrs15min before class

14. Stated that they will never hire more women, stated they will never hire women who are ďtoo prettyĒ

15. No training, told after the fact about things like reports, supplementary materials, etc as though we are supposed to psychically figure it out

16. Summer and winter intensives: work 3 extra hours per day (mornings), only paid for 1 hr of overtime

17. Lie about schedule, no advance notice of schedule changes

18. NO RED DAYS OFF - forced to work all holidays, sometimes on a morning schedule. Lunar New Year and Chuseok are rescheduled as Saturday classes.

International Life Long Learning Center in Yeonsu-Dong, Incheon

12/28/16 at 2:57 AM

International Life Long Learning Center in Yeonsu-Dong, Incheon. They also go by the name Sesame School. This company offers longer than one year contracts, a studio, and multiple schools to work at all over Incheon. This was my first time in Korea and my first time teaching. I worked for this company for 19 months and taught at over 6 different schools until my contract was up and then worked two extra weeks into my 30 day grace period to help them. Which I regret doing. Here is the list of the things that happened to me with Sesame.

1. When I signed my original contract it had no dates on it. When asked, I was provided a contract with dates. An 19 month contract.

2. I was working for a month with them without a work visa before being sent on a visa run to Fukuoka.

3. When I left for my visa run I noticed that the dates on my contract were different than what I consented to on signing day. This was shown to me with my visa run flight leaving in one hour OR no work visa get it?

4. They offered paid transportation to my school workplaces, in the job description, which they did not pay. One of my schools was out on the island at Unseo-Dong a four hour round trip from where I was staying in Munhak-Dong. Sesame claimed they were tight for cash.

5. The classrooms were overcrowded with up to 25 - 30 first graders and more often than not, no Korean teacher in the room. The Korean teachers we did have suffered an incredible turnover rate. We lost 15 Korean co teachers in the 19 months I was there. All complained about the Xxxxx and the pay.

6. I was asked to work "special" classes which are extra classes which the school uses to lure in new students, during the off season. These special classes are "free" as in you wonít be paid for them. Even though your contract states you will be paid overtime for these.

7. I was often given same day notice of changes to my working school locations with about an hour left until class start time. Itís was put on me to find the schools and get there on time. Your lateness will be recorded for the "end of contract" dispute. (Mentioned later).

8. My free studio was not furnished. No bed, no towel, no TP, no forks, knives, plates. It wasnít filthy or roach infested. When I finally got a bed it was a fold out cot. No mattress. I asked for the companyís business license number at that point and got a western style bed.

9. I was given summer and winter vacation, consisting of 5 days each. The days were confirmed at the very last minute and it then changed two weeks later. So I had cancel flights and notify friends and family. 10. I was NOT given a medical card, an official pay stub, nor a certificate of employment. No matter how many times I asked I was not provided with this. This was so when the "end of contract" dispute started I would not be able to prove my employment, strongly, past the end of my ARC card date.

11. My ARC card did not list all the schools I was working at. SO, I was working perhaps illegally according to the Korean govt.

12. After working two weeks past my contract end date to ďhelpĒ my company, despite verbal agreements I was kicked out of my studio with 3 daysí notice. I literally was expected to find a place to live, then pack, and clean and then move in that time period in a foreign country where I was still learning the language.

14. Now begins the end of contract dispute. Trips to the pension office showed Sesame School as under reporting my salary to the Korean govt.

15. Severance pay. I was given a yearís worth of severance pay and not the 19 monthsí worth I actually worked and this at the reduced level since they were under reporting my salary. They didnít pro rate it. And when ask about it sesame feigned ignorance. Some schools will pay sev pay at the year mark not Sesame. They will wait until the end to keep from paying you.

16. Lastly, Sesame school will not give you your last monthís salary. Even if you help them out by staying extra weeks into your grace period they will do everything to keep the money knowing you are leaving.

Final Note: Prepare yourself ahead of time. If you sign with them make sure the dates are on the contract. And get two copies one of which you will take the visa run and the other for you. If they give you a contract to take on the visa run double check it with yours. What is different? Refuse to work without a work visa. Count your actual working hours per week are you making 30 hours or more including your hour prep time does that coincide with the contract? Demand a certificate of employment. Don't work without the physical paystubs or cert. of employment. Go to the tax office during tax season - see what was taken out exactly are they removing funds for a housing allowance or transport allowance that you aren't receiving? Go to the pension office every month - get a print out - the companies business license number is on that form you will need this later. See how much your contribution is listed as and see how much they are reporting your salary as. They may not be paying at all.

In my 19 months I had become a very popular teacher. Parents were insisting their children be put into my classes. My Korean boss lavished me with praise. Until the end game came along when they turned really nasty. I expressed interest, to sesame, in making a court case to inform the Korean govt. of the fraud going on. At this point they offered to pay me the missing money if I came out to a secluded spot at 1:30 am by myself to collect. Iím not kidding.

Welcome to Korea."

Prime Academy (Prime Junior) in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul

12/27/16 at 4:46 AM

I would like to caution teachers about working at Prime Academy (Prime Junior) in Yeonhui-dong, Seoul. The school is extremely unorganized and the owner has no respect for foreign or Korean teachers.

On many occasions Xxxxxx screamed violently at Korean teachers and threatened them regularly. The foreign teachers were never included in work meetings and were made to feel unwelcome and unimportant.

The teachers and supervisors were friendly, but the school lacked organization and structure, which made things extremely difficult.

Enrollment at the school is declining quickly and pay was often late (for foreigners and Koreans). Pension and severance were sometimes not paid.

Housing accommodations for foreigners were abysmal. The housing was dingy, moldy, and things were breaking constantly. On many occasions, foreign teachers were without hot water, AC, or heating.

I advise everyone to avoid working at this academy.

Noumena Education Initiative - Gangnam, Seoul.

Nov 26, 2016 at 6:08 PM

Noumena Education Initiative - Gangnam, Seoul.

I had seen a previous post for Noumena on this site before I decided to work there. I wanted to update that posting to highlight my experiences.

Most of the things brought up in the previous posting are true: 1) SAT review consists of reviewing dubiously obtained copies of the SAT and College Application Assistance requires writing students essays. 2) They aim to be a one-stop-shop for everything and you may be asked to teach someone a crash course in 2 weeks and the parents were promised an 800. 3) The work hours (over 50 hours/week) during peak seasons, minimum wage (~$6.00 USD/hr), SAT exams each night for homework and minimal class prep. 4) You get no days off and the three-month vacations are not at your discretion.

After reading the post, I still decided to come to Noumena because those points were pretty much explained in the contract. I also believed that a 40-hour work week was unheard of for an educator. I was excited to work with people who were actually in Korea to make a difference, not to goof off.

Working at Noumena was a toxic experience that actually made me fear going to work. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and find another place to teach. Although I did gain classroom experience and more of a backbone, it was not worth the jabs at my self-confidence and constant berating.

1) The management is terrible. I usually hesitate to call people incompetent, but there is no better word to describe the managers. Deadlines were set on their days off and were constantly pushed because of their poor time management. If you dare to point out where there could be improvement, you will be told that 1) you do not understand the situation 2) somehow you are at fault.

2) Extremely toxic work environment. I cried at work. Once in front of coworkers and many more times in the bathroom. So did my coworkers and so did the students at the hagwon. Some of the things told to me include: 1) "I could pull a kindergarten teacher off the street and they could do better work than you. Why am I hiring people from top 30 schools to produce work of such low quality?" 2) "If you're not going to work hard, you might as well die." 3) "I don't know how you were raised, but that isn't how it's done here. Are you even human?"

If you want to teach in Korea, stay far away from the Noumena Education Initiative. They are not worth your talent. You will be overworked and underappreciated.

Cambridge Institute in Gangnam, in Seoul

Nov 16, 2016 at 4:09 PM

I would not recommend working at an adult language school called Cambridge Institute in Gangnam, in Seoul. For these reasons:

1. Contracts broken from your first day!

2. Teachers are lied to and blamed for bad business practice i.e. when a student/client does not re-sign for further courses because management has cheated them on its questionable refund policy or overcharging for study materials, the teachers are told they are not "good enough".

3. Unpaid meetings outside of work hours.

4. Pay is terrible for weekend work, which you are made to feel guilty about not doing.

5. School has stated that they are exempt from following the rules as set out by Korean Labor Law and enforced by the MOEL.

6. Lack of professional communication as to organisation of classes leads to continual frustration of being told about new classes a few minutes before the actual lesson.

7. School belittles teachers in front of the clients/ students.

8. More often than not, you will be paid after your pay date and short. You will be frowned upon if you raise this with management.

9. You are expected to be at work before paid time to do all your lesson preparation which is not paid. In a month, this accumulates to over 10 hours of unpaid work.

10. There is no medical payment or pension payment.

11. You will be forced to have Professional Observation by unqualified EFL Korean teachers.

12. You will be asked to do work which is not part of what you were hired to do.

You will learn the meaning of the word "insufferable". Do not trust the lies. The only redeeming features of the work are: the material is excellent, your co-workers are really good at what they do and feel the same way about the situation, and majority of the clients/ students are really decent people who also have many problems with management.

Stay clear of this school.

Pagoda, Gangnam Branch.

Nov 16, 2016 at 3:02 PM

Pagoda, Gangnam Branch.

These are my observations as an ESL teacher with Pagoda over a 1 year period.

1. The company promised a furnished apartment to all teachers. 2 teachers were offered mattresses on the floor as this was "according to Korean Culture". Both teachers were given a bed with legs after being invited into a meeting within which they were able to argue their case.

2. One American teacher was not allowed time off to be at his daughter's birth. His wife is Korean.

3. One American Teacher was not allowed to have a Honeymoon holiday after his wedding to his new Korean wife.

4. A British teacher arrived on New Year's day and was required to start work within 2 hours of getting through the airport customs. It's more than 1 hour's journey from the airport to the Gangnam Branch.

5. A foreign teacher who had 5 years experience of teaching IELTS was given 5 minutes notice that he was being removed from the IELTS team because he had advised the students about what their grades were likely to be. The IELTS team had asked him to test student levels and give them feedback. He naturally thought that because of his past experience, that he was being asked to give an advisory grade to the students as a part of the testing procedure. The students were also led to believe that he would give grade feedback. News was that the IELTS team did not like his honest feedback as they were telling students that they were higher in grade than in reality. This removal from the IELTS team reduced his paycheck by $800 per month.

6. Pagoda guarantees 2.2 million KRW to teachers. They advise that teachers can earn in excess of 4 million per month. The reality is that teachers can only earn this money if they are lucky enough to get substantial hours (even though contracts are Full Time, teachers are actually paid Part Time hours). For myself, I earned in excess of 4 million in one month. On 2 other months, I earned 1.6 million krw.

7. Pagoda demands that all new teachers live in Gangnam. Gangnam is one of the most expensive places to live in the entire capital city.

8. One teacher did a midnight run 12 months ago after his working conditions got so bad that he could not take the stress. Pagoda contacted his bank and somehow convinced the bank to give Pagoda the $110 that was left in that person's account.

9. A normal working day at Pagoda is a shift from 6.30am to 1pm and again 6pm to 10pm. You can sleep at home and get lunch, and quickly return for the evening shift. There is barely time to enjoy the nightlife, let alone to do the thing that all foreigners want to do: to enjoy exploring the country.

10. The teacher trainer at Pagoda is a non-qualified American teacher who likes to advise changing teaching practices such as using a colored pen and wearing interesting clothes.

11. 2 Korean students were racist to a British teacher and then reported to the management that the teacher had actually been racist to them! The management did not wish an investigation. They simply gave an official warning to the teacher. That teacher got another job and left Pagoda within a few days of the warning (That was the teacher who did the midnight run)

Every new teacher comes to Pagoda with big aspirations and a bounce in their step. Sadly, it's not long before all are looking to somehow break contract asap.


Hello Jon,

Thank you for taking the time to read my response in regards to the information presented about Pagoda in Gangnam. I would like to take the opportunity to address each situation and *request that the posting be removed* with these facts in mind. I also do not mind you posting my response to these allegations.

Pagoda, Gangnam Branch.

1. Bed with no legs - In our contracts, we will provide a bed, wardrobe, fridge and washer. However in most cases the apartment selected by the teacher will include these basic necessities. The housing rental contract is an agreement made between the teacher and the landlord. This issue could have been remedied before signing the lease agreement by stating their preference.

2. Daughterís birth - We allow 3-4 weeks of scheduled vacation to each full-time teacher. Since due dates are unpredictable, the teacher was not able to give sufficient notice. Nationality has no bearing on the matter.

3. Honeymoon - We allow 3-4 weeks of scheduled vacation to each full-time teacher. The teacher in question did not plan his vacation time accordingly. Nationality has no bearing on the matter.

4. British teacher start after arrival Ė It is our policy to allow all new teachers to rest overnight before starting work. The teacher mentioned here missed his connecting flight due to oversleeping and had to book the next available flight.

5. Cancelled Class Ė This appears to be a result of different teaching styles and expectations.

6. Minimum guaranteed salary Ė Pagoda does offer a minimum guarantee as a safety net to our teachers. That minimum is indeed W2.2. The teacher who earned below his minimum guarantee waived his right to a minimum guarantee by *REFUSING* to teach the required number of hours (30/week) scheduled to qualify for the minimum guarantee. Otherwise, we are contractually obligated to pay the guaranteed minimum; this is explicitly stated in the contract. Income Ė teachers do in fact earn in excess of W4.0 but those are normally during busy university break times. In most cases, teachers average around W2.5-3.2.

7. Housing Location Ė Pagoda allows its teachers to live anywhere they choose. The rental agreement is between the teacher and landlord. We do suggest that teachers live near their branch to avoid commute cost and the convenience of living within a 10-minute walk. Most teachers that choose to live in Gangnam pay around W0.7 for their housing opposed to others that pay around W0.5 outside of Gangnam. However, with the convenience and commute savings, the additional cost is quite minimal.

8. Bank account Access Ė As you may know, Pagoda is a language institution and is not a banking institution therefore Pagoda has no authority to unjustly remove funds from a personís bank account.

9. Work-Shift Ė Working in the adult ESL industry all teachers are aware of the teachers demands of a split shift before accepting the contract of employment. Most of our teachers have found ways to balance work and life to fit the needs of their work schedule as any professional. These teachers actually enjoy the ability to have free time in the middle of the day to take care of other personal obligations.

10. Teacher Trainer Ė This statement appears to be incorrect as the only trainers we have had for close to a decade have been from Canada and the UK.

11. Complaint Ė All complaints against teachers and students are taken seriously. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on this case as the specifics are not clear.

The teacher turnover at Pagoda is one of the lowest in the industry. Our teachers tend to stay 3 years on average before going back home. It is very rare that a teacher in good standing, doesnít come back to work at Pagoda because of its great management and work environment.

NY English Studio, Haehwa-dong, Seoul (Korea)

Nov 13 at 11:06 PM

I signed onto their "freelancer" contract, which actually ended up being an employee contract disguised as a freelancer contract to evade labor laws. The contract did not state a training period and forbid me from working in the hagwon industry for 2 years following termination there (which is illegal to state in a contract). They also did not give me a copy of my contract, which now looking back should have raised a red flag. They kept assuring me that the contract was just formalities.

Training took place nearly 8 hours a day, and what was initially promised to be a 1 week training period turned into an indefinite amount. I was spending 8 hours a day at a job that I was supposed to work PART TIME 10-15 hours a week. The entire training period was unpaid (which is also illegal). During training period, I was also asked to teach actual classes. I was told that those classes would not be compensated for because I had taught them during my training period. I also had to attend a 3-4 hour staff meeting that was unpaid.

When I approached the Xxxxxx about the work hours, xx flipped out and started yelling at me (over the phone). Xxx made personal attacks, calling me arrogant and an elitist, that I was new to work and young and brazen, that I didn't know anything and should just shut up and trust older seniors. This continued for 1.5 hours on the phone. When I returned to work the next day with a friend, to talk to xxxxxx about the contract, xxx again lost her temper and started yelling at the both of us. Xxxx refused to meet with me if my friend was there, and told us to get out. I never heard back from xxx, and when I asked her if I was fired, xxx said I was and ripped up the contract.

I would never recommend anyone to work here unless the work culture changes and they start following labor laws. I have filed a complaint against them.

Jin Myung Language School, inside the Jin Myung Fitness Center, Jakjeon, Incheon.

Nov 8 at 11:06 PM

Hello, I have a post for your black list:

Jin Myung Language School, inside the Jin Myung Fitness Center, Jakjeon, Incheon.


- paid on time

- contract hours 1:30-8:30 but can leave after 7:30 if you don't have a class

- have your own classroom, students come to you

- 50% off fitness center programs


- no scheduled breaks (work from 1:30-8 straight)

- no support from director or other Korean teachers with discipline - you are the only Native English Teacher (NET)

- new classes and students added without notice

- schedule changed without notice

- director doesn't know, or follow, Korean labor laws or general practices for hiring NET (ARC- what is that?)

- Contract broken from day one. Small things at first like no TV, bedding, or place to sit in your apartment.

- pre-scheduled vacation days means you don't get the number specified in your contract

- told you will only teach elementary students with no phonics. Over time adult classes, high school classes, and phonics classes are added to your schedule (without notice)

- you are not supplied with books or CDs for some classes. You will have to photocopy entire books so you can teach, and you will have no way of doing listening activities for those books.

- supplies go missing from your classroom

- sharing your classroom with the director means having a messy room every time you go to work

- National Healthcare stated in contract, not given (you're not Korean so you don't get it)

- not registered for pension (you're not Korean so you don't get it)

- apartment window leaks, bugs crawling out from baseboards, walls so thin you can hear snoring from two apartments over, "mattress" is a piece of fold-able foam, had to buy your own bedding/pillows the very first night since none were provided, when pipes froze in the winter was told to just use the facilities/water at the fitness center for the rest of the season.

- contract broken 10.5 months in, given 2 weeks notice, told school is "out of money" and is closing. They were not

- refused to pay any bonuses because contract was not fulfilled

- confirmed 3rd teacher in a row to not finish their contract with this school

BPA (Best Prep Academy) near Jeongja station in Bundang, Korea

Nov 4 at 11:06 PM

Hello Jon,

I worked at BPA (Best Prep Academy) near Jeongja station in Bundang, Korea. I would like to add this academy to the blacklist. I was hired as an English teacher, and I agreed on a monthly salary. The workload was much larger than I was lead to believe. I had many responsibilities that were neither explained to me in the interviews or the contract negotiations nor included in the written contract. Luckily, I have an F4 visa and I spoke to the academy about leaving at the end of the semester. I was honest about my inability to keep up with the intense workload and class schedule. The hagwon agreed to allow me to leave at the end of the semester. On my last day of work, I was made to stay after class to finish grading papers and make report cards. I was told that I would be paid after I completed this work. I felt that this was reasonable and I stayed late on a Friday and finished all of my work. However, I was paid less than half of my salary. I was told that my work was unsatisfactory so I would not be paid for it.

Fortunately, I speak Korean and I am familiar with the labor laws. I had to report the academy to the Korean Labor Board for not paying me for the time that I worked, and I finally had to take BPA to arbitration. This was a hassle, (especially because I had just begun working at another academy), but I could not let BPA get away with not paying me for my work. The arbitrator quickly told me that I would be paid in full within two days, which BPA was finally forced to do. I would like to add this academy to the blacklist because the academy certainly tried to take advantage of me, and I think other teachers may have a much harder time defending themselves against this unscrupulous hagwon.

Berkeley Language School, Haeundae, Busan

Nov 4 at 7:40 PM

If you end up working at this school just expect the following 10.

1) your original contract will be tempered throughout the year.

2) salary will be paid in instalments the whole year. be ready to live on 300,000krw a month!!

3) All the visa charges/ medical check that the school should pay for will come out of your pocket.

4) overtime not paid.

5) if you teach Adults. by law you should get more pay. but the director will try to squeeze as many hours as possible in your contract salary.

6) be ready to get insulted by the director randomly.

7) the korean teachers will try to get your fired just because they don't like you.

8) the director will blame you for any damage that was already done to the apartment given to you. (advice- take pictures of the whole apartment when you move in-move out as proof)

9) you will get threats to be fired at least 6/7 times the whole year.

10) always check if your pension, medical and tax have been paid.. she pockets the money she deducts ..

Sogang Language Program (SLP) in Songpa Gu

Oct 13 at 9:56 PM

I highly recommend not accepting a job at Sogang Language Program (SLP) in Songpa Gu. While employed there I encountered many problems with Xxxxxxxxxx. Xxx regularly came in to work drunk or hung over. Xxx also told me personal information about other teachers who were also employed at the school at the same time as me. This information should have in no way been disclosed to me. During the meetings in which Xx told me this information, xx prefaced it with a statement that explained that I was being given personal information that I was not to spread. Xxxxxxx also spread rumors about those working below him in order to avoid blame.

I am not the only one who experienced problems with Xxxxxxxx. During my year as a teacher at SLP, 8 out of 11 teachers quit. The school has difficulty keeping and attracting good teachers who care about the children because of the workplace environment that they create. None of the foreign teachers resigned a contract with them.

At the time of leaving the school, Songpa SLP was in financial hardship and were forcing their new hires to teach overtime. With so many other responsibilities that the managers place on the teachers while not with the students, you will feel overwhelmed, stressed and unprepared when you walk into the classroom.

If you do choose to accept a position at Songpa SLP, I recommend that you know your rights as per Korean law. Here is a link to the website where you can file a claim against the school.

I also recommend that you call the National Pension Service every month to check that your pension has been paid into as per your contract. The phone number is 02 2176 8707 from within Korea (put +82 in the beginning if you are calling from abroad.) They speak English.

These are more than suggestions as I have had to use both of them to receive my pension as well as wages and severance. Two months after fulfilling my contract, I had to fight with them for over three months to receive my last monthís pay. Five months later, I am still waiting on getting the remainder of my pension.

Pagoda Junior Hwajeong

Oct 11 at 9:44 AM

The payday gets pushed back if it falls on a weekend or a holiday by as much as a week.

The class you are teaching will be constantly interrupted and monitored by CCTV. The interrupting party may also scold you in front of the students.

No overtime work will be paid, occasionally you'll have to teach a solo student before the academy opens which won't be counted as over time. Also you may have to correct and edit "public school papers" for students.

The atmosphere in the teachers room is non-friendly and the foreign teachers (4-5) are blamed for any student tardiness or problems.

Yeonsei language school Gumi

Oct 11, 2016 at 2:21 AM

This is a warning. The school's staff are nice, the students are great. The problem is the complete, utter, 100% lack of organization. If you take a job here you are basically stepping into quicksand. Shifts change week to week, new classes are added with NO warning. You may teach in 3 or 4 different locations in one day. They also don't have a split shift, it is a staggered shift. I knew one poor American who was working morning, afternoon and night. She left after a month. I was one of 4 native teachers, all but one of us quit (and we were ALL replacing teachers who had quit). Typical day - two women started at 6 am, in a different location, and finished at 11 pm. If you are Da Vinci and need only 15 minutes of sleep a day, go for it. But normal people stay away. Too bad. Great students.

Genesis English Academy, Ilsan, South Korea

Oct 07, 2016 at 10:00 PM

1) overtime not paid

2)holiday events not paid

3)contracts given out WEEKS after verbal agreements, with DIFFERENT terms agreed upon

4) frequent meetings requested after hours, UNPAID

5) no breaks between classes as stated in the contract

6) owners use bullying tactics to get results from students including calling the students BABIES, non-stop

7) owners claim employees make damages to their gross old apartments and deduct the future "costs" to fix them from pay

8) owners frequently interrupt class to yell at teachers in front of students

Avalon/Langcon Academy in Pyeongtaek

Oct 07, 2016 at 8:23 PM

After completing my contract at Avalon/Langcon Academy in Pyeongtaek, I finally feel safe and informed enough to post this.

I should strt off by saying that of the 12 FTs, only my partner and I completed our contracts. The others quit, and some even pulled a "midnight run".

The FTs and KTs were always treated differently from each other. Different stationary, different chairs to seat on and separate meetings.

FTs were ALWAYS short paid and NEVER on time.

No organization, always late notice, always asked to skip dinner to cover a different class. Contract was not respected, no health insurance, no overtime pay.

We were all often belittled and shouted atin front of our students. We were also spoken about in Korean to our students (which they later told us about)

It was a NIGHTMARE!! I urge you all to please not work here. According to my amazing students, whom I am still in contact with,even the teachers who replaced my partner and I have already quit. Good luck out there.

Wiz Island - Janghanpyeong / Dongdaemun Branch

Oct 05, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Wiz Island - Janghanpyeong / Dongdaemun Branch

I had couple of teaching experiences along with many volunteer experiences related to education. Never in my life have I worked at a place where the director relies on the teachers for everything.

To be clear, most educational places require basic training and preparation of teachers who are new. This is not just for the teachers to be comfortable in teaching, but it's for the students they will be teaching.

Previous teaching places provided seminars, conferences, and training weeks up to 2~3 weeks before officially letting me teach. These included review of books and materials that school used, as well as other tools and guides teachers can use to teach. They set great standards and reviews so new teachers would be great in improving the students' English.

HOWEVER, this place, Dongdaemun Janghanpyeong Wiz Island is a preschool including the ages 4~7. Each class requires at least 3 or more English classes a day. However, XXxxxxxxx here does not even welcome new foreign teachers on their first day, as well as no timeline or instructional schedules are given. Xxx expects the new teachers to already know what the day is like and to teach from DAY 1.

You are not given any books, materials, and even computers to use. If you use any of the books you think is beneficial for the students in the class, you will get yelled at and discouraged for touching the materials without paying out of your pocket.

XXxxxxx also does not show up often, but randomly shows up to campus and will walk in your class. If xxx is not in a great mood or thinks your class is dull/boring, xxxx yell at you in front of the kids to make you feel embarrassed and ashamed.

Not only that, she will ASK YOU what books and supplies to order for each class, the daily schedule of OTHER TEACHERS when you never even got one, and relies/blames you for everything that goes wrong. She automatically thinks the foreign teachers did something wrong if the day feels gloomy.

To summarize it, this place is REALLY unorganized and foreign teachers do not have anyone to go to to ask questions if they do not understand a curriculum. The director seems to rely on others too much and put the blame on them if xxx dislikes it.

For any foreign teachers who are planning to apply or work here, reconsider and think again.

PalsLab Hagwon in Yeontong-gu, Suwon-si

Sep 18, 2016 at 4:16 AMat 5:35 PM

I would advise any foreign English Teacher (or any Teacher in general, for that matter) not to work at PalsLab Hagwon in Yeontong-gu, Suwon-si unless you're into stress, harassment and a shitty working environment.

As far as Hagwons go, I know this dump isn't indicative of all Hagwons in Korea and I know some people worked at really cool places. PalsLab is not a great place to work and that's really an understatement.

If you want crappy colleagues and a joke of a Xxxx, work here. If you want your classes, hours and general schedules changed often and without notice, work here. If you want to get shorted on health insurance or other contractual elements, work here. (N.B. Health Insurance was paid, if you wanted it, but, you had to find out you didn't have it at a doctor's appointment before you could do anything about it... I was reimbursed the money that was taken from me but I made one hell of a fuss- someone without any initiative wouldn't have gotten their money back!). If you want payslips on scrap paper, work here. If you want to get paid late and always have to remind your boss to pay you, work here.

In the time that I worked there, 3 English Teachers left or were fired. I sought legal recourse for my situation and ended up being happy with the outcome. However, I waited over a year for my case to be resolved to my satisfaction.

If you don't want to go through what I went through, don't work at this dump.

Boramae UBestA Language School/ UBestA Language Institute in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul

August 15, 2016 at 5:35 PM

Would like to bring to the attention of all foreign teachers about Boramae UBestA Language School/ UBestA Language Institute. It is located in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. Save yourself the trouble and do not take this job. The ownership of the academy is in transition. The manager will constantly tell you that he has taken over the academy, but actually it is a trick to make you think that things will change for the better for you.

Deductions from your salary will be made at will by the academy. They are under some proceedings for not paying salary compensation. The academy will not pay into your pension and medical insurance. Also, the academy is unregistered, so if the boss or manager hire and then sponsor a foreign teacher's visa, the foreign teacher can face some problems later on with that.

Also, if you stay in the apartment that the academy provides for you and the academy finds an alternative teacher, you will be kicked out right then and there without any time to prepare.

The owner and manager will only talk to you in Korean (even though you are the foreign teacher) because they can only speak little to no English. The manager teaches classes as well. There are many last minute changes to the schedule without any notice to the foreign teacher. It is a very confusing place to work in. They are suppose to run an American curriculum, but actually you have to make everything yourself. Many of the academy's supplement books are just photocopies of other books with the academy's logo put on it.

The working environment is horrible with no breaks between classes and on Fridays 20 classes with only one 10-minute break after teaching 15 classes. After the last class, you have to stay in the academy for 1 more hour. During that time they turn off all the lights and you are sitting in the academy in the dark.

If you get offered a job by Boramae UBestA Language School do not take it. You will be the only foreigner working there and will get no support from the people there. The Korean teachers will not talk to you.

Hope the best towards your job search and advise to stay away from Boramae UBestA Language School/ UBestA Language Institute. The academy keeps changing names, so be careful.

Youngseon Middle School in Jeollabuk-do

August 11, 2016 at 8:08 PM

Hi there. I want to complain about Youngseon Middle School in Jeollabuk-do. I had a bad time there. The recruiter listed it as a public school, but it is private, and conditions there are very unstable. I am an experienced ESL teacher from the UK, and I have successfully taught in South Korea before. I completed my contract, at another school, and I got all my bonuses plus a letter of recommendation!

I came back to Korea because I like the country. I also missed the many, many friends I had made in Korea. I was offered a job at Youngseon Middle School, and although I had a bad feeling about the job, I took it. The job is falsely listed as being in Gochang, a really nice town in Jeollabuk-do. But it's in a tiny village in Gochang COUNTY. The village is remote.

The biggest problem is the time table. It is complicated, with some classes once this week, but twice next week. Other classes are you see once a fortnight, and some you see twice every week. On top of that, the school administration loves to muck around with the timetable. They do this constantly, to the extent that even if you have gotten confirmation from the co-teacher about tomorrow's class, the times may be changed again! People who've been in Korea for years may say "that's Korea," but I have taught in public schools and hagwons, and at Youngseon Middle School, the problem of last-minute changes is considerably worse than at the hagwon! It makes it nearly impossible to plan adequately, as levels vary somewhat and you may have to see a class twice per week. It makes it very hard for a teacher to have the right number of photocopies per class. My main co-teacher, Ms. Xxx, did not always inform me of the changes until after the class had started. About a month after my arrival, the other co-teacher came into the office and said: "You ARE LATE! YOU HAVE A CLASS RIGHT NOW!" But as I quietly explained, I could not possibly plan for a class I had no knowledge of. It was not on the timetable. I couldn't make photocopies without at least 5 minutes' warning.

That cut no ice with Ms. Xxxx. She informed me that if ANYTHING else went wrong, I would be fired. I was shocked! I begged for mercy, and said she was being far too strict. I was indeed fired, because, it happened again. There were many more schedule changes I had not been informed of. Now I did try to keep abreast of these changes, but they were so frequent. Perhaps in this chaotic environment, I should have ignored the diferences between grades, and made one leson plan for all. But then students might not have understood me.

Youngseon Middle School looks like a public school, on the surface. But conditions there are very changeable and unstable. See it as a hagwon. You will get no help or guidance whatsoever, but when something goes wrong, you are at fault.

When I was fired, I got a long list of complaints, not a document to sign, but just a list. Most of the complaints were petty. For example, burping in the office, and not greeting all the Korean teachers till June. (That was a lie, because I had been greeting them). The teachers had complained that I had spilled food in the cafeteria. I had. I apologised profusely at the time, but the kitchen staff cleaned it immediately. Apparently there were complaints about my taking too long to set things up. That's just it! In my public school job, there were computers in every class! In Youngseon Middle School, the kids' parents all drive BMW's. But for some arcane reason, the school CANNOT afford computers in most classrooms. You have to carry your computer to every class. When I arrived, I had a brand new laptop that wouldn't accept PowerPoint. I used a school computer until the problem was fixed, but that computer was so slllloooooowwww! I got the blame for that. It's interesting though, that there weren't any complaints about my lesson plans or the content thereof.

If people do want to teach in Youngseon, please be careful about Ms. Xxxxx. She is not your friend. She will tell you very little, and the only way you can find out the important stuff related to timetable changes, and the school's expectations is by asking lots of deep, searching questions.

If anything happens, it will be your fault-even very small things will be held against you. Before starting this job, I had a bad feeling. The interviewer couldn't put me in contact with previous western teachers at the school. That's not a very good sign. But the other stuff she said was good.

I know, from the foreign teacher at the neighbouring school, that before I came, it had taken 3 months to find someone who was willing to teach in that school. One guy (who was very handsome, and therefore desirable for the school), had turned down the job, because it wasn't in Seoul! A very experienced teacher had rejected it because 2.1 million won is too low! It is, even with the added 100,000 won rural allowance, because the salary quoted is the gross salary. Many people had rejected the school due to its undesirable location. Even so, as soon as anything goes wrong, the school will throw you away like a piece of garbage-and claw back the entrance allowance too! Your net salary will be just under 2 million won. When I taught at a public school in Korea, my NET SALARY was 2,300,000 won! That's because my proven experience was taken into account. Not so at Youngseon.

I just want to point out that in my last job in Beijing, I had 25 periods per week, and a 7:30 a.m. start, plus a long commute! There were some schedule changes, but I dealt with them happily, and I was never late for class.

I do apologise for ranting and raving a bit. But I am angry, because I feel cheated. I feel that this school's name should be publicised, although I will agree that it is not as bad as the worst hagwons which deliberately withold salary from their employees.

Maple Bear Songpa or Maple Bear Bundang

August 11, 2016 at 1:01 PM

I would like to issue a warning against working at either Maple Bear Songpa or Maple Bear Bundang. I am listing both schools.

Upon signing the contract I was extremely excited about the school and the curriculum. I was also given what seemed to be an adequate amount of prep time. However, that all changed once the job began.

The problem is, they are running a Canadian curriculum on a hagwon schedule. They have implemented a lot of great things into the curriculum, however they have not implemented the time to do it. Therefore, the foreign workers have 2 choices, stay late to complete everything or take work home. They are a business and they are concerned with the bottom line and the bottom line only. The welfare of xxxxx is of no priority.

The Maple Bear workers at both campuses are worn out, stressed out and unhappy. In the past 6 months, both campuses combined have lost around 15 PEOPLE. Almost all their new hires have quit. And the new hires who took over for the new hires have quit.

Not only is the work load immense and stressful, the Xxxxxxx who came on board in March is a real piece of work who will make your life hell.

If you are thinking about working at Maple Bear Songpa or Bundang I highly recommend you ask to speak to the person you are replacing. Because I can pretty much guarantee that person has broke contract and jumping ship.

Global Tesol

Jul 9, 2016 at 1:01 PM

Hello Jon,

I'd like to add an individual employer to this blacklist. It seems that After-school programs are becoming more popular since foreign teachers in elementary schools are being phased out due to budget cuts. I work for company called Global Tesol. My employer attracts teachers by offering 3.5 million won a month to work only 16 hours per week, at different public schools around Korea.

After working for him for 3 weeks, he told my coworker that I will need to work at 2 school locations. As this was written in my contract, I accepted it. Though, when he could not provide a second school, he reduced my salary. He claimed that he would give me the full salary when he found a second school for me.

Several months later, he met with me to explain that he was losing money from my school and that he was trying to cancel the contract he made with the elementary. In the meantime, I should find a part-time job for supplemental income.

With the understanding that I could find a part-time position elsewhere on my own, he reassured me that I would still receive 3 million won for the contracted school I've been teaching at. Upon finding a part-time job however, he reduced my salary by half. He doesn't answer emails, text messages, or phone calls.

To wrap things up, I recently found out that he is not actually my visa sponsor. He has gotten a Hagwon by the name of Beyond Academy to provide the necessary paperwork for my visa. In addition, despite my status as an E-2 visa holder, he has registered me as an independent contractor. Save yourself the trouble and avoid this employer at all costs.

SLP's Hwajeong branch

Jul 8, 2016 at 12:21 PM

I would like to issue a warning to prospective teachers at SLP's Hwajeong branch. Please be careful of their hiring practices.

I was in Korea on a tourist visa while job hunting and studying. I accepted an offer from SLP Hwajeong and signed the contract with Xxxxxx at the school, and gave SLP all of my visa documents. When I heard that the visa process was in motion, I declined all other pending job offers and stopped interviewing.

SLP gave me numerous excuses for delaying my visa run to Japan and then, two weeks before my current visa expired, called and told me that they were no longer going to hire me. The only reason given was that one of the head teachers was concerned that I would leave Korea, or couldn't handle the culture differences. The same teacher sat in on my interview and I did not hear any such comments during the month between the interview and my canceled job offer.

Their claims were groundless as I have a teaching degree, speak Korean, and have been in Korea 2 years now after this incident. Be cautious with this branch.

YBM ECC Suseong-gu Daegu

Jun 23, 2016 at 4:16 AM

Absolutely stay away from this hagwon at all costs.

Although the students and fellow teachers were great, my main complaints have to do with the XXXXX, XXXXXX, and the workload imposed on teachers.

1. I was forced to teach upwards of 42 classes a week and even after promises of a lighter schedule, was continuously given heavier and heavier workloads, often without overtime pay.

2. The XXXXXX is horrible to work with, as is XXXXXXX, in my opinion. On multiple occasions, XXXX yelled at me, lied incessantly, and then demanded apologies when I pointed out lies, promised things not delivered, and just generally emotionally and mentally abused employees, koreans and foreigners alike. The they are some of the most manipulative people I have ever met. They would use lies, manipulation, good cop/bad cop, empty promises, and threats to control the employees. Luckily, I am no longer working there, but I did complete my full contract and it was just generally a horrible year due to nothing other than XXXXX horrible personality/ management style. I can't even express in words how awful of a work environment this is.

Though the kids are great, absolutely do NOT work at this school, it's not worth it.

Miracle Academy, Suseong-gu, Daegu

Jun 14, 2016 at 10:24 PM

Hi Jon, the following is a black list posting about Miracle Academy, Suseong-gu, Daegu:

This is the third blacklist post on this site regarding ĎMiracle Academyí in Suseong-gu, Daegu (the other two posts coming in 2012). The management has not changed since those original posts, and the references that one poster made to teachers being reprimanded over the loud speaker and the Xxxxxxx going on illogical rants for 20 minutes at a time are just as relevant today as they were in 2012.

Unfortunately for me, I had signed the contract with Miracle Academy before reading the blacklist postings on this site. Having been out of work for a few months after resigning from my corporate job in the UK to become an English teacher abroad, I was under a bit of pressure to take the first job offered to me, and I decided to try and ignore the previous postings on the basis that the postings were 2 and a half years old and that there might have subsequently been a change of management. That was a mistake. I arrived off the bus at Dongdaegu, in the middle of the night in the December snow, with only a scrap of paper with the schoolís address written in Hangul. The school was closed and Xxxxxxxx phone was going straight through to the dial-up sound. Eventually he answered, only to neglect to tell me that Ďshapí in Korean means star, so I wasnít able to get into my apartment for 45 minutes until a taxi driver kindly pulled over and cracked the code. When I finally got into the apartment at 2am, the blow up bed did nothing to quell my apprehension as to what on earth I had let myself in for.

It turned out that of the previous two teachers, Xxxxxxx really liked one and really disliked the other, giving that person an irrationally hard time for the final 5 months of the contract. When another teacher and I replaced them, this Ďgood teacher/bad teacherí dichotomy was directly passed on to us, and I was lucky enough to be the chosen baddie.

Of the countless reprimands that I received from him in the first few months, the worst was probably on my first day at the Chilgok* branch. Not having the login details for the video player to hand (the teacher I was swapping with had not left them), I thought the best person to turn to would be Xxxxxxxxx, on the basis that he created them in the first place. Rather than try and help the new teacher to get the class going, he instead started screaming at me ďare you not a teacher!?Ē, which was partly because he himself couldnít remember the details, but also largely due to him wanting to release the anger he had built up from the previous teacher having the audacity to pursue him for all of the bonus money that he was owed. Other incidents included being told I was a bad teacher for quite reasonably not giving two girls 9/10 marks for their vocabulary readings, being seriously micromanaged when teaching 4 young children at the Chilgok branch (who were made to consistently repeat the same basic phrases over and over for the best part of two hours, which I canít imagine is the recommended technique for teaching young children the basics of a foreign language) and being yelled at for not turning a computer off, despite the reason for me forgetting to do it was because I was sweeping the floor upstairs.

I might add that Xxxxxxxx is no better. She regularly would wave her hand at me with her eyes pointed at the ground when I asked her a question, and at the beginning of my contract insisted on the students writing down feedback for me on a piece of paper, rather than her herself just tell me what she felt I needed to do better. This insistence on not being direct about an issue, even when itís in everyoneís best interest for me to get that feedback as quickly and as clearly as possible, is typical of the illogical working environment that was mentioned in one of the previous posts.

The workload was largely manageable, although Xxxxxx wanted completely new workbooks for every single class to be remade during the 10 day midterm period, despite the fact that this was impossible and that we still had to teach students during that period. We were, however, constantly reminded that we were Ďinstructorsí, and not teachers, and that it was the job of the Korean teachers to teach English grammar, and not us. Based on the general quality of the essays that students would write for their various classes, I would go as far as to say that the Korean teachers were not teaching the students grammar, at all. This poor understanding of grammar has led to students performing badly in school exams, and this combined with the aggressive approach of the Ďmanager teacherí (as he insists on being referred to by the students) and his wife, led to the middle school numbers plummeting over the course of 2015. A good reputation amongst the parents of young elementary school children was all that is seemingly keeping the place running.

I wanted to leave from a very early stage, but the previous teacherís resilience encouraged me to try and see out the contract, on the basis that the whole experience would be character building, and that getting my severance pay at the end would make it all worthwhile. In the summer of 2015, however, he had decided that the school could no longer afford two foreign teachers, and that he was subsequently letting me go. This suited me, although I suggested that the contract that we both signed stated that if either party ended the contract prematurely for something that wasnít a sackable offence, then the other party would have to give 60 days notice. He gave me 30 days, so I went to the labor board. What followed was a tense, face-to-face hour long arbitration in front of a labor board representative, where he unveiled letters designed to defame my character that he had forced the teachers who were still working at the school to write about me, and insisted in Korean that he would make sure I never worked in Korea again. Due to the fact that he denied firing me, and that the omnipresent CCTV footage of the meeting had somehow Ďdisappearedí, there was unfortunately insufficient evidence of wrongful dismissal. The original signed contract wasnít seen as important by him; it was considered a mere Ďstarting point for negotiationsí... Youíve been warned.

* The other foreign teacher and I did two month stints at each school, with the Chilgok teacher having the misfortune of having to awkwardly sit next to Xxxxxxxxx for two hours in the car, three days a week.

KDLP Korean Dual-Language Program, Gimhae South Korea

June 9, 2016 at 8:47 PM

Though this was my first job in Korea, I've had experience teaching at a similar style school in China. What I thought was a poorly managed school in China seems loads better after having worked KDLP.

Some of my classes didn't have curriculum when I showed up, but the school said that books would be in by the end of the month. When the end of the month rolled around, I asked about it again, and in a roundabout way they told me that there weren't any books. (It was a lie to avoid the embarrassing reality that they hadn't really done any planning for the class). This was a bit of a shock because in the interview before coming, I had specifically asked if curriculum was provided. They failed to mention that my phonics classes totaling five and a half hours each week had no materials whatsoever. In order to stay afloat, I spent countless hours working after school (without overtime pay) to compile enough free teaching materials to make books. It turns out this "phonics" class acts as a filler for all of the empty time slots they didn't know what to do with. The students already have at least one other phonics class.

For the classes that do have curriculum, it fails to be effective. It's either sparse in content (teaching "how to make rice" for an hour) or way too advanced (telling a three year old to draw something that represents his emotions and explain it to the class). The brunt of the lesson plans is the responsibility of the teacher because the school has really done a slipshod job. (To be fair, the planning period is decently long). What I later discovered was that some of the curriculum is plagiarized directly from sources like the California Department of Education. Yet, KDLP still puts its copyright on it though.

To maximize profits, they send classes from other schools to KDLP because you're essentially free labor. You don't get paid by the hour. When an inspector from the government came to the school, we sort of had to hide from him and/or teach our non-KDLP classes elsewhere. Why do they need to lie about you teaching for three schools? It's because your visa is only valid for one school and if the government found out you were teaching for three, you wouldn't be working at KDLP anymore to say the least.

If it sounds right for you, my position is now available.


We are a couple currently working at KDLP and are having a completely different experience, in fact, we would recommend working at KDLP. The school has a great reputation within the community and is one of the most prestigious. It is also owned by a larger school of the same name in Busan. You don't have to worry about getting paid or the school closing down unexpectedly.

You work 9am-6pm, have a 1 hour lunch break (with lunch provided), and get 10-12 hours of prep during the week. You also have a classroom to yourself, instead of moving from class to class. It has been our experience that if you have a problem with any materials or anything in your classroom, the staff works with you to solve the problem, but evidently, you have to let them know.

There are 5 foreign teachers at the school and there is a great foreigner community in Gimhae. It's a small city, but has everything you need. It is also connected to Busan via subway and it takes 1-2 hours to get to Busan, depending on where you want to go.

If you're considering a job at KDLP, ask your recruiter to connect you to the foreign teachers currently working at the school.

Dongnae Yeonje Gu SLP (Seogang Language program) in Busan

Jun 5, 2016 at 6:04 AM

I'd like to add the school: Dongnae Yeonje Gu SLP (Seogang Language program) in Busan to this blacklist.

I worked at this school for a year and 5 months. There are many reasons why you shouldn't work for this school. After one year we got a new owner (the situation wasn't great but it got much worse after it changed). They seem legitimate, it's family run and they speak very good English but don't let them fool you. They routinely lie to their teachers and only care about money.

I'll start with the more serious issue. I stopped working there at the end of February and still to this day they didn't pay what they owe to the pension service. For part of December, all January and February of 2016 they took money out of our paychecks towards our pension but they kept it for themselves instead of paying the pension service. When confronted with this issue they claimed it was paid but after I called to check I was told they hadn't.

Second of all, they paid our severance pay late as expected.

When we were working there, they always claimed to do things in the best interest of the students but that clearly wasn't the case. This caused many teachers to quit and have a very bad relationship with management. To the point that we wouldn't even talk, only saying "hello" and "goodbye".

Incompetent management and lies makes a really bad school to work for.

ESL Academy in Yeonsu-dong, Chungju (aka FTK ESL Academy, Chungju)

Jun 3, 2016 at 1:19 PM, 2016

ESL prevented us from getting our medical check for 2.5 months, our ARC cards for 3 months, and our bank accounts for 4 months. Therefore leaving us practically unpaid and ultimately uninsured for the majority of our time in Korea. We left after six months because they refused to reimburse us for our arriving flight (as per our contract). They also never paid into our pension.

Because we were the only foreign teachers at the small hagwon, no one but us could call the Xxxxxx out on her illegal practices, nor advocate for us in any respect. As lovely as Chungju is, it is a smaller city. When we sought the labor board's council on these matters, no one there spoke any English.

Throughout the process we were understanding and patient. We reached a breaking point after being owed money again and having it denied after 6 months. At this point we stood firm and demanded we would go to the labor board. In response to this, profanities were SCREAMED at us both in Korean and English- we couldn't believe the extent of the maltreatment we faced here.

Please heed this advice and do not fall into a similar trap. These people are malevolent liars, and will take advantage of you. Their only priority is keeping their failing business afloat and pocketing as much money as possible.

BaeUm Kids English Village, Haan dong, Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi do, South Korea

May 30 at 3:30 PM, 2016

The school used to be a really nice place to work before they employed a new XXXxxxxx. Despite good hours and an attractive location, the working conditions at the school are unbearable due to this Xxxxxxx. The atmosphere has changed drastically and many foreign and Korean teachers have left prematurely. Teachers and kids are on edge when this lady suddenly appears in the classroom. Xxxxxxx will nitpick and look for the worst in everything. AND A REPLY:

Baeum Kids English Kindergarten

Jan 16, 2017 at 6:34 PM

Hi, I saw that Baeum Kids English Kindergarten was posted on the blacklist earlier by someone else, and I want to add that it was not a pleasant work place even when the previous Xxxxxxxx was there. Payment was fine and on time but they were slightly racist and biased towards me as well as towards the previous teacher before me who was African American.

Many comments were made about the previous teacher about "her black accent". This school gave me much grief during my time there and I recommend steering clear of them. Even going so far as to asking the other foreign teacher to translate to me what she said (in english), with me sitting right next to them. Rude and unconsiderate management... please be careful if you choose to be employed by this school.

Avalon Language School, Incheon

May 26 3:16 AM, 2016

Incheon, Avalon Language School. They are a franchise of the Avalon Language School in Seoul so they are only indirectly tied to that corporation.

Avalon has three branches in Incheon owned by the same person. To my knowledge, my branch has not completed a contract without modifying it in the last 2 years. Teachers have quit, or they have cut teachers due to financial woes.

Other branches have fired teachers early from their contract or reduced their hours to part time. They have also cut Korean teachers. They have made the teachers work national holidays without the contractually agreed upon extra pay.

They have tried (different methods to find) their way out of the financial aspects of the contract. Only knowledge of the labor law and promises of going to the labor board have made them comply with their contract.

They are verbally abusive and demand work be completed without providing the proper tools. When it is proven to them you can not do what they are requesting, they do not resolve the problem. They wait up to two weeks and start abusing the employee again.

Best Prep Academy (BPA) in Jeongja

May 18, 2016 at 6:09 PM

Hi Jon,

I would like to add Best Prep Academy (BPA) in Jeongja to the blacklist. As a recent worker there, I've experienced a very different work environment from the job description they've provided.

Originally, they've told me that I'd be work until 10pm on some days and that I would get overtime whenever it's done. In truth, I had to work until 10pm from Monday through Friday. The teaching curriculam is also a complete mess since they don't actually teach the students any actual skills. It's simply a place that gives a ridiculous amount of work to the kids and students.

The poor students literally study over 30-40 vocabulary words, 10 additional vocabulary words, do 10 sentence writings, 2 3-5 paragraph essays, 4 pages of reading comprehension questions, 4 pages of listening comprehension, 20 pages of novel with an additional 10 comprehension questions, and on top of that, they have to make rewrites for all of their essays, tests, and sentences. This is all done within a week and we must grade every single one of these assignments within the same day. The average amount of students I had was about 60-70 in total (a lot left because of how overwhelming this place is, including the teachers).

There have been some revisions to shorten the work but now they've made it so that every teacher must overlook their writings in a course of one hour. I have no idea how the other teachers pull it off. It's impossible to grade and assign that much homework each day.

Thanks for the read and I wish everyone luck on their search!

JungChul English Academy, Palyong-dong, Changwon

May 16, 2016 at 3:11 PM

Hi Jon, I'd like to add JC Academy in Palyong-dong, Changwon, to your blacklist. Let me be clear, if you're a reasonably experienced teacher who knows their rights and is willing to stand up for themselves, you'll be just fine - the Korean teachers are awesome, the kids are great, the syllabus is...well...there's a syllabus. You'll also be paid on time and the apartments are decent and close to the school, if a little empty, by all accounts.

However if you're new to this whole game and in a position where you need to put your trust in the school to do right by you, run. XXXXXXX will take advantage of you, steal from you, and screw you over if he thinks he can get away with it. Some choice examples:

1) Took over the school in January. On his first day, fired one foreign teacher because he had to spend a few days in hospital with a broken hand. Attempted to fire him on the spot after delivering some shouting and colourful insults, but the guy was too smart and got his month's notice.

2) We discovered on 18th January that he hadn't re-signed us up for NHIC when he took over on 6th (and therefore presumably pension as well), although the money had been deducted from our paychecks. We confronted him, he got extremely flustered and worried and signed us up the next day. 2 teachers from his other school in Masan say they had a similar experience - having to nag him to pay their pension and healthcare and having to make regular calls to NHIC to check up on him.

3) Attempted to trick me out of 19 months' severance with the following reasoning (in order):

- you signed a new contract in January when I took over (I didn't) so you have only technically worked here for 4 months so I owe you nothing. - the previous boss should pay 15 months' worth - I've only been your boss for 4 months so that's all I owe you.

- and I quote (I recorded the conversation on my phone): "help me out here - can't you just take 12 months and be happy?"

Needless to say I stood my ground and got what I was owed, but someone less-informed about the law could well have bought reason #1 and got nothing.

4) Struggled to replace the teacher with the broken hand, and instead had several subs, one of whom he shorted 50,000W after 2 days' work (she was, technically, working illegally so no repercussions).

5) The mac-daddy of them all. Brought over a new teacher - let's call him Xxxxxx was completely new to Korea and teaching, and had been convinced by the recruiter, to come over not only with no visa, but also no visa documents. Xxxxxx fired him after 2 weeks but s/he agreed to work until 22nd April (another 4 weeks or so). On payday (5th), Xxxxxx paid him for the 3 weeks he'd a part-time rate. S/he then allowed Xxxxx to work for almost 2 more weeks before saying would withhold any additional money to pay for his flight to Korea, and that since Xxxxx had no visa nothing could be done about it.

As I said, if you're experienced in the ways of Korea, and watch yourself like a hawk, you'll probably be fine here - when given any resistance or if he thinks you've caught him out, he'll back down and do the right thing. But if you're new, don't even think about it.

CCLE (Canadian Cultural Language Experience)

May 8, 2016 at 7:11 PM, 2016

I would like to add CCLE (Canadian Cultural Language Experience) in Namyangju to the black list.

Firstly, though the contract states that pension and health insurance will be paid into, it never was. There are also strange deductions being made for taxes (employees are being charged as independent contractors and end up paying too much in monthly taxes which are automatically deducted by the employer).

In addition to the suspicious things happening with money, you will be extremely overworked. The typical work hours were 8:45am-6:15pm. No break at all during this time as you are expected to be doing SOMETHING at every moment or be micro-managed to death. Even going to the washroom could prove difficult. Foreign teachers are also in charge of cleaning the school like slaves.

Avoid this hagwon at all costs unless you want to live in constant stress the entire time you are working.

Jeongja Worwick Franklin Institute, Jeongja

Apr 27, 2016 at 10:29 PM, 2016

I would like to add Jeongja Worwick Franklin Institute to this list.

After I decided to blacklist this branch (about 2 months into my contract) I was not surprised to find out that another of this companies branches has been blacklisted for almost exactly the same practices I encountered.

These are the reasons why I want to blacklist Worwick Franklin Jeongja

1. No proper admin staff, including accountants, curriculum development and technical.

2. Severe lack of working computers for the teachers. (1 working computer for 20 teachers. No WIFI)

3. Severe lack of teaching resources, including colored paper, scissors, colored pencils, paint etc.

4. No training or information about your duties provided, even when you repeatedly ask. You just have to figure it out when you are reprimanded for NOT delivering.

5. A complete turnover of the entire management team 4 times in 1 year. I am not kidding.

6. A disregard for the contract, especially in regards to working hours and days.

In addition to these reasons, there is a generally abusive attitude towards teachers.

Please know that I have worked in Korea for years and have never felt the need to blacklist any institution. I've never even thought of visiting this site before I had the misfortune of working at this institution.

As a kindergarten teacher, I like to think that I am a kind and fair person. Please be warned.

Chungdahm and CDI April Gwangmyoung, Cheolsan Station

March 26, 2016

Do not work for this hagwon, located at Cheolsan Station, under any circumstances. You will be underpaid, overworked, not paid for overtime, not paid for Saturday work, and the school is run terribly. I feel sorry for the students because they are great, but the school is a horrible place to work and as a result the teachers are always stressed and tired. Many teachers don't last a year, and no one ever signs on for a second year. When teachers leave they get a nasty surprise when they don't get paid, or when dubious deductions are taken from their final paycheck.

Don't work for CDI, and definitely don't work for this terrible location.

Geumjeong Corem in Busan

March 22, 2016


I would like to add Geumjeong Corem off of the Jangjeon-Dong (#129) subway line, to the hagwon blacklist. I worked there for a year and feel it is not a good place for prospective foreign teachers.

The biggest issue with the school comes from the fact that it is failing, derived from a lack of new students. As it seems unable to compete with another local hagwon chain, which is several times the size of this particular Corem branch. As a result of these difficulties, you will tasked with teaching ten plus classes a day and expected to have prepped something new and original for each class. Which is an enormous task, given your limited prep time.

A great deal of pressure will be placed on you to maintain student numbers and if one should leave, you as the foreign teacher will be held responsible. Creating a feeling that only student numbers matter.

Due to the "sinking ship" feeling of the school, the staff is overworked and unpleasant in general. This creates an unpleasant working atmosphere. As such, I would recommend anyone looking into a position there, to look elsewhere. There are many better hagwons, with better hours, pay and conditions. This hagwon is a below average at best place to work and should be avoided. Especially since there are so many other wonderful hagwons to work for in Busan. Thanks for your time.

Namcheon Eastern English Academy in Busan

March 18, 2016

First, I would like to note that this school is already on the blacklist from May 2, 2012 but I would like to add some other disclaimers for people and confirm that they seem to be continuing the same practices.

They consistently paid me late, and kept giving me lousy excuses every time for why they were doing so. Their most common excuse is "we forgot".

They didn't sign me up for pension or health care until three months into the contract. I had to ask them almost every day for a month so that they would get it done. Even after they signed me up for pension they did not pay it until I complained several times and threatened to go to the labour board.

Once I'd left Korea the pension office contacted me and said my school hadn't filled in the proper documents or paid the last instalment, so they couldn't send me my pension. It took another month of me contacting them, and finally threatening to go to the labor board and filing a complaint with a civil rights group in Korea before they fufilled their obligations.

The ******** of the school is sneaky and dishonest. When I complained about getting paid late, they threatened to take money off my paycheck for the first three months of healthcare, when I wasn't even registered for healthcare for those months because of this person. There were also many times where the person agreed to do something, like pay me on a certain date, then pretend like they had no idea what I was talking about.

The school also expects you to clean up your classroom, which is not stated in the contract. They are too cheap to hire a janitor so they treat their teachers like cleaners and pass all the work onto them. They also have no heating in the winter! The only thing they provide you with is a small heated lamp, so you still have to wear all your winter gear in the class or else you are freezing cold.

They have absolutely horrible communication. They will get mad at you for 'breaking a rule' that they never informed you about in the first place. They will only tell you a class was cancelled after you already showed up to work, and sometimes they won't even tell you anything.

It is stressful and not a pleasant work environment because you always have to hound them in order to get paid, and it's obvious that the other teachers don't like having a foreign teacher there.

I can go on and on but I think that should be enough to know that nobody should ever work here.

LOTIS, Leaders of Tomorrow International School in Jamsil

March 4, 2016

Hi Jon.

I would like to write about LOTIS, Leaders of Tomorrow International School in Jamsil. Although the facilities are brand new and great, the owner and management are not as great.You do get paid on time, but if you are supposed to get compensated for something, such as a visa or health check, you may here from the boss and owner "I didn't write the contract"...even though it's their contract and they signed it. They are terribly unprofessional, they don't care about you, or even the kids and their education at times-- which is probably the worst part. They put themselves first, then do whatever they need to to make their lives easier. They will lie, tell you what they need to, and do the opposite.

Housing, i'm pretty sure they are pocketing an extra hundred won a month if you choose their housing. Some Korean co-teachers can't even speak English well, so your students are hearing incorrect English spoken throughout the day. Although some Korean co teachers teachers are awesome, many are unhelpful and end up being more of a burden.There is a huge problem with Korean teachers and their behavior towards others. It is quite unprofessional the way they will scare new Korean teachers when start, they handle behavior issues with children by yelling and making them cry, using forceful removal from the classroom as well. You are never told anything when you should, there is a huge lack of respect for the foreign teachers, the expectations are ridiculous, impossible, and the curriculum and books are terrible. They are basically creating things as they go and photo copying book pages and printing them instead of getting real books. In addition, elementary after school is worse than the kindergarten curriculum. It is just lacking so many essential classes for learning English, such as grammar.

One thing to be aware of as well, this company once owned kids college and then pine brook academy. When the number s of enrollment decrease drastically, they close the school and start a new one. This one they made fancy hoping this would do the trick, but it doesn't. Parents are frequently asking the foreign teachers what really goes on at the school. It is sad that they are blindsided as well. It is an awfully lot of money to attend this school for an education their child can receive by using a computer and youtube. I could go on and on, but simply, I don't recommend this school. It is super stressful and frustrating.

Good luck with the job search everyone!

UACE International Language Institute, Suji

March 2, 2016

I would like to add UACE International Language Institute to the blacklist. The main reason I am writing this is because they fired me a week before my contract ended, and not paying severance or flight home. Also after they fired me they kicked me out of my apartment giving me only a 1 day notice, which essentially left me homeless in Korea for about a week. Another reason was the housing they put me in. The room was tiny (even by Korean standards) I wouldnít complain but almost all of the other teachers had much larger, nicer apartments. The room was covered in black mold. The issue I had with the school was that they wouldnít fix anything. If I told them about a problem, I would get scolded and end up having to apologize to the Xxxxxxxxx for upsetting him. Then I would have to fix the problem myself. Other teachers also had issues trying to get things fixed in their apartments, most would just live with it. Going to the Director or Korean staff just wasnít worth it.

Instead of writing pages of grievances Iíll just list the rest:

- History of not paying teachers on time.

- The school is dirty and run down.

- Fake CCTV

- VERY limited use of air conditioning and heating. (During the winter I had to wear a jacket and heavy coat everyday)

- Little to no effort for new teacher training.

- They would indiscriminately fine you for anything.

- I had found that they were over charging us for our apartment building maintenance fees, I donít know if they were stealing money in other ways but it wouldnít surprise me.

- No Pension

- No Medical

- School didnít provide adequate classroom supplies (crayons, paper, ect) I could go on.

Disclaimer: This post was originally taken down because the school asked the post to be removed from the blacklist and I was given 10 days to respond. I missed the original deadline and the post was removed.

Woosong University in Daejeon, South Korea

February 23, 2016

Woosong University in Daejeon, South Korea does not stick to the contract and finds ways to counter any possible contract breach. Such as 20 hours per week that doesn't include mandatory continued professional development (so essentially unpaid and in your own time) Mandatory inclusion in clubs and groups on campus (again mandatory, in your own time and unpaid) Cameras in classrooms. they monitor whether you are in your office during posted office hours, (I was there 5 years and never had a student come during my office hours) The foreign administration are lazy and refuse to assist (which their jobs are just assist) They think themselves as better than most teachers because they have an administration role. There are different rules for general English teachers and English Admins. Admins can wear denim jeans and T-shirts, while any teacher wearing such items in any university building is subject to a disciplinary notice. Admins also do not adhere to the office hours and face no negative recourse for doing so. Nepotism and favoritism is rampant, to the point the Korean University President hired his niece in a management role with no prior experience. If you value your sanity and your free time don't go there.

General Warning

February 23, 2016

I would like to submit a comment to the list and to you. I read your comments and your editorial. First don't be scared but be careful because I was reading about Cyber Terrorism and defamation laws from a Law website and was shocked to read that in Korea the truth is not a defense and even if everything you post about someone is 100 percent true, their "right to privacy" is more important than any offense.

To the readers of this site: Almost every comment about what happened in Hagwons I can personally testify the validity of their claims. Unless you work for a government school you will not get paid on time. Sometimes your pay day will get lapsed and then you basically worked for free for one pay period and they will argue like baptist defending the bible that they paid you. The mentality is, that is a priviledge to work for the Institute and asking about pay is consider rude and greedy. It doesn't matter if it is two weeks late. Overtime is nonexistant. I have had hundreds of English teacher friends and never once received overtime pay. 99% of all schools are in it to make money and 1% are there to teach English while making a living. If you teach you will be extremely frustrated with text books and work books with uncountable errors, totally garbage grammar, mindless zombie repetition of unusable sentences, out of context word usage, students with unbreakable habits due to being taught wrong from the beginning. This comes from the top. I have been teaching students for over 10 years in Korea and I deal with this daily. The public education system, teaches students to read very slowly in a choppy style pausing over each word. When using conjuctions they teach students to write in sentence fragments. Anyway, I am going on a tangent. I will say if you have read this far; Do not go to any Hagwon where the owner/owners have never taught or can not speak English. All your skills and experience is a waste of resources and ultimately you will have the most frustrating job of your life. AND A REPLY:

Hi Jon,

I would like to respond to the "General Warning"

February 23, 2015 post that is currently near the top of your page.

After working for the same hagwon/English kindergarten for 4 years and working with co-workers who have been at our hagwon for 6 years, I can tell you that this post's claim that no hagwon pays on time or that every hagwon is only trying to take advantage is absolutely untrue. I know for a fact that my school has never once paid someone late or not given them the pay they have earned. My school DOES pay for overtime, and overtime is always optional, never required. Our policies have always been followed through on, and teachers regularly receive bonuses above and beyond what they are promised contractually. My school places a huge emphasis on real education and students and teachers enjoy being there.

If you are worried about a school, do your research. There ARE schools that are run poorly, but there are good hagwons out there too, and I am super thankful for my school and job. I have been provided great opportunities for professional and personal growth, have received regular raises, vacation time, and flexibility in scheduling.

It is a lie that you WILL have a negative experience and be taken advantage of. It's a possibility, but NOT every school is like that. No place is perfect. It's a job. Every boss will make decisions you don't agree with, but that doesn't mean every boss will be dishonest or immoral. I love my hagwon and the Korean staff, directors, and teachers that I work with.

I hope anyone looking for a teaching opportunity finds a great school like mine.

Kings Kids English Academy in Gangnam and Songpa

February 3, 2016 3:05 PM

I applied with Kings Kids English Academy in Gangnam and Songpa. After a phone and Skype interview, I was offered a contract, and asked to review it.

When it came time to signing the contract, the representative of Kings Kids was nice enough to meet me in my area of Seoul, but then stated that he was not able to hire me because I was too Asian looking. Even though he had two contracts in hand.

I've read good things about the place, and was excited because the Point of Contact was very insistent on having me sign a contract so he could get the Visa process moving along.

I don't mind being told I'm not an ideal candidate because of my Asian ancestry, I get that. I'm more annoyed that I was strung along, turning down two other job offers for this.

So, if you're not Asian American or Indian American, I'm told this is a nice place to work. Otherwise, keep looking.

Wonderland in Hyangnam, near Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do.

January 31, 2016

I would like to warn others about Wonderland in Hyangnam, near Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do. I'm not sure how much I can say without stepping into libel, so please delete as appropriate.

The school used to be excellent with a great reputation but unfortunately has changed hands twice in little over a year. They do not respect teachers. There have been incidences of violence toward staff. The school is run by inexperienced management. They do not pay on time and make you beg for your wages. They make highly questionable deductions and refuse to explain why or to provide pay slips. They do not know or pretend to not know laws and procedures around employment law and visas. They do not like the teachers being friends and try to get them to snitch on each other. They do not communicate at all and disappear from the school every time something serious happens. They also are losing students rapidly. Avoid this school at all costs.

World Prep School in Geoje

January 31, 2016

World Prep School in Geoje.

Late pay (Even for Korean teachers).

They have no clue what they're doing.

Bigotry and trying to manipulate teachers against each other.

They try and get staff to do overtime (beyond contracted hours) without pay.

Do not work there.

Seoil Foreign Language Institute in Yullyang-dong Sangdang-gu (Cheongju, Chungbuk).

January 28, 2016

Avoid "Seoil Foreign Language Institute" located in Yullyang-dong Sangdang-gu (Cheongju, Chungbuk).

In the few months of working there, they always paid me approximately 10 days late. My pension money was automatically deducted from my paychecks, but the pension office wasnít paid (I called and checked). While they claimed to pay my utilities with deductions from my salary, those too were never paid, (of up to a few hundred thousand Won!) and many times my gas, water, and electricity were shut off. I was made me work at 2 after-school (public school) programs besides the hogwon. The public schools actually pay the majority of my salary, however it was withheld and always paid late (or in installments). In person they appeared an innocent angel, but in reality a greedy monster.

They fired a guy who worked there before me, and stopped paying him. It was some story about how the accountant ran off with the money. Since there was no contract, nothing could be done. Some there have anger issues problems, constantly yelling at the students. I was yelled at as well, for simply asking for clarification about a lesson.

Then one day I met someone who worked for there before me. Theyíve already been reported to the labor board before, but it hasn't stopped them. I quit, and don't want anybody to have to experience the hell of what I and others have. I think the place should be shut down.

E. Bo Young Talking Club, Chungju

January 21, 2016

My girlfriend and I worked at E. Bo Young Talking Club in Chungju, at both the Yeonsu-dong and Chilgeum-dong schools. These are the two biggest Hagwons in Chungju-si and probably the most successful. They are also the only E. Bo Young schools in the city, so if you see any opening in Chungju-si in an E. Bo Young school it is likely owned by the same people.

During our time there we were repeatedly not paid or paid as much as long as two months late. Our pension also ďdisappeared,Ē and we were frequently forced to work unpaid overtime or bizarre hours to accommodate student requests. On top of this, there was almost no curriculum and frequently forced into situations where we had to make up lessons on the spot and then make up stories to parents and teachers about those lessons. Perhaps every student, teacher and parent involved with the school has their own horror stories.

The owner of the school, it turns out, often makes up stories -- to everyone. It was only after working there for half a year that this became clear to us, as we were gradually caught in a bizarre web of lies. There were made up stories to parents about the work the students were doing, to the teachers about important things (what and who we were expected to teach, our salaries, the legal history etc.) and to the oddly unnecessary and mundane to students. Every time this happened, we were updated with the fact that he lied or were given one lie to justify another. We (and all the other Korean teachers) would have to propagate this to students and parents. It was nonstop and really strange web of deceit took on its own life, and couldnít be stopped. He became nervous all the time, perhaps afraid that he would be caught in this nonstop web of lies.

The school is a complete disaster that we were caught in for a year and a half and are now weíre just happy to be free. In the end about $15,000 had disappeared that we will never get back. There was also the daily humiliation of having to work in that situation, but not having much choice about it. We have filed legal charges but doubt we will see any money or justice. He has shown no guilt or desire to pay us back in any way.

Point being: awful school, awful owner. Avoid at all costs.

I wish I could write an entire book on what was wrong with the place. Maybe I will.

Advanced Junior English in Bundang.

January 20, 2016

I would like to leave a review of Advanced Junior English in Bundang.

When I worked for this school for a month and they refused to pay me because they were not satisfied with 'the timing' of my lessons. This is a sketchy place with a massive turnover of teachers without visas. Just Google 'AJ English Korea' and see.

SLP Dongnae in Busan

January 16, 2016

Hi, I would like to add the hagwon where I am currently teaching to the Black List. The school's name is SLP Dongnae in Busan. I have been working there for almost a year now and it's a complete mess. From the beginning it was a very disorganized and penny pinching hagwon with little concern about the children, which is unfortunately quite common in Korea. But, half way through our contract the owner sold the school to a new owner. From that point on it went from bad to worse. The school's management is a completely mess, dozens of students have left due to the school's poor management and every single teacher (Korean and Foreign) is quitting this month, along with all staff members, some of which have been at the school for over 8 years.The owner has brought in her family members who speak native English to make the school appear more legitimate. Do not trust them. The school is also financially unstable, they have been pulling out loans to stay afloat and I would not be surprised to see them sell it in the next year. Overall, I am here just to warn people who may be potentially looking at this school. I wish I would have know before I accepted my contract. DO NOT WORK at SLP Dongnae, It's been the worst school I have ever worked at!!

TLBU GLOBAL school in goyang korea

January 13, 2016

I want to add more warning on TLBU GLOBAL school in goyang korea.

Dont sign a contract unless the president signs it ... or you will have difficulty at labor board to try and get paid if you let asst principal or dean process your visa and contract.

Salary ... pension... and insurance are many times LATE.. MONTHS EVEN ....

I suggest you add a clause in your conteact to get 25,000w per day when salary is late.

MLS (My Language School), in Kyungsung University area, Busan.

January 12, 2016


Do not work for MLS, do not invest your time applying for a job with MLS, in Busan.

1. They UNDER PAY their employees. My part time job worked out to be $5 an hour.

2. They pay late. 3. Routinely find ways around their written contract Too many hand shakes that contain NO principles. MANY teachers simply did not return and MLS does NOT care.

4. Others apologize to you, smiles at you face-to-face, and then he does not follow through with his promise. And then suddenly you're fired for NO REASON.

5. MLS does NOT care about contemporary education. The owner's advice was: "just stand all the time in class, we have had complaints from students when teachers sit."

If this is the best advice from someone there, who said it says NOTHING about communication and only about marketing.


JC English academy in jecheon South Korea

January 1, 2016

Hello John one hokwon that everyone should know about is JC English academy in jecheon South Korea, it is absolutely terrible. When I first started at this academy there were two English teachers after one month he fired half of the staff ( one grammar teacher and one foreign English teacher) because of mismanagement. He could not secure the money he wanted for himself so he decided to cut his staff. He took a loan from his father to keep hokwon in business. Despite this, I stay for the one year contract. It was a living hell. He would insult and belittle me in front of students, both adults and children. He would never, ever, ever pay me on time. I am not talking about a few days or weeks. He would withhold payments for several weeks, if not, months. I was not given medical or pension as promised. When I confronted him he told me that I refused them, which was completely ridiculous. Class sizes, and overall curriculum and general class structure is non existent. The classes are a mess and he will not have anything organized. No textbooks, or very little material. Payments were sporadic and he still, technically, owes me over 1.2 million won, but honestly, I would rather never see him again than take the money. This guy and his Hagen is an absolute joke. Please be weary, and never accept a contract here. You will regret it and run for the hills. Buyers remorse doesn't even describe this. Had runs through staff like a knife through hot butter. Nobody ever stays of lasts here, I think I might hold he record. Here is an example: The secretary was let go because of "finances". He told me an insane story, that she had cancer and could not work. I later saw her on the street......... She was fine and told me that he fired her, without reason or cause. I still feel bad for her. My coworkers collaborated this account. DO NOT WORK HERE!!!!

EIE English Academy In Cheongju, South Korea

December 24, 2015

I would like to report EIE English Academy In Cheongju, South Korea.

Here are the problems I had with the school some are small and others are very large.

1. We were told that our transportation from the airport to the school would be paid for, it wasn't we were shoved on a bus from the airport and had to pay for it.

2. We were told that we would have a few days to recover from jetlag before we were made to come into the school. We weren't given any such opportunity we arrived at our apartment at 3 in the morning then were made to come in at 9 for "training".

3. "Training" consisted of the previous English teacher rushing through the curriculum for 10 minutes (not an exaggeration) acting as if we knew everything she was talking about.

4. We were meant to be having a visa run to Japan to get our E2 visas before we started any work as working without the correct visa is illegal. However we were made to start work under the pretence that we would be simply "introducing ourselves to the kids" but we were made to teach lessons and therefore were working illegally.

5. After a few days of working without the correct visas and our visa run to Japan not being mentioned we put out foots down and said we would not work until we got our correct visas. There was much arguing and lying from the school who claimed that it was legal to work without an E2 visa then in the next breath telling us that the school would be in far more trouble than we would if we got caught working without our visas. The recruiter who found us the job was extremely rude to me on the phone and the Xxxxxxxxx of the school laughed in our faces when we voiced our concerns.

5. We left the school as our faith in them was shaken completely and now they are trying to threaten us with legal action unless we pay them what they are saying was the price of our flight to Korea however after researching the price of the flights we know that they are trying to make us pay double the price of what the flight was.

We spent a lot of time and money on this job to have it all wasted. Very upset and angry.

YBM ECC Dongilsan (located in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do)

December 14, 2015

My blacklist hagwon experience was from YBM ECC Dongilsan (located in Ilsan, Gyeonggi-do). My experience here was nothing short of harassment. There was a Korean teacher at my school who really had it out for me. I never knew why, because she would never talk to me to try to resolve it; in fact, she always pretended to be very friendly to my face. But I speak Korean at a high level, and I could hear her gossiping and saying very mean things about me in the staff room. She would say that I was a slut and a horrible teacher and blatantly lied about my classroom conduct. I think I did a pretty good job teaching and worked very hard, but of course if there was a problem, I would have liked to have been informed to my face. Sadly, the problem got much worse.

This teacher started gossiping about me to her students during her classes, until the kids knew things about my personal life (later she told our boss that I had been wasting class time telling them about my personal life--the opposite of what really happened), as well as believed lies about me (she even started a rumor that my boyfriend beat me...and told it to our students! I was so shocked). I tried to get our buwonjang involved, but he was rarely ever in school, and was unfortunately close to the teacher who didn't like me. He would never even give me a chance to speak, and when I tried he would blow up and yell at me. It got even worse when he started to target me as well.

By maybe 7 or 8 months into my contract, I was getting called into his office at least once every 2 weeks (sometimes more frequently) so that he could yell at me for bogus things. He started spending all the time he spent at school (which thankfully wasn't too often) staring at the CCTV feeds from my classes and picking out random things that I was doing "wrong." He even called me into his office to literally scream at me because a student had slipped his foot out of his shoe under his desk for a few minutes (this kid was not disturbing class whatsoever...he literally just absentmindedly took off his shoe while doing his workbook assignment. And I got a 10 minute scolding for this). I was also taken aside to be yelled at every time a student forgot to hand in their homework or doodled in their notebook--things that obviously students do often. But I was told I was "irresponsible" and that I "didn't take my job seriously" because of this. My boss actually threatened to not pay me my severance, get me sued, and fire me (on different occasions) just because of some kids being kids. It was bewildering and completely unprofessional.

I know there's no way on here to prove that I was a hard-working teacher who genuinely tried as hard as I could, but believe me, I really gave that job my all. But the management was so messed up at this place that it really didn't matter how hard I worked--I was inevitably always going to be blamed for something, like clockwork. Needless to say, I was very happy to leave this school.

Don't work here unless you're okay with getting bullied!

TLBU GLOBAL in goyang Korea

December 12, 2015

Hi Jon,

Do not work for TLBU GLOBAL in goyang Korea. There are specific warnings on a similar site in facebook explaining some of their irregularities... I want to share facts.. They pay late... most korean teachers are 4 months behind pay and foreign staff are usually paid 2 to 3 weeks late every month... to get paid you have to go to the labor board EVERY MONTH. Also.. the accountants and secretaries will always say pat is coming but it is always late....

The vacations are good but since you get paid late it is hard to travel abroad to receive your money... just want to warn anyone not to work here .. school keeps shrinking in students but keeps hiring with no intentions of paying

GCS in Gangnam

December 5, 2015

Hi Jon,

I would like to blacklist GCS in Gangnam. There are a couple of reasons why I think this academy deserves to be blacklisted.

First, I had an interview with one of the mangers, who was extremely arrogant and thinks he's above everyone else. As I answered his interview questions, instead of looking at me in the face, he looked at his watch, looked up, looked down, looked to the side. He was very rude and already gave me a bad impression.

Secondly, I managed to pass the interview and mock teaching, and received a phone call on the day. I was told that I got the job for a full time position and then they booked me in for training.

Just before training day, he contacted me and said that my job position has changed to part time, and that there's no space left for a full time position anymore. WHAT? Talk about unprofessionalism. I had high hopes for this position, but then got a slap in the face instead. Avoid this academy at all costs.

Changnyeong English Village (CEV) Gyesong, South Korea

November 18, 2015

I do not work here presently. I have stayed in touch with my friends/coteachers at the school. First time poster.

I wanted to blacklist this school because of the working conditions. I feel a certain amount of responsibility for making sure potential teachers know what this working situation is going to be like. This is for the public good. There have been other posts, good and bad, about this school and the Korean staff there. Though the other posts were a bit dated, the negative content and overall description is...for the most part, true. The boss has been referred to as a "madman" by previous teachers, current staff, and current Korean teachers in the surrounding areas and schools. There have been finicial irregularities with the Xxxxxx and Xxxxxxx, such as paying teachers less than what they were contractually obligated to pay. Additionally there was an instance with two teacher who had their income underreported as to avoid full payment into your pension. I will provide my experiences and those of current teachers, as well as teachers who have recently completed their c ontracts.

*First I will outline the contract, the facilities, and where it is located. *Next, the working conditions.

1-First thing, contract is standard- 2.1-2.3, pension, health insurance, flight re-imbursment, etc. 12:30pm-9pm. 2 weeks of vacation in winter and 2 weeks in summer.


No problems here. Standard for Korea.)

2-The school is an English Camp. It is not a hagwon or private school, it is funded by the Korean Gov. and functions as a specialized public school, not dependent on payment from students to attend. You teach students from a school for a week at a time, then new students for the next week from a different school, and so on. You get to know many students from the surrounding areas. The school is average, recently renovated. The apartments are couple housing. They are bigger than single housing. It was built within the last 8 years. The apartment complex is located next to the school on the campus.


There is an exhaustive list of rules that are not included in your contract that you learn upon arrival. I will list several but not all. - You can't have guests over without getting permission first from your principal. No Koreans are allowed in your apartment or the campus, but family and some* friends from home are allowed only after they are cleared to come. You can't exercise in your apartment due to noise. You can't drink or smoke in your apartment, on the roof, or on the campus. You are forbidden from bringing alcohol or tobacco into your apartment. This problem is intensive since the principal takes you shopping on Mondays in the school van, watching what you buy. You can't buy a car or your contract is terminated. The only personal transportation allowed is a scooter. The principal reasons that a scooter is safer than a car.

*There has been evidence of the Korean staff entering the foreign teacher's apartments while teachers were away. On a few occasions there have been items in the apartment that have been re-arranged or lights left on. There have been far more instances of questionable tampering. The principal claims there is not a copy or spare key to any apartment and the teachers have the only one.

3-Finally, the apartment complex, that house 8 foreign teachers as well as 3 Korean staff, is located on the school campus. This is rare. The school campus is located within the village of Gyesong. There is one GS25 and one 7-11 convenience store. Gyesong village is located within Changnyeong County. The city of Changnyeong is located nearby, 10-15 minutes by scooter and 5-10 min taxi, a drive that will cost you about 11,500 won, depending. You are quite literally in a farming village in the middle of nowhere. While this might seem charming, romantic even, the taxi drive and difficulty of travel will become a burden. Changnyeong is about 45 min from Daegu and 1hr and 20 min from Busan, the closest major cities. (Problems-

You are in the middle nowhere. It takes you about 2-3 hours, when its all said and done, to get anywhere you want to go considering travel from Gyesong village to Changnyeong bus station, bus from Changnyeong to major city, subway from bus station to destination. The only transportation that is allowed is a scooter and, again, buying a car is forbidden on grounds of termination. Transportation has been a point of much contention with teachers. The school campus has an impressive arsenal of CCTV cameras. If you stay out too late, the principal will watch the CCTV video and you will be informed or questioned. If you don't lock the entrance gate to the campus, he will watch the CCTV video and you will be informed and questioned. If you leave a bottle outside by your scooter, he will watch the CCTV video and you will be informed or questioned.

*The boss often reminds the staff not to go out for drinks in the local city of Changnyeong, even encourages them not to go out in the city at all if it can be helped. He demands that you not drink alcohol at all, end especially while you are out, no matter where you are in Korea. He will watch the CCTV video from the weekend and see if anyone is not "walking the line" perfectly, and it will be brought up a later time. He notes every coming and going of each person or couple and their friends, their habits, their time spent out, exercise regimen, how long they spend out and often remarks on it.

The working conditions-

1-The principal often explains his ďwayĀEof communication involves raising his voice aggressively yelling at you, 2-disrespects you, devalues you, 3-consistently lies to you about things you can easily verify, 4- spies on you, 5- exerts heavy control over your personal life and freedom 6- there is some degree emotional and psychological hardship you will endure 7- Financial irregularities #1- The boss will yell at you. On your first day he will tell you he has a hot temper and for you to expect "loud talking". This essentially gives him the freedom to yell at you and display unbridled rage. By yelling I mean- screaming at you where spit is coming out of his mouth coating his chin and lips. Reasons for yelling can range from staying out too late on a Thursday night (Late-1am) to not locking the classroom window.

#2- Disrespect. This point may be a little redundant. Many times he will tell you that you are a child, since you do not speak the language or know the customs- this might be true to varying degrees. He will often have emotional outbursts at school towards you. After the outburst, you will be subjected to awkward, passive aggressive behavior and cutting remarks. (See more on Psychological stress)

#3- The Xxxxxxx will lie to you. He has told numerous staff members that he tells "white lies" because he is a businessman. This bold admission of shameless lying is spectacular in itself. For example: One teacher wanted to buy a car, but the principal claimed that there were laws in place only at his school through the Korean government that did not allow for teachers to buy cars. While on vacation government workers will check your computers, going through all documents, reading all messages or information to ďinvestigateĀ illegal tutoring. This investigation of going through all electronic data was said to be a new national law happening all over Korea. (See more on Spying) Lies had become so common that is was quite easy to disregard most of what the principal said. Your first couple of months is when they invest heavily in you. They will cite laws, traditions, cultural norms, and procedural programs to encourage or discourage certain behavior or fear. As a new resident of Korea you are not suspicious, since there is no immediate reason to distrust those who seem to be helping you.

#4- The Xxxxxx will spy on you. I have cited a few examples, such as watching the CCTV footage obsessively and checking your computer data. Another instance, more recently, include monitoring Facebook profiles. The principal claims that he "gets calls" from Koreans around the area that see the foreign teachers out in the city, who you are with, and for how long. There is a general distrust of sharing personal information with the Korean staff. You will also have the Xxxxxx (not the principal) in the teacher's office during your entire contract.

#5- Your apartment is not your apartment. You come and go as per the rules. You are not allowed to exercise in the apartment. You are not allowed to have guests over from the local area. Any family or friends from out of the country have to be approved in order to stay at your apartment. He will not allow you to go out to eat with the Korean co-workers. You cannot move the furniture in your apartment. He demands all destinations, hotel locations, and numbers of where you will be, how long you will be there, and why you will be there during your vacation. Following your vacation you will be made to write a vacation report on where you went, what you did, etc. In one instance, while significant unrest was mounting against him because of the above listed behavior, he told the foreign teachers that personal information- what you did on the weekends was forbidden from being shared with one another. Talking between the teachers was prohibited. There is very little freed om in the teachersĀ room, followed closely by the ever-watchful Xxxxxx whose desk is located in the teacherís room.

#6- You will endure stress at any job. Psychological stress and emotional turmoil is another thing all together. Constant distrust of information, the gatekeeping and withholding of information, and the uncertainty of financial matters makes this school very unpleasant. At any point the principal feels as though he is threatened or his dictatorial authority is being undermined there will be an outburst of endless rage. You eventually learn to work in a hostile environment always prepared for an argument for your privacy rights, to hold the principal to fulfill financial agreements based on your contract, and keeping your self-respect.

#7- Financial matters were quite complex for 2 sets of teachers. For one set of teachers he didnít pay the amount on the contract for 2-3(?) months. For another set of teachers, just recently, he under reported the income to the pension office. For those unfamiliar, when the employer underreports income he pays a lower amount into the pension account. This is illegal under the law.


Recently, 2 teachers left the country after completion of their contract and made a stop in Korea before leaving for their home country. When the principal learned of a change in the submitted itinerary for flight re-imbursement after the teachers left the school he contacted the Immigration Office and called for their arrest. He claimed this was a felony, forging federal documents punishable by arrest and imprisonment along with a fee penalty. Furthermore, he told the teacher still at the school we would be arrested and ĀE00% in chainsĀE As it turns out, the teachers made a visit to the Immigration Office and were told the principal was crazy and that there was no way any legal action could be taken against them.

OVERALL SUMMARY: From my experience when I worked here- The contract is average, pay is average, vacation is average. The principal is paranoid, controlling, and manipulative, eager to demean you and submit you to his authoritarian erratic unstable personality. He will cite non-existent laws to support the given narrative he is presenting, using keywords such as ĎgovernmentĀEĎimmigrationĀEĎnew lawĀE This can be quite intimidating for new teachers who do not understand working in Korea or dealing with type of personality disorder. Even by Korean standards he is not held in any respectful regard. You will be emotionally drained working here. The worst part about it is that no one leaves happy, the experience of Korea is great but the working experience at this school is another thing. There is no freedom, privacy rights violations and worker rights violations run rampant with no oversight from the Korean government who is technically your employer. With no oversight from the Korean Educ ational Department or Ministry of Education the principal is left unchecked in abuses and realizes every year he can take advantage of the teachers without consequence, by discouraging involvement in your area, withholding information and constant deception.

I suggest working in bigger city; it is simply not worth it. 4 weeks of total vacation is good but not at the cost of your happiness and self worth. Even if you deal with the same type of boss in a bigger city you are still in a big city with more resources for support, more foreigners, entertainment, lower cost of transportation, etc.

If you are a potential teacher and seem skeptical, ask the current teachers about the information listed above. If you are not able to contact the current teachers privately without it going through the principal or Xxxxxxxx, for whatever reason, it is best to recognize the red flag and find employment elsewhere. There are too many jobs in Korea that offer similar contracts with better reputations.

EIE, also called SAT hagwon in Iksan

November 18, 2015

EIE, also called SAT hagwon in Iksan...DO NOT GO THERE. Wages are not paid to any staff, Korean or foreign. Workers leave and payment of wages continues to be refused. They get one or two free months of work out of employees before employees leave. Working conditions are blatantly misrepresented. Workers are expected to travel between 3 different hagwons. Salary is paid to one owner who is supposed to forward to employees, but keeps it for herself, instead. Also will not file paperwork with immigration to sponsor visa, putting foreign workers in a vulnerable position. There is a pretense of collecting the paperwork, but it is never filed. Walking distance is 45 minutes to hagwons. This is to keep workers dependent on a ride, so working time is controlled and lengthened without notice. Workers stuck in this bad situation need a lot of money to get out of it and that is difficult with no wages paid. I recommend refusing this offer of employment.

Paedea Plus Seocho

November 03, 2015

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add a hagwon on the blacklist. I want to add Paedea Plus of Seocho branch due to the abusive nature of K. I will only mention her based on the first letter of her name, due to the fact that mentioning any specific person's name is not allowed.

K is a very demanding manager that will always say one thing and intend another. She will say that she doesn't care if she loses students, but then come back and complain about how she is losing students. She tells you she wants to communicate, but then dismisses you for anything that you try to tell her. She is very skeptical of anything you would do, especially if you are a male teacher, and she won't hesitate to start yelling. Even though she asks you to be calm and understanding, she will absolutely not do the same for you. Her personality is very difficult to deal with because she thinks she knows everything because she used to teach in an American school some time ago. She expects everything done on the day she barks her orders at you, and she has a bit of a split personality.

Additionally, Paedea Plus is a corporate institution founded by members of CDI, which as something I was not aware of. There are no "if time" periods and they do not pay for any extra time you spend working. Despite taxing your pay, they do not give you health insurance, despite the fact that it is mentioned in your contract. Beware of this company. No mentor lasts longer than a single term here.

SLP Seosan

October 28, 2015

Hi Jon,

I'd like to submit SLP (sogang language program) Seosan to the Black List.

My employer failed to uphold his end of the contract by not signing me up for health care or pension. I only found this out during a trip to the hospital, which needless to say was quite stressful. SLP also failed to sign up several other employees as well as rarely paying anyone on time.

Teachers are often shorted on their paychecks. When it is brought to SLP's attention teachers are either ignored,flat out lied to, or they will pretend not to understand.

If teachers do end up actually getting paid their promised severance at the end of a contract, it takes months.

Do not trust them to honor your contract at all!

OSS English and Chinese Academy (First Building), Gangdong-gu office area:

October 28, 2015

Hi Jon,

I'd like to add onto this.

I believe this person is talking about the same person who I had trouble with. This manager causes stress among all the teachers in the hagwon, I left because of this manager. Please avoid this hagwon because of this manager. I will not name this person however, it needs to be said that this one person may seem very nice at the start but he is someone who cannot be trusted and needs to be stopped. Like the person said before, the hagwon is good however one manager is not to be trusted

EASM Language Academy in Changwon

October 7, 2015

This is a post about EASM Language Academy in Changwon. I wanted to add this academy to the blacklist for several reasons. The first reason being the teaching hours. They are always in excess of 30 and it is VERY difficult to receive the overtime pay that is stated in the contract. Second, even though "pension and health insurance" costs are taken out of paychecks, the money is not actually deposited into either of those things. Third, last pay checks are often not paid and ESPECIALLY not severance pay that is stated in the contract. Last, it is all around a really stressful and emotionally draining working environment and it is made worse by not being paid correct amounts and being paid late. I really don't recommend working at this hagwon for these reasons.

CCIS/Croma Christian International School in Seongnam

October 1, 2015

I would like to add CCIS to the black list, only to warn any teachers considering a position at this school.

Before I begin, it is not a real school. It is registered as a continuing education facility for adults, so I don't know why they have a kindergarten-12th grade program.

This fake school offers housing in the same building where the school is located. In the summers, there was NO AC, and the rooms got up to 35 degrees celsius with no relief. Their excuse is that the school doesn't have enough money to turn on the AC, or the builders aren't turning it off. The real reason is the school has no money and is not willing to spend it on the teachers. They are not even willing to buy them personal fans or personal AC units, even though they take away housing as well as additional 200,000 Won per month for utilities. Oh, by the way, there is no hot water either when the kids go home from the dorms. Don't expect heaters on the winters. You need to buy your own heating system again, even if you are paying for utilities. And is it SUPER COLD in the winters!!!

Another reason why it is difficult to get decent living conditions is that people are not supposed to be living in that building. The school knows this, but offers housing to all the teachers and students as well. Building doesnt have the appropriate permit with the government to house people.

Next, the school is very disorganized and always makes changes last minute. This is expected since this is a fake school. They are building as they go, and none of the leadership (the ones that actually make decisions) have experience in education. The principals have NO authority, but are just used to do whatever the higher ups want them to do. This is a family business, as the administration director and several other leadership positions are family.

In the time I was there, 11 teachers have left. Some resigned and left on their own terms, some left because the school didn't want to pay them and pretty much fired them, and most left because they were tired of the lies the fake school was telling them.

The main lie they were telling us had to do with facilities. Parents are shown a soccer field, gymnasium, pool, and auditorium when given a tour of the school. The school cannot access it, and have actually been kicked off/out of these facilities because they do not have permission to use it. The school lies to prospective parents to get them to enroll in the school and get their money. The main thing they say is, "Next quarter we will get to use it". The entire year passed, and still no access. (There is even a newspaper article about this).

Teachers have not been paid or have been paid late for several months, and they handled is very poorly and very unprofessionally. Teachers had to pretty much beg for their own money.

Mostly I was disappointed in the Christian aspect of this school. They call themselves Christian, yet they try to take advantage of other Christians by calling it their "Christian duty to do something". It is disgusting.

As a credential teacher, I was looking for a school that looked out for the interest of the students. I was horrified at the lack of safety standards, academic standards, and resources. It is a shame that such a school exists.

Edudigm English Language Academy, Iksan

September 28, 2015

Reason for post: Simple. I've seen students punished for poor performance/behavior in ways which I found highly inappropriate. I found this practice very disturbing, and do not believe that, in spite of cultural differences this should be allowed this to happen

EASM in Changwon

September 25, 2015

A hogwan to never work at is EASM in Changwon they have emotionally abusive environment and won't pay your last pay check. They will pay late and attempt to pay less than you're supposed to get, when confronted about these errors they'll pretend like it's a misunderstanding (except these misunderstandings happen all the time to everyone involved).

Central 1 Reading Room, Busan

September 23, 2015

Central 1 Reading Room, Busan.

Harassment from day one. While the Xxxxxxx acts like your buddy, he is contriving ways to "get at you", and control you and oppress the students, and still act like your buddy.

There is no mature ethical professionalism within the hagwon culture in Korea. The first person to demand from you to 'act professional', is usually not 'professional' in their own business behaviour. Harassment is not professional behaviour!

It was only a few hours a week. Less than a part time job. But every week there was some "problem" with my behaviour in class - apparently I yawned 3 times in one class. Or a problem with my teaching style - apparently the kids were out of their chairs too often. Or I didn't complete ALL of my requirements - apparently kids of 8 yr olds and 10 yr olds ought to get homework every day. Or, I disagreed with the factory conversion of hagwon education - so I had to listen to this economic brainwashed diatribe from the manager whom, as a follow-up, felt compelled to scribe a 5 paragraph email sent at 1am on a Sunday, detailing his deluded beliefs regarding shopping mall competitions with hagwons. Or, my rebellious expressed feelings about kids who ought to be outside playing with other kids in playgrounds, sunshine, playing ball, getting dirty, and skinning their knees, not stuck inside reading politics of America.

There's no room for kids to play in class. No room for colouring in black 'n white pictures. No room for games. Waiting parents sit and watch the CCTVs. Disturbing!!

They're nice people on the surface. But the longer you stay in orbit around these people - owner / manager of Central 1 Reading Room - you'll soon see that these people and their curriculums are as weird as a cow wearing gum boots.

If you're young, naive, easily manipulated, then you'll fit their pre-packaged mold quite well. But if you are like the rest of us, do yourself a favour, give Central 1 Reading Room a miss. It's not worth the patronising stress.

Avalon English Bucheon, Bucheon, Gyeonggido

September 12, 2015

I do not recommend working at Avalon in Bucheon as it currently stands. The academy has always had a lot of structural problems that will never get fixed because they're a franchise, for one thing. Classes are 65 minutes long, with a four-minute break between classes (you might get five minutes, depending on the semester). You'll get six days of vacation a year (three in winter, three in summer) plus national holidays, which is significantly less than the standard ten vacation days per year at most hagwons.

That's all stuff you get used to, and I was halfway thinking about staying just because the kids are great. Then management changed, and things took a turn for the stressful. Management had had no issues with my work for nine months, and let my colleagues and me do our thing in the classroom unless a student complained. Suddenly we were being heavily criticized for every aspect of our teaching, but without any constructive criticism or feedback on how to improve. The new syllabus was a confusing mess that no one could make sense of, and we had an enormous amount of extra work to do on top of our regular duties. If we pointed out that there weren't enough hours in the day, we were met with hostility. In general, it became a very toxic environment very quickly.

After the management change, I was also told that I'd received numerous complaints from the kids/parents and the other Korean teachers, but they'd saved them until then because they hadn't wanted to bother me about them before. I was never told what the complaints were or how to resolve them. I still find it difficult to understand how I could go from being an effective teacher to a very poor teacher almost overnight. I did my best not to burn bridges before and after I left, but I recently learned that the management has been giving me bad references for months. I've lost at least one job offer because of this, and two more that I suspect they had a hand in. This is despite them asking if I would come back at a higher salary when one of my coworkers was leaving.

I don't want to make it sound like it's all bad, because it's not. The apartments are right next door, so the commute is about two minutes long, and they're nice and spacious. The area is very convenient with a supermarket and a department store across the street, and the academy is right at the subway station. If you like Korean food, we get free lunch every day that saves a lot of money. I've never been paid late, and they paid for my flight home despite not being contractually obligated to. I got along well enough with my Korean coworkers, though there was very little communication or socializing with them beyond what was absolutely necessary (we often joked that there was a literal wall separating the native and Korean teachers). The kids are generally very, very smart and well-behaved, and they're a lot of fun. However, they hate being here and complain all the time about detention and the daily vocabulary tests.

I was the lucky one because I got out the soonest after this management change. Every past Avalon Bucheon teacher I've talked to has said that it was better in their time, but now I pity my former coworkers who still have months left of their contracts.

G Langcon English in Yongin, Seoul

August 31, 2015

My name is Dxxxxx F, I am writing to talk about my experience trying to teach in South Korea. First of all, I went through the recruiting agency CIEE. I highly recommend them, when it hit the fan they stepped up and have really helped me out. Heres my story. A position opened up for a school called G Langcon English in Yongin about 2 hours south of Seoul. the school needed a teacher ASAP and offered to fly me over on a tourist visa (never do this). The plan was I would stay and train for about a week and they would briefly fly me to Japan then I would fly back on a work visa. I arrived at the school at 10pm after a 13 hour flight and was immediately fired for walking with a minor limp. I have read up on work contract rules in South Korea, It appears I am boned for two reasons: first: I agreed to come on a tourist visa. Second: most contracts state there is a probationary period which basically means they can fire you for anything. Teachers are a dime a dozen here so schools can wipe there butts without a second thought. I hate to say it but I would never recommend anyone teach in South Korea. Hagwons have a history of being sketchy and screwing foreign teachers over because most teachers wonít do anything about it. For the sake of others I am writing this review to warn future teachers to be very careful about coming to South Korea. DO YOUR RESEARCH AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO!

CLS - California Language School - Yeouido, Seoul

August 31, 2015


I would like to submit a Blacklist.

CLS - California Language School - Yeouido, Seoul

I previously worked at CLS for about 6 months and would highly recommend that no one else work there. Apparently on the Korean website there is a really bad review, which is obvious as in the 6 months I worked there there were 6 different Korean teachers and at least 3 different cleaning ladies 4 cooks and 3 private tutors for the owner's grandson.

The school is run by XXXX and her daughter Jxx and XXXX. Jxx can be helpful and works really hard but XXXX and XXXX do almost nothing but just talk on the phone and play golf (seriously) while Jxx runs around taking care of everything.

There are a lot of things that I ended up doing that were not in the contract; one of these was bus duty in the morning and afternoon. Despite what the contract says my day started at 8am and ended at 5:10pm but other than an hour break for lunch in between (which is occasionally spent writing one of many reports) the rest of the time I spent doing bus duty, teaching, more bus duty and teaching after school classes.

Although technically the hours aren't terrible what made this job so horrible for me was the people involved. The parents act as if they own you and I received complaints that I did not greet them cheerfully enough on bus duty (this meant that even though I smiled and said hello I was not saying it loudly enough), that I was letting my kids eat food off the floor, that I wasn't taking care of the kids emotional states enough, that their daughter was sitting too much in the back, that the same daughter was sitting too much in the front, that she couldn't see the board (she was sitting in the front row), etc.

Add this to the fact that the owner, XXXX, would also pull you in to the office to tell you you were doing things wrong, such as you can't put your hands on your hips, you can't talk to the other teachers other than during your break time, you can't have you phones and other things completely unrelated to teaching.

As a result of all of this I ended up being sick for about two months and ended up being severely depressed. When the parents noticed this and complained about it XXXX told me that I couldn't be sick unless I was a man because we have to work hard (coming from the woman who plays golf on the roof for hours) and if we don't our businesses die and we die, like her friends did.

I have never in my life dropped a commitment once I have started but either I could have continued and had a breakdown or I could have quit so I chose to quit. In the contract it says you can as long as you give 90 days notice so I talked to Jxx about it in person and since she found someone literally two days later I only ended up staying for the next week and a half leaving them without a teacher for only two days before I started a new job as well.

During this time I ended up staying an extra day longer than planned, I wrote extensive lesson plans and notes for the new teacher, I allowed them to tell the parents that I was leaving for America because of an emergency (not true) and did my best to leave on good times.

Instead, Jxx and XXXX tried to arrange so that they would pay me in cash at 4 a.m. prior to my 8 a.m. flight. After I asked for an earlier time they ended up arranging to come the night before. When XXXX came instead of paying me ~1.2 million won she told me I owed her 90,000 won. When I protested and said that she owed me money she showed me a paper of all the fees that I owed including paying back airfare (which is in the contract) and paying back health fees, vacation days, and several other payments (which is NOT in the contract). When I said it was ridiculous and that I could tell the other teachers/parents she told me we should go to the labor police and when I said that I didn't have time before my flight she told me she would call interpol. When I basically laughed in her face she called Jxx and we renegotiated she still only ended up paying me 233,000 won instead of at least 800,000 won that I should have got.

To me, that sums up this entire job where they were work and manipulate you to your last drop Even when I told Jxx I was quitting she admitted that she had seen I was stressed about the bus duty...but they had still given me more kids.

I know every job has its problems but I would highly, highly recommend you work elsewhere. There are much better places and working conditions than CLS.

Dong-gu Feinschule (Seolabal Feinschule), Ulsan

August 28, 2015

I'd like to add the Dong-gu Feinschule Institute(also known as Seolabal Feinschule) in Ulsan to the blacklist. I spent a full year there, and left Korea after that, and have been sitting on writing this for some time. Let's go through this in a pro's/con's list:

Pros: -I was always paid on time and in full, including the bonus at the end. It's nice that it was never an issue.

-Local staff are helpful and nice. They'll invite you to do things and go places together.

-Location is relatively quiet. It's in the middle of a residential area with a beach about a 30 minute walk from school.

-Scheduled time is alright, from 10:30-7pm with an hour for lunch in that time.

-There are some really smart and well-behaved kids at the school.

-Classes aren't super long, as teachers have 35 minutes per class now, but 10 classes a day.

Cons: -If you come alone, your housing is illegal. Whenever the inspectors are there, you aren't allowed to be in your apartment. Your ARC also lists an alternate address than your apartment. The boss is also the landlord, who depending on the issue will instantly fix it or leave it for months on end.

-In a similar issue, when inspectors come the school magically transforms from a 3 floor school into a 2 floor school, and no one can go onto the 3rd floor when inspectors are there as well.

-Everyone works at 2 kindergartens. The reason it's also known as Seolabal is because the Seolabal kindergarten directly next door is run by the same owner, and occasionally you will see kids run over from the other kindergarten to come to 'special classes' for kindergarten students that the kindergarten teachers drop off and leave for the teachers to babysit. The English materials are also used by the Kindergarten teachers at the other school, and occasionally you have to entertain all of the Seolabal and Feinschule classes.

-Management never paid into the pension system when I was there, as for whether or not they deducted the money from our paycheck it's hard to say as the paystub is entirely in Korean.

-Classroom materials were stretched thinner and thinner over the time that I was there. By the end I had 30 pages of materials to last for 3 months.

-The cameras in the school are facing the teachers in all of the classrooms and the teachers' room. The boss can check the cameras on her phone. Yikes!

-The owner's kids study at the school, and will believe her kids over their teachers. Their children also don't behave particularly well. One of my classes was a 1-on-1 with the owner's daughter, every day of the week.

-The style of management is typical, they tend to do things in a very last second sort of way, often the teachers didn't know what to do with classes.

-This became an issue after I left, but seminars for parents became very frequent to get more students. Management scheduled them to happen frequently either on weekends or during the teachers' already slim planning time.

-If someone is touchy with their face being on advertisements, the management doesn't ask if you'd like to be in their billboards. My face is still being used on the banners.

-They started to hire a replacement teacher about 2/3's of the way through my contract, without so much as an acknowledgement about it.

-The owners speak as much English as the 1st grade students, you need a translator to talk to them (they did start to try near the end of my contract). This is the boss and landlord who has run this school for around 7 years.

I'd advise to stay away from the school, everything on this happened in the year that I was there. No school is perfect, but there's a lot of problems here that should be sorted out. The recruiter for the school didn't seem to know or care about the depth of the problems mentioned.

Most of the teachers stick it out for 1 year, but if the workplace continues to move in a negative direction then midnight runs might start to happen. If conditions at the school change in a positive way, I'd be happy to see that. The kids that study there deserve better.

Avalon English in Daejeon

August 20, 2015

I would like to add Avalon English in Daejeon to this. I worked for them from March 2014 until November 2014. From the moment I got there the school treated me poorly. The made me stay with a teacher instead of an apartment or hotel for the first two nights which was awkward. I was replacing another teacher who was being fired in his 11th contract (red flag). They have longer working hours than advertised and extra classes. The teachers are unsupportive and don't really speak English. Some students speak better English Students were very disrespectful and disruptive. Teachers were unsupportive and the school broke their own contract by "deciding to end it" three months prior to when they would owe me severance. I "decided" to tell them to quit and give me the rest of my money when they asked that my comments for every students be longer.

The main teacher "" acts like a tough guy but is a coward when I stood up to him. The owners pretend they don't speak English. While applying for jobs the school wouldnít give me a reference to say I was working there. I heard that "T" was saying I should be kicked out of Korea because he didnít like me. The school would have hour long meetings in Korean that we had to sit through every day. We would have to not only write comments for each student everyday but also for every student during the semester. Students are miserable at the school and disruptive. You get in trouble for kicking them out of class or disciplining them. I began working for a different Avalon and it is much better and supportive. I worked until November 20th and they paid me only half my salary for the month. When I said that it wasnít enough money they said too bad thats all you are getting. They made me come down the next day and sit around and wait for them to pay me. They made us write lesson plans and other stuff that werenít even for our classes. They would get upset when their comments werenít finished and upset if they were repetitive. The school broke their own contract and paid me less than owed. They are unpleasant and jerks. I hope nothing but the worst for them. I am doing better now and enjoy my job, have a better life all around than working for this school. Please be aware of how terrible Avalon Daejeon in Tapeyondong is.

Gimpo Poly, Seoul

August 20, 2015

It was interesting reading these threads because I noticed someone posted a great review about Mapo Poly, however, I cannot say the same about Gimpo Poly.

First off, I have to say that I never had issues with my salary being paid on time, apartment issues, the curriculum, unfriendly staff, etc. that was fine for the most part. I honestly even really like my directors.

However, when I realized that gimpo poly just wasn't a good fit for me, the management turned on me when I told them I wanted to quit. I was being asked to repay my recruiter fee on top of my flight, which was not in my contract and illegal.. I was questioned about my emotional stability and asked if I was bipolar when I cried a few times and just tried to explain that I wanted to quit as it wasn't a good match. The hours are long, as with any poly, and as such, I was burnt out by the 3rd month.

One of the boss's wife also has a tendency to pick someone and then micromanage their every move until they go crazy. I'm open to feedback and suggestions.. But when I'm only told about the things I did wrong, and never anything right, I went crazy. Another girl ran out on the job for the same reason not long ago. I left too because I couldn't take it anymore.

In the past 6 months, my youngest class has gone through 3 foreign teachers. In 3 months, the same class went through 4 Korean teachers. Not sure what it is about this place.

Had I known before I accepted my contract that the ownership and academic coordinator quit literally right before I came over, I would have taken that as a red flag and declined. I also found out from my ac that there was a history of "inappropriate conduct" between a foreign teacher & past management. That also made me highly uncomfortable. While those people no longer work there and I'm being careful about the the words I choose as I don't want to spread false accusations, when I heard that, I decided I can't represent a campus with that history.

Easy English Academy, Cheonan-si

August 14, 2015

I worked at this school for 13 months. It was one of the most horrendously stressful times of my life. I stayed because I needed the money and I knew there could be serious consequences if I ditched my contract, especially since I did want to stay in Korea. The school has an in with Immigration and the Board of Education, so I feared deportation if I tried to back out of my contract or if I reported the school after I left it.

I was not paid my severance. In fact, I was screwed out of it after being told I would get the severance and a bonus for staying more than a year. Expecting the money, I took a trip during the time between jobs and was told only after coming back that I would not be receiving it. This issue was blamed on a "miscommunication" because the person who told me could not speak English well, and said I misunderstood what they had told me. So, I spent my first month in Seoul after leaving Cheonan with no money. It's a shame really, because to be honest I was always paid on time, if not always fairly (*see below) before that - it's the one good thing I have to say about this school.

When I was told my contract would be ending, I was told the school could no longer afford to pay me, even though we'd already agreed to extend the contract for 5 months instead of 1. They helped me get a recruiter because I wanted to stay in Korea - provided I did NOT stay in Cheonan, because the teacher turnover rate at this place is insanely high (we had 9 teachers quit or fired in the 13 months I worked there), and we always lost quite a few students when teachers left, because the students would follow their favorite teachers to wherever they taught next. Regardless, they still lost over 20 students when I left.

The hours were fairly normal, but I had 8 back-to-back classes per day with no break in between, and the secretary would often bring the teachers dinner because she felt bad for us. (*)All of the teachers and staff except Xxxxx, were quite nice, but Xxxxx made our lives a living hell. We would often have to stay late with no overtime pay, and several times I found myself staying until midnight and then still going home to pull an all-nighter getting all the work done that Xxxxx wanted done. When we helped middle school students prepare for their exams, we were required to test them everyday on material they were supposed to have studied after their test the previous day, and Xxxxx would not let me use tests from the book, regardless that those were what their school would be testing them on, so I had to write 14 different tests every day, because the 36 students went to several different schools at 3 different grade levels. One time, I was leaving the school at midnight, carrying of the books so I could finish writing the tests, and since it was late at night, they had already turned the lights out in the building. I missed the last step in the stairwell, fell and landed on my elbow, fracturing it. I went home, medicated myself, and finished writing the tests instead of going to the hospital because I would have lost my job otherwise.

Xxxxx blamed the teachers directly whenever a student at this failing hagwon quit, and changed the curriculum 4 times in my 13 months there, and 3 or 4 times the year before, from what I'd heard. On a day we didn't have classes, Xxxxx even made one of the Korean teachers do a mock lecture while the rest of the teachers watched, and Xxxxx shouted at her and told her the lesson was awful in front of everyone. She quit the next week. Mind you, none of the teachers were never told, even when we asked directly, how Xxxxx wanted us, or expected us, to teach. Sometimes we were made to do presentations on things like "how to make a good class" or a "good curriculum" and then would usually tell us they were wrong and "correct" them (Xxxxx's ideas were really old-school, to say the least).

I was also encouraged to hit my students if they misbehaved or did not complete assignments, and when I refused, Jxxxx decided he would start doing it for me. So I began lying on my daily reports and saying that students had completed homework or done well in class when they actually had not, because I didn't feel they deserved to be beaten for it.

This job was hell. I dont think they're still hiring native teachers, because they "can't afford to pay them," but if you ever get an offer from this place, here's my advice: RUN.

Dongdaemun SLP, Seoul

August 12, 2015

I would like to black list a school in Seoul. Dongdaemun SLP. This company has made a lot of problems for me and have ruined my career as a teacher in Korea. I had resigned from the school following the correct procedures with a resignation letter and I gave the appropriate amount of notice.

The reason I quit my job at this school was due to payment problems, the breaking of my contractual hours as well as abusive behaviour from management at the institution.

However after I had left on the day that we agreed upon, Xxxxxxx had reported me as a missing person at immigration. He is also suing me for losses to his school, which I am not sure what loses he is taking about.

Please I was the third person to have quit this school in a span of 2 months. I am simply trying to warm other people not to work here as the conditions are horrible at work and if you decide to quit, you get reported to immigration and you will be kicked out of the country.

I have to leave Korea and I cannot return for a year.

Working in Korea is an amazing experience and I have worked here for 6 years. However please DO NOT work for Dongdaemun SLP.

Brighton English Junggye-dong, Nowon, Seoul

August 12, 2015

I am adding Brighton English Junggye-dong, Nowon, Seoul to your blacklist. The first two of your no - no list are easy, and I will struggle to not mention those things that would enter your third category, however here goes.

This school has a long history of having trouble paying staff their full due, on time, or at all. In less than a year they have been through at least three sets of foreign teachers (that I know of), and at least one set of Korean staff.

The contracts have odd little clauses that deny you your severance etc... You also get charged 'fees' that you cannot dispute. Forget getting internet, television or phone, even when you explicitly say that you will pay for them. Expect to have an unclean room to move into, your utilities being cut due to the bills being unpaid (you will get charged the late fees for these bills), the possibility of being evicted, due to the housing rent going unpaid. - Oh, and you will have to move without sufficient notice in the middle of the week, moving property that is not yours, and getting charged to do it. Now the new 'room' only has a camp cooker to keep the cockroaches company, so do not expect gas to be hooked up.

Do not expect any communication, or information requested or volunteered whilst working. Do expect to have everything dropped on you last minute, without resources, and the expectation that you will get it all sorted perfectly there and then.

If you try to leave, expect that your resignation 'will not be understood or permitted' and your money will be used as a bargaining chip to force you to comply with their demands, and to have you sign a 'non-disclaimer' document preventing you from warning others. My feeling is that a document signed under duress is invalid. More so, if you do not sign with your actual proper name.

If your recruiter places you here, expect them to say to you when the first of several issues arise, that you must cave and be a slave. These recruiters only want your signing fee, and they will get a thousand dollars if you stay three months. However, if you do not they have to replace you free of charge, with another three months of obligation. Now given that the staff turn over here is high, they want you to get them out of their commitments to this place too.

Now this is just the tip of the iceberg, and honestly when I first started I thought yes, this is the first of several hagwons I have worked in that I could green list. Then, the foreign community started talking, things started to happen, and then I wasn't paid...

Be smart, do not sign here, even if you are desperate.

Worwick Franklin institute in apgujeong

August 7, 2015

Worwick Franklin institute in apgujeong. This is a hakwon that decided that it did not need accountants, principals, or proper secretaries for 4 months. Needless to say, despite great teachers, the parents sensed the chaos in the school. The incompetent defacto "head teacher" took on all administrative roles including curriculum. No teachers were consulted on the curriculum. I chose a housing option wherein key money and monthly rent was to be paid at the apartment of my choosing. After the hakwon set up the arrangement, they paid the rent late every month except for one. This causes my landlord to send me harassing phone calls when she cant get the hakwon owner on the phone. Pay checks are now beginning to come late. My workmate who is leaving was promised money for his flight. They only gave him 2/3 of the promised money

YBM ECC Pyeongtaek

August 4, 2015

Hi Jon,

I would like to list this review to help other teachers in Korea out. Please do not use or give out my name or email address. Thank you. YBM ECC Pyeongtaek is a terrible place to work for many reasons.

First off, the school is too cheap to hire a manager so the school is poorly run. Every month the schedule is a mess and the wrong books are ordered or just no books are ordered at all.

Secondly, you are given an unreasonable amount of classes per week. You can teach up towards 144 hours a month. When you include prep time and the amount of time to write reports, you are at the office 40 or more hours a week making less than you would at a McDonalds in North America. Because there is no manager, during your 5 minute breaks in between classes you are continually asked to do extra work such as interviews. Mind you, you are not given evaluation forms to properly evaluate the children and are made to sing and dance like a puppet in front of the parents. In addition, on numerous occasions you will be asked to come in several hours before or after you finish working to do extra work for no extra pay and when you decline all hell breaks loose. You will never receive a thank you or any form of appreciation for your work. You will only be told what you did wrong and that you should work harder because you are paid.

Third teachers are fired with no notice, no reasonable excuse, and even before a replacement has been hired leaving the teachers who still have a job to work even more classes.

Fourth, you are registered as an IC not an e2 visa worker. You do not receive health insurance or pension. Nor do you receive the full amount of vacation days. DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR CONTRACT!

Fifth, teachers are continually paid late. Not 1 or 2 days late, more like 1 or 2 weeks late EVERY MONTH. And when teachers ask for their pay they are given poor excuses as to why they can't be paid on time.

Sixth, be prepared to be followed and spied on while at the school. They will stand outside the teacher's room, computer room, and classrooms trying to listen to what people say. There is a complete lack of respect for privacy and a lack of respect in general.

Seventh, materials are rarely provided and if you are given anything it is of poor quality or it is useless. You will be required to teach kindy kids who don't speak any English with only a board marker and a white board. The school is dimly lit and the walls are beyond filthy. The carpet and floors are covered in snacks which result in cockroaches and other bugs. The desks are broken, unstable and dangerous, and inappropriate for young children. If you do make it to a year and choose not to stay, be prepared to fight for your last paycheck and to keep your new school a secret as they will try to call and have you fired. I strongly believe that YBM ECC PYEONGTAEK should never even be considered an option when looking for a school to teach at.

Oxford English Academy in Cheongju

July 27, 2015

DO NOT work at Oxford English Academy in Cheongju. The Xxxxxxx is horrible. I was paid at least 2 to 3 weeks late almost every month. I never received all of the furniture I needed. He never signed my contract. His finances are a mess. He needed loan after loan just to pay us. He is an overworked, old man who never says hello and often throws temper tantrums. He tried to reduce my vacation from 10 to 6 days. He, also, let a coworker go on vacation, just because she was his favorite, leaving the other teacher and myself with terrible hours for a week.

Hanslang Institute in Anyang-si

July 23, 2015

Hi Jon, please post my review of the Hanslang Institute in Anyang-si. And of course I do not wish to have my email posted, thanks!

Quite simply donít work there. I was treated so badly by Xxxxxxxx that after 2 weeks I handed in my resignation. After realizing how me quitting on the school so early would make the school look bad, especially seeing as how the school fired the other teacher after 2 months, the school asked me to stay until the end of June which I reluctantly agreed to do.

From mid-March to the day I left at the end of June Xxxxxxxx made every effort to make my life difficult, told a Korean teacher to also put pressure on me and just generally make me do more work and try belittle me in front of the other foreign and Korean teachers at every opportunity. I was reliably told by one of the other foreign teachers that once Xxxxxxxxx sees something not entirely to the schoolís liking Xxxxxxx holds a grudge and bullies that teacher until he/she quits or Xxxxxx fires them. The same foreign teacher estimated that the turnover rate of teachers, Korean and foreign, was over 50%. I can attest to this. In the time I was there I saw one foreign teacher fired after 2 months, one Korean teacher quit, and another Korean teacher was fired/quit after only 2 months.

My replacement also told me they were getting fired after only 3 weeks due to similar reasons related to my decision to quit; Xxxxxxxxx just generally having zero patience for new teachers, particularly guys, and bullying, shouting, embarrassing, harassing and other unpleasant tactics.

Other than Xxxxxx there are other reasons to not work at this school.

- Only 1 computer for 10 teachers and teachers are not really allowed to bring their laptops in to do work

- Hostile work environment; Xxxxxxx doesnít like teachers talking in the office, whenever someone talks they usually look over their shoulder to see whether Xxxxxx is in the room

- The textbooks are seriously ďgarbageĀEas Xxxxxxxx admitted but has done nothing to replace the books

- Interviews are handled by the foreign teachers because in the past having spoken with Xxxxxxx many candidates turned down the job

- Classes are extremely repetitive and foreign teachers are often berated for not giving enough homework and then after settling into a pattern established by Xxxxxxxxx, Xxxxxx berates the teacher for not giving enough homeworkĀE.

I could go on and one but I just want people to know enough that they avoid this school.

Kids' College Walker Hill, Seoul

July 7, 2015

I'd like to submit Kids' College Walker Hill in Seoul to the Hagwon blacklist. I took a job there in March of 2015 against my better judgement. I had read another review on the Hagwon Blacklist, but I needed to find a job quickly and my options were limited.

From the beginning, I was told that if I was a "good teacher" I would be treated well, but "if not....." and then the voice would trail off to let my imagination fill in the blanks. During my time there, I don't think there could be any argument that I did not do my work well. I always was prepared for class and turned in all of my planning duties on schedule. I even received praise for having good classroom management skills.

In June of 2015, the school was voluntarily closed for 4 days because of the MERS outbreak. When we returned, it was announced that the teachers would have to work four Saturdays between July and August as make up days. I brought it to the school's attention that make up days are not covered in the contract, but I was told to work "or else".

After the first Saturday that I was required to work but did not (I called off Friday night and obtained a doctor's note for an excused absence), a meeting was called on Monday when I arrived at work. I was given a letter saying that I was fired effective immediately and that I must move out of my apartment within the hour. If I was not able to move out, the cops would be called to move me.

I returned the next day to retrieve personal effects that I had left at my desk. I asked for a release letter, but this request was refused. I have yet to receive my final paycheck, but I have a very strong feeling that the amount will not be the full amount that I am owned.

I strongly discourage anyone from taking a position at the Kids' College Walker Hill.

Avalon/ LangCon Sinnae Campus, Seoul

June 22, 2015

Letís start from the beginningĀE/p>

I worked at this hagwon only for three months, which I will explain why it was so short momentarily. I am a certified teacher from the USA and I taught in Korea for one year before getting this job. I will explain the good and the bad.

The Good:

- They always pay on time and in full

- The owners are hardly there and they generally do not harass the foreign teachers. If you ever have a problem (with housing or documents) they are quick to help you

- The rooms provided are close to a subway station and you are able to walk to work. Accommodations are basic, mediocre for Korea

- You will live next to COSTCO (awesome)

- The students are generally pretty good

- The pay is about average for a hagwon job in Seoul

The Bad:

- Within the last 9 months the entire Korean staff quit (this is 9 teachers) because they were not respected as human beings and they were being overworked

- Because of the constant changing of staff, the owners decided to hire a new manager. They put all faith in this person, as he/she was to become the savior of this hagwon. The only problem is that he/she is not only incompetent, and has never managed anything before, but also racist and xenophobic. He/she decided that the Korean staff quit because foreigners were lazy (of course the foreign teachers are what kept this hagwon afloat during the turmoil of constant staff turnover)

- Before the new director came to power, the contract was followed very consistently, and problems were dealt with in a reasonable manner, but after this person took control, the contract was blatantly disregarded

- During this time, I was looking for a job, and I notified them that they might expect a call. After receiving a call from Xxxxxx, they became insulted that I was looking for a job, and thought that that was notice that I was quitting. For clarification, if I were to quit, I would give a two month written notice as required by the contract. They instead decided to terminate me without written notice (against the contract) simply for looking at other jobs. I can only assume that they did not want to do this because they were legally in the wrong. They told me that I was being fired because I sent a resume out, but my work was fine and that was the only reason for termination.

There are better jobs in Korea and in Seoul than in this hagwon. Stay away unless you can handle being bossed around by and incompetent boss who has an inflated attitude and will disregard you completely and treat you like a piece of spoiled meat.

NGLOW Kids chain, Banpo

June 18, 2015

I STRONGLY discourage anyone from working at the NGLOW Kids chain. I have heard negative reports coming from other locations. I worked three months at the Banpo location, and was paid a total of 2.0 million won (1.5 million paid at the end of this period with my insistence). When I showed signs of stress due to the non-payment, I was accused of being "emotionally unstable." I and other coworkers were lied to countless times about payment dates. I was then told that I would receive payment from the key money refund after I moved out. It turned out that they didn't pay my rent for three months, and I never got a dime. Also the housing is tiny and your head teacher lives right up the street and there will be a security camera right above your door. In addition, the head teacher will make the homework without your assistance. Since her English is limited, it will contain English errors and be entirely unsuitable for the students (ie taken from the speaking curriculum). You will then be blamed if the beginning 6 year old students don't have the reading skills to complete the homework taken from the speaking curriculum. Also, the Xxxxx is very two-faced. One minute will act like your best friend, and the next minute won't respond to your greeting in the morning as you pass her desk, instead looking down at her desk as if Xxxxxx lacks any kind of basic etiquette. There's no communication, and you will be handed strips of paper regularly which contain your instructions. Work at NGlow Kids only if you want to head for financial and emotional disaster.

ECC in Pyeongtaek City

June 18, 2015

ECC in Pyeongtaek is a thinly disguised daycare that is on the brink of collapse. There are numerous problems that are attached to this school. There is no structure, AT ALL. You will be ordered to teach supplementary classes with no material provided. Just you, a marker and eraser with kindy children for 50 minutes. Also, they make you do insane "privates" with small children if that child has threatened to quit. The remedy is to offer "free" tutoring to that child and it will not be counted as your teaching hours unless you force it. The contracts are wording in a way that he counts minutes and not classes so you could possibly work 144/hours in a month.

The school itself is filthy and poorly lit. There is no effort made to make the environment nice for the children or teachers. There are 2 working computers for all the teachers. No wifi, projectors, laptops, or anything with technology is provided to help in teaching.

Upon negotiations with the contract you will be promised multiple things. Please do not trust that you will receive anything promised. This is a sales man and can make it seem as though you will be offered the world. It just is not true and you will likely work long hours with no health insurance or pension included in your salary which is NEVER paid on time. On payday you may receive a small increment of your salary with the rest being paid out in small increments over a series of days.

Reading Town Hagwon, Cheomdan, Gwangju

June 16, 2015

My friend and I had numerous problems with Xxxxxxxx at this academy, especially during the three months prior to our contract ending - every day was a struggle and the whole experience was exhausting.

In brief:

Late payment every month, sometimes by up to two weeks - on one occasion the money Xxxxxx 'didn't have' had clearly gone into some very obvious facial cosmetic surgery she'd acquired over the weekend.

Constant lengthening of hours with no overtime pay, coercion to stay late/start early under threat of dismissal.

Refusal to pay severance fees/return flights (we managed to obtain both by producing documents from the recruitment agency she worked with that promised both).

The constantly cut the pay of the Korean staff and then blamed the 'expensive foreign teachers' when they complained - needless to say, this caused a lot of bad feeling and was entirely unfair given that we were hired us at that rate of pay - it's not as though we demanded more than we were entitled to.

At one point someone was hired who was clearly an alcoholic and who came to the school drunk on several occasions.

My contract was sold to a 'friend' of Xxxxx in a neighboring town a few months before we left to cut costs at her own school - I came in one day to be told I simply didn't work there any more.

I was constantly pestered by Xxxxxx to drive across town with him to meet other non-English speaking men for unspecified reasons. Naturally, I refused - this was punished with longer, unpaid hours at the school.

Ultimately, we left Korea with our pay and flights intact and I'm aware that people have far worse experiences, but the whole experiences was uncomfortable and exhausting. This school is run by Xxxxxxx with no business sense, no compassion and no regard for foreigners - you will be exploited at every possible opportunity if Xxxxx thinks Xxxxx can get away with it.

Question: Call for help

June 14, 2015

Jon's note: This was a request for help. Any answers will be sent to the person, and may be posted at a later date. Suspect this person is not alone with this.

Dear Jon,

I have been fired 3 months into my contract. He is asking for 800,000 won for the release letter. Recruiter called him, tells her he wont give it to me wither I pay him or not. Went to immigration, they call him....denies everything about demanding payment from me. I just signed a contract with a new school to start 5 days from now. What am I to do? He has lied about many other things as well. He is firm about not giving release letter. This is bribery. What are my rights? I am married with a baby. For how long will my alien registration card be valid after he calls migration to cancel my contract? Are we still legally able to stay in our current housing until he gives it to me? I don't have money. Live out on the street?

You & I schools in Bongdam and Hyangnam

June 11, 2015

Dear Jon,

My husband and I worked for you & I schools in Bongdam and Hyangnam. Xxxxxx seemed nice, but paid late a few times. It wasn't until our last pay, when we were due our final pay, severance and flights that they became strange. They paid us late and said the business is doing badly and in our last pay they took off the three national holidays, saying this was unpaid. Every school gets 10 days paid vacation from a school and the national holidays on top are always paid. They cheated us out of money and then got aggressive and started making up lies about us. Really bizarre behavior!

OSS English and Chinese Academy (First Building), Gangdong-gu office area

June 4, 2015

I dealt with a lot of stress from working there, where I almost left the country. This hasn't just happened to me but to other teachers before me and after me. Words can not express how hard it can be working under one of the people there. The actual OSS hagwon itself is quite good but please avoid this place because of one of a rather dangerous teacher manager.

ECC Daechi language institute in Seoul

May 21, 2015

I recently finished my year at ECC Daechi language institute in Seoul. I had a great year, did everything they asked and finished my contract. They left shaking my hand smiling saying they would miss me.

While I did not always see eye to eye with them I held my tongue and did my job. They honored the contract and provided everything they promised.

Do not work here. The average employee turnover rate is less than a year. They will say you were terrible after you leave and never explain why you were terrible. This will put your career in jeopardy.

They never trained me and would always ask me to do something last minute and expect it to be perfect by their unexplained standards. They are very abrasive and unhelpful if you do not know something. I went to work sick many times with a fever because they are very aggressive and untrusting of foreign teachers. I had great thoughts about this school when I originally left but they seemed to be disapointed in me for no good reason. They honor contracts but they are dishonorable people. If you have a chance to work somewhere else I suggest you take the job.

Ask them how long most have been working there and the longest you will hear is 2 years; most likely an exxageration because that will be 1 or two people who are on their way out. They literally ask you to lie and cheat if it will impress the parents. I am thankful for their opportunities but they will find always find a way to make your life harder.

GNB First Campus in Wonju

May 19, 2015

Dear Jon, I would like to add a school to the blacklist. Please do not use my name or email address. The schools name is GNB First Campus in Wonju and the owner uses the English name Xxxxxxxxx. I worked for them a little over a year and a half ago, but I was still bothered about my experience because of the way in which I was treated and wanted to warn other potential teachers about this place and what he likes to think he can get away with. First the good....he pays on time and is relatively easy to get along with most of the time!! But what you are not told about this school is that the contract is a pile of a crap and lies!!

It says 30 hours a week at GNB school when in fact you are doing 18 hours a week at the main school and the rest of the hours are split between 2 other schools that are completely different and NOTHING to do with the actual named school! But he insists its ok, well we all know its not. He also thinks its acceptable to allow recruiters to deceive you into this position by telling you he owns the other school which is like I said a complete lie!

I left this school after about 6 months because one of the other illegal schools complained about stupid things that werent true and to be honest I think the owner just didnt like me. But hey we all know thats not exactly uncommon for a director to have personal grudges against a foreign teacher in Korea now is it! He was supposed to give me 90 days notice and only gave me about 2 weeks notice. He blatantly avoided his obligations and went back on my finish date more than once. Also he didnt even tell me he was going to replace me, he didnt have the guts to say anything to my face and instead took me out for dinner and told me outside when we had finished the meal that he had hired another teacher!! LOL!! Biggest kick in the nuts ever or what! and I think illegal too.

I just believe this place is best avoided as this director has no interest in following the rules or showing you respect and is completely under the thumb or his interfering wife. Thanks and keep up the good work Jon.

Tait English School (TES), Song-pa, Seoul

May 18, 2015

I'd like to add Tait English School (TES) to the Korean blacklist.

List of sins:

- Failed to provide any training at all except for humiliating test the owner has created.

- As far as I know, all teachers who have left have had huge delays in getting paid their last paycheck, and sometimes are shafted altogether with deductions. Any attempt to chase up pay is met with resistance and aggression.

- Late payments, no payslips.

- The manager (part owner) claims to be an expert in psychiatry, and will use his 'powers' to mentally torture people. He uses his methods to torture teachers and worst of all, children. He should be reported except to my knowledge there is no easy way to do this in Korea. For example, he often brags about making a child stand on a chair for 8 hours to 'cleanse his heart'.

- Manager will micromanage you into submission, all day, every day.

- Any disagreements (which you WILL have, because his methods are 'exotic') with manager will result in lengthy, non-nonsensical arguments which you will ALWAYS lose.

Avoid this hagwon at all costs.

TRUED in Seolleung Statation, Gangnam

May 13, 2015

TRUED in Seolleung Statation- Gangnam.

The management is a "Korean" style of management and meeting and requirements never stop. They demand answers to emails asap..but have no problem making up a morning meeting in your free time...unpaid.

The shifts as split and the pay is low. They first promised there would be a rewards program but instead has installed a "teacher of the month" system which comes down to who's the favorite teacher when the management isn't stressed. There is no logic or reasoning to the "point" system.

I would highly recommend that you stay away from this academy if you want to keep your sanity. They are bleeding red and the teachers and staff are suffering due to poor management.


YALE Hogwan in Yeongju-si Gyeongsangbukdo

May 12, 2015

Hi Jon,

I see a previous post has been made about YALE Hogwan in Yeongju-si Gyeongsangbukdo province. But I would like to add some more information. This friend of ours has now completed her contract even living under those conditions, without making any scenes. She did her work and met all requirements with no complaint. Upon finishing her contract her Director got very angry that she didnt want to stay longer(?!?). He has not paid her last salary or severance as well as her deposit of 900, 000 won on something that barely resembles an apartment. She has been trying to find new work and a director from Pyeontek interviewed her in person spoke to her for many hours and then hired her. They signed a contract and was to begin work at a hogwan named KIDS COLLEGE in Songton. They made her cut her hair off and asked her to get botox! and then the following day (before even allowing her to teach and merely observing classes for two days) they told her not to come back to work. No grounds for dismissal as well as not sticking to the contract in which it states IF there is a problem one warning shall be given before being put on probation and in the case of dismissal a two week notice period would be given. This teacher happens to have years of teaching experience at home, a teachers degree and years of experience in curriculum development. There is no reason to have fired her at all. And now since this has happened she has been called by recruiters who are saying that her previous director at YALE is telling them that she was a bad worker. He is making it very difficult for her to get a new job. This guy has no scruples!


Good day, I am a teacher from Kid's College in Songtan, Pyeongtaek. I noticed there was a post from 12 May suggesting a teacher was unfairly dismissed and told to change her appearance with botox. I have first hand knowledge that this in fact is not all true. Yes, she was dismissed, but not unfairly. She did not have the necessary skills to teach at our school. I personally watched her lessons which were not at our teaching standard. Yes, she may have experience, but our school was definitely not a good fit for her. The director of our school then spent many hours finding her a new job as well as gave her an apartment until she had a new job. She even helped and paid for her things to be sent to her new town. This said teacher in fact owes one of our staff members money and did not pay before leaving. This was over 140, 000 won. I feel that perhaps the post that was put online is out of line and unfair. Thank you

Smarten English in Ulsan, Korea

May 9, 2015

Smarten English in Ulsan, Korea

They cut insurance and refuse to pay into teacher pension fund. Work like a slave...owners know nothing about teaching- Crazy insecure owners make an "us" (Koreans) vs "them" (foreigners) atmosphere. Totally absurd business -

Feinschule in Nam-gu, Gwangju.

April 23, 2015

Hi Jon, please do not use my name or email.

This is for a Feinschule in Nam-gu, Gwangju.

I arrived at a hagwon that had seen the departure of five full time foreign teachers over the course of ten months. My replacement had been fired. There were several problems over my time there, but nothing that strongly directly affected me. Things improved over the course of my year for me, and I agreed to sign on for another year given that I was allowed a break in between. During my break, there were many changes, including management. I arrived back to a more strictly controlled school with more work than before. I came to the decision to quit, after policies were established that were absurd and enforced - these included the staff not being allowed to talk in English to me during school events (the teachers who didn't know english might think it was play), having to work four of six Saturdays without pay, having the schedule change every day and not finding out the schedule until right before classes typically started, and losing our breaks between classes.

After I quit and handed in my two months' notice - as required by my contract, I came to understand why so many teachers at my school had pulled midnight runs. My director and I negotiated an end date for ten weeks later. Two weeks after my resignation, she said she had found my replacement and my last day would be in two weeks, and I needed to be out of my apartment in two weeks as well. After those two weeks, she withheld my payment for two weeks and took out significant amounts for my apartment and taxes and insurance. She was nothing but petty and spiteful and disrespectful. I threatened to take them to the labor board for this early dismissal since they owed me another paycheck and she agreed to find me another job for a month, so I would work until the end of the original ten weeks we had negotiated. After that she is canceling my E-2 and refuses to give me a letter of release, which affects my chances of being able to work in Korea again. Most of the Korean staff in the a English department (I was the only foreign teacher) are quitting in the next few months as well because of work demands. This is not a safe place to work and most of the staff are unhappy and feel too controlled

Jones International Christian School in Songdo, Incheon

April 30, 2015

This is a review about Jones International Christian School in Songdo, Incheon, South Korea

I have worked in Korea for almost four years now. None of my places of employment have been very good, but Jones International Christian School (JICS) has by far been the worst.

I have had difficult experiences in Korea, but never was a place so bad that I felt the need to write and warn others. I will try to keep the information vague, but tell enough as to explain the situation. In short, DO NOT WORK HERE!

1. "International" is a farce. It operates exactly like a crummy Korean hagwon

2. "Christian" is a farce.

3. Teachers are not allowed to have feelings, ideas, or opinions contrary to what the administration wants.

4. Those making the decisions are unqualified to run a true elementary school. All they know is hagwon culture, and that is how they run their "elementary school."

5. Students are not placed at proper English levels. Students are unable to cope with an English learning environment, but the school is merely interested in having bigger numbers and more money--not about student welfare

6. Teachers are not supported by the administration. They are basically on their own if a problem arises

7. Little to no internal structure is present at the school. No procedures or plans are in place. It's chaos.

8. Teachers have to fight to get basic hagwon benefits (despite being promised them) Severances are not likely to be given, insurance has to be fought for, etc.

9. Teachers are overworked and given little preparation time for lessons. Again, this is supposed to be an elementary school and not a hagwon.


Edu Pro Academy, Songpa-gu, Seoul

April 22, 2015

Dear Jon,

I'd like to put 'Edu Pro Academy' in Songpa-gu, Seoul on the Black list.


-unfair dismissal and non-respect of contract


First, the school hired me-knowing that I had no previous experience as a teacher. My only training was a day of observation of a teacher. Not enough. We had to teach for 35hours/week, plus complete reports/planning for another 10-15 hours/week. As a new teacher, it's exhausting and obviously I made a few mistakes. But all they told me was 'you shouldn't take the Chuseok vacation since you're not adapting, you should stay and work'. Literaly no one works at Chuseok in Korea.

But the worse part is the dismissal. They gave me 1-week notice, blackmailing me to keep a month and half of salary, plus reference letter if I didn't show up to work. Not only I had to work for them and find a new job at the same time; they were also kicking me out of the apartment in 1 week! They fired me over an email, when the manager was there in person during the day.. They are real hypocrites and shouldn't be trusted. They wrote a 1-page dismissal saying things like 'rude to coworkers' (untrue, I was hanging out with them), and 'didn't have the heart to learn' (I put in 2 hours daily to try to catch up on the work). Also, when a friendly recruiter called them for a reference, he told me they mentioned new reasons that didn't show up in the email of my dismissal and they were basically just trying to ruin any chance I had to get hired. Basically they made things up, and were extremely rude and unprofessional. They even charged me two days of 'overstay' at the apartment when I left during the weekend!

But it got worse. I completed the week of work (wanted my salary), and my manager said to ask my recruiter to find a new job, so they were 'nice' and allowed me to take calls during work.. The same recruiter who got me the job there said there were NO jobs available in Seoul, only in Busan (impossible with the high demand). So, as a surprise, I got hired very quickly in Busan. My recruiter said, you can come tomorrow, don't worry about the reference letter -that they wouldn't give me even though I had completed my share. But they still wouldn't give me the letter of reference. Finally, as I wouldn't leave for Busan without the letter; my recruiter sent it to me by email (it should have been from the school, not my recruiter).

I took the reference letter and signed up at immigration with another school in Seoul. Which, they then tried to 'scare off' by calling and saying lies about me, then proceeded to threated to report me to immigration office when all I did was my job! Bottom line: ESL employers have way too much financial and legal power over foreign teachers and it's very frustrating, to say the least.

From the same school: A few days after I started working at the school, one of my colleague didn't show up one day. Turns out they fired her out of the blue (giving her a month notice, after she'd been there for 9 months). After talking with her, she said only in her first weeks of training she forgot to give homework, and apparently they decided to fire her for this months later, over email. She felt highly betrayed and decided she just wouldn't come back. She was also a young newly graduated girl like me, which leads me to believe they treat young teachers with no respect because of age.

Avalon Education in Iksan

April 20, 2015

Hi Jon, a very handy blog. My son now teaches in Cheong-ju and is very happy, plays rugby all over Korea and meets lots of new friends. However it did not start all well, about ten months ago he left South Africa with a contract at a school in Iksan, with the group Avalon. In short he had to struggle each month for his salary, with all kind of excuses and lies. After seven months they said they can no longer afford him, he must look for another job. He lost his air fare, 13th pay and still short on salary. The Iksan school is only an agency of Avalon and is privately owned. I would not advise anybody to even consider dealing with them. Thanx

Feinschule in Nam-gu, Gwangju.

April 7, 2015

Dear Jon,

I knew a teacher that worked for Yale Foreign Language Institute (also mistakenly called Yale Foreign Language Academy), located in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbukdo. This Hagwon is among the worst to work for in Korea. Here are some of the reasons why: the apartment given to the teacher was moldy, did not have proper heating, hot water or plumbing through most of winter (the kitchen pipes leaked all over the floors for about six months), has only one electrical outlet and no washing machine. A portion of the kitchen ceiling was taped with duct tape to avoid collapse, and the teacher paid with her own money to have the walls wallpapered to cover the stains and mold. For a time, there was no stove as well. Currently, there is no air conditioner. The utilities for this studio cost upwards of 200,000 won each month, whereas most comparable apartments cost 70,000 or less...this inflated cost may or may not be accurate because bills were never provided to the teacher, the amount for utilities was always deducted from the monthly paycheck, and the utilities themselves did not function for months at a time. The previous teacher had 900,000 won taken from her paychecks to cover the deposit for the apartment (it may be important to note that it is not actually an apartment, but an old abandoned unit in a commercial property). Over the course of a year, the director failed, on multiple occasions, to respond to requests for assistance, promised 10 days of vacation, but then only gave six because weekends were included. PLEASE tell all potential teachers to AVOID THIS HAGWON.

J.M Academy in Songpa, Seoul

April 7, 2015

Dear Jon,

I'm like to add J.M Academy in Songpa, Seoul to the Blacklist for the following reasons:

- Incoming foreign teachers receive little to no training prior to teaching classes. At most an incoming teacher can observe a handful of classes, while it's highly possible they may observe no classes.

- There is no consistency to what benefits teachers receive or when they receive them. Some teachers came in to find no bed or utensils in their apartments. And while some teachers had their flight tickets paid for, others had to foot the bill and were not reimbursed until the year was almost over.

- The director will obviously single out teachers as her favorites and least favorites. Least favorite teachers should expect to be yelled at and humiliated in front of students and coworkers.

- There is a general "us vs. them" mentality in terms of most of the Korean vs. foreigner staff. Foreign teachers aren't trusted to have an entrance code to the building and they are the last to receive information and plans (often receiving information after even the students).

- Being sick is apparently a privilege and the use of sick days is virtually nonexistent. If you are sick, unless you are hospitalized, expect to be asked to teach. If you are incapacitated, they might suggest you teach sitting down, or rest for an hour then try teaching again. If you are hospitalized, they may allow you a sick day, or they may not. It's really just based on how the director is feeling that day and how much they like you.

I wouldn't say this is the worst school to teach in in Korea, but it definitely should be a last resort. Also, I would say it is only suitable or extremely flexible people who are not sensitive and not at all flustered by last-minute changes.

Croma international school, in seongnam city

April 6, 2015

ccis or aka croma as it is also known for is the most unorganized school I have worked with and had good goals of being an international school want to be type education institute but failed on so many levels. It took them 9 months to be registered as a legitimate school and offer benefits to their employees. Half of the staff and teachers have left voluntarily or involuntarily from the original 30-35 employees. The last two months of my employment there they were unable to pay their staff on time. The place has become an all day hogwan style school with only a few gyopo/korean american students in the entire school. The investors of the school are upset and it is due to the lack of growth and revenue as evidenced by the inability to ever grow beyond 80 students with a building capacity of 300 students and 50 staff as well as 50-75 live in students on campus. They house some their staff in the same building as the school. I recommend all teachers to steer clear of this school but it may not make it for one complete school year so there is not much to worry about.

J & U English Institute in Ilsan

April 4, 2015


Please do not publish my name. I am writing to you because I read a previous review on J&U English Institute in Ilsan and I am writing to confirm that everything written by the previous teacher is true. There are indeed two locations and I worked at the Madu-dong branch and the school has serious issues retaining teachers...everyone quits.

When I worked there, I was required to work 7 days a week with no overtime or extra pay. The owner expected us to work for free and had the nerve to tell me that I should be grateful that I was even hired by them. The school had so much trouble retaining foreign teachers they made a point of trying to only hire E2 visa teachers because they know that E2 teachers cannot quit with a LOR. When I worked there, 10 teachers quit within one year....this number includes Korean and foreign teachers.

Now J&U primarily teaches TOEFL which is much harder to teach than elementary and kindergarten and on the flipside it's also much more difficult for Korean students to learn as well. If the students that you teach do not do well, you will be blamed for being an inadequate teacher.

The only reason I lasted there for one year is because I needed the money. After I quit, I was so happy and relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with such idiotic people. Working at J&U is just not worth it. If you do, you'll regret it.

ILS (International Language School) Jukjeon

March 24, 2015

Dear Jon,

Thank you for all the effort you put into maintaining this list. It's a great help to anyone willing to put forth the effort to avoid running into a bad situation in Korea. I would like to report the following hagwon of which I am a recent teacher, having been "let go" on my tenth a half month as a teacher for "losing" three students (all of which were moving to a new area at least an hour away so who could blame them) and for which I was given the "required" three written warnings (Although they all left at the same time).

School Name: ILS (International Language School) Jukjeon

The problems don't even begin to start with me being fired a month and a half from completing my contract and receiving my severance pay.

1. The "apartment" promised in the contract is actually a Goshiwon, which is like a small study room with a bed and desk, and a bathroom that's shared with the entire hall. You're not allowed to have guests, and the landlord for the goshiwon will yell at you in Korean if you use too much electricity (she posts the #s on a bulletin board in the hallway).

2. In addition to teaching, lesson planning, and test creation/grading, you'll also be responsible for riding the bus every morning with the children (it starts at 8a.m. where it picks you up in front of the goshiwon) and arrives around 9:30 at the school. This is when the work day actually starts. You will work the full 30 teaching hours every week, and will spend an additional 15 hours outside of class preparing lessons, writing daily report cards for students, making decorations, doing phone class for students when they get home, and cleaning if it's your designated week to be on cleaning duty.

3. If you argue against anything, or even somewhat disagree with what the director or vice director says, you will be loudly berated in front of your students and co-workers in Korean. At best, you will feel like a terrible teacher with no sense of worth. At worst, you will use your limited bathroom time to sob before begrudgingly swallowing your pride and carrying yourself to class.

4. Your recruiter and interviewer may tell you you are close to Seoul and it's a 30 minute bus ride to Gangnam. They may also tell you that Jukjeon has it's own subway station. On a good day, the bus will take an hour and a half.

Jukjeon Station is located in a very different area of Jukjeon, and is at least 20 minutes away by bus (Walking would take about an hour).

5. You will be given extra work and guilted into accepting it without overtime.

6. You're expected to "volunteer" one Saturday per month for outdoor advertising, which involves wearing an ILS uniform and standing outside with a sign smiling, while the director shouts into a megaphone about how white and foreign their teachers are and how well-trained and disciplined they keep their staff, translating to a top notch experience for the students.

7. If you weigh over 120 lbs, you will be fat-shamed. Not fat? "Yes you are." The director called one girl "pig teacher" on multiple occasions, and would restrict her from eating rice at company get-togethers.

After realizing all of these problems, it's amazing that I had resolved to fulfill my year-long contract and stick it out til the end, where many other teachers did midnight runs back home or re-collected their documents for a visa run with a different school. After being let go right before my completion, and after having provided what was in my opinion very adequate instruction to the students, I am a true believer that hindsight is 20/20.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have never signed with ILS Jukjeon.

Austen Academy in Pangyo

March 20, 2015


I'd like to add Austen Academy in Pangyo to the list.

From the start, they found me on Worknplay and seemed really friendly. I had an interview and, again, they offered great benefits and seemed really nice. They usually SEEMED nice--even though they took away days of pay for miscellaneous things and refused to sign me up for pension and healthcare--until we got to the end. I let some things slide a little after they refused to change their decision because I didn't want to rock the boat. However, it turns out that this hagwon has a history of hiring and firing teachers over and over within 5 months. They do this so that they can avoid paying severence, pension, and other benefits and fire teachers with only 2 weeks notice for no good reason. They use the excuse that students didn't like you, that they had lots of complaints etc (even if its obviously not true- I had glowing reviews from students and no students were leaving) in order to get rid of you. They will give you little or no warning that they will do this, and they will keep your letter of release until the end to make sure you stay in line. From what I saw, the only guy who they kept after their latest firing spree was a Korean who had an uncle who was a lawyer...

It goes without saying that I'd strongly recommend not working for this school unless you want to work at an tiny academy with an illegal contract and don't care if you get fired after 5 months. They are a very small school and have a history of mistreating teachers and abusing the law against foreign teachers. Sign a contract with them at your own risk.

SLP Cheonan

March 20, 2015

Under no circumstances should any expat work at SLP Cheonan. The director is lazy and condescending, particularly to his female staff. More than once we caught him asleep in his office. When we went to ask him about certain practices and how to change them to benefit the students better, he would lose his temper and scream about how we were lazy and stupid if we couldn't figure out how to work within the (poorly conceived) rules that already existed.

The vice principle is abusive and conniving. If she doesn't like you for ANY reason, and 99% of the time it's a personal reason that you can't do anything about no matter what, she will make your life a living hell. I was forced to write an essay about "What SLP Means To Me" because I yawned while teaching a class once.

The students are miserable and leave the school at a high rate -- something the expats are always blamed for. Both the expat and Korean staff dread the workday.

LCI Kids Club in Masan

March 18, 2015

Please dont include my name and email.

I would like to add LCI Kids Club in Masan (habphogu) Firstly, when i was hired they let me believe it was in changwon city....when i arrived i ended up in masan which is in changwon but not changwon city itself and therefore should have been listed as masan but it wasnt.

Throughout my 6 months here I was made to feel small and stupid for asking questions in meetings...the head is very sexist and treated me as less of a human for being female. Nothing was taken anything very seriously. I had to put in extra hours work and didnt get paid, we taught 9 classes a day with no prep time breaks so prep time is in your own unpaid time. One computer to share between 6 members of staff...we had sewage outside our house for 2 months....when the problem was finally fixed suddenly our bills were higher...when we ever questioned about the bills she said there was no bill for us to we had to take her word...bills were a nice rounded 100,000 a month (suspcious?) Also we couldnt control when our heating went on ( director owns the building) She didnt pay into pension straight away....when i had the flu they came to my house and got me out of bed and drove me to work after being confirmed by doctors that i had the sick days in contract...flooding bathroom...director and korean teachers shout and tell you off in front of children, very degrading, they make you lie to parents so she charges parents money for contact hours even when we arent teaching.

When i asked to leave i gave just under 3 months notice. On my last day she tried to pay me half my monthly wage even though i was 2 days off doing a full month, i questioned this and she started shouting and raving about not giving me a release letter which we had previously agreed on and threatened to make sure i never get another job (all because she didnt want to pay me what i was owed) finally i had to negotiate my pay down until she was happy and gave me my release letter. Since then they have yet to pay me my deposit back. I have interviewed with other jobs since and they phoned lci for a reference and she lied about me so i didnt get the job. I guess she is keeping to her word about making sure i never get a job again.

In my 6 months here they went through 6 members of staff! ( supposed to always be 3 foreign teachers at any given time). Nobody ever stays here because when you work here you are giving up your life, morals, dignity and pride.

Avoid at all costs!!!! ( im already out of there and the director is still trying to ruin me, just out of spite)

Korea POLY Songdo, Incheon

March 9, 2015

Stay away prospective teachers and do not be fooled/deceived by any good claims made about this particular hagwon. It is not paradise there. Itís a typical hagwon that will abuse their powers/authority. Manipulation and corruption exists. Nothing is fair/justified. Nothing ever is. You do not want to be exploited puppets. The situation is bad enough that four previous teachers has pulled midnight runs together (it is a pretty famous incident) and another four left early without finishing their contracts.


The statement made about this hagwon is true. DO NOT believe in the false advertisements nor anything positive about this cram academy. Countless unfortunate teachers has been treated poorly and scammed.

CRADA International Academy in Apgujeong, Seoul

March 6, 2015


I would like to add CRADA International Academy in Apgujeong, Seoul to the blacklist. It has been nearly a year since I left CRADA and I still often think about the poor souls that are continuing to work there unknowingly.

To begin with: CRADA will deduct taxes and pension out of every paycheck, varying greatly from teacher to teacher. The ones they like "more" have less "taxes" whereas the ones they dislike have more. Funny. The more you got written up the higher your taxes managed to go. You live a staggering 45 minute commute from your location in absolutely subpar accomdations. Some teachers will receive beautiful corner room apartments while others recieve stained, dirty places with broken appliances. Once again, the rate at which things get fixed seemingly have to do with how much they like you. I paid 300,000 won (300$) for a new washing machine after mine was (already) broken when I arrived and did not recieve a new washing machine for 4 months. Every month I was told they had "no money" and would do it next month, to which I requested my investment of 300,000 won back so I could purchase my own at the local E-mart. They informed me they could not give my money back. Later I would find out they had invested 3,000,000 won into a brand new bathroom and kitchen for one of the other ex-pat teachers during this time.

I also witnessed a student being bitten by a snake. On a monthly basis CRADA brings in an event titled "Happy Zoo" where highly sedated animals are paraded around while children are shouted at to stand straight and smile for a photo to share with the parents. On one occasion a snake was draped over the arms of one of my 6 year old students who was visibly terrified. The snake lashed out and attached itself to this child's arm. The child was ripped from the room as Korean teachers pulled at the snake attached to his arm. I crouched down to knee level to calm him and speak to him, asking him to look into my eyes and not at the already bleeding wound on his arm. I was told the Korean teachers "did not need my help" and was asked to leave my student alone. We were told Happy Zoo was responsible for an untrained animal keeper and that CRADA would never bring this event back to the school. 2 months later it returned with a giant iguana and the same animal handler: a direct slap in the face to any teacher who witnessed the original attack.

Your pension is never paid. You will funnel 100,000 a month into the pension system and never see a dime. In fact, when I called the pension office to confirm what amount was in my fund I was told that I was not listed as beginning payment until 4 months after I'd arrived and, furthermore, I was not found as working at CRADA but another institution whose name I did not know or recognize.

Although it states in every contract that, should you make it the 12 months, you will receive a severance check and a paid flight home, this is not the case. In your final month they will fire you leaving you with nothing. Many times they will request you move out of your housing 4 days before your contract ends, otherwise they will not pay you. This means you must find a NEW place to live for 4 days so you are able to come to work and recieve your money. They will also frequently adapt and change the original contract that you signed with the institute, deducting paid sick days and changing mentions of overtime as they see fit. You will never recieve overtime and you will be working 9am to 7pm every single day (plus a 45 minute commute to and from work).

I left after 6 months because of the sheer insanity at this hagwon. Potty trained students are often put in diapers and left to urinate on themselves. Korean "co-teachers" will take one class of yours a day to teach Math or Korean and instead run your students around the hallways and gymnasium, doing absolutely nothing but disturbing the other classes, while American ex-pay teachers are written up for any infraction whatsoever, namely if the boss thinks they are not getting work completed in a timely fashion.

Nonhyeon Ehwa Language School Incheon, Nonhyeon. AKA: GDA Hakwon, ALS.

Feb 26, 2015

Please add Nonhyeon Ehwa Language School Incheon, Nonhyeon. AKA: GDA Hakwon, ALS. They lie and use deception. The contracts are called E-2 Visa holders "sub-contractors" (which I believe is not legal) ... When leaving due to family matter, they used every avenue to refuse me any pay. Apt cleaning, Pay for remaining months of extra rent on apartment, fine for lack of notice, pay to recruit new teacher (I believe it was pay for his time, no recruiter or other fees were incurred), and one person there tells you how other teachers have left without notice, etc... and so he is making sure you won't cost him. But then you realize why other teachers left.

Pagoda Jr in Gae-geum, Busan, South Korea

Feb 20, 2015

I would like to add Pagoda Jr in Gae-geum, Busan South Korea to the Korean Black List. I was given an unclean apartment completely infested with cockroaches. The owner or assistant director did not receive my calls when I moved in to ask for help with the problem. They claimed they were not aware of the problem, but after speaking with previous tenant it became obvious they knew. After cleaning dozens of hours and applying pesticides at my own expense the problem did not resolved. They acted as if it were my problem. Later, a water pipe busted, ruining personal belongings. I was treated hostilely for requesting monetary reimbursement for both problems. I was given absolutely no training for a "grading" system that took 8 plus hours of un-paid extra weekend hours per semester. Treatment by Owner and assistant were degrading and borderline racist. I was sent to Japan for a visa run, due to an error by my hiring employer. For several months I was not covered by health insurance or payed into my retirement. When I finally quit I was charged for visa fees to go to Japan, that clearly stated in my contract that I was not responsible for. I refused to pay but employer later took money out of my apartment utility deposit after I had gone. The overall state of the school was bad, and management, worse. Stay away from this school.

Canada International School (CIS) Uijeongbu

Feb 13, 2015

Please do not list my name or email. I would like to add Canada International School (CIS) Uijeongbu to the Black List. I was contracted to work there for one year, and I was lied to repeatedly. The school changed my arrival date three times, failed to pay for my hotel as promised, was late on providing the housing promised, never provided the full furnishings for the housing as promised, never provided the insurance I was promised in the contract (even though I was very ill for several weeks). I asked to take offof the sick days in my contract and was told that would not be possible. I was forced to work more hours than I was contracted for, and I was not paid the overtime promised in my contract. The school was unbelievably disorganized and unprofessional, and there were constant communication problems. The school lied to the parents, and the supervisors frequently failed to inform teachers of events, of curriculum changes, meetings, and even of basic day-to-day changes. T he principal was rude, dismissive, and petty toward the American teachers, frequently raising her voice and berating the teachers. Two others branches of the school were shut down because the Kims were not paying the Korean supervisors and/or the American teachers. I would never, ever work for them again. There were also problems with pension (they were not paying it) and being payed late. This is only a few of the things the school did that were dishonest and unethical, but this list should be sufficient to give you a feel for the terrible situation there.

YBM ECC - Noeun in Daejeon

Feb 12, 2015

Hi, this is about the problems I faced at YBM ECC - Noeun in Daejeon:

I started work at this hagwon last year. For the first two months, I had no problems, as this hagwon answered directly to the head office located in Seoul. However, my third month there, it became a franchise, so the old manager was forced to quit and be replaced by a new manager, the one who had bought the hagwon I was working at from the head office. Since then, there had been many problems. First, the manager did not make us native English teachers a new contract with her until about a month and a half later. Had we not kept bugging her about it, she probably never would have even bothered making it for us. Second, both our health insurance and pension were cancelled once the new manager took over, and despite informing her of this problem, she did not resolve it until two months later. As a result, we were forced to pay almost three times what we should have for our appointments with clinics, pharmacies, etc. during that time frame, as well as 3% in taxes rather than the normal 1.1%. What concerns me even more is that when she finally applied for the health insurance, she took out money for health insurance for the months we didn't have it in addition to the month that we did. When I questioned her about that, she later informed me that I cannot get my money reimbursed for my appointments with clinics, pharmacies, etc. because it was already past the allowed time period. When asked whether she would reimburse me for the amount she took out for the two months I had no health insurance, she said she ďmightĀEgive me back the money she took out for the first month at the end of my contract, but she will not do so for the second month because ďwe both took a loss,ĀEand she supposedly applied for health insurance at the end of the second month. This was inexcusable, as it was her responsibility to ask the health insurance company in the first place whether I could get my money back from health visits and prescriptions I received from them before she actually took money out to pay for those two months. The past is past; she should have asked to make sure, and now other teachers and I are owed a little over 140,400 won that we will most likely never get back. Why should we pay for something we did not have? Even if the manager also took a loss, it was her own fault, not ours. Hence, we should not have been penalized for her own mistake.

Even worse, she had been exploiting me, personally, since she first started work at our hagwon. Although another native English teacher had taught in Korea for two years like I did, the manager gave me more work than any other native English teacher, having me teach as many as 11 classes in one day without a break and do evaluations and give and grade tests and other assignments for a much larger portion of all elementary-school students attending our hagwon, while the other native English teachers were given much free time and only had to do as few as 10 evaluations for students (I had to do as many as 25 a month). Considering how at the first get-together with teachers, the manager made the comment that she hates America because it negatively influences Korea, it may have been an act of discrimination. Even more shocking, she opened a confidential envelope addressed to me by my future workplace, read its contents, and even admitted it when I asked her face-to-face. This was an invasion of privacy, and from what I had heard, was also illegal. What did she think she'd get out of doing that? Lastly, the manager refused to honor the airplane ticket portion of the contract, despite past teachers of YBM ECC - Noeun receiving that part of their contract, and this was only resolved after contacting the Labor Board.

However, now more problems have popped up: not only did she not keep her promise to pay back the health insurance amounts for the two months mentioned earlier, but she also took out taxes on my final month's pay, severance pay, and attendance bonus, all separately, which seems rather fishy (shouldn't taxes be taken out for the total amount of money received for that month?). In addition, she further took out 50,000 won for an apartment cleaning fee that never happened. In fact, I had said to her that I could clean my room myself and didn't need to pay for apartment cleaning, but she claimed that we had to pay for that regardless and that I didn't need to clean myself, so considering that, I just left the room as it was, expecting maintenance to clean it, as did the new native English teacher (she heard the whole thing). Unfortunately, according to the new native English teacher, maintenance did absolutely nothing, and she was right, as I saw the pictures she took of the room. I was so angry because she had to clean all the dust and stuff herself when I could've had everything clean before she moved in. When I talked about this to the manager, she repeatedly claimed she called maintenance and that the landlady said the person came to the room to clean, but then why was the room exactly the same as it had been left? That makes me wonder whether the manager just took out the money for herself.

After all, she also took out over 100,000 won (equivalent to the utility bills I had to pay for the month before my last month working there) from my final paycheck and promised to give me back the difference after finding out how much I was supposed to pay up until the day I moved out, but two weeks had gone by, and she had neither responded to my messages nor given me the difference she promised. Consequently, I contacted the Labor Board once again to resolve the issue, and it was only then that she sent me a couple of e-mails regarding the issue at hand. However, her explanation, as always, was ambiguous and illogical, and she ultimately said to come to the hagwon in person to get my money back after I explained to her numerous times that what she said made no sense. The funny thing is, another Korean teacher explained the problem with the utility bills to me (also in English) by text message, and it was so clear and understandable (she explained that someone could check the meter for the different utilities used only once a month, and on a specific day, so it is impossible to get any information until then). Considering how a different Korean teacher was able to explain something so simple, yet the manager was unable to, perhaps many of the problems I faced were due to the manager's incompetence and lack in English skills. Anyway, to make a long story short, I did get the money back for the utility bill problem (I still lost the other money, though, but I was already too sick of all that crap to take it further, especially since I had to move to a different province), but not without having a huge argument with the manager about her crappy attitude and poor explanations for things. Not only that, but the manager was only willing to give me back my utility bill money in exchange for writing a letter to cancel my reports to the Labor Office. Hence, I can say with certainty that I will never go back there. Sure, the kids and Korean teachers are great, but the manager is not someone you want to deal with, as she is very egotistical and refuses to admit her mistakes and inadequacies, blaming others for them instead.

Considering all this, I would strongly advise against working there. YBM ECC - Noeun may have been fine years before, but according to Korean teachers and native English teachers working there, as well as my own experience, it's not worth it. Heck, the person replacing me also had two years of teaching experience, yet is getting paid 100,000 won more than I was, despite doing much less work and preparation than I did. I guess the current manager doesn't value hard work at all, seeing as how she paid me less and constantly gave me unfair treatment. Beware, hard-workers, if you work there, you will regret it. You will be treated worse than people who do not work as hard or prepare as much as you. In other words, if you work hard there, you will be treated the same as the Korean teachers: like lowly creatures. I felt so sorry for the kids attending that hagwon and the Korean teachers working there, as the manager treated the kids like college students, never allowing them a break to just be kids (note that the kids were kindergarten and elementary-school students), and the Korean teachers were treated pretty badly, never getting overtime pay for the extra classes and work they were given. I'm not sure whether that's common among hagwons, but if it is, just stick with a public school. At least kids can be kids there, and teachers are treated with more respect.

E Clock English Academy in Tongyeong

Feb 8, 2015


I would like to place E Clock English Academy in Tongyeong on the black list. The director's name is Yongkuk Koo. When I started working for him, I was the only teacher, which I wasn't told during the interview. He made me sign a new contract, denied my medical, severance and pension. He would get angry when I would ask him about my new contract, or anything money related. He would try to guilt trip me on matters that were out of my control, basically because he was stressed he wanted me to be stressed as well.

He is very unprofessional and he is very rude to work for. I wouldn't want anyone to work for him. I hope you consider my request to blacklist Yongkuk Koo and his school, E Clock Academy.

Thank you for your time.

Winners Club in Daegu, South Korea

Feb 5, 2015

I would like to add Winners Club in Daegu, South Korea to the black list. This school is highly unprofessional and does not abide by the contract. When I worked there I did not get my pension, health care, or my bonus in full at the end. They also did not pay me over Cheosuk and I never got a written pay stub. So, I never knew how much money was going towards bills, taxes etc. The owners also do not speak English very well (intermediate at best) so whenever I had a problem they acted like they didn't understand me or it was a cultural thing. The facilities are awful with a chalk board that you have to buy your own chalk for and there are absolutely no books, lesson plans, worksheets. You have to make EVERYTHING from scratch. And they do not provide any help with opening a bank account, getting a phone, or providing a tour of the city.

However, on the plus side- the apartment they provide is very spacious with two bedrooms. Since there is no curriculum it makes you a better teacher in the end and there is a lot of freedom in what you teach. The coworkers are overall friendly and the class sizes are very small.

'W Language Academy', in Yongin

Feb 3, 2015

Hello Jon,

Could you please post this on your blacklist.

I would like to blacklist a hagwon by the name of 'W Language Academy', in Yongin (close to Bora Middle School). I was employed by them for 1 year from March 2013. During that time, by bosses seemed nice and helpful. But over time they regularly failed to pay my wages on time. It has been about one year since then and I am still due a lot of money. They have consistently lied and failed to turn up to be investigated by the Labour board. I would strongly advise every English teacher not to work for this school. They are no longer trustworthy and will be kind only to cheat you.

Thank you.

VIP English Academy in Ansan.

January 24, 2015


I have a school to add to the blacklist. VIP English Academy in Ansan.

Issues with the school:

1) Work environment. You are expected to do physical labour after the finish time. Teachers do the interior work here, as they don't want to pay anybody to do that. To prove you are worth what they pay you, you should move couches to the street, cleaning bathrooms, powerwashing the floors, or picking up glass. I was not good at lifting heavy so I had the manager rub it in my face every day calling me lazy, and bad for business. I don't lift heavy because of lower back problems--if you don't have any, you can be sure to get some from lifting couches and armoires. Their last 2 teachers were big muscular guys that were happy to help so they expect the same from every teacher regardless of what it does to their health. There are no classrooms. It's a big open room where there are many classes going on, and the manager regularly stops the teachers to yell and show them how to teach. No bathroom breaks, no water breaks. No breaks in between classes. You are tutoring every student individually, so you become like a card dealer dealing textbooks.

2) They are huge cheapskates. No lunch, no immigration fees. Visa run? forget it. Anything besides your base salary will not be paid. If someone takes a sick day or if the boss decides not to show up that day (happened frequently while I was there), you are working without dinner or pay. Also forget about having them pay for your dinner.

- Unpaid overtime - This is the main problem. They never paid overtime, they always asked me to work more than 33 hours per week. an hour overtime every day adds up to 20 hours a month, maybe 30 if you are also giving up your dinners. 30x20,000 an hour .... 600,000 that's not a small amount to lose every month.

The students are largely good, although some of the adult students don't really want to study and just want a chat -- which is fine by me, but I had to teach the textbooks, which are written by the owner who is an egomaniac.



E Bo Young Talking Club in Dogye-dong

January 22, 2015 11:12 AM

Hi Jon,

I've just come through a grueling year and then some working at E. Bo Young Talking Club in Namgu, Daegu. I know some people have been suckered into working here (myself included), and I feel I have to get this school put on the blacklist, if only as a vague satisfaction after a miserable year of my life.

1. Tyrannical *********. She often chooses a target to criticize and emotionally abuse. Her personal issues are thrown all about the office, and she has her boyfriend come in for private lessons from foreign teachers five times a week. She personally attacks employees for everything from making copies, to not having books she's forgotten to order, to things they've done in her dreams.

Constant, passive aggressive emails in broken English designed to embarrass workers. Kept firing Korean staff then rehiring them. Shouting. Lots of shouting.

2. Mismanagement. Students are thrown into classes haphazardly without any regard to level. The worst students are often paired together because the director wants to pander to their requests. This is pretty standard hagwon, but the complete lack of oversight is beyond any other hagwon I've worked at or seen.

3. Payment. Didn't pay last month's salary. Refused severance until two months past contract. Inexplicably charged rent for the last two months, refused to return housing deposit. Changed payment date halfway through contract.

Overall, it was just a complete collapse of logic and an extreme mental strain working here.

E. Bo Young Talking Club in Namgu, Daegu

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.

UPDATE: E Bo Young Talking Club in the Dogye-dong neighborhood of Changwon:

Wednesday, January 15, 2015, 11:44 AM

Hi, I'd just like to confirm the other mention of this school here. Near the end of my contract, when I went to the pension office to withdraw the money, I found out my director hadn't made pension payments for seven months! He still made deductions from my paycheck for pension payments, but he kept that money for himself. I ended up losing about 1.3 million won (about $1,200 bucks).

Until then the school had been good to me, decent workload, nice Korean co-workers and kids... but if you go here, watch your pension balance regularly.

Richie Academy/School, Songdo, Incheon, Korea

January 15, 2015

I feel obligated to warn other expats and teachers about this school. The school has a complete a**; a slimy, greedy, and unscrupulous man. Every day my scheduled changed drastically and I was never given any time to prepare for classes; he used constant verbal abuse against teachers, staff, and even berated students constantly; The staff and everyone else there hated him and he could barely keep new (Korean) part-timers for more than three weeks; the school was a nightmare for the students, and he would constantly barge into classes and not only yell and demean teachers, but also yell at students and destroy the class atmosphere. At the end, when the hagwon started to lose tons of students, he of course told me I had to leave, but before doing so he took my entire (1 million won) housing deposit for bogus charges and propped up utilities (I lived in a tiny studio in a cheap, seedy area of town) and half my final paycheck.

Please, do yourself some good and AVOID RICHIE SCHOOL/ACADEMY!

Talkster Waegook Hagwon in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do

January 1, 2015

I'm submitting Talkster Waegook Hagwon in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do to the Korea Black List. Here is my experience working with them.

The positive: We did get paid on time. Our foreign co-worker was friendly. The negative: My husband and I got fired in our 10th month working at the school. They said they wanted us to work one more month (even though we were fired), and if I had done that, it would only have been 30 days short of finishing my one year contract, but they wouldn't have given us the final payments including severance, flight home, and the final month's pay for both of us (we lost around $10,000).

The American boss, I'll call him Boss 1, and his Korean wife, Boss 2, said that we were fired because, despite the 98% high approval rating from the 200 students at our last hagwon, they said, "You are like an infection in the school." We originally decided to take the job because the Boss 1, said, "I want teachers who make the students laugh. We do things unconventionally here. The best class is one where you don't even open the book because the students are talking with you the whole time."

For the first few months, both my husband and I threw ourselves into making interesting activities that made the kids forget that they were "studying" because they were having so much fun. Unfortunately, when their parents asked the kids, "What did you do today in class?" the students would say, "Play!" And when the parents called the hagwon, Boss 2 didn't offer to explain that the activities were English related and approved by the school. Instead, Boss 2 told my husband and I just to stick to the book from now on. That was our 4th month at the hagwon.

After that, we stuck to the book completely. The kids weren't as happy because we had to do more mundane book work, but the hagwon doesn't care about happy kids, just money. Fast forward to the 10th month. Boss 2 was in America on summer vacation, and his wife (Boss 2) tells me and my husband that we are both fired because "so many" students hated us and that the teachers did't like working with us, and she didn't either. We were both totally shocked. One student that she sited as "complaining" about my class had just told me that same day that she wished we could have class together everyday. We tried to get details about which classes had problems so that we could fix it and what exactly the complaints were from the co-teachers, but Boss 2 said she couldn't tell us.

We asked her why she didn't tell us about all the problems until now, and she said, "I feel uncomfortable approaching you.I just hoped that things would change." Huh? But it's her job to tell the employees about problems. After talking with the co-teachers privately, it's obvious that the complaints were completely unfounded and the Korean co-teachers said they were seriously considering quitting due to the slander the boss had said about them. Our contract said that we need 3 warnings before getting fired, but we were given none. She did say that she would give us a letter of release and said, "I'll lie and say you're good teachers." We had been in Korea for almost 3 years and were planning on leaving after this contract, so we wouldn't be needing a letter of release. After we got fired, we continued working for a few weeks while planning what we would do next. We had no will to please them anymore, as we'd already lost around $10,000, and just felt trapped under their grip. Once we had plans and we got our paycheck for the month, we told them we were leaving that night. Boss 1 yelled at us and asked if we were prepared to go to court. Boss 2 shouted that we must just hate them and want to spite them. We just walked out, and as our stuff was already moved out, we went to a friend's house where we were planning on staying.

Another negative is that the teacher apartment is in the basement of the school. The wallpaper was yellow and smoke stained from years of use and no up-keep. When I asked what to do about a terrible smell coming out of the drain in the bathroom, our boss said that it was caused by a vortex of air being sucked out of the drain when I turned on the bathroom vent/fan (it was barely an audible whir). He said it with a straight face, too. I was just dumbfounded.

Also, both bosses scream at their two teenage sons SO loud almost everyday. I was woken up almost everyday during the public school vacation by one of them roaring their lungs out at their sons to "do something." And the one time I got to have a nice conversation with one of the sons, Boss 1 came in and had the gall to say, "How did you get him to talk to you? He never talks to me." Errr... Can someone be so blind? If after all of this you still say yes to this job, make sure that every month you write down the birthday of the kids on a new paper, otherwise Boss 1 will yell at you and tell you that "the kids won't think that you care for them if you don't tell them happy birthday, even if you don't have class with them that day." I could go on and on with preposterous stories like that.

Thankfully, I had two beautiful years of experience in Korea at another hagwon (JLS, review on the green list), so this wasn't the only taste I had of teaching in Korea.

Three Schools

Dec 27, 2014

1) Icon Institute: Ori Station, Bundang, Seongam.

This place is a mess. This is a 'English however the moms want it' kind of hagwon, so my schedule ended up being all over the place. I was also expected to work Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat even though my contract stated Mon-Fri or Tues-Sat. I was waiting on my first paycheck and made my first complaint to the owner when I wasn't paid on time. He fired me 10 minutes later, just before I needed to teach my next class. When I said to him that I was fired without warning and with no reason, the reasons he gave were: 'we're better off than the other hagwons' and 'he doesn't want to wait for me to feel more relaxed with the hagwon and its management'.

2) I Love English (ILE): Hanti Station, Daechi-dong, Seoul. There were differences in the hours they asked me to work during the interview and what they asked for when I went in to sign the contract. They wanted me to be clocked in 48 hours/6 days a week. This is probably because they not decide what I would be teaching when I signed, so I ended up signing a lot of different versions of the contract. They also asked for my original UG diploma which is not required by the Education Board. I left after two days. This may not be a horror story, but I'd recommend people be wary of what they claim. The pay might seem good, and the work environment is more professional, but it had a bad vibe. The teacher I was observing just could not teach -- I've never seen someone so stressed out.

3) Prize, Result & Pass (PRP): Hanti Station, Daechi-Dong, Seoul. I was contracted to start work in January. When I went in to sign the contract, the owner unexpectedly asked me to start training on the same day. I realize now that the owner was essentially protecting himself by giving himself extra time to figure out if he wanted to keep me. However the way he went about was a bit sneaky since he suddenly put it on me after the contract was signed. As a result, I had to let go of other offers, and the training period was unpaid, so I lost a week of pay. While observing classes, I asked a teacher what is the difference between a score of 29 and 30 on the reading section of the TOEFL exam. A student overheard and a parent made a complaint, and I was fired the next morning. This place really emphasizes that a teacher should be popular with students and that the "worst case scenario is if a student makes a complaint".

I'd like to be kept anonymous, so please don't list the dates I worked!

Chungdahm April in Hwajeong

Dec 20, 2014

I worked for Chungdahm April in Hwajeong from May 2013 - August 2014. For the first few months, I thought it was a dream job. The manager was a little nutty, but nice towards me and the Korean teachers were lovely. However, everyone that I worked with warned me that the kindness wouldn't last. And last it didn't.

Every term (3 months), our manager would add more work for us. It didn't seem like much, but by the time I left, the foreign teachers were completely overwhelmed, doing about 110% more work than when I started, with no extra pay to compensate.

December 2013, I needed surgery for a broken ankle. I ended up taking 6 weeks off from work (1 week was our winter holiday, another week we had many vacation days due to Christmas and New Years). My manager first said I would need to extend my contract by one month to make up for the month I was taking off. Fair enough, I thought, but when it came time to sign the new contract, she said I would need to extend my contract for a full term. I was already planning on extending my contract anyways, so I went with it, but I thought it was pretty dodgy the way they went about the process.

When I came back from surgery, they treated me horribly. I was still on crutches and in a walking boot, I couldn't stand on my leg, which they were very unhappy about as "standing during your classes is a requirement" of CDI.

By May 2014, it was only myself and one of the Korean teachers staying for the next term. As per CDI, you need to be to work 30 minutes before your class. When I began, we had to be to work by 1:30: an hour before classes on MWF, but 1.5 hours before classes on TTh. Our boss decided to change our start time to 1:00 every day, explaining that teachers needed more time to get their work done. Considering we had to get our work done daily, before we left, this was a complete BS excuse. When I questioned management's decision to change the time, I was given a lecture about Korean culture and told it wasn't my place to argue about management decisions.

Even with all of this, I had decided that I wanted to extend my contract for one more term, to have extra money saved up when I returned home. Management came to me in June and said they did not want to extend my contract, saying I needed to "rest" as I was just coming off crutches. When I started to tell my students that I was leaving, my HI approached me and said that I can't tell the students I was leaving because he had a complaint from a parent and had to explain to them why I was leaving...he said "he didn't want to have to do that" (tell parents why I was leaving).

Teachers at this branch don't last for more than 1.5 years. Management won't allow it. I had great rapport with my students and fellow Korean teachers. It looks bad for a company that doesn't have a good retention rate.

Also, when I was off from surgery, I had to pay, out of my wages, a teacher to sub for me. This teacher, because he was a sub, made more money than salary teachers. I had to pay him 2 month's salary for 1 month of work. Ridiculous!! Luckily, he was based in Hwajeong, or I would have had to pay his accommodation as well!!

Basically, this branch is a polished turd. On the surface and in the beginning, it's nice and shiny and lovely. But when you get into it, it's just a steaming pile of sh*t.

Gukje Foreign Language School, Suwon

Dec 19, 2014

Gukje foreign language school in suwon near ajou university. Pay manipulation, unfair dismissal, goshiwon housing, and forced to teach in other schools. Lots of lying and high teacher turn over. Also they insisted I go to church since the boss is like a christian church group leader.

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 canít hold a conversation in English so any problems (youíll have many.. ) have to go between Korean teachers. Theyíll 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. Donít even consider taking a chance with this place.

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"Ėa 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 pittanceĀE.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 employeesĀErights 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 ďcloseĀEthe school. Another school would ďreopenĀEin 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 ďclosingĀEand a new business was ďreopeningĀE 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 ownerís 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 ĎxĀEnumber of students, more staff would be re-hired to cover the extra duties. After several months, ĎxĀEwas 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 ďsometime in FebruaryĀEbut that they might only receive a dayís 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 wonít warn you about in the interview. Thereís 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 peopleís 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 ďdonít really need it now. Why canít they just wait?ĀE/p>

You will also have a ton of busywork and last minute schedule changes due to the terrible organization. If you canít 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:

ĀE Being paid late (2 or more weeks)

ĀE Being paid the wrong amount

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

ĀE Not getting severance pay

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

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

ĀE Being lied and condescended to

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 ďdormĀEin 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 ďI hate you.ĀE

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 studentís 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: Kidís 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 ďthe rules of Kidís College.ĀE/p>

They deleted one teacherís calling logs to make it look like she hadnít 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 donít 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 teacherís room and the classrooms and they wouldnít 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: 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

Iíd 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 donít 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.