Today was interesting. I’ve been on the job for a week already. It somehow seems like longer but I guess that’s good since I feel like I’m already used to the routine. We are supposed to be paid on the 5th of the month; I spoke to my administration yesterday about this and told them I expected the week’s worth of pay. They informed me that the first paycheck comes after 1 month since they do direct deposit and I don’t have a bank account yet. This seemed slightly off but I planned ahead and knew I would be fine. My coworkers had a different experience.
They have all been here for more than a week(duh) and fully expected to be paid today. Unfortunately it appears my school is encountering some financial trouble and they have decided to break contract with ALL the teachers by not paying us on the 5th. They (I wasn’t invited to this lively meeting) were told that they will be paid on Monday, maybe. Immediately talk went through the foreign and Korean teachers about what was going on. We were told that enrollment was low but the math didn’t quite add up since tuition from only 2 students in our AM program pays for 1 teacher’s salary. My coworker Colin even went through the math about other expenses with our principal and it didn’t quite add up.
A handful of Korean teachers walked out early (we are contractually obligated to stay until 6pm) and those of us without students gathered to discuss. As the newcomer who was owed 1/4 of the rest in this paycheck I felt my voice wasn’t much help but stood by everyone nonetheless. The gossip was that the school may be going under; an unfortunately common occurrence in Korea. Apparently this is the 3rd time this year they have been late on paying the Korean teachers but the first time for us foreign folk. At this point I don’t think that is looming but it certainly keeps things interesting. We have a foreign teacher meeting tomorrow to discuss our options and decide how to respond.
Somehow I still feel pretty calm about it. My main worry was that I would be sent home. That would only happen if I failed to find a new job and the ease at which I was offered positions while still in the States pales in comparison to how quick the process goes for qualified teachers living in Seoul. Hopefully this all settles down soon but either way I may be looking for a new school in the coming months.