My old hagwon closed!

You may have heard about my awful first 6 months in Korea with CPIS.  I arrived and started working within 12 hours only to find out the “school” that hired me was a huge web of lies.  We had issues with paychecks, health insurance, eviction notices, incompetent administration and just about every issue that you hear about from a hagwon.

You can read about my struggle to find a new job and acquire a “letter of release,” the threats and accusations the administration came up with and a wholly negative work environment but I’m happy to announce they shut down!

I do feel sorry for any teachers who lost their jobs and if you happen to be one of them don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’ll do my best to help you get a better job!  As for the kids its nice to hear they’ll have a brief reprieve from the long hours in school although I”m sure their parents have already found alternate hagwons.

I usually don’t like to rejoice over someone else’s misfortune but the circumstances that this atrocious school & administration created soured my first experiences in Korea.  They took advantage of us every time they could and instilled a false mistrust of Korean administrators that I’m still working through.  So today I will let that smile creep into a grin as word about my old hagwon’s closure fills me with joy.

A job offer without a letter of release

I got an email today saying I have a job offer but that they will only hold it for a few weeks without a letter of release from CPIS.  Its the job I REALLY want and the email sounded great until I got to “your owner actually phoned our school and that indirectly or directly accused us of poaching his teachers.”  After reading that it was difficult to finish teaching.

I was seething with anger at the school owner.  How dare he!  Refuse to pay us on time, lie to us and then have the audacity to contact a future employer and try to keep them from hiring me?  Apparently this isn’t the first time that happened either.  One of my coworkers had an offer last month that Mr. Bae “sat on” until the last minute when he threatened a law suit at the other school.  Suddenly the offer vanished.  Luckily it was lunch time; I got some fresh air, gimbap with a coworker, and vented while figuring out my plan of action.

I knew I needed to talk to him today or at least get a message translated.  To help myself calm down I wrote up a list with “15 reasons I’m leaving” which included “5 contract conditions” that are, at best, subpar.  I added a line at the bottom notifying him that I need the letter of release by Friday November 29th (today is Tuesday) or I would “bring these grievances to the Korean ministry of labor.”

After discussing it with a few coworkers and making some edits I decided it was best to first bring this to [the new director’s] attention.  I first apologized for putting her in the middle of all of this on her 2nd day (the old principal’s last day was Friday) but quickly brought her up to speed.

I spoke to her about my letter of resignation the other day but at that time nothing was final.  I let her know that the owner’s actions upon contacting my potential employer were the last straw and handed her the list.  She read it over and I said that I am not trying to hurt the school; I would like to finish out my 6 months here but that I need to look out for my own interests.  We discussed the situation for a little longer before I returned to my room.

Luckily I was in the middle of a prep; I had to head back down to make a few copies and she called me back into her office.  She had spoken to Mr. Bae and he was interested in “negotiating.”  Wait, what?  How do you negotiate about this?  He ruined any chance of keeping me around as an employee for the 15 reasons that I listed.  Well I guess I’ll hear it out.

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