Chungdahm Institute I-Garten (formally IDEA KIDS ASSETS) Cheongdam, Seoul
Recently this school was involved in some sort of merger/buy out of Chungdahm Institute. It was recently independent and known as IDEA KIDS ASSETS, but is now known as Chungdahm I-Garten. Yes, the same Chungdahm Institute branch that has affected many others throughout Korea. They recently started to try and teach pre-school ages Korean 3-7. There’s only one other school in Seocho, so this whole new age group is completely new to them.
This school is located a short 5min walk from Cheongdam station. Its located in the rich area of Cheongdam and often referred to as the Beverly Hill. This means there are rich parents/celebrities and spoiled and rude kids in the school. No one lives here, everyone travels to work here.
Ill preface by saying the only reason I stayed for 2 years was because of the company of friends and a higher housing allowance than any other school Ive seen or worked for.
Just stay away from this school. Their job postings are questionable at best. False advertising is common, and this school excels at false facades. Labeled as a Korean/English pre-school, you will always have some form of unwarranted micro-managing from someone who’s not in a teaching position. In other words, you have a Korean person (manager, director, or just a co-teacher who all speak no English) telling you how to teach, when they have no concept of your materials or schedules. If a personal problem or issue arises with your job or lifestyle, your supervisor will threaten to not help you with anything because it is not her job, but she is the only Korean to translate what comes down the line to you. In essence, you need to follow what they say or your wrong, and if it’s not up to the other Koreans’ standards, your still wrong.
What you’re actually expected to do varies greatly from what they say in the interview. The mislabeling of your job title is never explained and your required duties are always changing to make you more of a part-time observer of students instead of a Teacher. Even the working times have English teachers from 9-5 but Koreans 9-6. They constantly throw this in your face saying Koreans are working longer so you should stay later and work harder.
Forcing you into uncomfortable positions is also constant. Threatening to not pay severance or a monthly salary if your open class doesn’t go well or parents complain. Never being notified of a major monthly event until a few weeks prior or told at the last minute on the day of the event that another thing has changed or your responsibilities have changed. For example, telling English teachers they are not going on a field trip so they should use the time to prepared for monthly reports, but on the day of the trip, telling them they have to go with and that reports are due sooner. No thought is given to what you are doing, you are just expected to act like a Korean and get it done, preferably by staying later without extra pay.
Moms control most of the decision making as they are paying an arm and leg each month for tuition. Complaints of not smiling in the morning, your voice sounds scary, or even a male teacher getting his haircut too short, and students going home and crying because of it. These students’ age ranges from Korean 3-7. Apparently a 3yr discusses the finer points of your teaching and clothing style and it’s always wrong.
Every solution to every teaching issue is to use a song CD or flashcards.
Overtime is a joke and the contract mislabels how that’s handled. Even negotiating pension/health insurance is sketchy and vastly delayed from when you start.
Housing money, maintenance fees have gone unpaid from previous teacher and the school had attached late payments onto my coworkers paycheck, citing they didn’t know about it. For new prospective teachers coming here who wanted to speak with a foreigner, every conversation between foreigners had to be monitored by the supervisor. The supervisor even requested to not talk about certain parts of the school. Yeah, super shady.
Over the last 2 years of working here, 10 Koreans have simply walked out without a word. Numerous times a Korean will not show up to work and nothing is penalized towards them. If an English teacher was genuinely sick and went to the hospital, the supervisor would request proof of visit for the next day of work, such as a prescription sheet. No sheet was actually asked for in person, but requests like this were always thrown around. 3 Foreigners have quit early into their contracts, and as this new transition from the old school style to the new Chungdahm style, all 4 current English teachers are leaving. Upon trying to only stick to their motto of hiring only in Korea, they attempted to hire a man from the US, and at first thought it was simply acceptable to have them only purchase a one way ticket from Air China with numerous stops. Air China was the cheapest flight and the thought of spending more than 500 dollars was too much to them.
They don’t value anyone who works here and this should be one of the biggest red flags as anyone who has been in Korea long enough knows, being valued at a school is a good quality of a school. The ones here now with E2s were scared they would be kicked out on unfair terms and conditions.
So the name: Chungdahm I-Garten
The place: Cheongdam, Seoul
The advice- Run, run away and never come back.