I’ve spent the evening reading up on the ol’ contract, since I’d be quite pleased at this stage to discover that my school is cheating me so I could shrug off some of the guilt about planning to do a midnight runner (still split on whether to actually do one or give notice). Unfortunately, after careful study and use of the Windows calculator, it would seem that my contract is very carefully worded so that it’s not actually lying, but still in no way resembles my actual workplace situation.

I won’t go into the details, partly because it’s tedious enough for someone closely involved in it and partly because an hour of mathematics is enough for one night, but suffice to say that I’m only supposed to work about 28 hours a week. I actually work between 40 and 45 hours a week. This seems like a breach, but it’s not, because they make it vague and confusing by drawing an arbritrary line between teaching hours and prep hours. I get paid overtime only if I teach more than 27.5 hours a week, whereas I actually teach about 24 hours per week. The other 16 hours comprise of lesson prep, writing tests and plans, serving the children lunch and the 5 minute breaks between every class which really add up and which aren’t useful for anything more than going up to the office and switching books and files. Apparently none of this qualifies as work. I beg to differ.

You can look at it two ways: either I work 45 hours a week and get paid 10 bucks an hour, or I work 24 hours a week and get paid 20 bucks an hour… but have to do a lot of unpaid work on the side. That’s the exact same thing. Why did I make that comparison? What the fuck am I talking about? Why am I still awake at midnight when I have work tomorrow? Why am I in this country slowly losing my mind? Why why why why why?

Long story short: only by reading very carefully will you realise that a standard Wonderland contract gives you a shit deal. Okay, so I should have read carefully. That still doesn’t exempt Wonderland from writing a beartrap of a contract.

Message to any prospective English teachers googling “Korea” and “Wonderland:” DON’T ACCEPT A WONDERLAND CONTRACT! Yes, their reputation is severely exaggerated by the moaning hypocrites at Dave’s ESL Cafe, and it’s nowhere near as bad as Jane Keeler would lead you to believe. But you can do better!

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