Food · Korea · Teaching

Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like piping hot Mandu!

There’s no way to sugar coat this, my school sucks. I have taken the name of the school out of my posts to protect the innocent but there’s no tap dancing around the subject. Everyday, it’s something else. I haven’t even been at my school for one full month but pretty much all the Hagwon (small private Korean school) horror stories embody my school. I’ll make this short and sweet:

1) The boss, who treats me like a child, wants me to count the Korean holidays off my 10 days vacation – I think not!

2) He calls me at 10 AM and expects me to have nothing to do an hour later – beck and call – NOPE!

3) He pimps me out to kindergarten schools and then keeps the hefty hourly rate they pay native English speaking teachers – I don’t work for free!

4) He thinks Employment Contract = Slavery. He’s obviously never met this loud-mouth American girl!

So, after a meeting with the legal office on base yesterday to find out if and how I can break my contract, I have decided to leave my school. I have been mulling it over for a week or so and have spoken at length to both Joe, Mom & Dad (of course, they still give good advice) and my awesome Korean co-workers. I feel bad about leaving the kids but since I am a glorified substitute I am sure they will be okay. Now, I just have to find a new job – Hmmm. Well, luckily for me there are plenty of educational fish in the sea. From my extensive online research I am definitely going to seek out a larger more reputable school. BTW Alex, I’ve heard great things about your school.

I’ll keep you posted but in the meantime here are some pictures from today’s Valentine’s/Middle School Graduation Party! The kids go to school year round here so they graduate from their current grades in February and start a new grade in March. So this afternoon we had a makeshift, unorganized (my school typically runs that way) party to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the middle school class’ graduation. Hence the mandu (Korean dumplings), we also had some sweet potato pizza (very popular here), and lots of chocolate.

Here are some of the middle school boys enjoying their celebratory mandu.

Here is my 6:30 class with their Valentine’s bags. The teachers were told at 7:30 PM last night that we would need to bring in some “fun things” for the holiday today. It’s a good thing I was on the ball and purchased supplies for my kids last week. More unorganizational woes! But the kids had a ball decorating them even though they couldn’t figure out what to do with everything at first.

“Teacha, what do we doing?”

“Teacha, where put this?”

“Teacha, can please you cut me heart?”

I will miss these kids a lot!


4 thoughts on “Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like piping hot Mandu!

  1. My dear daughter Melanie, all I can say is “YOU GO GIRL!!!” No one, I mean no one, is gonna treat my daughter like that!!! Can’t believe all this bullcrap you read about on the Hagwon List is happening to you, but at least you have Joe and other options to fall back on. Don’t take any shit from your boss, or I might have to fly to Korea and beat him up myself….love, Mom

  2. This is exactly the situation my wife was in. Absolutely hated the hagwon staff.

    The situation is very stressful and there is not much in your favour.

    I hope you have read some of the horror stories at some of the forums ( Dave’s ESL cafe, Koreabridge and EFL-Law ).

    If you think your school is unlikely to give you a LOR (letter of release) which you need to be able to get your existing visa cancelled ring up the local immigration department and tell them that you have given notice. They will call the hagwon owner and force them to come to Immigration to get your contract closed.

    Immigration will then give you an Exit Order which gives you 14 days to leave the country. You can get it extended by 30 days, but only if you go back to immigration with a ticket out of the country.

    Having left the country you are then perfectly entitled to come straight back in on a tourist visa and stay for up to 60 or 90 days ( depending on your nationality)

    While you are back here you can look for another job. But BEFORE you legally start work you have reapply for the working visa, and then leave the country again to go pick it up ( fukokoa Japan is popular )

    It is a bit of a nightmare. Drop me an email if you have any other questions.
    Good luck.

  3. I would certainly hope Melanie doesn’t have to go to the lengths described in Jon Allen’s comment — that smells like a lot of money in airfare to me. Love, Mom

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