South Korea Hagwon Blacklist: An Honest and Personal Review of Chungdahm Learning Inc.

I am writing an objective review of the Korean company/hagwon Chungdahm Learning Inc. (CDI). I worked with CDI for more than 3 years at 3 separate branches and as their Head Instructor / Faculty Manager for one branch. I will divide this review into 4 areas – General review of the company followed by 3 personal reviews of each branch: CDI Seoul Junggye, CDI Gimhae, and CDI Busanjin.

 

 

General Review of Chungdahm Learning Inc. (CDI)

Generally, I have a really positive outlook for CDI as a company. This is why it is ironic that my experiences with all 3 branches of CDI are horrific nightmares. On the surface and on paper, CDI is a far better choice than other hagwons for various reasons. Now the reasons listed below are from my own experience and other teachers I know of, I cannot vouch for all the other franchise and branchise out there with individual owners using the CDI license.

  • Being a large publically traded company, CDI always pay their teachers on time and they are pretty good about keeping to the contract. Of course various branchises/franchises will vary, but CDI main branch is pretty tight about their license distribution. So, franchises in general are still kept accountable about this issue.

  • CDI is the only large reputed hagwon I know of that has a fair hiring practice. You’ve probably heard about issues concerning hagwons preferring “white” teachers and would never hire Asians. This is actually extremely true, I’m vouching as someone who was in management and had contacts with other hagwon owners and managers. This is even an issue with the public schools and universities. CDI only cares whether their teachers are from an approved English speaking country. Therefore, the foreign staffs at CDI branches are diverse.

  • CDI has better overall hours. On paper, CDI only requires teachers to show up 20-30 mins before class. This means you only need to be at the school for 6-7 hrs., sometimes 3+ hrs. on ½ days. Other hagwons require their teachers to be at the school 8-9 hrs. a day regardless of your teaching schedule. This means that CDI teachers can choose when and where to prep their materials instead of being forced to do desk work. I really enjoyed prepping at a café next to the beach. However, CDI classes are very different than other hagwons and I will talk about them below in the next section.

  • My personal favorite thing about CDI is the hourly rate. If you sign a monthly rate with CDI or any other hagwon, you are signing it for a 30 hour teaching week (120 hrs. a month). This means that the school has the right to assign you 30 hours and maybe even more than that if they want to pay you overtime. Since hourly teachers are being paid per hour, schools would rather fill up the 30 hour quota of their monthly teachers than give the hours to hourly teachers. This also applies to the overtime since monthly teacher’s overtime pay is lower than the regular hourly teacher’s hourly rate. If you are in it for the money, this only works to your advantage if you can “get the hours.” However, if you want flexibility, this offers you generally a 24 hr. teaching week and you are making approximately the same as a monthly teacher.

    • Contrary to what CDI is claiming, hourly teachers don’t actually make more than monthly teachers. It is only true if you are comparing hour to hour, which is 30 hrs. a week. In reality, hourly teachers would never teach more than 27 hrs. on a regular basis and most of the time they will only be given the required 24 hrs. a week. Hourly teachers are required to pay rent, have no pension, no severance, and more importantly have no health coverage. If you are a healthy person and don’t care about these things, you get more cash in hand. The school, however, actually benefits much more from this deal by saving money on pension and health. This is the very reason they offer it.

  • Well-developed materials. CDI is a large company that creates its own materials. Their schools run on 3 month quarters that alternate between A track and B track for over 12 levels on the basic teaching and then the additional TOEFL tracks and intensive tracks. You never have to worry about creating your own materials or structure your own class. They will train you in their methodology and you just follow the class syllabi they provide for you.

 

So for the reasons above, CDI on paper is generally a better hagwon than other schools. They do have some negative aspects as well, but again on paper they’re not all that bad. In theory, they “should” be a great school to work for.

  • Class hours. CDI is the ONLY hagwon I know of that structures their class to 3 hours in length! In most schools you are teaching 6 classes of 40-50 mins a day, at CDI you are usually teaching two 3 hour long classes a day with 5 min breaks each hour. Now numbers alone don’t really look that bad, but you have to look at the bigger picture. The problem is not how long you are teaching; the problem is how long those “kids” are sitting there. Young children have short attention spans, not even talking about the ones with ADHD. After the 1st hour, their energy and focus is gone. The second hour is the toughest to teach because you have to deal with bored students who are disinterested and either staring off into space or becoming disruptive. So the number 1 issue is class control. When you teach 40-50 min courses, you virtually have no issue with class control. After an hour, the students leave and you get a fresh batch. At CDI the teachers are expected to command the class both by keeping the students’ behavior in line and keeping them interested. Not everyone can be a CDI teacher and I’ve witnessed countless teachers crying in the teachers’ lounge during break time because either their students were out of control or just ignoring them. As a former manager and trainer, I honestly have to say it generally takes an average teacher 1 whole year to become a confident and comfortable teacher.

    • For the reason above is why I have very little respect for CDI branches that do not value veteran teachers. This is especially true for the branchises/franchises who are simply looking for cheap labor. The branch managers and owners have no idea about what it takes to be a CDI teacher and often would let go veteran teachers for new and cheaper teachers. They are under the false impression that a 1-week training in Seoul will turn these people into teachers.

  • General lack of professional policy. Since students are “customers,” Korean staffs are reluctant to discipline the students. This will vary from branch to branch, but generally they are told to do whatever it takes to retain the student. So when there is an out of control student that the teacher had no choice but to send down to the Korean staff, there is a good chance he or she will simply get a lecture and a lollipop before being sent back up. Therefore, as mentioned before, teachers need to learn to develop their own class control and student management, the staff are not helpful at all. The other part is about leveling up the students. According to the policy, a student will level up base on test scores and teachers’ evaluation. However, in reality students level up because their parents complain and the Korean staff caves in. This, again, weakens the teacher’s authority and makes it that much harder to teach at CDI.

  • So from the tough class hours to weak Korean support sums up to just how difficult and stressful it is to be a teacher at CDI. It is THAT much harder to be a CDI teacher and the amount of stress that goes with it. CDI compensates this with a higher salary rates, at least they use to back in the good old days. Right now, if CDI is offering you 2.3 mil per month like any other school, you might want to rethink if it is worth it. When you teach at CDI, you pretty much get “sucked into CDI.” Remember the better hours? You most likely will be too tired and stressed to take advantage of the extra free time. A common view about CDI teaching from many teachers, and I personally, is that when you teach at CDI you become CDI. Very very few teachers were able to manage their time and stress to enjoy Korea at all. In3+ years, I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy and explore Korea.

  • Intensives. Now, if you want money this is actually a positive thing. From what I just mentioned above about the stress of being a CDI teacher, imagine twice a year (every other term) you have a 1 month winter/summer intensive. During this time you are required to teach an additional 12 hours a week (sometimes more). This means you can have a 9 hour teaching day. So even if you are able to manage your stress on a regular term, once you get hit with an intensive it is all over. The worst part is that there is no break after intensives or between each quarter, so you immediately start a new term right afterward. You are given a 1 week vacation per year with your contract and it absolutely does not help at all. Now, Seoul main branch does allow long term teachers to take term breaks, but this is only offered in Seoul.

  • Teacher ratings. This only pertains to the Seoul main branch. At Seoul main branch, teachers are ranked A to F and the top being S teachers. The ranking will determine a teacher’s bonuses and raises. I’m sure the upper management thought this would be a good idea in theory, however the reality of it is the creation of a “shark eat shark” environment of backstabbing and office politics. Again, would vary from branch to branch on the intensity of it, but generally speaking you are not rewarded for how well you teach— you are rewarded for how well you play the politics. Those who are close to the head instructor (HI) and faculty manager (FM) obviously benefit and teachers are reluctant to help each other out. One teacher had a huge fight with the FM because he had a perfect student survey for the term, but lost the “S” rating to another teacher. The student survey itself is also a joke; it again undermines the authority of the teacher. It isn’t completely useless, but it should be taken in context. There are also teachers who would violate policy and buy students candy or give students high grades right before the student survey time. Again, this would generally vary from branch to branch.

  • So as you can see, the negatives mentioned here are in accordance to the company in general. A lot of it is pertaining to Seoul Main branch and their internal politics that made teaching at CDI perhaps one of the most stressful jobs out there. For these reasons, I left Seoul and went to the Busan branches because they were more lenient on such things. In the south, there are no teacher ratings and student surveys are much more contextualized. You simply teach. However there is a trade-off for this leniency. Southern branchises and franchises are where you will find similar hagwon horror stories of managers cheating teachers, not honoring contracts, etc… etc…. I’ll talk about these in the section below on each branch. For these issues, however, I have to say are not isolated to CDI per say. This is simply an issue with Korean business ethics. Many westerners are aware of the corrupted Chinese business ethics. However, many don’t know that Korea has been under the influence of China for thousands of years. During the 3 kingdom period, the Kingdom of Silla (Busan) was called “little China.” So when you apply to a Korean hagwon, “expect” them to take advantage.

 

CDI Seoul - Junggye Branch

This branch was one of the Seoul main branches. I heard they might’ve broken off and became a franchise. They were located in the Nowon area of the north, far from the head quarter, so allowed certain level of autonomy. This autonomy led to systematic corruption and created an overall negative and hostile work environment. I cannot say whether they have become better or worse today. The commentary here is based on this branch and this branch alone and not a reflective of all CDI Seoul branches.

  • FM and HIs were “shamelessly juvenile and unethical.” That was the exact quote I used in a letter to the CDI upper management upon my departure from this branch, which resulted in the firing of the BM and other disciplinary actions against a couple of the head instructors. For all the negative things I’ve said in the general area, this branch took them to a whole new level. It was like a television show than real life.

    • The HIs were all the close friends of the FM and they were all at least 5 year veteran teachers. This means there was absolutely no room for advancement. Except for 1 HI, it was hard to imagine that the others even had a college degree. I mean, we know a bachelor degree was required to be a teacher, but their behavior was not that different than a bunch of uneducated buffoons. Imagine working under the management and mentorship of someone who is a chain smoking alcoholic with no ethical values or professionalism whatsoever.

      • One HI sat in a chair and rolled to his students for 3 hours. He was perhaps one of the most apathetic instructors I’ve ever met. His students absolutely hated him and they didn’t listen to him at all. He resorted to simply yelling at them all class long. I saw all this on CCTV because it was part of my training. Now the same HI was responsible for your quarterly review and then telling you what you are doing right and wrong? He gave me a low mark because my students were enjoying the class, something he could not accomplish after 5 years. He didn’t care, since the FM was his friend and he would never be fired.

      • One HI constantly joked about having sex with his 13 yr. old students in the teachers’ lounge during break. He liked making hand gestures about pleasuring himself to the students’ name. Just imagine that. In what corner of the world would such a person be allowed to work with children? Korea. Another HI married a sex worker from Thailand. This just gives you some idea of the type of people that worked here.

      • HIs never have problem students. If there were any disruptive students (mostly autism kids), they would magically disappear from their class and transferred to another teachers’ class. This happened often right before Seoul headquarter sent someone up to evaluate the branch. Teachers who were close to the HIs and FM also benefit from this and easily get the S and A ratings.

    • Absolute lack of business ethnics and professionalism. As mentioned, if you want high ratings, become buddies with the HIs. 4 of them went drinking one night and spent $900 and then came into work the next day hung over. It really wasn’t even about the fact they did this, but they “boasted” about it as though it was something “cool.” If you really want high ratings, sleep with a HI or the FM. Female teachers who did often get the S ratings. They didn’t even hide it; this was so blatant everyone knew. One HI left and there was an opening; the FM gave it to his girlfriend, a teacher of 9 months, when there were other teachers with 2-3 year veterancy. After giving her the position, he dumped her for a younger teacher. She was upset and quit before the contract ended, he shrugged it off and said, “I don’t know what she was upset with, she got what she wanted.”

  • The FM/HI management created a hostile and negative work environment. The branch was really gossipy and just overall a horrible place to work. One hweshik (quarterly staff dinner) some teachers got too drunk and said a few truths they shouldn’t have. For a whole quarter, the teachers’ lounge was quiet as people just snubbed each other. It was the best quarter of my year in my opinion. Why? Because on a regular term, the teachers’ lounge would be filled with bitter angry teachers either making sexual degrading jokes about their students or simply complaining how much they hated these “little bastards.”

  • I feel the need to stipulate my position on the commentaries. There will be people who will say that perhaps I was a horrible teacher and just wanted to bash a school. All I can offer is that I am a master degree graduate and a former pastor. I have extensive experience working with youths and young adults. This was my first ESL teaching job and I’ve learned quite a lot here which set the foundation for me at future CDI branches. When I left this branch, I was one of the very very few teachers that students actually wrote farewell letters to. Many former students from previous terms came to my last class during break to give me gifts and many cried as they hugged me. I am not saying this to boast, but as an indication that I was quite successful as a teacher at this branch and did not deserve the treatment from the HI and the managers of this branch.

 

CDI Gimhae Branch

After leaving Seoul, I applied directly to CDI Gimhae. I heard the southern branches were more lenient and not so focused on political games. At the time I didn’t know the historical background of Korean work ethics, especially around the Silla region, so I wasn’t aware of the trade-offs. During my first 6 months, it was actually one of the best times of my life. As I’ve mentioned in the CDI general commentary above, CDI in theory should be a great place to work for once you are shaped into a CDI teacher and know the expectations. I met a great HI, who is still currently a wonderful friend of mine. It was a new branch and only had 4 teachers, I replaced 1. The teachers were tight and generally great people, well-educated and well-mannered. The branch manager (BM) received some negative criticism from the other teachers for being a hard-ass. She was extremely strict and tough, especially on one teacher that was receiving complaints for being boring. However, she and I got along just fine. I think it was because my experience in Seoul prepped me on how to be a CDI teacher, so my students gave me favorable reviews.

Things started to change after 6 months. First of all, the other 3 teachers left, but that was not an issue with the school. What started to upset me was the owner. First, he removed the branch manager. Now this one is arguable since she didn’t have a favorable view from the other teachers. However, she focused on the reputation of the school, posted up a lot of the students’ district awards in essay writing, speaking, etc… on the wall. She was a manger that focused on quality and the teachers agreed that she valued veteran teachers. The owner only looked at student recruitment and this BM was not bringing in the numbers. They replaced her with a new BM, whom I found was a nice person but utterly impersonal. She was good at recruiting students but took absolutely no effort on either getting to know me as the only retaining teacher or focusing on the quality of the branch. Remember what I said above about managers/branches that do not value veteran teachers? At the time, I was literally doing ½ the recruiting for the school (wasn’t even a teacher’s job). Students were bringing their friends from school to our branch because they told them about me and then those kids told their parents. The BM also knew this because parents constantly called in and asked about me. This BM can recruit, but I was retaining the students. This was due to my experience and why veteran teachers are valuable.

The 2nd issue was with the dismissal of the HI. He was actually planning to sign a second year. However, the owner decided that they didn’t need 2 veteran teachers and gave him an offer that cut his salary to an entry level. They were basically forcing him out because they wanted only 1 veteran teacher and expected me to take the HI position. This move disgusted me. Not only was this a greedy move, but a stupid one. They wanted to replace 3 veteran teachers with 3 cheap laborers. To make things more insulting, the HI actually came from another branch as a favor to this branch because they just started out and this was the gratefulness they repaid him with. I turned down the HI position because I refused to help them after what they had done. All 3 new teachers were new to CDI, though 1 was a veteran teacher from other schools and he did alright. The new teachers didn’t know how to command their class or how to build relationships with the kids, most just sat in the lounge during break time. The place became a disaster, the quality dropped, and students became out of control because their new teachers didn’t provide any structures for the kids.

The school was losing so much money and they started more scheming. As I’ve mentioned above, hourly rates benefit the schools much more than the teachers. So the 3 teachers were given only hourly rates. Then I actually caught them in a scheme – They secretly recorded down only 2.75 hrs. for every 3 hr. class, they didn’t want to pay for the 5 min break between each hour! After I confronted them, I was pretty angry, they just denied everything and claimed it was just how the software records the hours. I’ve never seen such an issue with the software before or after at a different branch. Later I found out, when I was in management, though they couldn’t rip off the teachers, they did in fact record 2.75 per 3 hr. to the tax board. I suppose technically it wasn’t illegal, but it was just so greedy and stupid. Imagine how much you actually save in “taxes” from cutting 5 min per hour break on a Korean 3.3% tax.

 

CDI Busanjin Branch

I was ready to return to the US after the Gimhae fiasco, but my friend (the HI) recommended me to the sister school of his new branch. Since it was owned by the same owner as his branch, I thought to give them another shot. The owner I spoke with was a slick business man, smooth talker. He told me that he heard I had horrible experiences with CDI and didn’t want me to leave Korea with such a bad impression of CDI. He wanted to “make things right” for me and give me a positive experience. I decided to give CDI a 3rd try and didn’t know at the time about the nightmare which was about to unfold.

  • Contract negotiation. Remember what I said earlier about Korean business culture? They firmly believe “Anyone can be taken advantage of and when you can, do.” This part was due to my own naiveté. I was trusting and I gave people chances. The negotiation was more or less non-existent. The owner told me that under policy, he can only offer me a certain amount because he needed to be considerate of his current veteran teachers. I was actually quite impressed with this and since I was there for the experience, the money was fine and I didn’t want to argue over it. However, later I found out this was a complete lie. I basically took an entry level offer because I believed him and didn’t want to make a fuss. Later, I became the manager/HI and new teachers working under me were actually making more than me. When I confronted the BM about it, she told me “well, you should’ve negotiated for more.” Technically of course, they were correct. This is why I say, expect them to take advantage, and don’t give them an inch.

  • Moving issue. I actually moved from Gimhae to Busan, a short distance, but they didn’t have the apartment ready for me. This is understandable, since leaving teachers needed to vacate the premise. However, they paid a maid $50 to “clean” up the room. I think she dusted and threw out the trash. The previous teacher had a rabbit and there were rabbit feces embedded into the floor and corners of the room. I had to use a flathead screwdriver to scrape those up and then bleach the whole apartment. The teacher also left all the sinks and drains clogged. The shower drains were clogged with her hair and the sinks were clogged with just 2 years of rotted gunk. Finally, I moved in during summer and the AC was not cleaned, it had white fungi growing in it and the moment I turned it on I developed lung problems. Without apologies, they blamed me for not reporting this earlier. I headed into intensives with a damaged lung and tired from scrubbing my apartment.

  • Overall negative and hostile working environment. This was different than the Junggye branch. At Junggye, it was working with a bunch of uneducated and unethical juveniles. At this branch, the negative environment had to do with a lot of fighting and arguing. My primary problem was with the HI, but later after taking her job I realized I was way too hard on her. The place was utterly stressful and depressive, she was completely burnt out. Either way, it was the environment that was fostered by the BM and a few other teachers that was just unbearable to work in. Later I found out that the BM was extremely stubborn and had fought with the current HI and the previous HI, and eventually me.

  • TOEFL. I actually love teaching TOEFL so I didn’t mind it. But I thought I should mention this because remember what I said earlier about franchises/branchises being lenient on the rules but with a trade off? Technically, CDI teachers do not teach TOEFL. Yes, that is true. CDI TOEFL is somewhat of a different division. CDI schools may offer TOEFL teaching, but the CDI TOEFL teachers are trained separately and are paid more per class. So technically if a school wanted teachers to teach TOEFL, they needed to pay the teachers a higher rate per TOEFL class. Also, the previous HI didn’t know that teachers were supposed to be paid for grading TOEFL papers. When she found out the sister branch was being paid, she confronted the owner who pretended he didn’t know we weren’t being paid. Franchises/branchises will take advantage whenever they can. They are lenient on rules, but becareful because this means rules that benefit themselves.

  • Head Instructor (HI). NEVER become a HI for CDI franchise/branchise. A CDI HI is someone who watches CCTV for a “few” teachers and gives them quarterly evaluations. Sometimes they hold training on how to teach certain elements. For example, a reading HIs would hold workshops about the reading components. Each Seoul branch also has a faculty manager (FM). The FM teaches 15 hrs. or less and spends the rest of the time doing administrative stuff such as scheduling, staff managing, etc… corresponding with the Korean branch manager. The franchises and branchises do not have FMs. They are supposed to have one for each branch, but they want to save money. The responsibility then should be on the BM, but instead they illegally distribute it to the HIs. So basically HIs in the franchises/branchises do a lot more work than the HIs in Seoul for the same pay.

    • This in itself is already wrong, but Busanjin found a way to be even more unethical. At the time the branch was short 1 teacher, they really needed a 10th teacher. Instead, they pushed all the monthly teachers to a max of 30 hours and then hired some part time teachers from CDI April. Why? Because according to CDI policy, a branch with 10 teachers or more are required to have 2 HIs. So to save money on an additional HI, they refused to hire 1 more teacher and pushed everyone to the limit. Now, imagine the amount of work for this HI. I was the HI for 9 full time teachers and 3 part time teachers. I had to watch ALL their CCTVs and personally train all of them and keep up the quality of the branch.

    • Since the FM’s responsibilities are distributed to the HIs, if you have more than 1 HIs it wasn’t all that bad. However, if you only have 1 HI, he is then technically the FM except he is also teaching a full load of classes. I was basically the FM of the branch except with ½ the salary, didn’t have the title, and doubled the teaching load. Now imagine that during the intensive month where I would be teaching 12 additional hours per week. People asked me why I did it. Well, the school’s poor management ended up with me as the only available veteran teacher who could do it. However, I didn’t do it for the school. During the time there, I developed a good relationship with the new teachers and they needed a trainer and mentor. Yup, it was the pastor in me that compelled me to step up. I also felt the students deserved better.

    • Weak BM. The FM is only as strong as the BM allows him to be. The BM of this branch was a “nice” person, but then again I say that about most people. However, she absolutely had no authority or management skills. She caved in to parents and often undermined my attempt to bring some quality to the branch.

      • For example, I set training workshops for the new term on a weekend before the new term. Remember there are no breaks between each term, so this weekend was the only viable option. However, the part-time teachers from CDI April wanted to go skiing and didn’t want to make it. The BM was supposed to back me up, but instead she said since they were doing us a favor, we should work around them. I was furious because I just told our own teachers they needed to attend the workshop, why should these part-time teachers have special treatment? I told the BM, “It is not a favor when they are being paid.” So, instead the BM wanted me to “give individual” training to EACH of the 3 part time teachers at their leisure.

      • Another example was with the only other veteran teacher at the branch. This guy was the most worthless teacher I’ve ever met in all of my career at CDI. Actually, one of the most worthless human beings. He didn’t even teach; he forced the students to memorize vocabs for an hour and a ½ while he worked on the computer on his web-design part-time job. His attitude was like one of the Junggye teachers, I cannot remember how many sexual comments he made about other teachers, Korean staffs, or even the students. He alone made several students leave the branch and tarnished the reputation of the branch. One time, he pissed off a student who was nationally ranked speech and debate champion in Korea. The girl ran home crying. Imagine what she told her mother and what her mother told other parents. Yet, the BM would not fire him because he had been there for a long time and he bought her gifts for her birthday and such (a diamond watch once). As a FM, you try to create a positive environment and you have this cancer on the team but not the power to remove him. Since the collapse of the branch and the termination of the BM, a new BM stepped in and this teacher was immediately let go.

    • Basically I was also asked to do other things even FM in Seoul did not have to do. I had to literally create classes and plan curriculums. The BM basically gave me some books for intensives and said and quote, “Please make magic happen.” Utterly ridiculous.

  • Other Unethical Business Practice – There were tons, many of which can be reported to the MOE and have this branch shut down (anywhere from illegal copy write to tax evasions). However, I will only mention the ones related to teachers directly. When the teachers’ contracts were over, they tried only giving them 3 weeks’ worth of severance instead of the 1 month on the contract. They originally said and quote, “Since your contract ends on the 3rd week of May, we only have to pay you 3 weeks of severance.” (Even though they completed a whole year. They started on the 3rd week of May of the previous year) Later, I confronted them and they claimed that the company they contracted to do the severance made an error and it was being corrected.

    • Personally for myself, after I left I was charged double my internet and double my building maintenance fee. This came up to around $300, so it wasn’t a big deal. I was mostly angry with what I was cheated out of during the hiring negotiation which amounted to literally thousands of dollars (not even including the illegal HI/FM business mentioned above). Again, I was more upset with the principle of it than the actual amount. After this job, I no longer give people, especially Koreans, the benefit of the doubt. I lost my faith in people because of them.

  • Does not value veteran teachers, resorting to cheap labor hiring practice. After the year, the teachers couldn’t wait to run off and I didn’t blame them. However, I had really wanted to retain them because I worked with them for a year. At the very least, I felt the BM would be more appreciative and saw the value in veteran teachers to give them the courtesy of an offer. However, the BM was determined to let them go and wanted “fresh blood.” Again, it takes at least a year for a teacher to mature into a veteran teacher at CDI. Though I was the FM/HI, she kept me out of the hiring loop. Let’s just say the outcome was this school lost so many students it had to merge with the April branch to survive. The BM is no longer there. I am sure they will say it is the nature of the business and the overall decline of hagwons in Korea.

 

Final Thought

The commentary here is pretty straightforward. All three branches were ethically unprofessional, but I am mixed on my feelings whether to accept that as an overall CDI thing or just 3 really bad branches. Generally, I’ve heard mostly negative comments about CDI from other teachers, but you will have to discover that for yourself. I do have some friends who are still CDI teachers and are generally satisfied with them. Would I return to CDI? To be honest, I don’t think I want to return to private hagwons in Korea altogether. However, if I do, I would accept an offer from a branch that values veterancy. However, I would keep my guards up and never give them an inch. I would also never return to any of the 3 previous branches mentioned above. As I’ve said in the intro, if you know what is going on and you know how to protect yourself, then it is tolerable. A lot of CDI issues are general issues with Korean business practice, so you may or may not find better elsewhere.

 

 

  • Carrick

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