Subject: LOTIS in Jamsil, Seoul.
Jan 13, 2017 at 7:25 PM
Hello, internets. I'd like to share my two years of experience at LOTIS in Jamsil, Seoul.
Day-to-day, you're left alone to do your job. At the beginning of the year you're given long-term goals, and with a few check-ins and pacing meetings, it's up to you how to complete them. I've been able to use my teaching style to help my students learn on their own. That freedom makes all the difference; it makes me feel like more than someone who teaches for a living. It makes me feel like a teacher.
Nothing about teaching kindergarten is easy. However working at LOTIS I know that if I feel overwhelmed or particularly worried about something, whether the issue is with the curriculum, a student, or a coworker, then I can talk to the head teacher (who's legitimately bilingual) and she'll be able to help.
The management of the school is experienced, honest, and respectable. We are paid on time and in full. The school has improved a lot since opening, especially with communication and organization. This has come from experience, exposure, and the addition of administrative staff. The owner is also receptive to constructive criticism and suggestions. He wants his teachers to feel supported and happy.
I've had many kinds of jobs in the past 20 years, and it's not an exaggeration to say that this is the best job I've ever had.
Subject: KJC-21 in Guseo, Busan.
Jan 11, 2017 at 3:00 PM
I had a pretty good experience at the KJC-21 in Guseo, Busan. You should expect to work hard, but the hours are not grueling. You will always have a couple of breaks through the day. The owner is a fair and honest guy, which is a rarity anywhere these days. I had to leave early because of a medical issue and he even gave me partial severance and paid my flight home. The kids are amazing, and I miss them! Overall pretty good place to work!
Subject: Anderson Academy, Namak, Mokpo
Dec 14 at 11:32 AM
I worked at this school for a year and it was the BEST JOB I have ever had. I had just come from a terrible school where I was mistreated and lied to, and even though my former director did his level best to spread rumors about me and insure I couldn't get hired again, this school gave me a chance. I was treated extremely well here. The Korean teachers speak English very proficiently and are super friendly. They celebrate birthdays together, have pizza and chicken day for the students when they do well on the test. The positivity of the staff infects the whole place and the kids here are SO HAPPY! These kids were the sweetest kids I have ever met and they love the teachers and the school. I never had a major discipline problem and the students are even enthusiastic about learning English. The foreign teachers are mostly ladies with families that have lived in Korea for a while and everyone is incredibly helpful.
Xxxxxx also has an open door policy so anytime you feel you have a problem with a student or need help with anything it will get resolved immediately. I never had to ask twice about anything. In the year I was there we never had anyone quit or get fired or even get in trouble. The other teachers are respectful of boundaries and never interfere with lessons. I honestly feel like I could have gone to these people with a major life problem and they would have helped me out as best they could.
Put it this way: when I showed up, I wasn't sure I even wanted to teach any more. When I left, I knew I wanted to teach for the rest of my life.
Subject: SLP in Hwamyeong (Bukgu Busan)
Date: Nov 4 2016 at 11:43 PM
I'm so fortunate to have ended up at SLP in Hwamyeong (Bukgu Busan) SLP. Such a positive environment and very welcoming to foreigners. The supervisor, Xxxxxx is a wonderful being! Relaxed environment, small classes - overall a really great experience!
Subject: Kids Club in Sangnam-dong, Changwon
Date: Oct 6 2016, 11:26 PM
I worked for Kids Club in Sangnam-dong, Changwon and wow what an amazing experience it was. I was there for two years and don't have a bad experience to speak of.
Sure there were the regular things like sometimes being notified late of activities and art projects but the English staff were treated amazingly well. Unreasonable parent complaints never came back on us, expectations for textbooks were always communicated clearly and we were paid on time with everything handled legally and professionally.
The school suffered a couple of hardships during my years there. English staff taking advantage of the relaxed kindness of our supervisors. The English teachers had to help pick up the slack when these teachers abandoned us however the school paid us overtime and even bought us breakfast and lunch to make up for it. My coworker ended up with a severe back issue which needed immediate medical attention in the USA and the school took care of her without penalty or ill feelings. They helped her rush around to get her pension and everything else before her emergency flight home.
Truly Kids Club in Changwon (not the one in Masan) is a gem of a Hagwon that values a relaxed atmosphere for the kids and treats its staff amazingly well. Even those who are ungrateful and rude were given respect (sometimes more than I think they deserved).
Subject: Jeongbal POLY campus in Ilsan
Date: September 10, 2016
I'd like to tell you about the Jeongbal POLY campus in Ilsan, Korea.
I left the most miserable teaching position I have ever had. I was completely put out, stressed, anxious, and ready to go back home. My recruiter found me a new job and I could feel myself having flashbacks of the horrible conditions of my prior job.
I was SO wrong. I got to the school and immediately noticed how organized everything was. The principal was very friendly and talkative. The Korean staff spoke well enough English to help me out. The English staff were all happy and fun to be around.
More and more I grow to love this job and I'm so happy I stayed in Korea to get it.
The school is neat and organized. Everything has a place and there are rules and regulations for the whole school. Everyone is on a team together and we share classes with each other. The system of this school is easy to learn and puts everyone on the same page.
The staff is open and friendly. Often everyone will go out for dinner or we will have small celebrations for certain holidays together. In particular there is a new head English Teacher who is an absolute godsend to this school. He goes above and beyond everything to make this school perfect. All the staff relies on each other and we can all consider each other friends. I can't imagine a better working environment. Everyone has their own books and their own desk and computer.
The curriculum is easy to learn. All new teachers get very helpful manuals on everything they need to know. Like most Hagwons, there is a lot of little things to do, but the staff is always more than willing to help remind you. There is little to no extra work that requires teachers to stay late. It is very easy to plan ahead for this school.
The students are all very good with English. It is very easy to work with the class and the students are very well-behaved. I love all of my students and I am so happy to be teaching them.
In conclusion, don't be worried about the POLY logo. Some POLY schools have a bad reputation, but this one is amazing. If you're worried, try contacting the staff that used to work there to tell you about it.
Subject: DYB Choisun Language Institute, Seoul
Date: August 9, 2016
I'd like to post a positive review about my current employer, DYB Choisun Language Institute. I'm about to finish my first year contract and thought I'd put the word out about this hagwon chain. There are some negative reviews floating around about this chain and honestly I almost turned down the offer because I was convinced that this place was a scam. While no hagwon is perfect, DYB is honestly everything that I dreamed of when I decided I wanted to teach English in Seoul. DYB is incredibly reliable and I always know who to go to when I have an issue. Management is honest and keep their word - housing is top quality, pay is always on time, and my supervisor has even stuck to smaller verbal promises not in my contract. Teachers have almost total freedom in the classroom as long as our lessons are interesting and get the kids using English. I feel well trained and like I have a clear idea of what my roles are at my job. There are some negatives, such as late work hours, working on minor Korean holidays (we get the major ones off and random additional days), and the CEO is a bit arrogant, but nothing that has ever made me come close to regret signing. The work can be hard, but at the end of the day I leave work feeling like I accomplished something and I almost always leave work with a smile. DYB rarely hires teachers without a few years ESL experience and many teachers have secondary education in TESOL or 10+ years experience. If you were offered the job, especially as a newer teacher. TAKE IT. You'll have a hard time finding a job with such short hours, reliable management, and good pay/housing
Subject: Poly Returnee Education, Dongdaemun campus
Date: February 4, 2016
I'd like to add Poly Returnee Education, Dongdaemun campus.
First off, it's long hours, and like any JOB, there are some harder days than others.
I worked at this located for almost 3 years, and the management always been straight forward with me. I've always gotten paid on time, and I've always felt like they'd had my back when it came to protecting their teachers.
It's not perfect, and you will find yourself scrambling to finish grading writing tests from time to time. It does take a little bit of time to learn to juggle everything without taking stuff home (something the director does not recommend you do).
Do your job and it's a good experience.
Pros: Good pay, no creating lessons, generally a positive working environment.
Cons: Long hours, it's a real JOB, can't speak for the experiences of different locations.
Subject: ILS (International Language School) Juk Jeon
Date: Jan 13, 2016
Hi there! I thought I would write something positive and wonderful about my school, as I have had a great time so far!
I really enjoy working at this school. The staff, korean and foreign, are all amazing people, very supportive and like a family. Everyone is treated with the same amount of respect and you will make many new friends. Our management will always be there when you need them and they offer great support to the staff. Our kids are amazing and they are the highlight of my day!I have been very happy here and would recommend our school to any future applicants! This is a wonderful school to work for!
Subject: Dongdaemun SLP in Seoul
Date: Jan 11, 2016
I would like to post a comment about my time working at Dongdaemun SLP in Seoul. I have really enjoyed my experience working here. All my coworkers, both Korean and Western, have all been great to work with, and there has always been a positive attitude among us all. I have found the management here to be very helpful, and if ever I have been in need of any help, they have always been very supportive at all times. I can say to future applicants, with confidence, that this hagwon is a good hagwon to work for.
Subject: UACE, Yongin-si, Suji-gu
Date: Jan 09, 2016
I was randomly looking online about schools in my area and found my old school on your site. Since my experience has been positive, I figured I would add my story to the Green List. I had worked at UACE hag-won for a few years. Overall they have been great to me. The hours are long but rewarding. We had a set curriculum so preparing for class was a breeze. After a certain point, we no longer needed to create lesson plans, which increased our prep time. Often, if a class was canceled, the school would give you the option to go home early (instead of sitting and being bored for 40 minutes). I NEVER had an issue of pay. It was always accurate and on time. Once I was trained properly, my supervisors didn't micro-manage me.
Almost all business policies practiced by UACE are pretty common for most private academies. As such, I never really had issues. Our apartments were on the small side but mine was exactly what I needed, clean and furnished. They are all within walking distance to the school and easily located near bus and subway lines. I think it only took 45 minutes to get into Seoul by bus.
I understand that no business is perfect and there will always be minor issues between staff and management. Overall, UACE is fine school. You are treated as well as you treat others.Teachers with communication problems, improper teaching styles, or simple insubordination have always been dealt with properly. A lot of westerners have trouble adjusting to Korean culture and I believe that's how most issues arise. I enjoyed teaching at UACE and would go back again.
Subject: Anam Giant English Center, Seoul Anam Elementary School
Date: Jan 5, 2016
English Friends, Madeul (Nowon)
Hi, the afterschool program is really great. The electronics are a bit old but functional and there's also a projector in each classroom. No CCTV (pet peeve). Students are very smart and respectful. Also the lady (Eunice) who is the manager was very helpful and after talking with other teachers they enjoyed working there and money hasn't been an issue. Theres usually a break period or so for prep! Strongly recommend!
Subject: Anam Giant English Center, Seoul Anam Elementary School
Date: August 14, 2015
This place is a hagwon that's overseen by a public school in Seoul. The principal of the public school has the final say on employees and contract renewal.
The center teaches mostly elementary school students, from 1st to 6th grade, and native teachers teach two adult classes each week as well. Management is usually amazing at giving advance notice of class changes, holidays, open classes, and other such goings-on at the school, which was quite a new experience compared to my previous time in Korea.
The working hours are generally slightly on the long side, at 9:30am~6:00pm, but this includes a lunch break, and management is also really good about allowing you to come in late, leave early, or leave during your lunch break if you have to run an errand or don't want to eat the school's lunch (which is really good! But one of my co-teachers had allergies so opted out of school lunch in his contract, which was a very simple process), provided you don't miss teaching time by doing so.
There are only 2~3 classes to teach per day (most of them 90 minutes - two 40-minute periods with a 10-minute break in between, though native teachers will also have two first grade classes a week that are only 40 minutes), and the rest of the time is used for planning. The center is very laid back, so if you have no planning to do and nothing due, it's perfectly fine for you to chill out online, or read, or do whatever you want to do. As long as you get your work done, no one will complain or yell at you for silly things. I've worked here for almost two years now, and am likely going to renew again. I've quite enjoyed it, and it's been heavenly compared to my previous job in Korea.
Subject: Willy Campus, Opo-eup, not far from Seohyeon Station
Date: July 27, 2015
I'll be leaving Korea in a few weeks to go to the USA for personal reasons, and I would like to nominate my current place of employment, Willy Campus, for the Tokyojon green list with the very highest honors. Apparently, there are other Willy Campus branches in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, but this one is in Opo-eup, not far from Seohyeon Station on the Bundang line.
This is the third hagwon I have worked at in Korea and I'll be completing my third year at Willy Campus in just a few weeks. I wish I didn't need to go to the USA so badly, because Willy Campus is a dream employer. The pay is always in full and on time. They don't make BS deductions either. Everything is totally straight. As for the work environment, the owner/director/boss, Sxxxxx, is such a classy lady. She's extremely likeable both from a personal standpoint and from a professional standpoint. She has a very laid back personality and doesn't micromanage at all. That's not to say you can just run over her and goof off. After all, the reason I was hired on is because she fired the previous foreign teacher. There aren't any other foreign teachers, but out of the three hagwons where I have worked, Willy Campus has been by far the most racially integrated. Sxxxxx, the other English teachers, and the math teachers are all very friendly and it's like you're part of the family. The students are so much fun and are such a pleasure to teach. I'm going to miss teaching them. Even the locals are all incredibly nice. They really go out of their way to be kind. In the whole three years I have lived in Opo, no one has ever done anything rude or hostile. Not even once. Even though Bundang is so close you can walk to Seohyeon Station in 90 minutes, It's amazing how nice the people in Opo are compared to Bundang.
The fact that everyone has been so super is one reason why I want Willy Campus to be green listed. I really want Sxxxxx to end up with the best possible teacher, and I want the kids to end up with the best possible teacher. If anyone deserves a great teacher, it's Sxxxx, these kids, and the local community.
The apartment is the most overlooked aspect when signing on with a hagwon. It makes a huge difference in how pleasant your life is during your contract. The apartment is definitely above average, as far as apartments provided by hagwons go. It's a lot like a hotel room with a kitchen. It's smallish, but I love it. Sxxxxx actually lived in it right before I moved in, so she's not putting her teachers in a place that she wouldn't live in herself. A lot of hagwons move their teachers into apartments knee deep in garbage, no exaggeration, but I promise this apartment will be clean when I move out. The walls will have new wallpaper as well. My bro sent a coffee machine and a Christmas tree this past winter, so whoever moves in will have those during their contract, in addition to the furnishings that Willy Campus provides. Since tomorrow is never guaranteed in ESL, I never fixed the apartment up into a bachelor pimp pad, but the apartment definitely has potential if you w ant to go that route. Since it's small, you could do it relatively cheaply. Sxxxxx upgraded the lock to a number keypad lock in addition to the key lock, so that's another bonus. The apartment is a 12 minute walk from work, and the apartment is only two minutes away from a grocery store, a 7-11, and an upscale pizzeria/cafe.
I feel like I'm forgetting to write something, but the bottom line is Willy Campus totally rocks. I have nothing negative to say.
Subject: American School and Tom n' Jenny/Ivy School (bokdea-dong), Cheongju
Date: July 03, 2015
-- Reading through the black-list horror stories I feel I should give credit to the solid places I've worked at in the past.
My first year in Korea I worked at Tom n' Jenny's (also goes by Ivy School) in bokdea-dong. A small school (I was the only foreign teacher), but no problems: great director, hours were reasonable, apartment great, good materials (from Tom n' Jenny franchise program), paid on time, pension, bonus, airfare, no issues at all.
My second year I worked at "American School", which moved from gaeshin-dong to my old haunt bokdea while I was working there. There is a JLS franchise school attached to the new location with the same owner which I can also vouch for, having know people who worked there. The only small issue I had was pension contributions not being paid, but when I brought this up my wage was increased to compensate. Again, highly recommended very reputable employer. Materials were aging poorly when I arrived but they updated/improved a lot in the year I was there.
Subject: Mapo Poly School, Seoul
Date: January 27, 2015
I'd like to add Mapo Poly School to the Green List. I know Poly has a terrible rap on these websites--for good reason, because the hours are lonnnnng and without all the good parts of the job at Mapo, I'm sure I would've hated it. But from everything I've heard and read, I really think that the Mapo campus is the best if you're considering any of the long-hours-high-pay hagwon jobs in Seoul. You'll get paid well, honestly, and on time, and likely find yourself with great coworkers and super smart kids in an awesome location.
1) STAFF- The biggest reason the campus is so good is the director, Hxxxxxx. He owns two campuses, so if you want to be in the city proper make sure your recruiter doesn't trick you into the other campus and put it in writing that you will only work in Mapo. Anyway, Hxxxxxxx is a pretty great boss for Korea. He speaks great English, is a genuinely fun guy, and on top of that is extremely HONEST and reliable. He always came in and explained everything on our paychecks, payed on time every time, plus pension and healthcare, and he generally takes great pride in his honesty in the crooked hagwon world. Return flight he'll either purchase directly if you're leaving straightaway, or give you a flat sum if you aren't going home directly. Absolutely no issues with money, ever, and of course you're getting that nice high Poly salary. I will note that Hxxxxxxx almost exclusively hires women (there are 9 FT), so sorry guys. But I definitely attribute the vast difference in my Poly experienc e to that of other campuses to him.
Of course, he's not there every single day and daily you'll be dealing with other administrators. The staff switched at the end of my year and generally there seems to be regular turnover in the Korean staff. So I can't vouch for them--talk to a current teacher on that. But I would say that Poly generally only hires people who can ACTUALLY SPEAK ENGLISH, so you can count on being able to communicate.
2) FACILITIES- Great location and pretty good classroom facilities. Yes, some of the usual technical difficulties at a school, but we generally had internet, always had laptops (even if old), no CCTV anywhere but the halls, and they weren't even crazy strict about timeliness [I know cuz I'm often last-minute and almost never early]. Wish the kids had a place to run around or sit on the floor but again, hagwon in an office building, very typical.
Apartments seemed to be decent for central Seoul, but ask for pictures from a current teacher. Anytime I had a problem with mine it was fixed within the week, at no cost to me of course.
3) TIME- Biggest reason most people can't handle Poly are the hours. Honestly I'm amazed I was able to, and the hours are the only reason I wouldn't go back: one year is ok, but in 2 I'd burn out. Vacations are decided for the whole Poly franchise, so you'll have your 5 days in the winter and 5 in the summer as with pretty much every hagwon. But you will count every hour til the next nat'l holiday (which you'll always get off, no worries) because the HOURS ARE HARD, there is no doubt about it. Classes 9:40-7:55 MWF, 9:40-6:40 TTH. 5-minute breaks, 40 minutes for lunch, 50 between kindy and elementary. Lesson plans are all there, though of course some subjects (like science, debate, or lit) require a good bit of extra prepwork. Some hw/journal grading that's easy to do during class or breaks, and you may end up getting grading periods during elementary if you're lucky. The only time I had to work outside the stated hours was doing kindy report cards each month (and elementary level test comments every 3 months), and if you're organized or a good multitasker you can get those done in advance or during class/breaks. You'll find your own rhythm. But don't take this lightly: the hours are incredibly long and draining, the kids will test you, and you will probably feel like you have no free time and only live for the weekends. At least you always know what your schedule is.
So, if you can handle punishing hours and are looking for good, reliable money teaching incredibly smart students, I highly recommend Mapo Poly.
Subject: JLS (Jungsang Hagwon) in Ansan
Date: December 29, 2014
I would like to submit JLS (Jungsang Hagwon) in Ansan to the Greenlist.
**NOTE: there are many JLS hagwons. This is only for the one in Ansan.**
My husband and I worked there for 2 years (2011-2013) and were always paid on time, treated with respect, and had plenty of support from our boss. The only negative part was that we had to be at the school for 8 hours a day (but not weekends or holidays, of course), but I had an average of only 4 teaching hours a day. So the other hours of the day, I had to sit in the office and "make lessons."
While I was there, the boss of the foreign teachers was ********, and he was very helpful and understanding. Even after we left the hagwon, we had him and his family over for dinner a few times. He let us stay at his house when we first came to Korea because the previous teachers still had a few days left in the apartment. I feel so lucky that he was our boss for our first job in Korea.
The teaching material was straight forward and flexible. Because the foreign teacher only teaches a classroom of students once a week, there isn't burn out over teaching the same kids everyday. The downside is that it takes longer to form a relationship, trust, and respect with each student.
The apartment is beautiful and in a great area of town. If you get offered a job at this hagwon, be sure to Skype with the current teachers because hagwons are known to change management quickly and something might have changed. So don't just take my word for it. :)
Subject: Ahil in Ulsan
Date: November 13, 2014
I am working at Ahil in Ulsan now, and have been here for 3 years. I will be leaving early next year. Ahil is not perfect, but I do believe it is a green list kind of school
I work in the kindergarten. I LOVE it here. The students' ages range from 6 year olds to adults. So it's a pretty big school. The curriculum is a little difficult to figure out at first because the site is a little hard to navigate, but once you know the site well enough, planning is sooo easy. Even for first time teachers. The school has just had renovations done to it. They also built a second Ahil school in DongKu. I work in the Nammok Ahil (first Ahil). After kindergarten, I teach the animal classes (elementary) for two hours. The accommodation is good. Nothing fancy. Again, it has just been renovated. We had new kitchens installed and fresh paint. We have a balcony, which is rare in Korea. All the teachers live in a kind of dormitory on the 5th floor of the school. I like this because it's nice having friends just next door. People are always saying that everything is in walking distance in Nammok. All the Korean teachers at Ahil speak English well. The director always p
ays on time. Ahil is a good school to be at.
Subject: Seoul English Villiage, Seoul
Date: August 31, 2014
I'd like to add seoul English villiage to your good place to work list. I had an amasing time there, I highly recommend it to first time teachers and anyone who wants a fun teaching. I was always paid in full and on time, management had great organisational skills pretty much nothing was last min, rare for Korea. Friendly and approachable staff. The only downside is you live with your co workers on school campus, but as long as you don't mind being sociable, and living in the same area you work then it's all good.
Subject: E Bo Young in Gimhae, Inje location
Date: August 25, 2014
I would like to add E Bo Young in Gimhae, Inje location. The manager there is really nice. She was always understanding and really promoted a positive environment. She gives the right amount of discipline to students so I would be set up for an orderly classroom. We would meet every now and then to discuss issues, all of which were resolved in a peaceful manner.
Subject: Kangnam Pride Institute, Gangdong-gu
Date: June 05, 2014
I have worked at Kangnam Pride Institute (KPI) for two years, and Im leaving in a few days. A previous poster wrote some negative comments, so I felt like I should add my thoughts about the school.
KPI is a professional school meant for dedicated teachers and students. At KPI, the vacation time, duties, and schedule are clearly mapped out in each teachers contract. We get 10 vacation days per year, which is fairly standard among private schools in Korea. There are 48 hours of work per week: five hours are for lunch (one hour per day), no more than 33 hours are for teaching, and at least 10 hours are for preparation and grading. Teaching additional hours is optional and compensated as overtime. At certain timeswhen report cards are due, for examplea teachers workload is heavier. However, most of the teachers are excellent planners; they begin time-consuming tasks in advance and are able to finish without ever taking work home.
The previous poster concluded with negative comments concerning a speech about saying yes.EI would like to say that I was there for that speech. It was given by a departing manager who spent over four years here at KPI and was one of the most positive and uplifting individuals I have ever met. In his speech, he shared with us how opening himself up to new opportunities, such as teaching in Korea and accepting a management position, enriched his life in ways that he could not have imagined, and he encouraged us to entertain the notion that the same could happen to us.
For those of us who say yes and accept positive challenges, working at KPI provides opportunities for growth rarely found in Korean academies. This is an elite institution for professionalsit is not a good fit for people uninterested in developing as an educator. When I was interviewed at KPI, I was urged to ask good questions and think deeply about my ideal job. I understood the challenge facing me, and I said yes. I have zero regrets about that decision.
I sincerely hope that prospective teachers are not put off from a good opportunity because of some factually inaccurate posts on the Internet. As with any workplace, some people have had a negative experience here. And employees disagree with decisions or policies from time to time. But that is not the norm. The directors are polite and approachable, the terms of contracts are honored, and apartment issues are handled quickly and professionally. Our foreign staff is roughly 30 strong, and a third of our members have stayed beyond one year (a few are even in their fourth year). The Korean staff, which is even larger than the foreign staff, is full of dedicated people who care about the school, the students, and their coworkers. Overall, KPI is a fair school and has a positive environment. If teaching is your calling, KPI will make you better.
Subject: Alphabet Street in Seocho-gu, Seoul
Date: Friday, May 12, 2014
I just sent a pretty nasty review of my last school, Wizisland, so I want to balance that with a good review of my first school, Alphabet Street in Seocho-gu, Seoul, where I worked from 2011-2012. It wasn't paradise, since like most schools here, the hours are long and expectations are high. But! I was always paid on time, in the full amount. All teachers were required to document overtime (substituting a class, field trips, meetings during breaks, literally everything that is outside of your normal teaching schedule). Every month, we would submit those papers and be paid for the work we did. We received payslips every month that detailed exactly what we were paid for, which is something I haven't seen since I worked there. Housing is provided, though it can be pretty cramped and they did make some of the teachers to move to a different building mid-contract. There are 4 subway stops nearby, which is very handy for exploring Seoul. There were meetings in the morning in which they told us what to expect for the upcoming week. Usually hagwon directors are far less communicative about things like that. Basically, if you're going hagwon, try to go here. Drawbacks: It's close to Gangnam, so the kids are filthy rich and spoiled rotten. The parents complain about absolutely everything. You live close to the school, so chances are you'll see either the parents or your kids when you're out and about. (I once had a parent call and complain because I was sitting outside of my apartment building on a Saturday morning, smoking a cigarette. Cultural note, don't smoke if you're female here.) But compared to other problems I've heard of and have run into at other schools, these are minor. This is the best organized hagwon I've worked at in Korea. It had some problems, but compared with other places I've worked, those problems are easy to work though.
Subject: General Advice
Date: Friday, November 1, 2013
Hello all. As far as Hakwons go, there are some good ones and bad ones. It really depends on your attitude and theirs. Having said that. I have worked for both GEPIK and After school programs for 10 yrs now. I would strongly advise trying for a decent after school program rather than a Hakwon. I currently work for DKEdu which is actually a re-named Daekyo. Their materials need editing, but they do supply basically everything. I have always been paid on time and in full. This is actually the second time I have worked for them. I work from 12-5 most days. I cannot vouch for some of the after-school programs. I worked for a couple in Seoul that were also well run. Anyway, if you can't make it to a uni yet, the after school programs offer a block schedule and decent pay. I will be working for a uni next year but I stumbled on this website and decided to post this and hope someone gets a decent job. My first and only Hakwon job, shorted me every month, had terrible housing with 3 of us and didn't pay for my flight home but I am still here. Take that for what it's worth. Like I said earlier, your attitude is probably the biggest factor in whether you make it in Korea or any job for that matter!
Subject: Gwanak Poly
Date: Thursday, February 7, 2013 8:17 AM
This place isn't for everybody. The hours are long,it's hard work, and, if you don't read your contract carefully, you might be surprised by your severance, etc. You're signing up for a year working in a foreign country. Of course you should read the contract carefully, ANY contract, especially one this important!
I'm not the first or last person to have resigned, though, and there are reasons for that:
-The pay is decent, and it's always on time.
-The curriculum is strong. So, with willing students, there is often tremendous growth and progress in a short period of time. That contributes to job satisfaction, which is important, unless you're only in Korea for quick cash.
-Most of the teachers they hire actually care about teaching well and about the kids. Personally, I don't like being around staff members that don't like children, are still children themselves, or who have no patience. Choose a different line of work already! For example,I'm sure they're always looking for people to put animals down at the pound. You'd be surprised how many hagwons hire borderline-abusive teachers just because they look like Ken or Barbie. Not Gwanak Poly.
-I don't think the owner or the office staff has ever lied to me. I can't speak for everyone, but I was never forced to sign anything I didn't want to sign, and I was never surprised by how I was compensated.
-You have the option of getting the national health insurance if you don't understand and don't want the private insurance.
-The management has always been polite to me. I'd go so far as to say many of them are genuinely kind! In addition to several other kindnesses, the owner has even given compliments for jobs well done. That may not sound like a big deal, but, if you've ever worked in Korea, you know that positive feedback is rare. They certainly give you your personal space outside of working hours. However, if you need help with something not work-related, they are often quite helpful.
-My apartment is okay. It isn't tiny. It's SMALL, but it isn't tiny. The location is great! It's a stone's throw from the green line. Also, it's walking distance to the school.
It's demanding. I'm sorry it hasn't worked out for everyone, but, so far, I like my job at Poly Gwanak! I've worked several places, and this is the only one at which I've resigned.
Subject: GnB English (Daebang Campus) in Changwon
Date: Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:14 PM
GnB English (Daebang Campus) in Changwon
I worked at the GnB campus in Daebang-dong Changwon. I enjoyed it so much that I signed on for a second year.
I first arrived in Korea on a Sunday and went to the school the following Monday. However the teacher that I was taking over for left the apartment a complete mess. There were empty beer bottles and cigarette butts everywhere. Not to mention insects crawling around the spoiled foods left in the cupboards. It was disgusting. I let my new boss know right away. On Monday before my first day at the school she came by to the apartment to pick me up. She was shocked at how bad it was so she went to Family Mart and bought a bunch of cleaning supplies. Then for the next 45 minutes, she did all of the dishes for me and helped show me around the building.
After we finished that day at school she came back to my apartment with her husband in tow, and another teacher from the school. All three of them together helped to clean up the rest of the mess.
Given that it was my first time in Korea I thought that maybe my boss was just being nice because I was new. And that after a few months that kind of generosity would fade. Well after 2 years of working there, my director and other teachers at the school, were just as helpful as at the beginning.
The director would often take all of the teachers out to dinner. Followed by drinks and fun at a noraebang. And there were a few times where she was nice enough to invite myself and the other teachers over to her home for dinner.
There would be many times where the boss would let me go home early because I finished all of my work and had nothing to do. You never have to work weekends. Overtime is optional but only comes available during intensive months. Pay was never an issue and was always on time. The severance bonus & the pension refund were also problem free. And any time you have an issue with your apartment, cell phone, bank account or anything else, the school will take care of it immediately.
The only drawback to this school is that you are the only native speaker. But there are other schools in the immediate area with native speakers. And because it is a small school (just 5 Korean teachers including the director) it is a very comfortable atmosphere that felt more like a family than a workplace. I became good friends with some of the teachers there.
Overall a great experience and I highly recommend this school.
Subject: Chungdahm Learning in Daejeon
Date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I worked at Chungdahm Learning in Daejeon, South Korea. Chungdahm is one of the best known academies in Korea. I was always paid on time and in full. Some of the staff speak very limited English, but on a day-to-day basis instructors do not deal with them. Training is difficult, but passable for those who are well-prepared.
Cons: No holidays (Chuseok and Lunar New Year are made up on Saturdays as are most cancelled classes). Christmas, Good Friday, Children's Day, and any other holiday you can think of are regular working days. If you're getting into teaching for the hours or the vacation, Chungdahm in Daejeon is not the hagwon for you. Other academies get two to three times more vacation with holidays (known as red days in Korea) off. Experienced professionals will not get paid any more than new teachers elsewhere.
Furthermore, those with personalities on the bland, or quieter side tend not to do well here. If you keep to yourself, speak in a low volume, mumble, or are unpopular with students--it will come back to you. Best to be honest with yourself up front and not be surprised.
Issues: Management at Chungdahm is not very experienced or proactive. They do not know education or Western culture well. Most of the talent end up leaving after one or two years. However, I have read the same things about other academies in Korea. The concept of a meritocracy does not apply to education administration and management in this country.
Pros: Chungdahm students are more fluent than those in most private academies, public schools, and universities. Daejeon is a nice city. The school is fairly well maintained. Supplies are plentiful, though there are somethings teachers are expected to purchase on their own.
Subject: GnB English School (Sahwa Campus) in Palyong-dong
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2012 8:58 PM
The GnB English School (Sahwa Campus) in Palyong-dong, Changwon-si is probably the best job I've ever had. I arrived in Korea with only about $100 USD. The director literally provided almost all my food for the first month I was here. She didn't speak a lot of English but she organized with the other Korean teachers to help me get whatever I needed. I was seriously ill for 3 days towards the end of my contract and she so kindly volunteered to cover my classes herself after she realized I was too sick to come in. Payment has been on time every month except one when half was payed the day of and the other half on the day after. She had forgotten to prepare my severance pay but when I wanted to talk to her about when it would come she showed no reluctance but began making a plan and told me what day she would have it ready by. Plane tickets have not been an issue.
On top of all this organization and efficiency she has bought all of us teachers snacks every day and when she hears that I am becoming stressed she shows great concern and tries to fix whatever is stressing me out. Her ears are constantly open to problems I'm having with the students and advice for handling different situations. This school comes HIGHLY recommended.
Subject: SLP Haeundae Busan
Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 8:08 PM
SLP Haeundae Busan is a great school to work at. I was weary at first, because there were some negative reviews from years back but the school has since changed management. I enjoy coming to school every day (never thought Id say that.) The curriculum is provided, the classes are organized and your schedule is consistent. There are helper teachers in your Kindy classes to deal with the crying kids. There are counselor teachers to deal with the parents.
We do fun things like Birthday Party celebrations each month where we sing songs and the parents bring you food, field trips and market days. Our supervisors are so approachable and available. Our accommodation is great. All the teachers that work together mesh well and spend time together outside of class. We are near to the beach, mountains and subway line.
This school is professional as a Hagwon and employer. I couldn't be happier.
Subject: Jung Ji Elementary school in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do
Date: Wednesday, September 7, 2011
My name is Tao and i'm teaching in Jung Ji Elementary school in Ansan, Gyeonggi-do. at first, i wasn't pleased with my home and felt it was moldy and smelly... but all the houses in this area are like that and lots of my students lived in the same apartment as me. after a bit of cleaning up and settling in, i feel this is more homey than my condo in vancouver. my school did some amazing things for me
1. offered me an additional raise after they realized i was actually in an industrial zone... and BACK PAID ME.
2. let me pursue the super cute librarian who was also single when we first met. it didn't work out but the vibe at work was very positive and everyone who was unmarried invited me to go hang out and called out the librarian for our romance lol. to be fair, i do look really korean, i'm chinese and tall and very athletic looking. and was literally what she described as an ideal man
3. when i did extensive, EXTENSIVE damage to the hard wood floors in the auditorium because i cleaned it with BOILING water after marking it for dodgeball, i was not punished. they just kind of made a joke about my ignorance and i just had to deal with the embarrassment of being the only person who didn't know how to clean hardwood floors. the auditorium was BRAND new btw, installed in the summer and this was during winter. damage was literally 10,000USD
4. they allowed me to take time off work to get my passports/bank transactions/visa applications/and even my recent job interview at a non teaching position in korea as long as it didn't conflict with school schedules. they also allowed me to try to arrange the schedules in case they did conflict so i could make my errand runs.
5. i had pneumonia 2 months into my first year and the principal and vice principal came to visit me in the hospital and wish me good luck.
these are really kind people and it's really a shame that the government is cutting funds for native teachers in public schools. there are some genuinely good people here as long as you show them that you acknowledge it's their country and you will follow the rules they set out and don't expect special treatment. i established that early on, that I wanted to be treated like a Korean and from that moment, they did their best to make me feel like family. I really appreciate it and actually wouldn't mind staying at this school longer but it's time I move on with my career.
Subject: Young Talking Club, Gweoldong
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I am happy to say this school is Excellent! The directors go out of their way to help and support there teachers in and outside of the class. I worked there for two and a half years and have no complaints at all. The students were great, curriculum easy to teach, and when I needed to talk the door was always open and friendly.