I have been working at Songpa-Jamsil ECC since 2012 and continue to do so as I write this review.
Before coming to Korea I had read numerous horror stories online about the Korean academy system, such as not being paid on time, or being fired early in order to avoid paying severance pay. That's why I chose to work for YBM ECC. As a company school, Songpa-Jamsil ECC could guarantee that I would be paid on time, and I also had the added safety net of everything being regulated by the head office. Sure enough, I have been paid on time or early (if payday falls on a weekend or holiday we get paid prior to it) every month for the five years I have been here. I have never had a problem getting my yearly pay raises, and I have seen numerous teachers come and go, getting their severance pay without an issue.
One of my favorite things about this school are my managers. The owner is a fantastic lady who leaves her teachers to their own devices and is proud of the great team she has built, especially since the school became successful enough to only hire teachers who had at least a year of experience. Our two academic supervisors are lovely, and I feel that I can go to them for anything. We have a friendly relationship, and I certainly don't feel overly scrutinized by them. They constantly give us good feedback and compliments on our work, and any suggestions for improvement are given gently and discretely.
The other teachers on my team are also wonderful. As mentioned previously, each and every teacher at Songpa-Jamsil ECC has at least a year of experience, meaning that they are all capable and serious about the job. Foreign teachers have a good working relationship with the Korean teachers. Unfortunately, there is not much of a social scene outside of work between the foreign and Korean teachers, and I wish there was, however I understand that most of the Korean teachers have a lot going on outside of work. The foreign teachers, however, frequently socialize together.
The work schedule can be a little busy at times, but generally it is balanced - few breaks and an early finish/late start, or many breaks and a normal finishing time. We always get given at least two breaks per day, however. The classes are super easy to teach because we just pick up a book and go, so aside from writing kindergarten reports once a week and elementary reports once a month, our breaks are ours to use freely. I have several long breaks every week, which I use to go home and relax.
The location of our ECC is really nice. We are located in the area of Jamsil, which has a great mall and the huge Olympic Park. Though the school isn't located in the busy area, it is mid-way between the Jamsil, Bangi and Ogeum subway stations, so a lot of areas are easily accessible. There are also lots of buses running into the main part of town. All of the apartments are no more than 15 minutes away from the school, however mine is no more than a minute away, which I love!
Apartments, in my opinion, are another one of this school's strong points. Though some teachers say that they are a little small, they are all nice, new, and in good condition, without 10 years worth of built-up English teacher grime! Again, there is a balance here. The apartments are either, big, or modern, or a bit of both. Mine is somewhere in the middle, and has happily housed my boyfriend, my cat and I for a number of years now.
It's really hard to condense 5 years of experience down into a few paragraphs, so I will end my review here, adding some more details into the "pros" and "cons" below. Overall, I really recommend this academy to work at. You will have easy work, job security, a positive environment, and a comfortable place to live. Though no school in the Korean academy system is perfect, with less vacation time compared to working in a public school, Songpa-Jamsil ECC, in my opinion and that of the other teachers here I have spoken to, is as close as it comes.
- Great, supportive and friendly management staff
- Easy work with little prep time
- Complete security with pay and severance - teachers are paid on time or early every month
- Excellent working relationship between foreign and Korean staff members
- Good location and nice building
- Nice apartments (though sometimes a little on the small side)
- Great kids!
- Tight schedule at times, though this is always accompanied by early finishes or late starts
- Sometimes communication can be a little slow to reach foreign teachers, though this has definitely improved
- Little socialization outside of work with Korean coworkers
4th Floor, O2 Zone Building
Current teacher at this institution since 2012.