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.
Kids Club Willy Campus English Lotte Language School, Busan
Feb 9, 2017 at 10:32 PM
First, I'd like to say that I am a foreigner from a native English speaking country. I want to share my experience here with you and I would like to add an English Kindergarten-academy to this blacklist. I worked for the company "Kids Club Willy Campus English Lotte Language School" located in Busan, Nampo-dong, Lotte Dept. Store.
In my first interview, the Xxxxxx and the Xxxxxxx were very kind, polite and friendly. They seemed so happy to find me, and they wanted me to sign their contract straight away, after 15 minutes of speaking to me. I soon learned that they are looking for people all the time, because on average, people are leaving this school every 6 weeks or less.
If you want to teach English to the kids, this is not the right "school" to do that, they don't care about the curriculum or the kids. All they care about is about money and cutting corners all costs.
You have a 5 minute break between each class and you have 7, 8 or 9 classes a day. Almost 40 classes per week... this is considered overtime but we never received overtime pay. There is no prep time. If you have ever taught, you know that it is virtually impossible to effectively teach English without a reasonable amount of prep time.
At lunch time you have to take care of the kids - helping them eat, and you are eating with them. You have less than 20 minutes. After that, you have to clean the room and go to the kitchen and then again you have to take care of the kids until the next class.
Between the break for the smaller children and the elementary kids (20 minutes) you have to take care of the kids again : read them books and help them with their snacks and packing their things to go home.
They tried to intimidate the foreign teachers by giving them "written warnings" throughout the year. Also they ask foreign teachers to signs different papers during the school year to protect themselves in case the foreign teachers to go to the labor board at the end of the contract.
They treat all staff members poorly - Korean assistants, the Korean English teachers, the foreign teachers - everybody. They really don't care about anyone who works there.
They said that they follow the general Korean employment laws but that was not the case.
The Xxxxx is monitoring us all day at his desk (by watching the CCTV live) and in fact they are watching us all the time because they've got hidden cams and microphone in different rooms of the school and also in each school bus. You can imagine the atmosphere they have created - it is a very cold, weird place, but what is strange is that the Xxxxxxx seems to like it like that, to control everything and to have to recruit new people every 2 weeks!
In addition to that, women here cannot wear shorts to school, because they are afraid of parents seeing you wear shorts when they are visiting the school!
This is really really a bad place to work and I hope my experience will help you to avoid this school.
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.
AND A REPLY:
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
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.
Jul 9, 2016 at 1:01 PM
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.
AND A REPLY:
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
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 done...at 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
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 that...to 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.
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:
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.
CL Education Center in Jinhae, Gyeongsangnam-do
January 26, 2016
CL Education Center is a large hagwon in Jinhae, Gyeongsangnam-do. It is technically a district of Changwon, but it is more of an isolated small town. If you see a job posting for it, it will most likely be labeled as being in Changwon. I worked there for a year as a foreign English teacher and loved my students, coworkers, and the town. However, that was the only thing there to like.
As far as the school is concerned, the students are only sources of money. This was quite evident with the heat being turned off in our office during the winter, the mass photocopying of books for classes, because 'they cost too much' and disrepair of the elementary classrooms and massive mould problem in parts of the school. The last I heard, foreign teachers has close to 40 class sessions each week. We had almost a dozen coworkers who cried at their desk at one point or just stopped coming to work because of the workload or how the school treated them.
Some of the other teachers complained about a huge mould spot that eventually started to have a bad odour and was leaking onto the desks in a kindergarten class and the school still tried to make them teach in there as it was. This is a hagwon that has THREE koi ponds and many expensive statues, including a life-size replica of The Thinker in the middle one of the koi ponds. After I had gone, CL Education Center did even more remodeling downstairs outside of the kindergarten classrooms. There were dangerous cement cutting equipment laying around and metal rebars sticking out of the concrete for at least a month. This is in an area where four to eight year-olds constantly walk and play around in-between classes.
The school also treats teachers, Korean and foreign, with very little respect. The turnover rate is very high, even for a hagwon. Double standards and favouritism were a common occurrence, too. A student throws stuff and knocks over desks in a foreign teacher's class and the teacher tells them to stand in the hall? The school sides with the student. If a student slightly misbehaves or forgets homework in a senior Korean teacher's class? They will take them out in the hallway and hit them with a ruler or make them hold their heavy book bags above their heads for 10+ minutes. The school is okay with that, though. Also, don't ever expect to get sick while working at CL Education Center, you are not going to be allowed to take a sick day, unless you are stuck in the hospital or in bed. If you are, the school will just dock that time from your paycheck.
I also found out that the school pretty much told the foreign teachers to figure out a schedule who was going to tutor a new employee English each day before classes start (outside of their contract hours) because they only had a basic understanding of the language. It wasn't asked if they would, it was told that they were going to do it.
If you want to find a school that treats you, your coworkers, your labour, and your students with respect: don't work at CL Education Center. There are many better hagwons in the area.
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
Hi Folks, DO NOT APPLY FOR ANY JOB WITH MLS.
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.
DO NOT WORK FOR MLS!!
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
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
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
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.
October 28, 2015
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
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
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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
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
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!
AND A REPLY:
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.
PLEASE DO NOT WORK AT THIS PLACE.
Edu Pro Academy, Songpa-gu, Seoul
April 22, 2015
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
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
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
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.
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 see...so 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 flu...no 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.
AND A REPLY:
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
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.
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.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS PLACE. LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO SPEND IN THIS ENVIRONMENT.
E Bo Young Talking Club in Dogye-dong
January 22, 2015 11:12 AM
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
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.
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
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: http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?t=42724
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
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
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.
J&U English Institute, Ilsan
November 16, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Long story short, my canadian wife and I worked for Pagoda Junior in Yangsan in Korea.
We didnt get paid on time and they dont care if we get paid on time. After getting several calls from us, they paid us. And they didn't pay for my coworker's severance and flight to back home. After she reported them to Korean Labour Board, they paid for only severance.
They ignored the contract and many Korean teachers dont even have their contracts.
They blame their lossing business on teachers..
They are... immature for the business.
Subject: Bewegung Kinder, Yongin, Jukjeon, Center Plaza 7th floor.
March 2, 2014
I worked for the same school for 2 years. I completed my contract and I only received my plane ticket. She did not pay me my severance, pension, or tax returns. A very shady director with no concern for her employees.
Name: P** S**
School: Bewegung Kinder
Located: Yongin, Jukjeon, Center Plaza 7th floor.
Stay away, far away from this place.
Subject: Lynn Academy in Jeongneung, Seongbukgu, Seoul
March 2, 2014
Lynn Academy in Jeongneung, Seongbukgu, Seoul, pays employees 3 weeks late, in two instalments. They have been sued twice in a year.
Subject: YBM ECC Sangin, Daegu
February 26, 2014
I would like to give teachers some warning of YBM ECC Sangin in Daegu. During my time working for the director, I found him to be very dishonest and unfair to workers. The school wasn't paying into my pension fund, nor paying health contributions - which I later found out after expensive hospital treatment. Several other deductions were made from foreign teachers' monthly pay that were clearly not proper. When asked about it, the director made employees feel their job was not secure ('It's easy to find a replacement teacher very quickly these days', etc). I was also told that most Korean employees weren't paid on time and were owed several months pay. I regularly worked 8+ classes per day with no break and the director would often just walk into my class (without saying a word), caress students' hair, and then leave. It was all very odd. When I finished my contract, I was told I should give them a 'discount' on the severance payment and then told they couldn't pay me now but instead would send me payment through a bank transfer once I was home. They also booked my ticket for the next day without consulting me - presumably to force my hand. All in all, a shady place. I recommend you avoid it.
Subject: Avalon English Namcheon, Busan
February 22, 2014
Please add Avalon English Namcheon to the black list of Korean academies. Here is what I consider a very fair appraisal of the academy; Pros - you are paid on time and in full. They are flexible with your apartment (they helped me get a more suitable apartment for myself). That's about it. Cons - A disregard of the contractual terms. Heavy workload, including a lot of unpaid administration work (expect to never get more than 30 minutes break per 8 hour shift). Poor management of well, everything. Schedules are unfairly distributed and given late, or even last minute. Teaching skill comes way down the list of expectation and appreciation. Most importantly; do as you're told. Next ensure students have ticked every box in their books, before acting as a clown in class. If these are duly complete, you may teach but it's optional. You will be required to work substantially more than 8 hours every day. There is a lot of extra paperwork, I was often forced to work later than 10:30 finishing daily reports and grading papers. Co-workers are a nightmare. There is no support from Korean teachers. They're rude and disrespectful. The native teachers (about seven) are not much better. Several weekend and after hour engagements that are unpaid and mandatory. I was even forced to cross-dress and dance for 50 onlooking students, in the name of entertainment. I was the only one, may I add. I was later fired for no reason (other than my face didn't fit) and told they would cause me visa problems if I didn't leave quietly.
Subject: Creative Children's Learning Center (CCLC) in Gangnam-gu.
February 18, 2014
I would like to add CCLC (Creative Children's Learning Center) in Gangnam-gu, to the blacklist. They treat their employees very poorly and for some reason are extremely sexist towards women, even though the owner, manager, and co-teachers are all women. In the year that I worked there, at least 8 people left before their contract was up because of negative working conditions. Even after some of these teachers left (even after giving proper notice), they tracked down some of these teacher's and complained about them to their current employers. Overall, I found CCLC to be poorly run and vindictive, with an extremely poor working environment. DO NOT work here.
Subject: Worwick Franklin Institute Namgu, Busan.
February 13, 2014
Worwick Franklin Institute Namgu, Busan
I would like to add Worwick Franklin Institute with the director of J***e ***** to the blacklist because the school has lied and deceived me for an entire year. I personally have been paid late 9 out of 12 months. This lateness can extend up to 3 weeks. The woman who runs the school will break your contract, not pay you on time or at all. She is rude and deceiving and all her workers (Korean and foreign) are miserable. The turnover rate at the school is extremely high for employees because of this and she will go out at all lengths to benefit herself over the school and her teachers. My main problem is that she has not paid my severance bonus and will not! Avoid this school at all costs!
Subject: Yonsei University in Wonju.
February 12, 2014
Please add this University to the list of Black listed schools in Korea. Yonsei University in Wonju. Several reasons for not working at this school. First, they will ask you to sign a contract only in Korean, promising the normal perks for working at a university, including severance at the end of the time with the university, then deny the payment. Two years of working, contract was changed and benefits were removed without discussion. Example, after the second contract, three months into the term, medical benefits were removed. Seclusion from department and non working relationship with director who refused to answer emails and only addressed issues through other workers given his lack of English skills and communication abilities. Now contracts are based on no medical benefits, cutting hours to allow for such deletions of benefits, after contract is signed. Also do not trust if they say severance is part of the package, because they will blame administration at the end saying sorry you did not qualify. If you work here, be warned....get everything in writing and only in English because this university is far from being ethical.
Subject: Global English, Samgye, Masan
Saturday, February 1, 2014
I would like to add "Global English" to this list. The owner R***** does not run a completely legal school and will dismiss you for the day when Immigration is about to show, as they phone her first. She will renege on return flight payment and bonus after the year is up. She will also get moody in the 10th month and try her hardest to make you quit, if you are not going to sign another contract. She comes off as very trustworthy, but be careful of this she wolf in sheeps clothing. She will tell you you are not their to teach English, but only for the parents to see a white face and then reprimand you for not teaching more and then tell you you are not their too teach and the endless cycle begins. Be careful of this one and after 7 years teaching in Korea, this is my only bad experience.
Subject: MLS (My Language School) Nam-gu, Busan.
Friday, January 17, 2014
This school isn't completely horrible, but it's pretty bad. I worked here for 4 months before I quit. The students and co workers were really great. Unfortunately the owner and the management were terrible. Before signing a contract at MLS, both the owner and the manager assured me that my plane ticket to Korea would be paid for. It was clearly stated in my contract. Upon arriving to Korea, they changed their minds and decided that they were not going to pay for my flight. I asked for a copy of my contract several times and they refused.
They also assured me that I had been registered for health insurance. After 3 months I figured out that I had not been registered but they were charging me anyway. Of course they refused to refund any of the money.
After my first 2 months, they made all the foreign teachers sign a new contract. In the new contract, our sick days were reduced from 2 days a year to 0. Teachers now have to pay a penalty for taking a sick day.
At MLS, teachers work more and are paid less than most other schools. They will only hire those with teaching experience. However, they refuse to pay you any higher than 2.1, regardless of how much experience you have. Their contract states that you will teach a maximum of 7 classes a day. There are no books for any of these classes, so you must come up with the material yourself (which requires outside preparation). Preparing for and teaching 7 classes a day is a heavy work load. Regardless, the management will ask you to complete redundant tasks and take on additional classes during your free time. Of course they are not going to pay overtime.
The management is completely incompetent. They are unable to complete the simplest of tasks. This causes more work for all of the teachers in the office.
The apartment they put me in was pretty bad. It was tiny by Korean standards. Everything in the apartment was broken when I moved in. It also smelled like dead rodents were trapped in the walls.
There is absolutely no job security at this place. The the contract is supposed to be for one year, but it's actually month by month depending on the school's attendance. From the first day of work, the owner and the management threatened to fire me if I did not have a certain number of students sign up for my classes. The following 2 months, I exceeded the enrollment number they wanted for my classes. However, this did not stop them from threatening to fire me on a weekly basis if my numbers dropped. After 3 months I finally decided that this type of office atmosphere was too stressful, so I gave notice.
MLS has a very high turnover rate of both teachers and office staff. Nobody likes working there. People usually quit after several months. The school is losing business to another franchise which just opened across the street. With any luck this school will be closed by next year.
Subject: Kids Club Fun Languages School, another response
Friday, December 22, 2013
I worked for Kids Club Fun Languages School in Uiwang under the director Mr. L** for four months (pulled a midnight run). I believe it is associated with the LCI schools. When I was hired, I was told it was in Anyang and could not find any negative information on it so I thought it was a good school. I even contacted the person who wrote the good review about it on this website, and he had only good things to say.
Unfortunately, this school was terrible. The first issue I had was getting my ARC card. It took my director two months to even get me the paperwork I needed to go to immigration. I know I have up to 90 days to do it, but I had to go to HIM and ask about it because I was getting worried. Other teacher friends received their ARC within a month. I didn't get mine until almost the 3 month mark. This was very frustrating because you cannot get cell phone contracts without the card.
The next issue was that my director refused to pay into my pension. He said he registered me as an "independent contractor" through the tax office so he didn't have to pay my pension that way. However, my contract states over and over that I am an "employee" and not a contractor. As an American, I was sponsored on an E-2 Visa which means he had to pay into my pension because of social security contracts between the US and Korea.
I also did not have health insurance for the four months I was in Korea. My contract stated that I was to pay 50% of the National Health insurance while my director paid the other 50%. I was never enrolled in this. Instead, right before the fourth month, Mr. L** tried to enroll me in an outside insurance company that was only 10,000 won a month.... No way was this up to the level of the national health insurance plan I should have been receiving.
The school was very disorganized and there was very little communication. Often times I would walk into school and the schedule would be completely changed without letting me know. This was very frustrating since it didn't give me time to prepare for the correct classes. I also had no resources except for the student text books. Some classes did not even have books at all. I didn't have any construction paper or glue to do any projects. I had to buy crayons for the classes because the crayons the school had left were really old and all of them were broken. I did not have a computer to use. If it weren't for the laptop I brought from home, I would have been completely screwed.
It didn't take me long to realize my apartment was infested with roaches. I told Mr. L** immediately, and he gave me some roach traps that didn't work. I went to the pharmacy and bought boric acid and lined my apartment walls with it, but it didn't help much. Mr. L** would not call an exterminator to get rid of the bug problem. It was very frustrating and disgusting.
Living in Korea was exciting. I met awesome people while I was there, but my job was not good so I left. I strongly advise anyone considering a job with this hagwon to look elsewhere.
Subject: ETCco, Seoul
Friday, December 20, 2013
I would like to add ETCco and its owner Xxxxx Xxx to the Korean Black List. She has several After School programs primarily in public schools in Seoul.
I am adding her because she simply has very bad business practices. (1)She uses two different contracts. One to give to Immigration's with a different name Mac Academy EWAS and an actual one with her companies name on it, ETCco. That should have been a big red flag about her integrity. (2)she adds extra responsibilities to your day that's not in the contract. Like, she expects you to make weekly phone English calls to 45 students, @ 10 min per student, (in my case) on your personal time with no additional compensation. That was Mon-TU-Wed, from 7:30 until 10. (3) She expects you to buy any supplies; printer paper, pens, pencils, etc and then submit a receipt for reimbursement with the monthly pay. (4) Monthly pay is almost always late. And then the typical short notice "I need it right away" demands that we all have come to deal with, although we hate it. Reports, lesson plans, etc.
(5) You can't discipline the students. And this was my undoing and why I'm no longer there. (6)It has taken better than 2 weeks to get my pay. When I asked she said next week. When I asked for specifics, she said "that's it". When next week came and went, she said tomorrow. When I sent a late text she said midnight. Then she made the deposit and shorted it by 602,000. I sent her several text in the early am. The next morn she sent a text saying she came to an understanding that there was an error on her part. So she sent the remaining portion save 100,000. So I again sent her a text.(7) She wants me to mail her the phone with my money that she had installed in my place. And she said she is holding my remaining 100,000 that she rightfully owes me until she gets the phone. Unbelievable. Work for her at your own risk!!! She said she prefers to work with men because the women always run. Hmmmmmm wonder why!
Subject: English 3000 (or, Ummapyo 3000), Pohang, ROK
Friday, December 11, 2013
You should at least consider posting the school, English 3000 (or, Ummapyo 3000) to the blacklist, for the following reason : I signed on with them in June 2011 and I remained with them thru July 2012, which is 2 months longer than I was obliged to. Before my renewal time came up, the principal renewed my contract w/out first consulting me. When I learned of this, I spoke with him, and his wife, about my plan to return to the States to pursue a particular grad course for sci teaching, and I explained that leaving in July or August would be necessary in order to orchestrate this goal.
They appeared disappointed and they asked me to stay, if possible, at least thru July, to help find a new foreign teacher. I agreed to do this, then the HP "un-did" the new visa fix at my request. I left in late July, and for my efforts in assisting them the HP slammed me with a very bad review once I got back to the USA. This, after they renewed my visa and repeatedly stated how they liked having me.....
So now, I have no reference letter, no way to safely use their school in trying to get new work.
My co-teachers had warned me about the HP while I was still there, but you know, I gave the SOB the benefit of the doubt. In the end, he lived up to the reputation known only to an inside circle. Use your discretion in posting this, since the school itself seems friendly, the students were terrific and ALL my co-teachers were pure gold to work with----as were the HP's children, too. I don't want to get the school itself in trouble BUT .....I do want other teachers, foreign or Korean, to be forewarned of said HP. All my friends, while in the ROK, were Korean, and my overall time there was outstanding.
I was hoping to return to work there, but.....w/ no referral to fall back on, that hope is now shot to hell.
I miss my students dearly, and I am thus forced to consider other countries instead.
Subject: Be Smart Cheongju, San-nam Dong
Dec 3 at 10:42 AM
This hagwon is rife with corruption and human rights violations to teachers. School director will dock your pay if a student that you teach cancels their enrolment. Do not consider employment even under desperate circumstances.
Subject: Pilgrim International Christian School, Gumi City near Daegu
Nov 15 at 8:57 PM
Before I start, I wish to mention the recruiter that contacted me about this job and who lured me to this position. He was very aware of the deceit and partook in and told me lies about the job to lure me into getting on a plane to Korea. The recruiter was VivaCom otherwise known as eslcom and the guy's name was D**** the director.
I'm writing this not because I want to but because I feel that it is necessary to give a heads up about this so called Christian school. The last thing I want to do is criticize a "Christian" school as I am a devout follower of Jesus Christ. Yet my conscious urges me to warn any foreigner about the pitfalls of this job. This would be especially perilous if you came here on an E2 visa. I myself am here on an F4 (Korean descendant) visa. One of the implications of my visa (F4) is that I don't need a letter of release to get a new job. You very well may be deceived from day one and if you are on an E2 visa your options will be very limited. In other words, you may just have to go back to the country you departed from and you will bear these costs on your own.
Before I lay in to my bad experiences I will note the one good point about my experience here--at least they pay on time, that's it. Me, I quit the day after I got paid because I feared that they wouldn't pay me if they knew I was leaving. And I turned out to be right as the director--I will call him K--demanded that I pay him the fee paid to the recruiter. He said he would sue me if I refused to pay him this fee and to which I replied ďgo ahead--sue me.ĀE
So, here I am in the US and I get this offer from ***** for the position at the school named Pilgrim International Christian School, PICS for short. He offers me a contract with shared housing and I responded that I would like to negotiate single housing instead. He responds by saying that ďOh no, that was my mistake. That housing was for a female teacher because there is another female teacher already living there.ĀE They adjusted the contract and offered me private housing. When I got to the job location, I was immediately put into a dormitory with the students. There was no housing let alone any female teachers that had any off property shared housing. It was all a lie. In case you think this is a fluke, I was told by a previous teacher that housing has been promised to the two previous teachers but they were all given the same story that I is under renovation at the moment. This same story has been told repeatedly.
Next, I was asked if I ever taught SAT/TOEFL classes. I never did, so I mentioned that I wasnít qualified to teach this subject matter. I thought that was the end of it but lo-and-behold, I was teaching this the next day. The only material I was given was a soft covered SAT prep book to work out of. I had to develop the curriculum. Well, you may say, thatís not too bad. But, hereís the clincher. You teach one classroom the whole dayóyes, this is the only schooling these high schoolers get.
These students bank on the directorís referring them to study in America after they graduate. If they are lucky to get the directorís recommendation to study abroad they will be placed in Pensacola Christian College. This school is not accredited as far as my research has led me. In other words, these studentsĀEcredits will not be recognized and transferrable once they graduate from Pensacola Christian College.
So, the bottom line is this. If you get offered this job and feel tempted to accept it, feel free to contact me for more information. If I were coming here on an E2 visa, I would take the nearest exit door on this job. If you are coming here on an F4 visa and you donít mind living in a dorm where you will likely be sharing the bathroom and shower facility this job may be okay for you. Anyway, I hope my review of my experience will be of some service to you. Again, Iím not one to bash but I do feel a responsibility to save another from a potentially very, very bad experienceĀEspecially if you are on an E2 visa.
Subject: EPL English Institute, Incheon
November 5, 2013 10:28 PM,
I'd like to add EPL English Institute to the Hagwon list after a year of completely unnecessary drama. The owners are liars (more like terrible actors) who have no problem with bullying their employees. Broken promises and instances of seriously dick-ish behavior had me counting the days until my contract was up and I could leave Korea forever. They'll fool you into thinking their a couple of level-headed, real people who want to offer you a great job but there's another side to them which I wouldn't trust for a second. Exercise caution.
Subject: EOS Wingsley school in Suwon, Yeongtong, South Korea.
October 23, 2013
I would like to contribute to the blacklist EOS Wingsley school in Suwon, Yeongtong, South Korea. This schools upper management is leaking in forethought, compassion, and sense of right and wrong. Recently one of our teachers was hospitalized. The CEO and Principal were not going to pay for half of her medical expenses, as promised in our contract, on the grounds that they went to visit her in the hospital. The work environment is degrading and poorly managed and the school has a very high turnover rate. I am not leaving the school yet out of pure stubbornness, however I want to save any unknowing teacher from pain in the future. Don't sign with EOS.
Subject: KDLP in Imae, Bundang
September 14, 2013
KDLP in Imae, Bundang. My boyfriend and I worked at this private hagwon just short of one year. First, let me explain how the school is structured. Each kindergarten class has a Korean homeroom teacher, and when I left there was one 5 year old class, two six year old classes and three seven year old classes (Korean ages, all varying levels). Four "foreign teachers" were responsible for the following subjects: reading/phonics, science/math, PE, language arts and creative arts. A typical kindergarten day for a foreign teacher would consist of four 30 minute classes, hour lunch*, three 30 minute classes, and then snack before the children left. So before three and a half hours of elementary classes began, I would usually have six or seven DIFFERENT kindie classes. The Korean homeroom teachers were responsible for two 30 minute classes in that time; a craft class and a phonics class with a completely prepared curriculum. The amount of work foreign teachers did compared to Korean homeroom teachers was outrageous. The only reason I bring it up is because these Korean teachers CONSTANTLY complained to the owner/principal about how little we did and how busy they were. They also tattled on us if we ever thought about coloring for three minutes at the end of a class on a Friday. The owner always took their side. Always. Over the course of the year more and more work was piled on us and our Korean coworkers (owner included) treated us as if we were the enemy. There was no curriculum for the classes we taught, and it would not be uncommon for the owner to come up to you and tell you to teach a class about sexual reproduction that day, with less than 20 minutes to plan. I learned to allot about 5 minutes of planning time per class. I simply refused to work overtime, not be paid for it, and never thanked for it. With exactly one month left on my contract I was fired because I communicated with a prospective teacher about the negative work environment. I lost out on a lot of money but was so happy not to have to go back into that school.
*For the first nine months of our contract we had an hour lunch. After the ninth month the owner insisted that we eat with the kids. This would have meant that on most days we would be in the class with children from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with no breaks. When my boyfriend brought up that that would put our contract hours over, so we would have to be paid overtime, the owner was beside herself and insisted that that time spent with the students would not count as instructional time. We refused and had labor laws handy.
Subject: INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL (ILS) in Dongbaek
August 26, 2013
Do not work for ILS (INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL) in Dongbaek. All the korean staff are unpleasant and talk behind your back. The director is cheap and will try to cheat you out on whatever she can. They make you work long hours with no sick days. Overall, terrible work environment. Housing is basically a teeny room. You won't have space to walk around.
Subject: GLI (Yangcheon-gu. Seoul)
August 12, 2013
I would like to add GLI (Yangcheon-gu. Seoul) to the black list. The reason is that you do not get paid on time or in full or even at all. My first few months there it was fine and the director (D*****) paid me on time and in full. Then the payments started to come late by a few weeks, but still in full. By my 4th month payments were never on ti,me and never in full. He would pay me 500,000won here and then another bit there but never the full amount on the date stated in my contract. After a while it got to the point where he was 2 months late paying me. He would tell me he would pay me and either not pay me anything or just a small amount. Not only is this hard to keep track off but gets very frustrating and confusing. I would have to go down to his office and practically beg to be paid. The reason behind this are not becasue he is a bad person or doesnt want to pay but he is in big finacial difficulty and cant pay teachers but is still hiring them. I forefilled my one year contract but by the end I was 2 months pay down. The director asked if I would do an extra month to finish the semester and I said I would if he paid me everything he owed in full. After endless empty promises the money didnt appear so I ended up having to walk out after my year. I am now taking him to the labour board to get my money but it is really stressful not knowing when your next pay check will be or how much and I don't want another teacher going through this.
Subject: LCI Academy Jamsil
Fri, Aug 2, 2013
Avoid LCI Academy Jamsil. They pay you on time, and that's about the only good thing I can say about the school. They've fired three people in the last year. One girl was given only two weeks notice and another had one day. She was given 24 hours to get out of her apartment. She was fired for leaving class to go to the hospital after getting hit in the head at work.
The director of the school, Ms M****, spends most of her day spying on the teachers through the CCTV cams in every room. She even listens to the teachers talking during lunch about their personal lives. The manager Y***** is considered weird by even the Korean staff. Their English is so poor no one understands them half the time anyway.
The work hours are long. I was teaching 35 hours a week plus all the grading, test making, weekly evaluations, and daily reports they expect you to do on your lunch break. For seven hours of teaching in a day, you only get the one hour lunch. Some teachers never even had time to eat. I was expected to grade all the homework done by 9 students in ten minutes. No one has ever been allowed to use one of the 3 sick days stated in the contract. One veteran teacher was literally vomiting in front of her class from a viral infection and she was not allowed to go home.
LCI Jamsil seems like a great school at first but then all the bad things start to show. Your first and last paycheck are paid on hourly instead of salary, so instead of the 2.4 mil salary promised, you get paid significantly less depending on your schedule. My first pay check was a measly 1.3 mil. They charge 600,000 for a housing deposit and then will keep half of it if they don't like you.
Several teachers who completed their contracts continue to work in Korea, but don't go anywhere near the school. Nobody has ever signed up for another year. The director confiscated teacher's day presents the students brought in from the teachers she didn't like, and "returned" them to parents. She did the same thing for Chuseok gifts parents sent to teachers.
Stay away from this school. There are better places to work in Seoul.
Subject: Poly (Korea Poly School aka KPS) in Mannyeon Dong, Daejeon
Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Teaching at Poly (Korea Poly School aka KPS) in Mannyeon Dong, Daejeon was a nightmare. The management was not only ineffective but, they were actually hostile towards foreigners. It was clear from everything they did that they thought foreign teachers were lazy, useless, and, above all, replaceable.
* The hours are incredibly long.
When the assistant director) sent me my contract, I questioned the hours in the contract. The hours listed were 9am to 7:30pm. She told me that this was the absolute longest I could be asked to work. So, I assumed that these hours were for intensives. (Intensives are the extra classes academies offer when students are on breaks from their regular schools.) Well, on my first day, when I complained about the long day, I was told that these were the regular hours (9:30am to 7:30pm MWF and 9:30am to 6:40pm T/Th). I reminded her that she had told me that these were the absolute longest possible hours and not normal hours. She then denied ever telling me this. She even denied knowing what intensives were - as in ďHow could you assume that these were the hours for an intensive when I donít even know what an intensive is?!?!?ĀESo, for several months, I worked 9:30am to 7:30pm. Then, on March 1st, the hours went to 9am to 7:30pm MWF and 9:00am to 6:40pm T/Th. To give you some perspective, other schools I have worked at were from 3pm to 10pm each day and 4:00pm to 10:30pm each day. Plus, within 6 weeks of me being hired, Poly had summer intensives. Clearly, she was lying about the hours and about not knowing what an intensive is.
* The salary is too low for a 50+ hour work week.
Salary is another terrible issue at Poly. Polyís salary is low. I accepted the job because they matched my previous salary of 2.6 million won a month plus a housing allowance. I thought I was getting a good deal because I thought I would be working a similar amount of hours. Nope! It turns out that with 2 years of previous teaching experience, I still made less than first year teachers who were hired three months before me. Poly had started new teachers at 2.8 million won plus benefits. However, I was hired, with experience, at less money. They also never pay you one penny of overtime for all of those hours. They just play with your salary to justify the hours to the labor board. My pay stub stated that I made 1.8 million won as a base salary, 100,000 won as a meal allowance, and 700,000 won as overtime. When you add it up, itís just my regular salary of 2.6 million won. People who were hired after me make even less money for the same amount of work.
* Poly clearly does not value their foreign teachers.
An example of this is their Teacher of the Term award. Originally, this was awarded to one foreign teacher and one Korean teacher each month. This lasted for about two months. After that, it was awarded to two Koreans employees of the school who, more often than not, rarely even interacted with students. Eventually, the award was discontinued.
* Management is ineffective.
Polyís management is horrible. During our Monday afternoon meetings (foreigners only), we were regularly given lists of 15 to 20 things that we were doing incorrectly and had to change immediately. Itís very discouraging to get such a list week after week.
In addition to this, the director is pretty much never there. I could go a month and only see him once. Now, he is regional director of three Poly locations but, as those locations are within an hour of each other, it does not make sense that he was in Mannyeon Dong so infrequently.
* The parents rule the school.
The majority of Polyís considerable rules and regulations are created to keep parents happy. Teachers must sign each page of each childís workbook to signify that they checked each and every answer and that all of the answers are correct. Teachers must also sign underneath each homework assignment that a kid writes down to verify that the assignment was written down correctly. I understand that, as a private business, Poly does need to keep parents aka paying customers happy but, there is a limit to this.
There was an instance where a teacher signed a page of a kidís workbook and one of the answers was misspelled. This led to about 5 hours of meetings for that teacher. Polyís managers said they did not agree with the parents getting so angry about this but, neither of them did anything to stop it. The parents would not have had access to this teacher if the management didn't allow it.
In conclusion, work anywhere in Korea but here. Sure, theyíll pay you on time but, youíll be miserable.
Subject: CDI in Gwangju
Wednesday July 24, 2013
Stay away from CDI in Gwangju.
So without going into too much detail about who I am, let me tell you some things about these employers: - promote unqualified managers whose word means nothing when bosses decide to change their minds ostensibly based on who they like more
- While bosses can choose to give holidays, they do not offer any vacation at all, other than the 5 days you're allowed contractually. And even sometimes they move that around on you.
- Your relationship and dedication to them matters not if it's not written and signed: employee asked manager if he could be reimbursed for plane ticket months after contract, was given OK; months later, bosses deny reimbursement and say manager was wrong. Technically yes, but poor business practice and reneging on spoken promise.
- told to come in at 3 pm and not leave until 10, when contract states you don't have to be in until latest 3:50. For some people, this became a terminable offense.
- Employees have more weekend working hours than managers, who are paid more and work less.
- You may be forced to teach very young children, even if that wasn't discussed at all prior to hiring.
- They might ask to rewrite your contract significantly upon arrival (has happened 4 times thus far), and refusal would result in immediate termination. This is being practiced more and more on new hires, and is essentially a chokehold b/c you likely have no other choice.
This school is going to fail soon, so this likely won't matter for long. But do yourself a favor and find any other school to work for. Many CDIs are fine, but this one is toxic.
Subject: JM Story School (also known as JM Kinder) in Cheongju
Monday July 22, 2013
I would like to add JM Story School (also known as JM Kinder) in Cheongju. My husband and I worked at the school and ran into some very unfortunate situations.
The director would not get us an outside apartment, so we had to live above the school and also charged us far more than she should have for utilities. We're fairly certain we were paying most, if not all, of the school's utility bills for this reason. She also lives above the school, so the independent living factor goes out the window as she is across the hall, or depending on where she wants you, right underneath her room and sharing a bathroom.
The director did not pay into pension, or health insurance, and refused to pay me more than 2 million won in overtime. After confronting her about all of these things, she did pay for several things she was not obligated to, but in doing so wanted us gone from the school in 3 days time which is a contract violation (the contract stated that she needed to give us 20 days notice). I was also called a liar after giving her the amount calculated for the overtime owed. She told me that the contract stated that overtime was 15,000 won an hour, when it was in fact 20,000 won an hour and she had previously paid my husband the 20,000/hour for overtime hours he worked.
The school itself sees little money returned to it. The director will buy books maybe once a year and won't order new ones. Classes are a mess and she'll toss in varying age and skill levels together with no materials or any sort of plan.
It's not a place I would recommend going, definitely. I would advise that if you would decide to go, stay on her about everything, saying no to her is good and encouraged, calculate your hours monthly, make sure you get what you're owed per the contract (in ours that was health insurance, severance, pension, 2.1 million a month/120 teaching hours, apartment, etc.), and don't be afraid to use the words: labor board, illegal, and lawyer.
Subject: iSponge English in Pohang
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I worked at iSponge English in Pohang. The working conditions at this school are terrible. You are told everything last minute from adding new classes, new students, open classes, etc., which means you have no time to prep. You dont get any breaks, and you have to spend your lunch break feeding kids. You will be expected to work past 6pm (work hrs 9am-6pm) almost everyday. They will try to cheat you out of every penny you work. They were late many times with my pay checks. In addition they scammed a lot of money from me when my contract was completed. They deducted holidays from my pay and also deducted days when the school wasn't open. I am still waiting for them to finish paying all of my pension.
My electricity wasn't working properly for the last 6 months I worked their and they refused to fix it. At one point my toilet was blocked and they didn't help me to find a plumber, I had to ask my Korean friend for help.
These people treat their employees terribly. If you're still on the fence, ask people in the Facebook group "Pohang Legends" what their friends have experienced at iSponge English Pohang.
I heard the school might change their name but the management will still be the same. The owner's name is Mrs. K*** and the head teacher's name is N** C**
Please spread the news, so other teachers don't have to experience what I did.
Subject: EWAS located in Guri City
Saturday, July 13, 2013
The hagwon is EWAS located in Guri City. The director's name is Mr.L***, who likes to be referred to as "Elder L***". At this time I do not have a contact number for this school, but as far as I know, it is the only EWAS hagwon in Guri City so it shouldn't be difficult to get the contact information with a simple Google or Yahoo search.
I believe this hagwon should be added to the blacklist for many reasons, but five of the most important ones are:
1. If the student enrollment goes down, so will your pay.
2. If you don't fight for your pre-arranged vacation time, Mr.L*** will try to cut it a few days short at the last minute because the parents want the kids to study more.
3. Mr.L*** demands all of his foreign teachers attend his church on Saturdays and participate at least one a month by giving a children's story (Yes, it's actually in his contract that teachers attend his church).
4. If Mr.L*** wants to keep you there, he will continually give you a bad reference to other schools or recruiters behind your back, while at the same time he will ask you to continue working at his school. He did this to me and I had such an impossible time finding another job in Korea, I had to get a former employer in China to give me a good reference in order for me to actually get another job in Korea.
5. The working schedule changes on a monthly basis, so you never know from one month to the next when you'll be working, how many hours you'll be working, or what those hours will be.
As I said, there are other reasons this hagwon should be blacklisted, but I have given the top five, in my opinion. Please avoid this hagwon like the plague. Everything sounded fine before I got there, but things turned ugly pretty fast. I hope future teachers can avoid the nightmare I went through at this school by not working there.
Subject: GKI school (Global Kids International) in Guri
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I would like to add GKI school (Global Kids International) in Guri to the blacklist, because I know that they are hiring now. In the past 6 months, 4 teachers have quit this school early because of being mistreated (there are only 5 teachers at the school at a given time).
You work all day and have to take home work every night as well. You will be constantly screamed at and made to feel less than human. Korean teachers and foreign teachers are not allowed to be friends outside of work, and are often pitted against each other by the boss. This creates a really hostile work environment. You are given 5 sick days in your contract, but you are never allowed to take them. It doesn't matter how serious your illness is, they will never let you rest at home.
Don't work here. It's difficult to describe the situation without giving specific examples that could get us in trouble by Korean law. But all of the teachers are miserable at the school, and you will be too.
Subject: Gwangjin SLP and Top Secret English in Gangdong
Monday, July 8, 2013
My husband and I worked for Gwangjin SLP from March 2012 through February 2013. Coming to Korea for the first time we were very hesitant about working for a hagwon as we had read the many horror stories online. However, once we arrived and started working here we had a great experience for quite a while. Yes the working days could be long, 10:00-7:20, but we both had some breaks in the afternoon and did not find the work to be difficult at all and we loved the students. We did not have much interaction with the director and her husband (Ms. Jung and Mr. Kwak) as they did not really speak English. However, they did give us a few extra things for our apartment like a table, chairs, microwave, etc. when we first started working there. The apartment they provided was a typical Korean studio apartment. They let us move to a different apartment (that we chose and put down the key deposit for) and then paid their part of the housing allowance as rent every month. We were always paid on time and given everything we were due. In fact we were so satisfied with the school that when we decided to stay in Korea for a second year we went ahead and signed contracts for another year at Gwangjin SLP (another foreigner did as well).
Unfortunately, in February things began to change quite a bit. We found out the director had not paid her portion of the rent for our apartment for the month and we were paid a good three or four days late. We began to get very worried about the financial status of the school and director around that time and actually decided we wanted to complete our current one year contracts through the month of February but not continue working there under the new contract. Upon telling the director this, she began to threaten us saying she would have our visas cancelled so we would be forced to leave the country and never come back and refused to give us our release letters which we would need to find other jobs. After the director had had a few days to cool down (it is evident she can have anger management issues at times as we sometimes heard her screaming at someone on the phone), we were told we would be allowed to leave after our current contracts were up and she could find someone to replace us. In the meantime, the directorís husband contacted the schools we would be starting at as soon as we were finished there and said some awful things about us as people and teachers which nearly cost us our new jobs. We definitely made the right choice to get out of this school when we did because since then the school has tanked financially. My husband went to the labor department and they forced her to pay us our severance pay (much later than the contract states) and our last paychecks were nearly twenty days late. After talking to people who still currently work there, they have been getting paid ten or twenty days late every month as the director is very clearly not stable financially.
I would NOT recommend anyone take a job at Gwangjin SLP or Top Secret English in Gangdong (the directors own this school as well) at this time. As I stated originally we had a wonderful experience here until the financial problems began to hit. Until the director can get her finances worked out to be what they used to be I would not advise anyone to work for her at these two schools.
Subject: EIEL in Yeongtong dong, Yeongtong gu, Suwon, SK
Friday, June 21, 2013 6:16 PM
I'd like to add to the blacklist:
EIEL in Yeongtong dong, Yeongtong gu, Suwon, SK. * This school will probably change its name: It has been the Tweed Institute and TIMA before it was EIEL. This school makes you work 10 hours a day plus about 2 hours of marking. There is no curriculum, structure, schedule or rules. It is the most unhealthy environment I have ever seen for children. I have had to stop fist fights, kids fighting with scissors, etc. There are no breaks, only 40 minutes for lunch. The native teachers are not allowed to discipline the students. It is an atmosphere of oppression; the director won't allow the Korean teachers to talk to the native teachers. The director will do everything to prevent the native teachers from getting an ARC card, therefore you can't set up a bank account, get a contract for a cellphone, etc. I had to wait 1.5 months for my ARC card. They also refuse pension and healthcare . Do not work here.
Subject: English 2020, Changwon Elite School, or Yoons, in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea
Friday, June 14, 2013 9:15 AM
I would like to put "English 2020," "Changwon Elite School," or "Yoons" on the Hagwon Blacklist. It is located in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea. They are the same school. People are usually hired under "Changwon Elite School," but it really goes by "English 2020." It is an awful school. I'm a certified teacher with 7 years of teaching experience and "teachers" by no means actually teach. I had taught in two other countries previously -issues were more than cultural differences. The apartment was disgusting and literally had mold growing from the ceiling. One day I was sick and had to go to the hospital. The director FORCED me to sign a paper saying I was not performing job duties. She said if I did not sign the paper, then she would fire me. Her husband is from England. He "trains" the teachers but has zero education background or training. The school is deceitful and manipulative. They use CCTV not to check on students, but to spy on employees. No one has ever resigned and the employees who do stick it out want to leave. This hogwan put a bitter taste in my mouth of Korea. Fortunately, I was able to leave and go to a different school. Out of care and concern for you, please do not work there. It will make you want to buy the next ticket home.
AND A REPLY:
Subject: Reply: Changwon Elite School, or Yoons, in Sangnam-do in Changwon, South Korea
Friday, June 14, 2013 9:15 AM
Thank you for your prompt response to my email.
Response to the blacklist posting "Changwon Elite School" on Friday June 14th.
I would like to make a brief reply to her posting. We are one of the largest schools in Changwon, Sangnam-dong (not "Sang-namdo"). Firstly, regarding accommodation, anyone who would like to work in this school may speak to our foreign teachers to ask about the apartments we provide. I'm sure these teachers will not endorse her opinion. Furthermore, foreign teachers have in the past renewed their contracts. To claim that "No one has ever resigned" (I think she meant 're-signed') is something she could obviously never know, particularly since she only worked here for two months before being dismissed. Experience of teaching can be a great attribute. Clearly, however, those with experience of teaching in their home countries will not always become good EFL teachers in South Korea. Incidentally, the writer of the above posting only completed six months of the contract in her new school in Changwon before quitting and leaving the country. Finally, our school (like many others) does have a camera in each classroom. It is actually a vital tool when training new people who have never taught before. Again, any individual interested in working for this institute may speak to teachers who currently work here. That will provide a much more accurate and objective view of the school. Thank-you.
AND YET ANOTHER REPLY:
Hello, I am responding to the post about Changwon Elite School, English 20/20, or Yoons.
I hardly think accidently leaving off a hyphen or misspelling a Korean word takes away from the validity of placing the hagwon on the blacklist. (The message was typed on a touch screen in a moment of concern for prospective teachers.) I donít care to talk or think about the school anymore, but I am doing it just because I was disappointed that I didnít have any kind of warning before my husband and I resigned from our jobs in our home country, sold our cars, packed our possessions into a storage unit, and traveled across the world to teach at their school. Itís a big commitment to move to another country and I feel terrible for English teachers who have experiences like we did. However, do not be discouraged, I did have three other positive experiences teaching abroad...this was the only negative one.
I want to start by writing positive aspects about the school to be as fair as possible. Since it is a bigger school, they do seem to follow the rules set by the Korean law. They provided insurance, paid us on time, and gave us a pay stub. The directorís husband, though he certainly keeps the hagwonís best interest in mind, is a native English speaker and that helped with communication.
I worked at the school for three months. I would have left earlier, but they said I had to work another month to get my letter of release to work somewhere else. I found another hagwon that was a better fit within a week of when I decided I was ready to leave. I got to create the reading and writing curriculum and I successfully prepared students to get into international schools. I had a literal waiting list of parents who knew I got academic results and wanted me to teach their children. I worked at the other school for eight months. (I was working at both schools for over a month because the second school needed me as soon as possible.) Though I was treated well, got to pick my own housing, etc., I did find out that I didnít actually have health insurance near the end of that time. When I first realized that I wasnít covered, I confronted my boss. She said she would resolve it, but never did. Since she had broken her end of the contract of providing me proper insurance and never corrected the problem, I gave her a monthís notice and applied to other teaching positions. I took a fantastic international teaching position outside of Korea. Iíve never broken a contract outside of my time in Korea, and in this case, the contract was already broken by the employer.
While at the second school, the director consulted with me and had me interview all incoming teachers. During that time, I interviewed THREE current employees at English 20/20 who wanted to leave (2 foreigners and one Korean national). After I left Korea, I found out that yet another unhappy English 20/20 employee was hired (before the completion of her contract at English 20/20) to work at my second school. I was told by one of the English 20/20 employees that the only teacher that ever re-signed was the directorís husband. I cannot verify the accuracy of this information, but I can easily see how it would be true.
During my time at Changwon Elite School or English 20/20, I never felt respected as a professional. They most likely believe how they are teaching is best for the kids (or at least that it makes them money..regardless if the kids are learning or are truly engaged), but drudging through workbooks, doing the same 4-5 activities, and timing how long each activity is on CCVT are far from best practices. Workbook pages on an excel spreadsheet is not a curriculum! No critical and creative thinking was involved, the teachers were bored, and the kids were the most miserable I had ever seen. It was depressing being a part of such a business and I obviously couldnít tolerate it.
Speaking with a currently employed teacher would not provide you with an objective point of view. Those teachers would not be comfortable sharing how they really felt because the school could possibly hold letters of recommendation, return flights, and pay over their heads if they were truly honest.
In sum, this is my warning to you if you are thinking about working at the school. I wish I had had one myself. I wish you the best in your search!
Subject: YBM Ssangmun ECC
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 9:35 AM
I would like to Blacklist YBM Ssangmun ECC, a school that still owes me over $1,000 while I am at home and unable to do anything about it.
I was a bit naĀEe coming into this and I highly recommend that you do not work at this place (or any YBM HOGwan) under any circumstances. My experience was so awful that I did not finish my contract. It was the worst experience of my life and I donít say that lightly. I left behind my apartment and boyfriend to come home due to this job.
-The day I started work, I was told I would have to work 12+ hours a day for ďIntensivesĀE(not mentioned in the contract) as a brand new teacher. Yes, I was working up to 13 hours a day for at least 3 weeks. I felt trapped as I was in a new country and had nowhere to go. This was a nightmarish period. I am 24 years old and this is not my first job and I was so exhausted I cried every night. What the job did not tell me was that the person before me quit and they desperately needed me as a replacement for intensives. Intensives happen about 3 times a year and you get barely any overtime. They will find any way possible to keep you there as long as humanly possible and take away your overtime.
-I taught 8-11 classes on a regular basis., often with no breaks. Believe me, 8-11 40 minute classes is EXHAUSTING.
-My supervisor J******** forgot or neglected to pick me up from the bus station upon arrival. About 2 hours late, 3 Koreans who spoke absolutely no English picked me up. I was given a note I could not eat until the morning due to a blood test (after a 20+-hour fight. I was starving and the next day I had my blood test. Then I was brought to work and told I couldnít eat until hours later.
-WORKSHEET TIME! Rather than give us our scheduled breaks, this school forced me and my coworkers to stay inside the office and make worksheets. These worksheets were absolutely pointless and I never saw one of the worksheets used. When I asked to make worksheets for classes I actually teach since we never seem to have enough material I was told I was not allowed. The worksheets were checked by our supervisor Jeannie (now promoted to manager) who yelled at me for not finishing one once when all the computers were broken. When I complained about worksheet time my supervisor said I was ďWeird.ĀE When I threatened to quit, I was threatened with very expensive penalties. My supervisor Jeannie took delight in forcing me to do the useless worksheets. On the YBM website it clearly states that teachers are not supposed to provide the teaching materials.
-My apartment in ďAnyang ApartmentsĀEhad cockroaches, and wasnít clean. I was given no bed and an absolutely filthy smelly mattress to sleep on and used sheets, and a used blanket and used pillowcase. The apartment came with no curtains (I was woken up at 5 am on a regular basis) and no Tupperware. The stove had to be replaced as it was broken and the shower and sink were broken. The air conditioner (in 105 degree weather) broke shortly afterwards. When I asked my coworkers they had the same problems and or worse, especially with roaches, which infested the entire building. The walls were filthy and covered with random brown stains (which they school cleverly tried to cover up with furniture) and the torn, filthy furniture had literally been dragged in from the trash (this was confirmed by my coworkers.)
-Sick days! I was under tremendous pressure not to take a sick day. Having taken only 2 sick days I set the record at YBM Ssangmun ECC for most sick days. Eventually I developed several infections that went untreated and had to go home without even telling them because I was soooo ill and was having severe kidney pain I felt my life was in danger. I discussed the pain with my supervisor S**** and the possibility of having to go home and the only thing they could offer me was switching one class around. The did not offer to cut a single class to help me. At least I thankfully caught an emergency flight home and YBM immediately proceeded to harass my boyfriend who worked at another school and his coworkers trying to find me. (They gave me no help beforehand in finding medical care except to say wait 2 weeks or go to the ER-, which I had already done, but had nobody to translate)
-Upon arriving home, they told my boyfriend that he (who worked for a different school in the same company) would have to pay the overtime due to my coworkers. Thatís right. They tried to get my boyfriend in a different school to pay THEIR overtime. -My paystubs were withheld from me almost every single payday. I had to send 4-5 emails begging for a copy of my paystubs every time we got paid, sometimes to no avail.
-In the winter, there was NO HEAT provided in below freezing temperatures for the afternoon students who paid slightly less to go to the program. Students sat there in their full winter coats gloves, hats, and scarves and complained it was too cold to learn. I stood there in my coat and scarf and was too cold to teach. People were constantly ill and still showing up for work and school. I had to beg from the main desk for the remote to turn on the heat, which was often withheld from me. You can forget about heat or AC in the teacherís room. Oh, and summer is worse. Expect to be working weeks in 90 degree weather with no AC.
-We went through 2 managers and 2 supervisors and several people quitting within just 8 months of being there.
There is so much more to say about the awful time I had there, but to shorten this long, horrible story, I learned my lesson the hard way. Upon arriving home I understood the exploitative and slave driving nature of the YBM ECC Company. I heard even worse experiences from other schools. Do not work for this company especially YBM SSangmun ECC, thatís all I can say.
Subject: Kings Kids in S. Korea
Saturday, June 8, 2013 9:40 AM
Anyhow, don't work at Kings Kids in S. Korea. I want to show you what happens when you mention to them you have an honest concern about working in the wrong school in Korea upon initial recruitment phases. This is word-for-word after I mentioned I wasn't inventing concerns in my imagination. I sited two US Embassy warnings, because the director of a school was very rude about my questions and concerns, and this was his response in an email- copy and pasted here:
"why should i am interested the warning of us embassy? did i break the contract?
i have hired over 100 foreign teachers. but i have never broken the contract. that's it.
do you worry about working in kroea? if so, you had better search for your job in any other countries."
Well there you have it, don't work at Kings Kids. If you have any fears or concerns, you are told to move to another country- and OH, don't forget. They've NEVER DONE ANYTHING WRONG EVER AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT, YOU STUPID AMERICAN.
Subject: Daegu University of Foreign Studies
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Daegu University of Foreign Studies - didn't pay severance, which was stated in the contract. Only gave 3 weeks notice of non-renewal.
Subject: Gangwon International Language Institute (GILI)
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 2:10 AM
We would like to put GILI (Gangwon International Language Institute on the Black List.
I worked at Gangwon International Language Institute from 2010-2011 and friends of mine completed their contracts recently.
This is by far the worst place to work at in Korea. The Korean staff will do the following:
1) Treat you horribly
2)Students and staff will rate you on a weekly basis and will fire you of your ratings are not at least 80 %
3) There will always be issues with your pay. I had to wait 5 months to receive my severance pay
4) Contracts change on a regular basis and mean absolutely nothing
5) You will be shouted at, yelled at, and treated like you are an alien
The best thing that happened to me was to leave this Horrible Place!!! If you want to be treated like an animal, this is the place for you!
Subject: SLP Gwanak-gu
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I would like to add SLP Gwanak-gu to the Blacklist.
I worked that this school for 8 months before I pulled a midnight run.
The pay was decent, 2.3 million won. We teacher were paid on time. We received Stubs with notices for "extra-fees" taken out every other week. When I asked about the money being taken out I was told is a security fee for the watchman. I was told that was necessary to pay the doorman a fee for keeping the lobby clean.
My head teacher that hired me was fired the 2nd week I was there. She recently changed the entire school curriculum to a new book series, and surprise as soon as she created the schedule and taught all the helper teachers how to use the books, she was fired. Her replacement, a brown nosing little shrew of a woman.
With the old head teacher gone, as did our collective contracts. The pay remanded the same. however we could not leave until until 30 minutes after our shift. (seems trivial I know, but its mostly just irritating) When I was hired I was told I could wear t-shirts, and shorts to work, well once again that was the old head teacher, The new head teacher attempted to make us where dress khakis and oxford shirts everyday. It was not until everyone of the foreign teachers banded together and put a stop to that. We still ended up having to compromise and never wear shorts, or sandals. (people I teach 4-10 year olds that throw kimchi at others for fun) how long would a nice pair of cloths last there?
I received a written warning which they required me to sign once they had given me the wrong set of books for a class. I ended up using the books for 2 months before I started noticing that these books were completely above there level.
I received another written warning a month later. A young boy in my class who picks his nose constantly developed a daily nosebleed from said picking of nose. I had the child go to the bathroom literally 3 meters from my door and pull tissue paper from the dispenser to hold on his face. I am called to the head office where I was shown footage of me sending the child to the bathroom with a "facial injury". After I explained to the owner of the hagwan and the head teacher what happened, they insisted that I sign a paper saying that I was guilty of not attending to a child's needs. I signed the paper as ZORRO, in cursive so they have no idea.
The last straw was when I was told that my teaching "style" is not helpful to the students. This comes after 3 months of the highest test scores in the school. I was once brought in and told that If I did not "fix" my teaching style I would be fined 500,000 per month. At this point in time I know that my number is up.
The school is doing its best to get under my skin and pay me less. I ended up booking a flight from my computer using my bank account from the United States, (the reason for this is that the school monitors our bank accounts, and if any transactions over 400,000 happen, the bank notifies SLP of the withdraw date time and place. Another teacher actually had his bank account frozen when he was sending home 1.5 million won a month back home.
By using the account in the United States They did not know that I had purchased the ticket for a one way trip home. I withdrew all 4.5 million won out of my account over a one month period in increments smaller than 300,000 won. (as not to raise suspicion). And as with any midnight run, I did not inform anyone that I was going to leave. I feel bad for leaving them to take my spot, but in all honesty I was going to be fired and possibly have my accounts frozen, trapping me in Korea.
It was a rainy morning when I left at 530, With a duffel bag on my back, my laptop bag wrapped in plastic, and my fedora soaking wet from the downpour. I knew when I saw the bus to Inchon roll up I was almost gone.
Subject: iSponge Yeonje Campus and Wiz Island (near Busan Nat'l University of Education) in Busan
Thursday, May 9, 2013 7:01 PM
I would like to add iSponge Yeonje Campus and Wiz Island (near Busan Nat'l University of Education) in Busan, South Korea to the black list.
The director of these hagwons, J***, fired me a month before my contract ended and refused to pay my severance and flight home.
Here's the story:
From the beginning of my contract, there were so many thing wrong with this school. The working hours were 9-6, however we were not allowed a lunch break. We were forced to serve, feed (if necessary), and clean up after our students during our lunch period. This was addressed continually to management to no avail.
We were also made to work an extra hour (3 days a month) phone teaching, for which we were not paid overtime.
I was told that I would get 10 days vacation time (5 days winter, 5 days summer). However, I was only given 3 work days summer/winter and the adjacent Saturday and Sunday.
The director blew me off for months when I asked for my pension and medical insurance to be paid. She finally paid my medical insurance 7 months late. 10 months after my start date she paid into my pension, but she told the National Pension Service that I made 1.3 mil instead of 2.1 mil. So when I went to the NPS to apply for my money half of it was missing because she had been paying a lesser amount while still taking the full amount from my paycheck every month.
After dealing with nearly a year of this, the director hired 2 new teachers. I told the new teachers the facts concerning how I had been treated, and the new teachers quit. She then fired me claiming I had given them a negative image of the school.
When I reported her to the labor commission, they called a meeting to negotiate terms. When I arrived, my boss had already been talking with the mediator/counselor and she appeared to be on my boss' side during the entire "discussion". They had already drawn up a contract offering me $500 to drop the case and forfeit my flight and severance. When I refused the offer several times, the counselor advised that I couldn't do anything further with my case. She stated that the Labor Commission would simply dismiss the case because my contract ended before their legal process would start.
Basically, this woman was the only negative thing about Korea for me. Stay far away from these schools and anything to do with this director. She is a lawless snake.
Subject: LCI Kids Club- Yeongtong Suwon
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:15 PM
The "Director" and his wife are the C***'s. I say that word loosely because he was an incompetent manipulative liar and didn't care about the children. Mr. C** does not have any people skills, all he does is smoke cigars in his office and watch all of the foreign teachers through CCTV (There are cameras in each classroom).
His wife Mrs. C*** was in charge of all of the classroom materials and the class schedule, the problem with that was that she didn't speak English! they owned the franchise for 6 years and she couldn't bother to learn the language! it was a complete joke, she would give you a fake smile and say "take care please" or "how about"...which was funny at first but just became annoying and a slap in the face.
There was a head teacher when I was there...she was a complete brown noser and fake with the foreign staff. Mrs. C*** loved her and would always compare everyone to her, the worse part was that this "head" teacher was doing private lessons in the afternoon and weekends (which was forbidden) she even left a school dinner early because she had plans...we eventually found out it was because she had a private to teach. If you are not well liked then they will give you extra work to do and definitely give differential treatment.
You are also told that you get some breaks throughout the day what they don't tell you is that they give you incredible amounts of busy work. Helping the older children with speeches, making up a dance and performance for kindergarten graduation, tutoring their kid for FREE all of this while you still need to write in memo books, write and grade tests and plan lessons.
He was also caught going into the teacher's apartments when they weren't there...he had extra keys and knew the codes for all of the apartments. My friend changed her code and when he found out he made up a lame excuse while she was teaching so he could get her code and go in there. They only hire young American or Canadian women, he said boys are too much trouble. He would get drunk at work dinners and start hitting on the staff saying "American women are so much prettier than Korean women" in front of his wife! but she had no idea what he was saying since she didn't know English.
He fired several foreign teachers without giving proper notice and lied to the other staff about why he let them go. The Korean staff didn't last more than 3 months at a time because he would berate them and yell at them in the lobby. Whenever it was pay day he was in a horrible mood and no one could speak to him, everyone tip toed around. It was a completely negative environment and I am so glad I left when I did.
You are basically his property and he has no boundaries, if you have an issue with his management style or want to talk to him he will avoid you at all costs and have his wife talk to you..which is completely ridiculous since she can't speak English! He drives in his Mercedes and she wears furs to work! all they want is to have foreign teachers that don't speak up and are worked to the ground. I honestly can't believe he is still in business and that women continue to work at LCI. I want to warn as many as I can so that they don't waste their time or go through the crap that I had to go through. Stay far far away from this place, when I was researching I found a bad review but I thought it can't possibly be that bad...I was wrong.
Subject: SOGANG LANGUAGE PROGRAM (SLP) ĀESEONGDONG: HAENGDANG-DONG, SEOUL
Friday, May 3, 2013 10:08 AM
If you take anything away from this review, I hope that itís the conclusion that you should steer clear from all Korean hagwons. If you are absolutely determined to teach English in South Korea, trust me, take the job at the public school or university, no matter how much money that hagwon is taunting you with in their contract (and believe me, itís not going to be much anyway). So if you donít feel like reading a lengthy review, just heed my warning and stay away from the horrifying hagwons!!!
Okay, compared to a lot of stories Iíve heard from friends or read in other reviews about other hagwongs, Seongdong SLP could have been a lot worse. I considered myself lucky that I didnít have to clean toilets and that I had an amazing group of co-workers that were (and still are) great friends and a much needed source of moral support. However, I always had to remind myself of the good things everyday or I would have gone crazy. Trust me, stay as far away as you can from this Hagwon! This place is too stressful, and I truly believe they mentally tortured us for their own entertainment.
I donít even know where to begin describing all the horrible things about this place. This review is probably going to seem no different than any others-Iím going to talking about the poor conditions of the classrooms, the Nazi supervisors, the horrible teaching hours, and how they basically robbed me of over $1000 US dollars. Granted yes, they did pay for my plane ticket (round trip), they provided me with an amazing apartment (which I loved, but turned out to be way too expensive for me), and they did pay me overtime when I was entitled to it without me having to pester them, but honestly it wasnít worth it.
First off, the classrooms, the TINY ass class rooms. There were twelve classrooms, and they were either spacious or super tiny. My classroom, of course, was super tiny. It was so tiny that the tables didnít fit and I had permanent bruises on my legs from bumping into the tables and from students pushing their chairs into me by accident. Now Iím going to skip over the summer heat (and lack of air conditioning) and briefly mention the winter. While it was 5F (-15C) outside, my classroom would either be the same, or colder. I had to wear three layers under my coat and I was still freezing; my students never took their coats or anything off cause it was so cold, and I was amazed that it took over two weeks for a mother to finally realize the freezing conditions of the school and to complain. Point for the mother finally complaining about something useful, but minus twenty points for not suing the school. SeriouslyĀE
Now Iím going to mention the teaching hours. Your contract will say youíll work 9:30am-6pm. HAHAHAHAHA, WRONG! I worked from 9:30am-7:10pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the only reason I agreed to this was because they let me get off work at 5pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, itís not worth it: I was tired all the time! Also, you get no breaks. I ate lunch with my students, but the deal was I didnít have to teach an afternoon activity, which would be right after lunch. WRONG AGAIN! I would not only have to eat lunch with my students, but I would teach an afternoon activity two days a week. This meant that I was with the kids from 10am until about 4:30pm those two days with no break. It might not sound bad, but if youíre a teacher youíd know how exhausting it is to teach, and being around children that donít understand you because they donít speak your language makes it more exhausting. This is why I feel like Iíve aged ten years teaching here.
Last but not least, the money situation. I, and many others, believe this hagwon is broke and that is another reason why you should not work here. They control your paycheck so you have no idea what theyíre taking out, and oh! Did I forget to mention that they donít let you pay your bills? Nope, they donít let you pay your bills because they donít trust you to do it yourself. They said they would deduct the amount of the bills from your pay and use that money to pay it themselves but they donít pay the bills either. Not only did they do this to me, but to a few others as well. One day I came back from the gym to find a lovely yellow notice on my door. I took a picture of it and sent the image to a Korean friend to translate it for me, and I found it was from the gas company informing me that if I didnít pay my gas bill, it was going to be turned off. I found out the school had not paid my gas bill for ten months. Thatís not even the best part; the next day they informed me they hadnít been paying my internet bill for ten months as well. So what did they do? Instead of taking responsibility for this, they deducted over $800 from my pay. C***** always told us that we needed to think of the school, and we should do them favors, but I told her that day that I would never do a favor for the school because they never did a favor for me. It was not my fault my bills werenít being paid because they wouldnít even give me copies of them, or let me see them. My bills never got sent to my apartment, they were always sent to the school, so it was their fault. I feel they should have at least done me a favor and paid at LEAST $100 of it. But that would have been too much to askĀE/p>
And here comes the last story Iím going to tell, itís about my lovely last paycheck and my severance. When it came time for me to leave, I was informed that I would get my last paycheck and my severance fifteen days after my last teaching day. I did not trust them with this, and I didnít think it was fair to make me wait for my last paycheck since the teachers before me got it on their last day. Not to mention that my contract says Iím suppose to get paid the 10th of every month anyway, but whatever. I fought this, and Iím very happy I did, because it took them over fifteen days to give me my money because ďI took a little more time to calculate all the necessary expenses from your salary , SorryĀE(email from C*****). I got half my first paycheck my last day of work, thank god, but after nineteen days I emailed the school reminding them they were suppose to pay me my severance 14days after I left (itís Korean law). I just find it funny that they sent my money the day I threatened to report them to the labor board. Iím telling you, these people are just stupid.
After all this, I didnít even mention the fact that out of all the teachers, I was the only teacher without a computer on their desk. I was expected to write student evaluations, post test scores, and other things that involved a computer, so I would have to do it on someone elseís computer when they werenít there. This doesnít really sound inconvenient, but trust me-after ten months it was. I finally got a computer (after taking a laptop from a classroom and putting it on my desk) two months before I left.
One last thing, if you still decide to work here after reading this, I hope you enjoy cheap love motels because thatís where theyíre going to make you stay for the first two weeks you work there. Enjoy :)!
Subject: E Bo Young Talking Club (Hadang Talking Club) in Mokpo, South Korea.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I would like to add E Bo Young Talking Club (Hadang Talking Club) in Mokpo, South Korea. I spent 5 painful months working there before I quit. The director didn't pay the recruiter the fee, which should have been a red flag. I wasn't provided health insurance even though it said so in my contract. The apartment had black mold everywhere and I'm fairly certain that he was trying to cheat on the taxes coming out of my paycheck. I was never shown what was getting taken out of my paycheck even though I asked.
The environment at that hagwon is toxic. As the only foreign teacher there, I was only spoken to when they wanted to blame me or criticize me for something. As a new teacher, this completely broke my confidence. They just want a white robot to say "yes" and "no". The curriculum is a total joke. Its not even teaching, just memorizing random scripts. There are two korean teachers there who literally look beyond miserable all day and are constantly being scolded by the director. It is a soul sucking environment.
Don't try to call in sick. They hooked me up to an IV in the doctors office downstairs and the moment it was done I was forced to teach for 6 hours. I was also given a "strike" for being sick. Even though I taught all day. I hit my limit when the director screamed at me in front of children and the other co-teachers. Yelling and running around like crazy. This was after months of emotional and mental abuse. When I gave my 30 days notice, my boss flipped out, threatened me with a fake immigration document and said I had to leave Korea within a few days. I brought in a Korean friend to translate and he said that if I signed a contract saying I wouldn't talk about what happened at the school, he would let me stay in my apartment for 20 days and not cause problems with immigration. He refused the letter of release.. essentially making it impossible for me to find a job in Mokpo, this being such a small community. Since I would need a reference from him since all other employers wanted to know what I didnt have a release letter. He went back on his "contract" two days later, kicked me out of my apartment and told immigration that I "disappeared". All the while constantly threading to kick me out of Korea. I highly recommend not taking a job here! I spoke to the previous teachers and they all hated it as well. I was the first one to stand up to him and quit. There are better jobs in Korea! Avoid this place!
Subject: Winners Club English Academy in Daegu
Monday, April 29, 2013
I would like to add Winners Club English Academy in Daegu to the black list. This is a terrible place for anyone to work. This was my first job in Korea and this place has made my time here horrific.
They did absolutely nothing to help me get a phone plan, bank account, and "forgot" to apply for my alien registration card. They didn't file me with the pension office so as my contract is coming to an end, I find out that I have no pension that I was hoping to use while in America.
They tricked me into getting life insurance by telling me it was health insurance and only found out the truth after having a Korean friend read the contract.
They take strange amounts out of each months pay, but I never see a report of what's being taken out. The owners don't speak English well (& that's putting it nicely) so asking them any type of question is a huge debacle...they insist of bringing ALL (the 6) Korean teachers in to handle the situation.
They make me hand out flyers and be a 'monkey' for the company.
I don't want anyone to come over to Korea and work here.. It will make your time here miserable. I was lucky to meet people, but working in a secluded area with no other foreign teachers or other young English speakers is tough.
Subject: Chungdahm Institute, Geumcheon-gu and Anyang
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Chungdahm Learning Institute, located in Geumcheon-gu and Anyang
This is not an official Chungdahm Learning Institute. This is a franchise. As a teacher for this school, Chungdahm has no obligation to help you when you are not paid FOR MONTHS! The owner of this school has owned a hagwon previously, which failed, and now he has an unbelievable amount of debt. He pays this debt, by not paying his workers at either his Guemcheon-gu or Anyang branches.
Upon arriving at this school, the owner will try to make you work as many hours as possible for no extra pay. You should be ready to say ďno.ĀEWhen pay is late, he will try to butter you up and kindly ask you to be patient. Donít be. If you remind him about your late pay, he will say ďtomollowĀEor ďnes week.ĀEYouíll get next to nothing. When he owes you millions and you file a complaint with the Korean labor board, heíll say ďthat doesnít scare me. Iíll win in the end.ĀEHeíll try to wait you out. Your lawsuit through the labor board will take at least a year after quitting, for you to get moneyĀEf you ever get any.
Although the other teachers and staff are friendly and working conditions are standard, there is a culture of people MANIPULATING each other to get favoritism and money from the owner. This school is heading nowhere good. Kind teachers should stay away!!!
Subject: Herald Academy in Samgyedong, Gimhae
Friday, April 19, 2013
I would like to add 'Herald Academy' in Samgyedong, Gimhae to the blacklist.
I will keep my reasoning for doing so short, but in a nutshell this is by far the worst, most intimidating, and depressing place I have ever worked in my life.
The boss, T*** L** continually uses intimidation and manipulation tactics to get his way. All the staff, including the Korean staff are scared of him and hate working for him.
He will send any foreign teacher to multiple schools, which is illegal, and over work you. You will get no training and are expected to work as a qualified teacher almost instantly. He will then continue to tell you that you are a waste of space, the worst employee he has ever had, and he doesn't care about you.
If you EVER try to disagree with him it will cause a massive argument which is not only incredibly scary (which he wants so you agree with him) but unnecessary.
Forget any manners you think the man should have as a human being, he is incredibly sexist and even speaks to his wife like a piece of dirt, so you can only imagine how he speaks to staff.
I tried to stay for a full year in Korea, but after 10 months I was forced to leave. This was mainly due to the fact that by the end of it I thought he was physically going to assault me. I was scared to go into work as I never knew what he would do next.
I really could write pages and pages about what he did but ... PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND DON'T WORK HERE, it will 100% ruin what could be an amazing year working in Korea.
Subject: Willy Campus (Kid's Club) in Gwangmyeong
Sunday, April 7, 2013
I want to warn everyone about Willy Campus (Kid's Club) in Gwangmyeong.
Not only was I treated terribly (screamed and cursed at), but they kept 1 million won for recruiting fees. They made me come in to work when I had food poisoning (despite the fact I had to keep running out of the classroom).
Subject: ELC Ulsan
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Hello, I would really appreciate it if you'd add ELC Ulsan to the blacklist. The locations in Mugeodong, Samsandong and Taehwadong are all owned by S** J**** ***** and all of the foreigners were essentially not paid or not paid in full. I was paid late throughout the year because he claimed the school had no money. Parents continued to pay every month and he spends nothing on the school/school supplies so it would seem otherwise. He purposely seeks out inexperienced native teachers who do not know the ropes and ends up not paying them and ignoring them until they are just forced to go back home at their own expense. Do not work for ELC in Ulsan, as far as I know they are all run by him and multiple ELC locations have this problem.
Subject: Kiddie Kingdom Suseong-gu Korea
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I had the displeasure of working here over two years ago and can finally feel free to place this place on the black list. In a nutshell-don't work here. Trust me on this-I'm not going to go into too much detail, and descriptions of this shithole probably don't exist elsewhere out of threats given to former employees. Save yourself the trouble.... and do you REALLY want to place "KIDDIE KINGDOM" as a workplace on your resume? Just something to think about..
Subject: Haba Play School Songpa, Bangi Station Gang Sun Mi, Seoul
Date: Monday, February 18, 2013 10:47 PM
Haba Play School Songpa, Bangi Station Gang Sun Mi, Seoul
2nd floor haba play shcool
seoul songpa-gu ogeum dong
I think I could write a multi-chapter book as to why you or anyone you know or care about should never go near or work at haba play school songpa at bangi station. Here are a few reasons.
1.) March 1st, 2012 I arrived to Korea. With absolutely every trust in the recruiter I boarded the plane and she picked me up in her car, we arrived at my apartment, she took the first peek with the most nervous look turns to me says 'I'm soo sorry." I was walking into the box where I still lay my head and spend as little time as possible. The black mold infested apartment has had just about everything broken at one point. About 10-15 service guys in and out of there. A broken bathroom which was out of use for 5 days, a broken heater, broken air conditioner, and a broken washing machine that takes 2 hours to do one load.
They told me I would be arriving later than expected because the apartment was not available until the start of March, meaning I would be missing the proper training I was supposed to attend. So I arrive, throw me into the classroom, and told me that I would be attending the training in two weeks, give them some coloring or worksheets for now. UHHHH
So when I did attend the training (a 2 day course), I was only allowed to go on the Saturday as I wasn't allowed to miss the Friday at school in order to attend the training. So there I went Saturday in April for the training in bumblehoot Seoul to be told that I wasn't going to receive the certification because I needed to attend two consecutive days.
2.) Throughout the year, it has occured to me, that I would never ever let anyone I know work in this position. The management is stupid, but the worst management I have ever witnessed and experienced in my entire life. The boss does not speak a flick of English, as well as the 'head teacher' so leaving it up the one of the other English teachers to deal with everythingggg else in the school. 'Oh you don't know how to open a bank account?' 'Ohh you're new here' They must have thought I had previously been in Korea and had a clue what I was doing when I arrived. They were not prepared to help me in this country as I was the first teacher that was new to Korea when I came to work here.
My friend worked at a seperate Haba, located in Dongdaemun and recommended to work at the chain, as she had met my fake boss one before and said it was going to be a great job. She also recommended the recruiter that I went through, who also ended up backstabbing me and calling my boss on several occasions after telling me something and telling her another thing, making my boss cry and hate me even more.
3.) Not only was there no English support here, no one could even say 'hello' or 'goodbye' but I got sat down about 4 months in and told that I must say hello and goodbye to everyone and that it is very rude not to, although I have just now in my 11th month (now that everyone is leaving) hear an occasional hello and goodbye.
4.) There are currently 10 teachers here, 9 Koreans and me. 4 of us teach English (they also teach normal classes). I do not have a classroom, and have to carry the Grapeseed materials ( large cards and books from room to room). They originally offered me to have a classroom, but declined the offer. I have no where to keep any materials, let alone my purse. It is a struggle with the English teacher who is meant to help me where I can keep my jacket and purse each day. The little things that all build up.
There are also 9 teachers quitting. The 1 teacher that is staying came about 3 months ago and they added a new 3 - year- old class so they hired her on. Originally in March - May there were 10 people that quit for assistants and teachers variously throughout a 2 month period. It was a nightmare having to pick up for classes that didn't have teachers, and even as assistant to sit in on a class.
They also at this time asked me to ride in the carpool after school, after 6pm to take the children home. I knew this didn't seem right, aside from it being unpaid, so I asked my recruiter and she told me I was to tell them no, in case of an emergency I cannot speak Korean and have to talk to all the parents. I have a feeling had I been stupid enough to accept this, I would still be riding carpool unpaid overtime to this day.
5.) The food. If it isn't months old, it is old and moldy. I have photograph proof of the bushels of brown bananas she purchases after gone bad and feeds for breakfast the next morning. If there are leftovers, they are frozen until that dish is served the next month. The teachers all know this because there is a menu that is sent home monthly to the parents, and we know how often each dish is cooked. So if pasta for spaghetti once a month is frozen, then the same next month, it is possible the frozen pasta has been eaten for months and months... years? The cook knows that it is all wrong, but the boss is so cheap and tries to feed her family from the scraps. The oil that they used for frying things is also 6 months old. It has only been replaced once since I have worked here all year. And these are all proven facts.
6.) They also told me that they were going to record me for training for the new teachers. Take me, who was thrown into this place with absolutely no assistance and was not allowed to watch or observe anyone, and record me (even though I am not properly trained to teach the cirriculum), to show the new teachers so they don't have to pay for them to attend the new training.
I called the cirriculum company and they said it was infact illegal what they were doing under copyright concerns and will be in touch with the school when I leave so I do not have any issues.
7.) In the end of January there was a meeting with my boss, and english translator of course, to tell me that I was the most difficult foreigner they have ever encountered of 4 years of being open and they cannt believe the trouble I caused. Also told me that there have been multiple complaints (only one that I was aware of, by the crazy mother at the school), from parents all year and that she just covered up for me saying I was going to get better blah blah. Wouldn't a boss/owner of a school let her employee know that she was being complained about by the parents so that she could be aware and/or do something to improve. Lovely management. Wonder why 9 teachers are quitting. How strange.
8.) Late pay. After getting paid on time for 8 months straight, Christmas break came around and we were paid 2 weeks late, after we returned back to work in January she paid us. She did not show up until a week after... ta da with a new face! She got her entire face redone (typical for Korea), but on our dime, because she wasn't able to pay us on time.
9.) They have been interviewing foreigners for the English teacher position, and just 2 days ago, turned down a foreigner that works at the sister school.... because her hair was too curly. If that isn't low enough....
I do not know how to express the hatred for this place. It is a dirty disgusting sinful place I have called my 'job' for the past year. Among all the little daily things, these are main overall things that are wrong with this place. My recruiter asked if I had any recommendations for friends to take my position, and told them I would never let anyone work here, let alone the public. Which is why I am posting this here.
Subject: Wonderland (Gumi)/Chunglam Academy, Gumi
Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 11:56 PM
I just finished my contract and didn't have too many problems, but a few things I must warn people before they work there.
1. They paid me cash instead of buying me a ticket. It was at least 300 dollars short and they refused to honor the contract which didn't have any purchase amount in it, or didn't have a date to buy the ticket.
2. The owners will make you work longer. Though you will work 30+ classes, expect 40+ hours. Correct books, help with speeches, teach kids during winter break, which means come in early and teach 2 extra classes. Even help tutor a friend of the family, or the boss. All for free.
3. There is terrible communication issues, nobody knows what goes on when. Things are always switched around and it is confusing. But when you end the contract the owners will bring up how lousy you were and don't deserve your money. Even though I had no knowledge of my work. They don't bring it up.
4. The owners are looking at you as money, not as a person. So, they don't care about your health, or if you are having problems. They will pawn it it off to the bosses.
5. Their business is struggling and they don't know how to talk to parents. The owners will actually walk around and monitor the classes to make sure nothing bad happens, but they are losing business because they talk badly to the parents. If though you don't meet high expectations they apparently will bring it up after you quit.
Not a terrible place but I doubt they will be financially set up to afford to pay people on time or at all. They have made one teacher pay for part of his ticket home before me, which I didn't know. Also, they didn't pay the teacher I replaced his severance.
Work there if you will, the Korean teachers and kids were great but if you don't want to get burned by the bosses or the owners I cannot warn you enough.
Subject: Uncle Sam's English in Jong hyun
Date: Sunday, January 6, 2013
Uncle Sam's English in Jong hyun, owned by J*** B*** and his wife is the absolute last place you want to work for. They never speak the truth, they break contracts, they don't listen to foreign teachers (except if they agree with them), foreign teachers are the cause of fany and every problem, and they are obessed with money--which trumps kindness or truth. Beware; you are now forewarned. They sell themselves as Christian--but their faith is hardly in evidence. They tried to get me deported for working for a competitor after they let me go. Ie, at USE one is a slave. Period. My predecessor warned me not to accept the job offer but I didn't believe her. I should have.
Subject: English Insight Academy, changed from Willy Campus, in Gwangju-si, Dopyeong ri, Gyeonggi province.
Date: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 6:02 PM
Wish I had better news but it looks like even despite taking down the post, my old boss still wont pay me nor return any emails, texts, or phone calls. At this point I am fed up and want to put him and his school back on blacklist. The school's new name is English Insight Academy, changed from Willy Campus. The director's name is K****. He has not only threatened not to pay me by putting this post up but blatantly said that he will take his time to pay me and doesn't care if I report him to labor board because he wont go to jail. Obviously I am not trying to jail him, I am just trying to get the money I deserve, and warn other foreigners not to work for this man. He is also not paying any other employees and is trying to open another school in Gwangju-si Geoyonggi-do province. Please help me to spread the word about his bad business behavior!
Subject: GnB English
Institute (BanSong) Campus, Chang-won City, South Korea
Date: Friday, January 4, 2013
Beware of GnB English Institute (BanSong) Campus, Chang-won City, South Korea
The director and his wife did not honor the contract with me.
Violating the terms of my E - 2 visa. They had me teach at another GnB campus owned by a different director. This was not written into my contract. I did not know I was doing anything illegal until the very end of my employment with them. My former recruiter S*** - * - M****, Eze English Consulting, Changwon City sat through out the contract negotiations talking in Korean to the director and wife at the GnB (BanSong) campus.
They were suppose to give me a written notice of six weeks if they wanted to let me go, which I never received from them. This was written into the contract. I was told verbally of being fired by another recruiter Aaron Seo, Eze English Consulting, after finishing my teaching duties at a fast food restaurant.
They tried to illegally to kick me out of my apartment when I refused to work at a different GnB owned by another director. They also tried to make me sign a piece of paper that would make me obligated to teach at the other school past my departure date that agreed by them, labor board and me.
When I refused to sign I was told to leave my apartment on Friday night after my last working day. I was also told that I would not get my pay for the previous month of November and part of December, or the extra money agreed by the Labor Board. I refuse to hand over my keys to my apartment.
I received only 45 minutes of training and orientation, before I started working for them. I was shown how to read the class schedule and what sections of the two workbooks (speaking and writing). I was also told by the former English teacher that I can teach the classes anyway I wanted to, which I found out later was a complete lie.
There were unannounced visits by a GnB company representatives coming into my classroom. I would not mind if I was told about this during contact negotiations and given a criteria what I would be evaluated on. I also did not find their nonconstructive criticism helpful like that I should make the class more fun or speak Korean considering this was my first job teaching children.
The director and his wife could not speak or understand English. Their secretary and part time teacher translated for them. If I wanted to get any messages across to them I had to go through her.
They told me that I had to learn Korean and socialize with the students during my break time between classes. I was never told about this until two and half months after working for them. I worked for this company for 3 months in case anyone wanted to know.
I am writing this review since this school is still mistreating other teachers even 4 years after I was fired from that place.