Sunday, November 28, 2010

NET winter vacation days at EPIK- a Juggle or a Screw?

What's my Numero Uno reason for not renewing my contract? Travel freedom. It may sound "princess"  of me to complain about vacation time. 18 days is a luxury compared to the standard two week vacation of a regular 9-5. ... but throw in the fact that we have "desk-warming days" during school vacation and the DMOE's screwing (or lack of stepping in when a school is screwing)  our vacation time. There's a reason I was a freelancer all this time.

This past month was stressful for many. Why? Winter is coming up with speed and with that follows our 10 day winter vacation. For renewing contracts, there was an 10 extra days as re-signing incentive (which must be used by the period's end or ...lost).

The problem for many Daegu EPIKers is that it wasn't possible to use all of the allotted days, within the given school/winter camp schedule. With a ticking clock of rising flight costs near the holiday

season, the DMOE and our districts kept us in wait. Fitting 10 days, much less 20 seemed difficult without dicing them up...

This is what some angry EPIKers had to deal with: 

The 3 levels you must navigate in order your vacation plans not to be screwed.

• Winter Camp Dates (*possibly 3 weeks)

Our DMOE in Daegu had us blackout dates from Jan 3-21 (3 weeks) for possible winter camps. This is just a hold period until our districts can sort out what schools are having camps, when they want it and how many NETs they'll need to teach. This is okay if your district gets back to you early, but some districts? No.


* Cost of tickets
The cost of flight tickets near the holidays skyrocket the later you wait to book them. Did you know?
To spend the holidays with my family in Hawaii during those periods will now cost me $3,000 RT?! That ideas is out. How about the original $300+ RT trips SEA? Jumped and now I'm paying $700 to go to Thailand! For that price, I might as well live in NYC.

Afraid flight prices would jump higher than they had, I booked a flight to leave directly after the blackout period. I split my vacation days 7 and 3... elsewhere.

By the way school just met last week. I have a whole week + before the 22nd free!

* Fixed dates
Where's the freedom if your dates are set at the most expensive times of year? Christmas, New Year's, Chinese New Years?...

• School Vacations do NOT mean vacations for NETs

Despite what your recruiter tells you to get to sign-- Native English Teachers DON'T have these days off. They must come to school and desk-warm.
How can they do this? They just do. If you'd like to take your vacation, you must use your vacation days.

• Weird Korean school system schedules
After Dec 24th- Winter vacation

January (early to mid)- English Winter Camps.

(first 2 weeks) - School reopens for classes and graduation
*This is dependent on your school. For example, my school will be holding class from Feb 7-15, graduation is on the 16th.

(first week)- Spring semester begins
The elementary school schedule that I had to plan around basically looks like this:
Note, the dates not colored off by block (with the exception of weekends) are "desk-warming dates" 

I know what some are thinking. It's still a cushy job. That's beside the point. We're not a hagwon/private school (limited vacations) nor are a university job (4 weeks- 3 months of vacation) . We EPIKers work hard for our doggie bones and we look to the end of the tunnel to escape a sometimes too Dynamic Korea.  With all the culture shock and compromise we do, sometimes, you look forward to a mental break.

No comments:

Post a Comment