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[sorry name withheld], Gangnam Seoul is a Bad Place

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Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: [sorry name withheld], Gangnam Seoul is a Bad Place Reply with quote

I just want to share a personal experience to save someone the mistake of signing with [name withheld] or [name withheld] there in Seoul.

I love Korea and once I got away from this place I found it to be a lovely place to live and work. But places like this are what destroy the reputation of this lovely country and the good schools that are here.

I heard a rumor about a 10% firing quota. That isn't really true - but they did lose about 10% of the staff or more each month. Half quit and snuck out in the middle of night never to return again...until they found out that they could not work in Korea without a release from [the guys you can't name on here]. Others were literally "split shift to death." I saw shifts that had people working at 8, 11, 2, 6, 8pm - I could literally see the life drain from them.

If a student so much as whispers that they are not happy with you [somebody] will call you into a disciplinary meeting. I get it. They are in it for the money - but a zero tolerance policy on complaints combined with a "strict liability" policy - which holds that if there is a complaint you did something wrong - is inhumane.

I did fine - I loved my students and had no problems. But I saw a couple of good and hard working people "punished" with an unlivable schedule for no other reason then a student didn't take a liking to them. One refused the advances of an adult student and she turned on him. Soon he was there at 7:50 am each day and not done until 9pm. They wanted him to quit so that they did not have to pay for his plane ticket.

Expect to get your schedule at midnight the night before your monthly schedule changes. Expect to have some pretty crappy books and an office full of half broken equipment. Do not expect an iota of sympathy or humanism from management. You are there to make them rich. You are a thing that they use to make money. I read a post by a current employee that sums the opinion of him and [a person, another person, and one more person] perfectly: "You are expendable. Get used to it and shut up."

It was truly the worst ESL experience of my life and I honestly hope that you do not make the mistake of being fooled by false promises of block shifts or good housing. It is a racket from top to bottom and to be avoided at all costs.

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Joined: 23 Nov 2005
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Walter thanks for using the forum.

I had to remove the specifics of the institution and people you talked about. Sorry I know you'd like those specifics be there as you've obviously had an experience that you felt strongly about, but this forum is a community and we strive to make it productive, and not a place to potentially slander individuals and institutions. Granted, you could be 100% correct in your assertations, but experience tells us that the individuals in question would not agree and could have issue with what you said. We'd like to avoid having our forum break down into a "he said, she said" exchange. I know a lot of other ESL forums out there allow this. We may get lower readership because we don't allow this activity as openly, it might make reading ESL Jobs Forum less juicy and controversial. This is our philosophy however and we encourage you to participate in the other discussions that have a more general, yet still interesting, topic area. Feel free to PM me or my trusted colleague Unionjack with specifics of your situation and if there is something we think could be published without compromising our policy of telling two sides of the story - and that includes letting Employers tell their side - we'll think about publishing it. I hope you don't mind the humor I included when removing the names from your post above.

Again, thanks for your participation.


Rich P.
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Joined: 14 May 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:00 am    Post subject: Gaddamn Korea or wherever it was Reply with quote

Any ESL ad. that has, as the prime focus of its recruiting "the beautiful location" and other irrelevances should be treated with suspicion. After all, if you were looking for a different type of job, the ad. would talk about the job, not just the location.

For example, most jobs in central Mexico talk about "beautiful Mexico." Only the author of the ad. acting on behalf of his employers, would describe central Mexico in summer as being beautiful. Dusty, dirty, dangerous and decayed could be more appropriate. The job itself however could be rewarding and provide a high level of job satisfaction to offset other drawbacks. So focus on the job!

Also remember that the pen is mightier than the sword and, thanks to the Internet and forums like this, word gets out. How successful will the recruiters be at that Korean school if they treat teachers as outlined here. On the other hand, anyone who does not research a school before signing on is an accident waiting to happen.

If you believe in yourself and put a value on your skills and abilities, why jump at the first job offered? If you believe in "supply versus demand" and demand in Korea is high, why jump at the first job offer? If a school is criticized however, the location of the school should not be censored.

This forum should/must remain open in order that other teachers at a school can refute any negative comments from one disgruntled ESL teacher. I suggest that everyone in the ESL profession should complete an evaluation on each and every school to help build an index of "the good, the bad and the ugly". Good schools could use this to aid their recruiting and the bad schools would be exposed before their peers.

If such a thing exists already, please let me know. If such a thing does not exist, let me know if you are interested and I will develop one.

To get the ball rolling, once I have completed my current "gig," I will do my best to advise all future ESL hopefuls of my reasons to avoid it like the plague. I have not had the experiences our Korean associate has had but, for other reasons, turnover at my present location is over 100%. Sour grapes from one ESL teacher does not produce THIS type of result and the "ESL public has a right to know". I'll tell you more after I pick up my last pay check - free enterprise is a two way street after all!
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Joined: 11 May 2010
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Gangnam Korea Reply with quote

As a relatively new reader/participant, I certainly appreciate all posts on TEFL experiences, positive or negative......especially if it is substantiated by specifics. If all this forum publishes is glowing reviews of teaching experiences in each and every location, it borders on the worthless for teachers weighing the merits of various locales. Confused
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Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 506
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: DETAILS Reply with quote

Hello Halc3

Welcome to the forum.

Actually, we publish the negatives too but if you wish to know names and places, just contact the poster. Simple!

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