Monday, June 21, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 3

As the third contract started the Kim's attitude towards the head teacher started changing too. The head teacher, let's call him Spock, had been with Ivy school for years. If memory serves me well 5 years at that point. He enjoyed working there and did a good job as head teacher. Considering the job mainly consisted of telling us what the Kim's felt we needed to know it wasn't THAT hard.

I think the change really started when Mr. Kim got me to talk with Jack. Since it is something the head teacher should be doing I talked with Spock about it. He was a little put off because it was something he felt he should have done as head teacher. He let the Kim's know this. That was probably his first mistake as head teacher.

When I was re-signing Mr. Kim let me know that they (the Kim's) wanted me to be head teacher. I told them we had one and he was doing a good job. Then the standard trash talk started. "He looks too tired. " which became "We don't think he wants it anymore."

Of course, I told Spock all about it. He is a friend and I felt he should know. He was surprised because he hadn't said anything to the Kim's about not liking the position. as we talked I found out why THEY didn't want him as head teacher anymore. first was his displeasure when the Kim's bypassed him. Then there was him saying No when they asked him to work Saturdays. Our contracts actually said we did not work weekends.

Saying "No" means one thing to most Hagwon owners. YOU are a bad teacher. If you don't do everything they say without question you are a bad teacher. If you have the temerity to say no then you are a REALLY bad teacher. Their view of Spock changed after he said no once. It was probably the ONLY time in 5 years working for them he said no. But it only takes once with assholes like them. Now the fix was in on the part of the Kim's to get rid of Spock.

They started to undermine him as head teacher every chance they had. Whether it was trash talking about him as HT to the foreign teachers or ignoring him as HT all the while trying to convince me to take the position. Like I said, he is my friend, so I always kept him apprised of what was going on. He said if they wanted me as HT he didn't care. It isn't like he could force them to keep him. (The position brought an extra 100K won.)

I didn't want the job. I have seen what happens to HT's. They become the whipping boy for the Director when things go wrong with the teachers.

It came to the point where they let him go as HT and told me either I take it or we have no HT. I talked with him and the other foreigners. They said take it. Better to have someone in the position than no one. I warned the Kim's that if they gave me the position I was not going to just be a rubber stamp for them. I would be representing the foreign teachers to them. They said they had no problem with that. In fact they wanted me to bring the concerns of the FT's to them. This would come back to haunt me. (What can I say, they lie like we breath.)

Spock's sister-in-law was our office manager. even though she knew what was going on she never once warned him. Instead she took the opportunity to start trashing me. When Spock was let go as HT she told him I campaigned to get his job. Keep in mind up until now I the Grace incident I considered her a friend. This shit happened a couple of month's after the BS with Grace. I didn't consider Ronnie an enemy, but I did think she was a mouthy bitch. She was a great teacher but not a good person. I kept my opinions to myself until I started to find out that she was trashing me like this with my friend AND his family. The stupid cunt didn't realize that, unlike her, I let him know EVERYTHING that was going on with the Kim's. But I digress.

A few months later Spock signed a new contract with the Kim's. Mr. Kim told him that he should try finding a new job for next year. Strange thing to say when re-signing someone.

Spock's wife was pregnant and having the baby. As head teacher I made sure everything was in place so Spock could have the day off. His classes were covered. It was not an easy birth and his wife could have died. She required some surgery to survive. So, I made sure he would have the next day off to be with her.

I was on my way home when Mr. Kim called me. He was angry because Spock would not be at work the next day. I explained what happened with his wife and that he needed to be with her. I also explained that none of the teachers minded and his classes were covered. He was still irate. He was in Libya when his wife gave birth and couldn't be there. well Spock's situation was different. He gave in, in the end. Or so I thought. Spock ended up coming to work the afternoon of the next day. Mr. Kim had called him and told him he should. God only knows what he said to Ronnie that was relayed. It isn't like the pig eyed sack of shit would back up her brother-in-law.

A couple of months later, on a Friday night, I had a call from Spock. He wanted to meet and talk. As he was leaving work for the night he was called into the Director's office. Mr. Kim informed him that he was a bad teacher. The Korean teachers didn't want to work with him anymore. The students didn't like him. He had better start being a good teacher or else. Spock was flabbergasted. He said what teachers? Mr. Kim then said 3 of them, not the initial all, complained about him and didn't want to work with him. Spock managed to get their names. One of them he had NEVER co-teachered with! It was just more bull shit.

On the following Tuesday I was called into the office. Spock doesn't look happy! Tell him he needs to look happy or else he will be fired. What the kimchi? I said of course he isn't happy after what you told him Saturday. That doesn't matter. If he doesn't look happy we will get rid of him.

Now think of his situation, would YOU look happy? In the teachers room he was quiet and didn't really smile. But he is also a professional, unlike most Hagwon owners. When he was outside of the teachers room he forced himself to smile and pretend to be happy.

Basically all of this bull shit from the Kim's was aimed at getting him to quit. He had been with them the longest and was making the most money. The school was doing well, but had lost some students and the competition had increased in the area. They wanted to get rid of him, and me, in order to get new teachers. Ones with no experience that they could pay less money and cheat more easily.

They ended up firing me and Spock at the same time, for no real reason. Then they realized they had shot themselves in the foot. They only had one replacement teacher coming. So they told Spock they would "let" him stay until mid August. THEN he was fired. Spock had a job with EPIK lined up that started late august, so he stayed. Considering he had a wife and newborn to support I don't blame him.

For over five years he worked there and did a great job. They paid back that loyalty by trying to drive him to quit and then firing him when he wouldn't.

As an aside, the Kim's later opened up an SLP franchise in YongAm-Dong. Ivy School started bleeding students. They closed it and re-opened it as |Ivy School reborn." It ended up closing for good but they STILL run the SLP in YongAm-Dong.


  1. What a bloody shame. I really can't understand how some people think at times.

    I bet if I follow my interest in maybe teaching in South Korea after Uni I would be a punching bag for hagwon owners.

    On a side note, check the last sentence of your fifth paragraph (I think you used spock's real name there)

  2. Thanks Bwadmon. I fixed it. :)

    I found one I trusted and would still trust. Unfortunately, the good ones are few and far between.

    There are some tactics all the bad ones seem to use to screw foreign teachers out of money. I will do a post about them when I finish. Mind you a lot of the time they screw the Korean teachers over too.

    You have better odds of having a good experience at a Public School BUT there are bad ones too. Same goes for Universities. Basically it is a crapshoot and the worst odds are with Hagwons.

  3. Hello; Does anyone know if the Boston Academy School is still running?
    Be careful of providing allowing any school to set up direct deposit for you. This is a high risk thing to do in that area.
    Also watch your identity documents as identity theft can cost you every penny you have in both a bank like kb in Korea or any bank you have your life savings in your home country.

  4. Damn I remember Boston.

    Yeah that bank account scam is pretty crazy.