My fiance and I completed a year at this abusive, unprofessional and horrible “school.” I want to help anyone I can to not suffer through Little River Day School the way that we did. I could go on for pages about all the reasons you should not work here, but I will try to make it concise through bullet points of the main things:
• I will start by saying that during our one year at LRDS, we saw four teachers midnight run due to the corrupt and miserable environment. If four teachers midnight running within a year isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is. The Korean staff also changed on a weekly basis, with the director firing Korean staff constantly and without warning. Others left due to the sheer incompetence of the management or the abusive treatment they often suffered. These factors contributed to a tense and hostile work environment.
• Perhaps the most glaring issue: the tax fraud. The director of this school stole nearly a thousand dollars in tax from EACH teacher. When we filed our taxes, we found our director had secretly registered us as independent contractors so she could take additional money from us. Even though our monthly income tax was meant to only be ~22,000 won a month, she had taken a whopping 104,000 won every month. When we were able to obtain our own copy of the tax documents that she submitted to the Korean government, she reported to them that she was only deducting the correct amount of 22,000 from us. The extra money she took from us was pocketed. We contacted labor lawyers and accountants all of whom confirmed to us that she had committed wage theft, and when confronted with this she only screamed at us and refused to give any answers on why she had done this.
• They also don’t give British employees pension. This is illegal, a break of contract and can land you in a lot of trouble with the relevant authorities. They do not start paying into the pension fund until ~5 months into your contract even though they are obligated to pay the entire year. This alone will lose you around 500 dollars if you are an American seeking a pension refund.
• You will not get your ARC (Alien registration card) until 3 months in. Most schools give this within the first few weeks. It is extremely hard to establish a life in Korea without it.
• We were not provided health insurance until 4 months into our contract, which is another break of contract and money saving technique.
• The school lies about providing lesson materials and a curriculum. They tell all the incoming teachers that they will not need to make their own lessons and that the class materials are provided for them. This is 100% not true. We were provided with a printed list of “sight words”, a page with about 100 words in list form, and told that this was the curriculum for our classes.
• We are discouraged from teaching the meaning of the words. We are discouraged from teaching the alphabet to new children. We must only teach from a single piece of A4 paper with a list of words that they need to pronounce. The manager (son of the director) is a former mechanic has no experience in education but insists this is more than enough to base an education on.
• This next point is not a joke. You must bring your own paper to use the work printer. The director will scream in your face for printing with her “private paper” (even for lesson materials).
• This leads into a huge, overall aspect of the school that will ensure any teacher cannot properly do their job: this school is extremely disorganized. This point in itself could stretch for paragraphs, but to be succinct: everything is a mess on a fundamental level. There is zero communication from management about incoming or leaving students, materials that are requested will never be given or will be given months later, the manager has no clue about the student’s abilities, class scheduling, etc. The manager is American-Korean so there is no language barrier excuse for why the communication is so poor. It is guaranteed that as a teacher at LRDS, you will never know what is happening until very last second, and instructions or notices will be extremely unclear. You will be blamed for their mistakes.
• There are zero provided sick days at LRDS. I was told to attend work no matter what, even when I was contagious and feared making children sick. There is zero tolerance. One day I woke up with a migraine with severe v*m*ting and couldn’t stand. I was in so much pain I couldn’t see clearly. I told the school there was no way that I could teach, at least for the first few hours of the day. The director showed at my apartment and forced me to work, even though her son (the manager) was available as a substitute. When my fiance contacted bronchitis, he had to go to work. When I was hit by a car? I had to go to work. If you are considering LRDS, I urge you to think of what a year with 0 sick days means… there is truly no empathy with management. As our first coworkers told us “You can take a sick day, but it will also be your last day.”
• Furthermore, LRDS refused to shut during the Coronavirus epidemic. Though it was “heavily advised” by the president and most hagwons closed for at least a few days or even weeks, the director’s son told us the only way they would close the school is if a student contracted Coronavirus… in which case it would be too late.
• So, on to the director. The director is known for flying off the handle and bullying specific employees. We met a former LRDS teacher in Jeonju. When we told her we worked for Little River, her entire demeanor changed and she told us that the director made her life absolute hell. She would call her into the office daily to scream at her, call her u*l* and that the parents hated her, tear into every aspect of her appearance, and then fired her with no reason. If you need proof that countless teachers have had similar experiences, I urge you to search for the facebook page Jeonju Knowledge, and search for “Little River Day School.” You will find numerous posts from former teachers saying things such as “this school closing would be the best day in the world,” claims of shady behavior from the management, and unjust firings.
• The manager (director’s son) is a full-b*o*n misogynist, so if you are a female, expect to be demeaned repeatedly. One of the many instances that my coworker and I experienced this was when we requested a trash can in the female restroom. There is no bin in the bathroom to throw female sanitary items into, which forced us to bundle up our used items and smuggle them out to a trash can across the school. We kindly asked the manager if we could have a trash can in our restroom, and he was appalled at our request, and said to consider “the position we were putting him in” by asking for such a thing, saying “what would the mothers think if they saw a trash can in the women’s restroom?” He screamed at my co-worker and told her to use the bathroom across the street. He degraded us and made us feel like we were requesting an inappropriate luxury, and not a basic sanitary right.
• To expand on the misogyny of the manager, he avoids speaking to women directly. The school is always staffed with two couples, and he will only address anything business related with the male employees, purposefully excluding females from any important discussions.
• The school lies during the interview and says the provided housing is “very close to the school.” The school is an over 35 minute walk from the apartments. You should consider how much of your day this walking commute consumes, and how unpleasant walking in the pouring rain across the city feels.
• Any repairs to the apartment will take months to be looked at or just never addressed at all. Both apartments owned by the school had severe black mold. The underfloor heating does not work, so you will freeze in the winter. The A/C is ineffective so you will boil in the summer. They routinely promised new apartments but never changed them.
• The director deducts money from the severance (illegal), around $500, for “Cleaning fees” for her to do a 20 minute sweep of the floor (we saw this). The director tried very hard to force us out of our contract a week early to avoid paying severance.
• The kind parents of the children who attend the school often leave gifts such as coffee, food, clothes, even money to the foreign teachers. Korean teachers at the school informed us that the director and receptionist steal these for their own use.
This summary only scratches the surface of the misery this school inflicted on us and all of our coworkers. It is not worth the 2.1 million won the school offers (please research the current going rates for salary in Korea. You can do better than this school for the mistreatment they will put you through.) You will be treated like an imported commodity here and given no respect. I pray that no one else has to experience the micromanaging, toxic, disorganization and thievery that is Little River Day School.