Monday, June 21, 2010

Ivy English School - YongAm-Dong Cheongju Part 4

So, I was now head teacher and things were getting beyond pear shaped faster than you would believe. I was at the 6th month mark of the contract and trying to decide what to do. Should I say fuck it and quit or go for the bonus. As far as I knew the Kim's still paid the bonus. As far as I knew.

I decided to stick it out to the end of the contract. Hindsight is 20/20 and I feel stupid for doing that now. At the time it seemed like a safe move to make. It was the wrong decision.

They were making big schedule changes. The school would be open until 10PM instead of 8:30. They needed a teacher to do the late classes. If you did the late classes you wouldn't have kindergarten. No one wanted it. In the end I was given it, the life of the head teacher. Of course the Kim`s soon showed how good their word was. They gave me kindergarten classes on top of it. This was the start of why I would be a bad teacher. I started saying no.

The Kim`s wanted Saturday classes with a foreign teacher. None of us wanted to work Saturday. Our contracts said we worked Monday to Friday. No weekends. I ended up agreeing to do it until the new teacher arrived (1 month) and they agreed to pay me extra money for it. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement.

About a week after Spock was called in and told he was a bad teacher I was called in. It was a Saturday, just after I finished my classes. I was told that .... I was a bad teacher. Three Korean teachers complained about me. I had better become a good teacher or else. Mrs. Kim couldn`t tell me any details of what made me a bad teacher. I was just a bad teacher. This was 2 months after the 6 month mark.

As Spock did, I talked to the Korean teachers. They all said they never complained about me. Which is about what I expected anyway. A couple of weeks later one of the Koreans and I were talking over coffee. She told me that Mrs. Kim was talking to her, bragging about how she told me none of the Korean teachers wanted to work with me even though none complained. The Kim`s wanted me to quit. You know, if the stupid fuckers had asked me to leave at the 6 month mark I would have. Instead they waited. Now I was determined to try and finish my contract to spite them. Yeah, being stubborn can be stupid.

On the night of Wednesday July 6th 2005 I was told the Director's husband wanted to see me after my last class. He started off by telling me that I am a bad teacher. Due to me being a bad teacher he wanted me to quit, or I would be fired. I was TOLD my last day would be July 25th, which is not even 30 days notice. He cited the fact that I am not a good teacher and that NO Korean teacher wants to work with me, and now added that most kids do not want me as their teacher. This was news to me.

I asked him to explain what he meant. Why did no Korean teacher want to work with me? None had complained to me. Why did students not want me as their teacher? There had been no complaints before. All he would say is that I must know why. My reply was that I didn't know why, so please tell me. He made the same strange statement and followed up by saying that if I don't know why there is a big problem.

Also, I complain too much. I did figure out where that came from. Late Wednesday morning we had a staff meeting and they introduced a new lesson plan scheme. All of the foreign teachers thought it was a bad idea. After the meeting they all told me that quite strongly. I talked to the person in charge of it, a Korean teacher, Kevin. 4 hours later I was told to quit or be fired. As head teacher I am supposed to bring the concerns and complaints of other foreign teachers to the Kim's attention. Because I do that, I complain too much.

I asked if I would get a ticket home at least. He told me no, all I would get is my final pay. No severance (I was only 10 weeks away from completing my contract.) and no ticket home. Because I am a bad teacher they have to go through the expense of getting someone here early. So I don't deserve a ticket home. I wouldn't even get the 30 days notice required by law.

I told him I wasn't going to quit, so he could fire me. He told me to think about it and talk to him the next day. The next day he was either not around, or too busy to talk.

I was also informed that Spock was being fired. As I mentioned in Part 3 they had to backtrack on that one. The morons only had one teacher coming not two and couldn't handle losing two at the same time.

The next day, through a backchannel warning, we were told that if there was any sort of cooperation by the foreign teachers to show support for us both of the teachers being fired would be immediately let go with no pay at all. I say backchannel because it went from office manager to Spock's wife to him to us. They needn't have bothered, the people I worked with would never have done that. They were quick to pay lip service but were more worried about how they would be treated than standing up for their co-workers.

On July 8th I finally got Mr. Kim to sit down and talk with me. I told him I was not quiting, so I understand he is firing me and not giving me 30 days notice. He acknowledged that, and also reconfirmed that I would not be given a ticket home, or severance. Then he told me that he wanted me to be done the 21st not the 25th.

I told him I wanted my firing in writing. Also, I gave him the blank Letter of Release forms I obtained and told him that I wanted it as soon as possible. He seemed puzzled by it and asked what it was and what it was for. I explained again that it was a letter of release and that I cannot get another job in Korea while I have a signed contract with him unless I have one. Further, since the only money I will have because he is refusing to pay my ticket home or severance is my final pay I may not have enough money to get home. So, I may have to find a job that starts ASAP. Or I may come back in September after some time home.

At this point he asked me if I wanted to stay until August 25th. I pointed out that he was firing me because no one wanted to work with me and I am a bad teacher. Add to that the way I have been treated in the last few weeks. With that cloud hanging over it would be hard to stay, PLUS the fact he would STILL be firing me then with no ticket home or severance, this time a month away from the completion date of my contract. It would be better to just be fired now.

On the afternoon of July 18th 2005 I had to talk with Mr. Kim again. Since I was being fired with no ticket home or severance pay I had been trying to get a summer camp job with a local University. If I got the job I would have to do a VISA run on the 21st, and have a training session on the 23rd. I still didn't have the Letter of Release I requested, which complicated matters.

Now Mr. Kim tells me that I HAVE to work the Thursday and Friday. Nothing else is acceptable to him. It doesn't matter what the new job will need. He has once again arbitrarily changed the end date. I told him that is too bad ... for him. I needed the job to be able to get home and if I had to leave on the 21st too bad for him.

I told him that IF I could get the camp put on my E2 VISA and he didn't cancel it, I would be able to work until the date he wanted. He agreed and everything went through Immigration. I had to keep my mouth shut though or he could fuck it up before I started. Knowing what a slimey prick Mr. James Kim is I thought the odds were good he would try and fuck it up anyway.

The last day came and I checked my bank account before the end of the day. He had only put half my pay in. When i confronted him he promised the other money would be put in Monday. Since it was late I didn't have much choice. As with most dealings with hagwon owners, you weren't left with much choice if you wanted to see any of your money.

Even though I was finished with Ivy School and the assholes who ran it this wouldn't be the end of their trying to screw me over.

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