Changes to EPIK contract Fall 2019

Hey, all. So I thought I would share a few of the new NEW changes that are in the EPIK contract for GWANGJU in Fall 2019. *Disclaimer that contracts vary from region to region and intake to intake so keep that in mind*

Let me start with an odd one-

  • No pay if you go abroad on *school*/office of ed holidays

    • Example: You have a 3 day weekend because your school’s birthday is on a friday. You have booked a flight to Japan for a weekend trip. Because a school birthday is not an official government holiday, you will not be paid.
    • Apparently this has been policy for a while but wasn’t enforcedRural and small school will get you 100,000 extra in pay
  • Teaching at rural and small school will get you 100,000 extra in pay

    • If you are teaching at a smaller school/rural school (the office of education has some sort of criteria that determines this) you will receive 100,000 extra. I welcome this since one of my schools is out in the boonies lol.
  • ARC cards are no longer issues ON site when you renew.

    • Back in the good ol days when you would renew your ARC in Gwangju you would go into the immigration office with your ARC card and all the documents to extend your card, and they would pop in your card and print the new info on the back on the spot. Not anymore. Now once you have submitted your documents they will issue your card within 2 weeks. In the meantime you will be provided with a paper slip in lieu of your physical ARC card (seems sketchy but okay)

Changes to EPIK Program 2019 (Gwangju)

So over the years EPIK will make small changes to the contracts of foreign teachers. That being said, the changes are usually quite small.

For 2019, the changes seem to be much larger than in previous contracts. Here is a quick outline of what is changing in 2019 for the EPIK program in Gwangju


1. English Camps are now discretionary

Summer and Winter English camps will no longer be a hard requirement for schools with Guest English Teachers. Instead, schools designated as “in need” will be given priority to hold English Camps. Perhaps this means that if your school opts out, and an in need school requests a camp, GETs may be dispatched to teach the camp at different schools.

2. Housing matters handed to Office of Education

If you are living in school provided housing, the paperwork will no longer be handled by your school and instead will be organized by the office of education.

3. Increased paid vacation

Renewing teachers will be entitled to more paid vacation days, up from the 21 in previous contracts. (I will update with the exact number)

4. Drug test no longer required for renewing teachers

When you renew your contract, you will no longer be required to submit a drug test.

5. Increase in number of schools

More teachers will be teaching at 3 schools this coming school year. An increase from the typical 2.


What do you think of the changes? If you aren’t in Gwangju, what changes are coming to your office of education this year?

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Reflections on my first months as an ESL teacher in South Korea

I’ve been in Korea now for a little over 4 months. Here are a few of my reflections on my experience so far..

  • Good classes and bad classes are in flux – same goes with good students vs bad students. In the beginning I would dread 3rd grade (adorable but out of control, even with native co-teacher doing management), but now I love teaching 3rd grade. Now 5th grade tends to be problematic. 
  • You will eventually accept the unpredictability – cancelled classes, lesson plans shifting, new teachers coming and going etc. If you are a person that needs everything to be planned out 100% you will change, not as a matter of choice, but necessity. 
  • Stock up BEFORE YOU COME on lessons focusing explicitly on each of the communicative domains (speaking, listening, writing, reading) along with review games for when you finish lessons. Once you get your textbooks, look at the review sections for the jist of what key expressions and vocabulary you will need in review activities. You can use these to make word searches and other supplementary materials, which im telling you, will save your life when a lesson flies by faster than you expected or when technological issues occur and you are unable to use that powerpoint you slaved over for hours or planned to use in class.
  • You will not feel guilty for downloading and using files and materials from waygook.org. DO IT. SAVE TIME. THERE IS GOOD STUFF ON THERE. At first I wanted to be the teacher who made everything themselves. That lasted for only a few weeks and I caved.
  • After your first semester you will have an idea of what works and what doesn’t work in your classroom and what students like and dislike. Take note mentally as you do different activities what your students are receptive to and what flops. 
  • The seating charts the teachers give you will save your life too, ask for one if they haven’t given you any. Even knowing a few students’ names can change the atmosphere of a classroom. You can tell on a students face when you call on them by name and they are relieved that you know who THEY are. 

Ad astra per aspera,

Jeffrey

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How to: Never miss another package delivery in Korea

Receiving packages in Korea can be a headache. Delivery services typically will not leave a package at your residence if nobody is there to receive it at the door. Which can be a good thing if it is something expensive, but if you ordered a really really cool oven mitt (idk), or something not so valuable, then you probably are frustrated if you keep missing the delivery guy/girl. In this post I will outline what you can do to ensure that you receive your package without stress.

Before you read further, this how to is intended for those living in an apartment building where there is no office that can receive your packages when you are gone (one room people, where u at?). It is also intended for people who are comfortable with packages being left unattended outside their apartment door when they are away. 

The delivery process typically goes like this – screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-7-46-30-pm

  • Delivery company will send a text message to the phone number you likely supplied during the ordering process (if you ordered from online). This text message could include information like the time frame in which the delivery person will go to your apartment to attempt delivery
  • Before immediate delivery the delivery person will CALL the phone number. During the workday this can be difficult to answer, and I became wary of constantly asking my coworkers to answer the calls. Take initiative. Be an independent foreigner (kidding, ask if you want).
  • If nobody is home to accept the package, and if contact is not made, the package will not be left as it typically is in the US with services like USPS.

To ameliorate this problem, you can text the delivery person to leave the package outside your door. To do this simply text the following message –

“택배는 문앞에 놓아두시면 됩니다. 감사합니다. TYPE YOUR ADDRESS HERE.”

img_1931

The message roughly asks the delivery person to kindly leave the package outside your door.

The delivery person may choose to respond to your message, or they may simply leave the package. Really depends on the person.

I’ve also had the delivery service (looking at u CJ express) text me saying they just went ahead and left the package at the CU convenience store on the corner, which i’m 100% okay with.

Hopefully this quick hint will get you your packages with less hassle and give you more independence from asking your coworkers every time the mail man calls you from that creepy unknown caller ID when you are at work.

 

Ad astra per aspera,

Jeffrey

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