by Mr Mike

I came to work today optimistic and full of energy.  For a second in the morning I wondered what time my paycheck would arrive but then my students rushed in and the thought left my head.  I taught all day and had a great day.  My problem child had a successful day making  it two days in a row and his best week so far!

I was able to order lunch using nothing but Korean and enjoyed 새우김밥 (shrimp gimbap) for lunch.  It was such a great feeling to walk into a restaurant and not even need English.  I came back to work and my students continued to kick butt at telling time and are gaining confidence in writing sentences using their new sight word wall.

In between Kindergarten and my afterschool I checked my bank account for the first time.

Nothing.  It was only 2:40. Last month we didn’t get paid until about 5:30 so I wasn’t worried.

My book club was starting Judy Blume’s Fudge-a-Mania today and I knew it would be fun.  We read and read, and then read some more; they even laughed at the appropriate jokes!

Book club ended uneventfully and I checked my bank account again.

4:50.  Still nothing.

I began thinking about how glad I was that I saved almost half of last months paycheck “just in case.”  I asked a few of the other teachers what they thought and we all agreed that we didn’t see a reason why it wouldn’t come.  We’ve had new students almost every week for the past month and last time we didn’t get paid until 5:30.

At 5:25 my principal came around telling everyone to come to a meeting in the cooking room.  We were certain this was to introduce the new principal and have the official announcement that Mrs. Yi was leaving.  Jane (assistant principal) handed out a few stacks of books to distribute between the classes.  If they are buying new books we are surely back on financial solid ground.  New students, new books, new principal.  It all made sense right?

Mrs. Yi came in and got right to the point.

“I am sorry to announce this again but you will not be getting paid today.”

“Mr. Bae’s wife had a baby yesterday, I tried to ask him but could not.  He will try by end of week.”

We voiced how unacceptable that was and I brought up the solution from last time.

“Didn’t he sell a building to pay our salaries last time?  Surely that produces more capital than 1 months salary for 2 dozen employees?”

Silence.  My employees reminded me that we are regularly lied to and so I asked.

“Is that just a lie?”


“You need to tell Mr. Bae that he needs to get us our money before Friday.  This is unacceptable.”  I continued.


“Well I guess that’s it.  Is there anything else you have to tell us?”


We walked out, got our things and left before 6:00.

“My contract says I have to work until 6:00; it also says I have to be paid on the 5th” said one of my coworkers as she walked down the stairs.

This week is getting more and more interesting.

Mr Mike

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elleninedmonton November 7, 2013 - 6:38 am

Ah, teaching in Asia includes a number of unwelcome surprises, doesn’t it!?

Mr Mike November 7, 2013 - 9:14 am

Unfortunately! I’m just happy that my only problems are the administrative workings at my hogwon. Oh and I’ve got an interview Saturday at an International School!

Pseudo Strike Day 5 | Live, Learn, Travel, Teach November 12, 2013 - 6:05 pm

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Psuedo Strike Day 6 | Live, Learn, Travel, Teach November 13, 2013 - 5:01 pm

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Joe January 9, 2015 - 10:34 am

hey i was offered a job here at CPIS mokdong. can we talk via email or kakaotalk?

Mr Mike January 9, 2015 - 1:04 pm



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