English teachers in Korea get school holidays, not freedom from desk-warming

Last Updated on July 7, 2021 by Christine Kaaloa

As I mentioned from my September Shoutouts II:

Last week, the DMOE finally sent out a notice stating that starting fall term, all NETs will have school holidays off. Yay, right? Before you get too excited, this doesn’t mean the chains come off and that NETs are excluded from desk-warming duties come winter!  No, while the entire public school system will be off for winter vacation, NETs are still expected to show for work.

Below is the letter we received from our DMOE confirming this:

September 9, 2010

Dear NETs,

I am writing to inform you that an official document regarding the policy about NETs and school holidays has been sent to your school yesterday; Native teachers with DMOE are not required to come to work on school holidays from this semester.

This is what happened:
EPIK and Supervisors of all MOEs and POEs participating in EPIK program hold a meeting once or twice a year. In the beginning the year, there was a meeting and someone pointed out that native teachers are required to go to work on days that are not national holidays. EPIK and the supervisors looked into the labor laws and immigration laws and confirmed that this was true. However, there was another meeting held over the summer and the supervisors of MOEs and POEs have discussed and concluded that they would all like to have the native teachers take a holiday on school holidays without having to use a paid vacation day. According to this agreement with other MOEs and POEs, native teachers with DMOE are not required to come to work on school holidays. You will not need to use your paid vacation days for this.

I am very happy with the change. I am glad that not only DMOE but other POEs and MOEs are willing to change policies and regulations to accommodate native teachers’ needs and improve working conditions. Last semester’s policy regarding school holidays was in no one’s favor, including the supervisors and schools. I am glad there are positive changes taking place. I wish native teachers’ enquiries and requests continue to be considered in the future for improvements. You will not need to explain or notify your school about the change since an official document already has been sent to your school regarding the policy.

I believe many schools have a school holiday the Monday before or the Friday after the Chuseok holiday. Enjoy the long weekend and good luck with everything in the new semester.

Best wishes,
Ji Won Shin

Program Coordinator
Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education
Namgu Daemyeong 2 Dong 1819-37
Daegu, South Korea

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • It’s February 2011 now, and I’m employed by the sepic office of education (chungnam middle and high school).
    Although deskwarming is a lot of free time which could be used for lesson planning, it is simply demotivating for the teacher to come into a freezing school and sit there with no-one else around,until the bell rings at 4:30. For teachers like me, who live more than an hour away from school, it is frustrating to wake up at 6am every morning so that i can be in school by 8:30 in order to do something that could have been done at home.
    I’m sure the people at the offices of education are intelligent,and reasonable people-but there seems something slighlty unreasonable about some of the ‘rigid’ rules which are counter-productive. Most teachers I know, spend the entire day on facebook or watching movies. It’s really frustrating because lesson planning can be done at home anyway. What is the actual reason for making native teachers deskwarm?

    • @Leigh: Thanks for leaving a comment. You totally echo the sentiment of most NETs I know and the FB statuses are littered with comments on deskwarming as well. The education system’s choices don’t make sense. Like that one week of school deal during winter break… The cold that we do have to endure in the classroom, whether there’s a heater or not, feels inhumane. Some NETs even went out and bought themselves an electric heater! But “off the book”– the end person who can yay or nay your deskwarming is your principal. Some people I know have gotten to deskwarm from home due to the fact they have a cool principal. If you get that deal, it’d have to be only between you and your school as they can get in trouble if the DMOE found out.