Monday, August 26, 2013

When foreign teachers complain about hagwons not paying them, guess who the real victim is?

[Further Update]

In this post I further discuss my problems with the NoCut News report translated below.


The foreign drummer of Busker Busker will also take part in the 'Island Village Teacher' reality TV show; the article also says that the foreign participants have received educational training to be native speaking teachers.

[Original Post]

On August 8, 2013, NoCut News reported on foreign teachers who wrote online about not being paid by the owner of the hagwon they worked for. There have been more of these stories over the years (as in, one or two a year), but in NoCut News' case, they shift the blame from the hagwon owners to the complaining foreigners who are, essentially, making Jeonju look bad and scaring other foreign teachers away. Bad foreigners! Bad!
Native speaking teachers: "Jeonju is bad!" Why?
Claim a Jeonju area hagwon habitually don't pay wages... Native speakers turn away from working in Jeonju area

Rumours are being spread among native speaking instructors that Jeonju in Jeollabuk-do is a bad place to work.

This is because, they say, a hagwon which manages native speaking instructors has repeatedly failed to pay salaries.

J, a 55 year-old American who has lived in Jeonju for 13 years, taught English at a company in Wanju County for a month but has not been payed the 2 million won owed him.

This is because, though the company has paid the hagwon that J is affiliated with, the hagwon has not paid him his salary.

Native speaking instructors claim that this isn't something that has only happened to J.

Jeonju area native speaking instructors have confirmed via their community on Facebook that over the last four or five years that 25 people have been victimized by this hagwon.

There are not a few cases of people, after not receiving their salaries for one or two months, worrying or even giving up on the money and returning home.

They claim that the owner of a hagwon in Jeonju is deliberately not paying salaries to put native speaking instructors who are ignorant of Korean law and unable to ask for help in pitiable circumstances.

In particular, seeing as it's a small area, when problems are brought up most find it difficult to find work at other language hagwons.

If they complain to the owner of the hagwon, he stalls by saying, "Next week, next week," and drags it out by sometimes paying them a part of their salary.

As this news has spread via the native speaking instructor community on social media, Jeonju has become a city to avoid and native speakers are turning away from Jeonju.

J said, "Even if universities or companies in Jeonju wanted to hire qualified native speaking instructors, the instructors would shake their heads." "Jeonju lies and doesn't pay, and instructors don't want to work here."

Regarding this, the hagwon owner protested, saying, "Due to the ups and downs of the economy, there have been cases in which salaries haven't been paid." "There haven't been many cases and it certainly wasn't intentional."
You've got to let the hagwon owner have the last word, right? Especially after the complaints of foreign teachers who are making Jeonju look bad and now "Jeonju has become a city to avoid and native speakers are turning away from Jeonju." It reminds me a little of this Yonhap story from two years ago.

What with all the negative stories Christian broadcasters NoCut News have written about NSETs over the years, you'd think that having drug-addicted child molesters avoiding Jeonju would be a good thing. Unless, of course, the writer isn't from Jeonju, and is fearing an influx into their neighbourhood.

On the serious side, does anyone know anything about this story? I've tried searching for it on the Jeonju Hub and but found nothing. With all the details NoCut News supplies (55 year-old American) one wonders how much may have been embellished.

Countering the "native speakers are turning away from Jeonju" claim, this semester's EPIK training is being held there, with 400 new teachers attending orientation between August 20 and 27.

Training for English teachers is also being held at Daejin University in Pocheon, where 320 native speakers bound for Seoul (150), Chungcheongbuk-do (56), Gangwon-do (44), Jeju (30) and elsewhere are attending orientation from August 18-26. No mention is made of it being for EPIK, however. As Money Today describes it,
The purpose of the native speaking English teacher preliminary training program is to inspire self confidence and awareness of their role as a native speaking English teacher, to understand the English education curriculum and increase teaching skills, as well as to provide a prior understanding of life in Korea and the school environment.

It is composed of a variety of programs, such as giving detailed teaching methods, class practice, Korean language learning, understanding Korean culture, providing health screening services, taekwondo classes, trips to Gyeongbok Palace and Namsan Hanok Village, and a royal court bibimbap experience.
"Providing health screening services"... it almost sounds voluntary, doesn't it?

In related news, 36 teachers from Jeollabuk-do are going on a trip to Ulleungdo and Dokdo to "give a proper understanding of Dokdo's history and present situation," and authorities hope attending 'Dokdo Academy' will be "a good opportunity for native speaking teachers to understand that Dokdo is Korean land."

In other news, a Newsis article tells us that Sam Hammington, who the article says is famous for 'Real men,' which, according to this, is a "reality TV program, where six celebrities are sent to the army for a period of six days to experience the army life" (though might be better known to readers for his part in this TV show), will, along with three other foreign entertainers, be taking part in a program which will see them become after school native speaking teachers at a branch school in an island village, where they will do a home stay and interact with the locals for 5 days. The producer, however, seems more interested in the interaction with locals aspect than the teaching aspect, at least according to the quotes in the article.


Anonymous said...

Just what we need..more of a self-hating, sham marriage buffoon on TV.

Someone needs to catch him with his pants down so we can be done with him.

Anonymous said...

Sure hope this Sam guy tells everyone how these "after school programs" are known for public schools employing native Eng. teachers(NET) and the go between/middle man/recruiter has the NET open up a special bank account so that the go between can get paid or siphon off part of the "salary" while evading the Korean tax man. It's or untaxed money for Koreans! They should thank all NET's on Sammy's TV show.