Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I know that I'm most likely preaching to the converted, here, but I'd like to take a moment to talk specifically about why the reasons listed on our letter of termination are complete and total bull.  So, beware, for below is an organized rant.  I don't blame you if you choose not to participate.
  1. Abiding complaints from students and their parents as well as principals for the last 8 months
 I cannot account for the principles, but students complain about everything.  If I gave them a lot of challenging work, they complained.  If we played language games (taboo, pictionary, charades, etc.) they complained to the principals because they thought it was funny to see if we'd get in trouble.  As for the parents, they send their kids to hagwon once a week and expect them to be fluent in one term (3 months).  It's common knowledge that Korean parents will pick up their kids' text book, flip to a random page and ask their kid to translate/answer/explain.  If they cannot do it perfectly in English, the parent calls the hagwon.
     2.  Caused serious financial damage to school management as well as lowering school's reputation by losing students

 Personally, I think that opening four campuses in a small town of 140,000 people within your first year of business is financially ridiculous.  There are many established hagwons in Jecheon, it would have been smarter to open one campus, build a rapport with the city and move from there.  Oh, and as for a reputation, it's the hagwon division of Yoon's first year of business, so there was no reputation to "lower."

     3.  Poor class preperation

This is a stack of lesson plans from one month of Ian's time at the Goam campus.

This is an average lesson plan of mine for a forty minute class.  Some of them are more interesting than this, but all are at least this thorough.

     4.  Using inappropriate words and behavior in the class

About two months in, Ian and I were told that we weren't to use the word "crazy" or the Korean equivalent "babo" in class.  Since then, neither of us has used it and we've implemented disciplinary measures for students who use it in class.  In fact, Ian made a list of inappropriate ("do not say") words on his board at Goam and I retained it.  Ian has been reprimanded for playing with his students.  He pokes, teases and bops them on the head, riling them up and making them laugh.  For several months, this is how Ian bonded with his students with no one telling him not to.  Last week, when Montana was sitting in on his class, Ian was playing with the students when he used the paper folder to lightly bop them on their heads.  Rebecca, a student that is all around good but routinely whines and needs attention, began to cry.  She told Montana that she had fought with her friend earlier that day, had been hit in the head and it still hurt.  Later that week, at our meeting, Montana flew off the handle at Ian and told him that he could invite lawsuits for "hitting" the students.

     5.  Not using textbook with felicity

I don't even understand this complaint.  We use the textbooks and as for "felicity," we've never complained about them unless they've explicitly asked us for criticism.

     6.  Assignment is not checked up properly

I can only assume that this is referring to homework.  I check the student's homework everyday at the beginning of each class.  Julia even once complimented my thorough grading.  They have hours of CCTV videos of my teaching to prove that.  When Ian first started working for Goam, there was a lot of confusion regarding the essays that were assigned and who (the students see their main teacher and then come for our conversation class) was supposed to assign homework to the younger students.  Every time the question was posed to Julia or any authority figure, a different answer was given.  But, for the last two months Ian has had complete control over his classes, which means that he assigns and checks homework everyday.

     7.  Teaching method is not as developed as expected

There's really no way to argue this.  Maybe we're not good teachers.  Maybe we're not what Yoon's wants.  But, the time to fire us for that was months ago.

     8.  School management can't find any possibility any of the above situation would be corrected

Right, because finding a solution would mean paying us our severance.

Our notice of dismissal is illegal on two counts.  A) It is not signed or dated by both parties.  B) It lists a time of less than 30 days.  This could mean that we're due another 30 days wages.  So, we're gathering information.  We asked for the day off tomorrow (and got it), so we'll be getting our ducks in a row.

Good night!


  1. Oh god, I can see it now, they are going to say your apartment is a sty so they get to pay you less.
    I like how you aren't supposed to touch and bop the kids, but you are supposed to hug and cuddle. I feel that more bad things would come out of the latter, personally.
    Get those ducks all lined up and, calmly and rationally, fight for your rights.

  2. I agree with Chelsea, You were told by Julia that you did not "hug and cuddle" your students, and that you should. I also personally saw the Korean teachers "bopping" students on the head in the back , etc. So that complaint is so bogus. And finally I watched you teach your classes for 5 days, and though I may be biased what I saw was a good teacher.

  3. Don't give up, don't take this from them. You and Ian have been abused all along. They think they can take advantage, because of your inexperience. Don't let them. They owe you.

    This is my favorite 'poem':

    doesn't always roar

    sometimes courage is
    the quiet voice at
    the end of the day

    "I will try again

  4. This really sucks. I'm so sorry you have had to put up with such an awful dictator. I hope everything works out to your advantage. It's too bad things had to go this way. You guys sound like great teachers, it's their loss - they will probably go out of business soon. Koreans (a generalization, but fairly accurate) need to work on business policy and etiquette, they really suck at it. Best of luck to you two.