links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Monday, March 10, 2008

a year plus later

ive gotten many a request for an update, wow, i feel like a celebrity!! i do keep another blog about some minor everyday shizz, in the form of the emails i send to my parents, if you're just really dying to know more about me. stalkers.

in february i finished my one year contract at cdi. i saw 3 runners (teachers who stop showing up to work w/no notice, usually they leave the country & go back home), 3 people get fired, and multiple transfers (teachers requesting or getting sent to a different location). of the 8 or so new teachers that i came in with a year ago, 2 of them finished their contracts.

cdi offered to re-sign me, with no raise. *puh* this is my fault tho, for being technically tardy multiple times. we're to log in on the computer 20 min before class, and i would do a late log in maybe 1 or 2 times a month. update: i asked for and got a raise 6 mo later, holla!

I got a top score of "S" teacher last term, which entitled me to a 1 million won bonus! i didnt get that either, b/c of my tardies. And now that it's been a year, im responsible for my own key money, which i of course dont have saved up, so 1 million won is being pulled out of my paycheck every month for the next 5 months until my key money is paid. i get it back when i move out of the apartment.

with all the above, i feel like a sucker sometimes for re-signing, but honest to goddess, i still love working there. i love the kids. and now that i know the structure, teaching is not labor intensive at all. my prep time for class is 30 min tops, if i take a nap and write left handed. the classes are 3 hours long, but i dont care b/c i love that i only have two sets of kids a day, i feel like i really know my kids. i work 6 hours a day, and i dont take work home with me. i love that i never have to set my alarm clock b/c my work day doesnt start until 4pm. and in my year here, i've never been paid late.

if youre super duper into making money, you could make bank w/cdi. if your score as a top ranked teacher, you get a bonus of 1 million won, second highest set of teachers get 500,000 won, and opportunities for these bonuses are every three months. since class doesnt start until 4pm, you could do (illegal) private lessons in the morning/afternoon (i hear people charge minimum 50$ an hour), with the summer and winter time come cdi "intensive" classes where one month you teach in the morning AND afternoon, but you'll pull a paycheck of over 5 grand. you get paid more if you work your way up to "Head Instructor" but with more work/responsibilities of course. btw, i do none of the above b/c i like my work load as it is and i value my free time.

would i tell people they should come work for cdi? no. i have plenty of gripes about my job. we dont get a year end bonus, we dont get holidays off, we dont get free housing, we dont get health insurance, we dont get paid vacation, we sometimes have to come to mandatory meetings and arent compensated for them. ive seen and experienced things that i thought were unfair. and maybe you wont get easy peasy classes to teach like i do, maybe you'll have these beast classes that require a few hours of prep. im lucky right now, but i fo sho have some coworkers who arent and their workloads are monsters.

so kiddies, check out all kinds of different jobs and pick what works for you. but i do like cdi enough that i'm staying, at least for another year. i have fun at work, the kids are awesome. i love walking down the hallway and seeing a student wave wildly saying, "Oh! Hello Sister Sha!!!!" im happy where i am, things is good. :)


Keigh said...


I just found your blog a couple of weeks ago, but I have been rabidly reading all the posts since you first started. Stalker-ish? I'll admit it, but it has been so informative.

I lived in Japan for a year, and wanted to go back after college to teach English. My plans have changed, and my twin sister and I are looking towards teaching in either Indonesia (she's pushing big for it!) and S. Korea (I'm pushing big for S. Korea!)

It's nice to see black women in Asia, and I'm glad you decided to resign. Who knows? You might see CDI. :)

I look forward to reading more. Also know that you have a lot of fans reading this blog. :)

irongracekidd said...

Hi! I'm pinay-Canadian and is 28 years-old. I tried for three years to teach in Japan with Nova, Aeon and Geos. I had an offer at some private school in Gunma in 2006 but my dad had a heart attack the weekend I was going to accept the job. And then guess what? The school closed it's doors the follwoing month leaving my friend without a job in a foreign country. All the while, I was getting encouragement to teach in Korea but I didn't know anything about the country until I started watching Kdramas and stuff.

I'm so happy to see someone working for CDI! I've just finished two of the interviews, one from the recruiter and one from CDI HR. So I guess that mean I'm headed for the intensive training in August. What I would like to know is some questions regarding the processes involved like: how much money to bring, should I ask for pictures of housing, should I ask for a specific location, did you bring a laptop...etc?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just accepted an offer for CDI to start in July. I wanted to know if I could speak to you about what to bring, what you don't need, and what the apartments are like?
I'm doing the monthly plan, at least I want to b/c it sounds so much easier. I'd love for you to get back to me. My e-mail is ""

Anthony said...

can we use some of your content for our expat website?

please email me anthony AT

Anonymous said...

I have applied to CDI and have been accepted teach there. I am looking forward coming to teach in Feb 09. I really appreciate your indepth blog about working at CDI because my recruiter has not connected me with anyone yet from the company to talk about their experiences and the people that I have been talking to who teach in Korea have only heard about CDI. Surprisingly though the majority have been African american men and not women. I am an African American female and just by reading your blog, feel even more eager to come to south korea. So again, I thank you very much.