I don’t work in the worst hagwon – there are a lot of good things going for it, but sometimes there are a few things that I don’t feel are entirely right. Hagwon Horrors is a multiple part series where I tell you the short little moral ambiguities I encounter from working at my specific after-school academy.
With Christmas rolling around, everyone was in great spirits. The weather was cold, the coffee was hot, and everyone seemed to be in a great mood. Coworkers from other branches of the same company were messaging each other, sharing their plans for Christmas day in Seoul – a National holiday in Korea, and we were starting to think about our options too. It being my first national holiday at our Hagwon, I had no idea what was in store. Perhaps we would get the day off, perhaps we wouldn’t – unfortunately there was no way to be certain. Any attempts to ask management about it were met with “we will see later”. It wasn’t until the day before that we found out we would be working the full day, at irregular hours. I’ve worked Christmas almost every year – it doesn’t bother me, but to see the sadness of the faces of my students when they need to come sit through a lecture on a national holiday was damn near heartbreaking.
A little while later, it was time to ring in the new year. January 1st is once again a National Holiday in Korea, so we tried to ask management so we could make our plans. Once again, our inquiries were met with “we will see later”. New years eve rolls around, and we’re teaching classes until 10PM. Unfortunately, due to the distance and subway schedule, it precluded us from celebrating in central Seoul with the rest of the city. We also learn that night that we’ll need to be up bright and early to teach early morning classes the next day. Happy New Year.