After enjoying such an amazing weekend at Bomun Lake we started a new week happy, enthusiastic and positive about our lives in Korea.
Unfortunately with the ups there are always the downs.
On Monday after teaching 3 classes, Dan’s director took him aside. With a very pained face she told him that she needed to talk to him about a serious matter. She explained that she had received some complaints about his “not being happy to the students” and that because of him her hagwon was losing its reputation. She said that while he was a ‘good teacher’ and a very ‘good person’ that he didn’t smile enough and with his beard and long hair some of the children were scared of him.
She also had a problem with the fact that when children didn’t know the answers to something that Dan wouldn’t immediately provide them with the answer. Instead, he was eliciting the information from the children (i.e. doing what EVERY TESOL class ever will tell you do and try and get the children to figure out the answers for themselves first!) and, well, that was just a big no-no.
In a nutshell students were leaving because of him and all the problems that her and her school were having were entirely down to him. Maybe he should have shaved!!!
This came as an absolute shock to Dan. His classes were going very well and the students were having fun and learning lots from him. Obviously there were some ‘bad apples’ – the ones hitting, talking too much and distracting other students – that Dan had to be hard on but this wasn’t to say that he was shouting or using other favoured Korean discipline techniques including hitting children with sticks…
This conversation turned into the possible non-continuation of his contract which for a foreign teacher that has moved across the world to work for a business (and work hard we might add) this predicament was quite daunting.
Dan left school that day very worried and alarmed. He arrived home and after much stressing, pacing and discussion with H-J (his ever wise and calming influence) he decided to approach the situation in the morning by having a very civil conversation to outline the issues and look to find a solution.
Dan got to work and no one was there. He organised his classes and waited for the director to show. When she did arrive she scuttled around avoiding Dan making sure that everything she could do that wasn’t in the teachers office would be done. Dan scribbled out a page of his thoughts in his journal while he waited. 30 minutes went by and Dan decided that when he finished his page in his book he would go and find her have the chat.
Dan and the director sat in the staff room and Dan began talking about how he was sorry if there was any problems in his teaching and that he was interested to get some feedback to become a better employee. The director wasn’t enjoying this conversation and started to feel threatened. Instead of understanding that Dan wanted more support from her, she thought he was blaming her for all the problems of the school. The chat came to a peak when after this heated discussion ended with Dan asking “so will I have a job?” and her saying “I don’t know…”
Very scary for a Kiwi in Korea with no other support network…..
Dan went to class feeling very stressed. He taught his kids and made sure that the whole class he was smiling from ear to ear (thanks to Allen Hall, Otago University Theatre department $30,000k student loan well spent!).
After class he went to the staff room where he found the following email from the recruiter who first hired us…
Hi, Dan.How are you?I just got the call from your director that she wants to give you fire notice for one or two months.She explained that several things for the reason.1. Many students are scared about your class and not excited.2. For the reason, Their mothers have been complain to the school continue.3. Several students are quiting for your class.Previousely When the students told her about you , she has been have no regard.However, currently mothers complain is becoming bigger about your class.The school is not a public school, just private school. Mothers paid to the school a lot money for learn the English.If the class is not excited and their students don’t want to learn from you, they definately call the director and complain it.It was not first time for the complaining.The complain has been started from last year when you start to work.(almost 6months..)Finally now the director has been get several damage for your class.If many students quit the school, she doesn’t have any reason for work her business.The school is her business.So she decided to give you the notice for firing.On the contract,
12. Modifications and Termination
1) In case of modification, or termination, of the contract both parties must give 30 days prior written notice after mutual agreement between both parties.
3) The Employee can terminate this contract in the event the Employer does not follow this contract as stated herein, or in the case that the Employee is assaulted verbally, physically, and/or mentally by the Employer. If the contract is terminated by this case, the Employer shall give the Employee his/her release form.
4) After Employee is notified with the termination of the contract, the Employee must finish all her/his duties before the contract is actually terminated.
The director wanted to discuss for it with you for quiting.
However, she said that you just were angry and didn’t want to hear about her speaking.I hope you understand her situation and you discuss well for thie quiting with the director.
HI, Dan.You director told me that you and she got good conclusion that you will stay continue and you will work harder than current.I hope you have a good teaching experience from there till you work the school.Have a good day!Mary