Thursday, May 21, 2009

Problems in Paradise

It's 4:10, I'm sitting at home during my break. I've caught myself thinking about the differences between this year and last year. For example: from working in a public school to working in a private school. The differences from that alone can be published in the worlds most frustrating book. This has been the center of thought for my revolving and forever reevaluating mind. As of now, this is starting to sound like a very depressing and non-cinderblock like thing to say. But it's not all bad.

Hogwon- A private after school education facility. They can be found specializing in any school subject. The subject in question: English as a second language.

Korea public school is very much similar to public schools in America, minus two major things. One is that they have to go to school two Saturdays a month. The second is that thee teachers can beat the children when they feel like it. Those are two cultural things, so I try not to make a fuss.

A hogwon is basically a business. They don't give a crap about the students education. They just want to make money.

Differences: Hogwon pays more, but you work more hours. Public school pays less, less hours. Hogwon: less students smaller classes, Public school more students big classes. Hogwon: Foreign Co-workers, Public school only Korean co-workers.

Now...for my gripes.

My problem with my boss is both professional and personal. He tries to work his way around my contract to his advantage. The only problem with that is he is not smart enough, lacks conviction, and has absent a much needed set of testicles that is imperative when dealing with me.

The first idiotic and shady thing he did to me...He tried to make me take vacation days to get my wisdom teeth out. I get 5 emergency sick days. I wanted to use 2 of them. Then even after the agreement (which was when we were still 'friends') we came too, he tried to go back on it. This turned into him yelling at me in his office as I was telling him to calm down because this needs to be solved. He started throwing things at his bookshelf and muttering under his breath. I told him he was acting childish, he didn't like that. Only after I threatened to call the labor board (exactly what it sounds like) did he back off and give me what I wanted. So a big fuss because he was being a baby. In the end I got what I wanted. After this incident my boss decided he won't speak to me. JAKE: 1 Dickhead: 0

I started to send him letters about stuff that needed to be dealt with. Namely health insurance. He then decided he won't read my letters. I made him so furious (which felt pretty good on my end) that he told my head teacher that I am dead to him and my contract doesn't exist...which brings me to my next point.

He tried to tell me, through another teacher, that I am only entitled to travelers health insurance when it was blatantly stated in my contract that I will recieve "insurance from the PUBLIC health care provided." After a couple of messages through the Korean teacher vine, I decided I was going to call the health insurance company that was losing money. I called. After 3 weeks of arguing all it took was one phone call threatening an investigation and he folded.

He is doing things illegally. If he was smart he would try to make people happy so he wouldn't have problems. But like I said, he isn't all. He even said to my head teacher "what if an inspector comes in and looks around, they might find something." To which she replied, "Yeah, well what did you think would happen?"

I understand about money making in a business. But what about the reason for the business in the first place. Would a car company expect to make money if they weren't good at making cars? NO. Would a drug dealer stay in business if he sold shit product? Would a begger get any spare change if he just sat there and did nothing? Should a private after school program aimed at teaching languages make money if the boss doesn't allow his teachers to teach properly? No no and no.

I grow tired of not having enough books for students and teachers; not having enough advanced notice or planning time for tests; of having a boss that is completely and grossly under qualified to do the type of work he is doing. Worst of all, having to see his stupid face, and hear his stupid mouth every stupid day.

What is the point of this post you might ask. A couple of reasons. A)Don't EVER work at a hogwon unless if you want to: 1)work long and unusual hours. 2)be screwed over by your idiot boss. 3)have to worry about something sneaky happening behind your back. 4)want to ruin Korea for yourself.


B)I needed to vent in writing. Accomplished

They only positive thing is you make more money. The difference isn't enough though to make me happy about these things.

It's unfortunate. I like my classes and my students. I like my co-workers. I like my classroom. I just can't take working for someone who refuses to take constructive criticism or any outside ideas no matter how good they are. He is the perfect example of a childish idiotic boss. No wonder his business failed in Canada. Korean male mentality doesn't work in the western world. I'm the boss, bow down to me. No no, you're the boss, earn some respect, and I won't destroy your business by going to immigration and the pension office.

Don't let this dissuade you from wanting to teach in Korea if you were thinking about it. It's just my opinion of the hogwon's in this country. I should have listened to myself when I said "I'll never work at a hogwon."

TEACH AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL! I'll make it though. I'm still happy here, just not really too much at work. Oh well. Tough titty.