Sunday, May 2, 2010

Difficult times

This last week has been a long week....a lot can happen in that span of time.

So, in case you are wondering, this story that I am about to tell is not about my self but it is, however, about someone who works at a Chungdahm Institute and is one of my good friends that I went to college with and then they came to Korea with me.

My friend came to Korea only a few weeks before me. We knew that we were working for Chungdahm Institute, but it wasn't for certain if I would be in the same school or even city. Thankfully when I came I was sent to the same city, but not the same school. From the very beginning my friend's school was giving her grief about very petty things such as not dressing up nice enough, or wearing heels, or make-up. Then shortly after, they started to critique her methods and teaching styles very harshly....but their opinion about her techniques and methods kept changing, one day she'd be just fine, then the next she would be told that she needed to do something different (generally the something different would be things that they told her not to do, BUT now they want her to do them.) They were very inconsistent and constantly rode her case about absolutely everything...spending 5 mins longer on a specific part of the class, making a trouble-maker sit at the front of the class, not speaking clear enough, etc...After 6 months of dealing with this she decided to turn in her 2 month notice that she was quitting (yes, two months, that's how long it takes to go through the quitting process with CDI). The branch manager, accepted her notice, but asked her to stay 2 weeks longer than her original two month notice....that way they could finish the semester with the same teacher and not change teachers on the students near the end of the semester. She accepted that along with the last full month of her pay. Well, it has been a little more than a month since she turned in her notice and her branch manager caught her before she left her class on friday April 23rd, 2010. Her manager told her that they had found a replacement and instead of waiting until the end of the semester, they were just going to bring them in now! She was also informed that tomorrow (sat.) would be her last day to teach at Chungdahm. On top of that, she was told that she had one week to move out of her apartment and she better take this one week and apply at as many other schools at possible if she still wanted to teach in Korea.
My friend called me in tears wondering what to do, and how could they just up and do this....Well, apparently, if you turn in your 2 month notice to leave a hogwon, they have the authority to only have to keep you around until they find a replacement. To them, they are just granting your wish of freedom from them..?? Right??...?? possibly? I don't know for sure, but when you are expecting to be teaching for AT LEAST another month, it is a huge shock to find out that they no longer want your services, and you must move out ASAP! You are in ANOTHER COUNTRY for crying out loud!!!! It's not like you can just go crash at mom and dad's place for a little bit....but thankfully my friend found someone who would let her stay at her apt. for a bit....and store her stuff. Now we just had to pack....I helped her pack a little on Tuesday after work, then I went over on Wednesday to help her do some more packing...Then she told me how all week she had been receiving phone calls from her manager, asking if she had set up interviews yet and reminding her that she only had a few days left....Also, her manager told her that she still had to pay back the training fees from nearly 8 months ago and her plane ticket (That I knew was coming b/c it is stated in the CDI contract- if terminated or you leave for any reason without completing the 1st year, then you must pay...nearly an entire months pay....that's a warning to any of you who may work in CDI's....READ YOUR CONTRACT!!!!) ANYWAYS ....Then on Wednesday afternoon she gets a call from her manager again telling her that she needed to be out by Thursday no later than 5PM. May I remind you that this is not a complete week......I know that this isn't happening to me, but I can empathize....Not only did she lose a job and her home in a foreign country, but now she also had to act all happy for the many interviews that she went through. I am so glad she stayed strong and found a new job!

Now, I do want to tell you, even though my friend went through a really really tough time....this does not mean that ALL Chungdahm's are like this! I love my branch and my manager is AMAZING!!!!!! My manager speaks English very well, is easy to talk to, cares for her teachers at the school, and tries to help us in what ever ways she can! For this reason, my school gets along pretty well and we have ourselves a tight-knit little family between the teachers and all of the Korean staff!

Where ever you teach, there will always be differences. Don't let the experiences you read from the blogs make your decisions for you. Go. Try it out. Make your own decisions!

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