Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pre-Decision Making Time

It is getting closer to the time when my school will review my work performance and decide whether they want me to re-sign for another year. Basically my current contract will end in October and three months before they need to determine whether they should be looking for a new teacher or not.

Every week the thought of what to do after this contract crosses my mind. The most important thing I think about is my housing. I am already set on continuing another year here in Korea, but it isn't going to be inside a shoebox sized house.

So if my current school wants to keep me they are going to have to offer me better housing. I won't sign the contract until I get a guarantee and start seeing action by the administration that they will move me. But I have to wait till July to start the negotiations. If that doesn't work out or they don't even want me for a second year I will take my chances at another school, being patient this time before I make a choice.

I thought I would write about this because I was wondering if anyone else has experiences with negotiating their second year contract at a public school. Already the feel I have for my school's administration is that you have to point out the words in the contract and remind them over and over what it means.

All in all though I have a set of choices to ponder over till it is true decision time. Let's take a look:

My Choices:
  1. Re-sign for a second year: As I said I would demand better housing before I sign. Plus: know the schedule, kids and administration. Also the area is nice. Minus: Could become bored with area and school.
  2. Finish current contract: This would leave me with no job for November onwards. It is difficult to get a 'choice' school during this season. I could move to temporary accommodations and look for a job. Or I could take the free flight home and chill out in America then come back.
  3. Extend current contract to end of January: The prime public school hiring season is for February and March. So if I chose to leave my current school behind then I would ideally like to wait till the end of January to pick a new school. I want to stay in Gyeonggi-do to make my way up the GEPIK ladder. So far I am not really sure which area to pick, but I do like my current area and Bundang. Another option is to get on the Seoul Public School system.
Well that is the way I see it. Of course I could just throw in the towel all together and return to America and form a life there.

But I am more interested in life here. For now I am strongly going for choice #1, but I am not looking forward to negotiating with them for a new house. The fact that I even have to convince them that I need a better house is annoying. It reminds me how most Koreans don't understand what it is like to live alone. Meaning I am still bitter from how my first coteacher handled the housing. Something I should let go of...but she doesn't have to live in it... I do.

All right well stay tuned to see what happens.


  1. Interesting post. I had some similar options when coming to the end of my contract last year.

    What I did was finish up at the end of my hagwon contract in December and used my severance pay to find my own apartment so I had something a little bigger to live in. Then got a public school contract starting in March and had a nice 3 month holiday where I went home to Australia for a bit and also just relaxed. Was good but I was getting a little tight on money by the end.

    Now though I am really happy with what I did as I have a nice apartment and I am working in some great schools. Anyway hope things work out well for you.


    The Rambling Stray

  2. I’m not sure how much leverage you’ll have in changing your housing. I don’t think it’s that easy for the school to arrange housing at a rate that allows them to subsidize it.

    When I was living in Japan (JET Program), the housing there wasn’t great, but it was subsidized down to US$90/mo. There were 6 other foreigners living in the building from other public schools in the area. It was my understanding that those schools pooled their money together to pay for the building.

    I had looked into getting different housing for my second year. I think my school would have let me, but they wouldn’t be able to subsidize it because they were already invested in the building I was in. Not having subsidized housing would have meant paying, like, US$900/mo for rent.

    I guess you can always ask. But if you’re in Bundang, I’d tough out the housing. It’s subsidized, isn’t it? I’m not sure how your housing is arranged with your school. I read somewhere in Dave’s ESL Café that probably the only way your school can change housing is if the contract your school has signed with the apartment is going to expire.

    Or, maybe ask the bloggers on Hanguk Juseyo.


    They got the school to change their apartment (though, that was within the first few months of arriving in Korea, I think).

    Anyway, good luck with that.

  3. Hi,
    The school pays for the housing via money given by the government. The allowance for my current contract is 400,000 Won so it is low. If I resign it will be on an '09 contract and the gov't gives more money.

    If they can't provide me what I want I will no resign and look for what I do want..hehe.

  4. Also I want to point out that I would be able to get new housing considering my housing contract ends when my school's ends. Also I may be able to negotiate moving earlier if I pay the broker fee or whatever.

    But really it is a mystery until my school tells me what they are willing to do or if they even want me for a second year.

  5. Ok. Well, maybe that’s workable then. I think it’ll still be good to ask someone who’s actually managed to get a (public) school to change their housing and find out how they managed it.

  6. Thanks I am going to send them a message

  7. lol
    I read that the wrong way at first. I thought you meant send the school a message. Like, maybe you knew the Korean Godfather or something.

    Anyway, good luck.


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