Where to start? I have been teaching Kindergarten at a Hagwon in Changwon for 4 and a half months now. For the past two months, at least once a week, I tell myself I'm going to quit. I'm not a quitter and I am absolutely a hard worker. I like my co-workers and I love the kids, but the school is not really a great working environment. I finally decided today to do some research, gather some evidence, and make my case in an attempt to either change the working conditions at my school or put in my one month's notice and leave.
Why is my school so bad? Well, the schedule is the biggest monster. I work 8 classes a day. 3 classes in the morning are 40 minutes each with not even a minute break between them. Kids are lining up in the other room to while you sing the "goodbye song." Then I have a 1.5 hour lunch break, and after that, I teach 5 thirty-minute classes with no breaks in between. Anyone who has taught kindergarten understands that 40 minutes is grueling. To do that all day is absolutely exasperating mentally and physically.
On top of this, the curriculum which is meant for the students is extremely sparse. We take programs that are meant to last for a month and stretch them out to be 3 months long. Then, we take that curriculum, and we split it between 3 teachers. I have 40 minutes to fill with a few songs which we do basically for an entire month. Sometimes, I see the same exact class twice a day.That means I have the same kids for 70 minutes with a few songs and a story provided for me.
I think these combined factors (along with other oppressive aspects) are actually affecting my health. I have been to the doctor 5 times in 4 months, whereas in America, I was an extremely healthy person (active, excersizing 3 times a week, biking to job and school, etc.). I went to my doctor and one time he asked me, "Do you have stress?" Then, today I'm sick once again (it's almost weekly sometimes!), and my doctor said, "Are you overworked?" This job is literally killing me.
Sometimes, if the Korean head-teacher needs to leave, she will just dump her 20+ students into my foreign co-worker's class and leave. This is the same teacher who would not allow my foreign co-worker to skip one class to say goodbye to her parents at the airport who had visited Korea for the first time in her 3 year stay. They are also trying to make her pay certain cancellation fees and other ridiculous fees for her plane back home, even though there is nothing about that in the contract. This is clearly abuse.
On top of all that, we don't have field trips, I make less money than people who work less hours, the environment is less oppressive, kids are actually the center of focus, and the foreigners are generally happy with their work. What I'm trying to say is that I can't continue on like this.
What advice do you have for me? How can I make the cleanest break? I don't want to burn bridges because I love the kids, I appreciate the teachers, and they have done a lot for me. Also, I want to be able to have these 6 months on my resume for the next job.
What are your working hours, breaks, vacations, and wages? I would like to compare, if you're willing to share. I'm positive there are better opportunities for me.
If you have anything to say or share, I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much!