Noumena Education Initiative in Gangnam, Seoul is a horrible, horrible, horrible place to be, and this review is based off the 4-5 months I spend there in Fall 2014.
Things got off to a bad start when they insisted I come to Korea immediately after graduation from university. I landed in Korea at midnight; my first day on the job started at 7am the next day.
The work is some of the worst you'll find. As for teaching, half is SAT review consisting of day after day, hours on end of reviewing dubiously obtained photocopies of CollegeBoard and Princeton Review materials. The other half of teaching is "College Application Consulting", which at the end of the day boils down to writing college application essays for the children of the upper crust of Seoul.
The other half of your time consists of going through each of their dubiously-obtained SAT exams in order to compile lists of vocabulary words ("find hundreds of words per exam!", they insist). For three months, I have spent on average three hours a day making these lists.
The school aims to be a one-stop-shop for exam prep, and so be prepared to be asked to give review classes for literally any subject. I was once required to give a two-week crash course on US History to two girls who had never taken a US History class in their lives, with the expectation that they would receive "at least a 700" on their SAT subject test.
Overtime is mandatory, and the owner weasels his way through the law to require 52-55 work hours per week, paid at the paltry rate of 10k won/hour, with only one day off per week. On top of that, they require their new teachers to do "homework"–a full-length SAT exam each night, every night for 2 months. Also, if they don't give you enough class prep time during work hours, it is your responsibility to take care of class prep at home.
Despite the contract promising all public holidays off, plus American Labor day (September 1), all holidays were worked.
They do not pay holiday wage for working holidays, and they pay less than the legally-required amount for overtime pay. The wage itself is a pittance–1.5million/month. The contract's length is 15 months and of those 15, three are to be given as vacation (unpaid, of course). While on paper some people might still find the setup acceptable, the scheduling of these months is up to the whim of the owner, and are liable to change at a moment's notice without any regard for plans made or tickets purchased.
If you dare point out any inconsistencies between the contractual and legal obligations and actual practices, be prepared to be subjected to extended berating. I response to my request for legal hours and pay, I received a string of insults, including an accusation that I was a "dishonest liar" who "doesn't care about the kids". Standard issue bullsh*t, of course, but still terrible to deal with when asking for fair treatment.
The contract itself is an unbelievable 24 pages long, all in English. The language is intentionally convoluted in order to both try to loophole the employees in as much as possible and to make it impossible to talk to the authorities in case of an issue. The owner intends to make the contract so impossible for the authorities to understand that the legal costs involved in navigating everything would be prohibitively high. I decided to spend the money to get out; future victims might not have that ability.
If you want to avoid being treated like an indentured servant, with all the gravity implied in that term, then stay as far away from Noumena Education Initiative as you possibly can.
Korean admin staff is equally abused, and so they are kind. Kids are nice.
682 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-916