Mrs. Satan (South Korea)

South Korea ~ Suwon – 2014

I have just endured a very, very, weird work situation. Loved the kids for the most part, and was blessed with some pretty special workmates – my bosses though…hmmm…how do I put this in a clear, but dignified manner? How about this for size…they were absolutely fucking mental.

Okay, example one your honor…I stumbled across this on my boss’ wife’s desk…a couple of days before she had asked me if I would consider staying another year, I had said no due to the fact that the 9:20-18:30 workday leaves me exhausted (insomnia is a bastard – I blame my addiction to coffee…and choosing watching South Park episodes over sleeping).

Mrs Chung's book

The day after discovering this, she came up to me and proceeded to rub my shoulders, while cooing “staaaaay, just staaaaaaaaay…” I suppose that must have been in the first couple of chapters– physical contact and a soothing tone will get you your own way. It was still a firm no. She ought to have studied that text more closely I guess!

This was all a little odd, but funny enough for me to simply shrug off – unfortunately, this wasn’t to be the last of it.

On a rather normal day I was called down to the office, out of my morning kindergarten class…which is unheard of…largely because usually teaching works best when the teacher is actually in the classroom. Anyway, I was pulled out without any explanation and made my way meekly down the stairs. Upon arrival I was told to sit down in the conference room and await Mrs…okay, we’ll call her Mrs. Satan (just to avoid a lawsuit)…so yeah, I did as instructed and waited for Mrs. Satan to arrive. When she did I knew straight away I was in trouble. For what though? Argh, it was school all over again…sitting there getting in trouble for something I probably didn’t do, but was too shy and embarrassed to mention that I hadn’t actually committed any crime. Like in primary school when I was playing kung-fu fighters with my friend Jonny, and he mistook one of my “KAPOW HIYAAA!” screams as me saying a swear word…despite it being completely false I eventually just admitted to it so I could go and eat…I was hungry, and earlier I had spotted a rare chocolate bar in my packed lunch box. I mean I doubt Mrs. Satan will want to play that game…she’s kind of anti-fun…but you know…there are similarities between the two situations.

Sorry, yes…so she was standing up. I was sitting down. And suddenly she started screaming at me (in Korean)…I felt everything from my neck up flush with a fiery red nervousness…I tried nodding…the old trick from school…but that didn’t work, instead it appeared to incense her further…I tried paying closer attention to what she was saying, perhaps I could use my limited knowledge of the Korean language to pick out the main themes of this one way presentation…

This is basically what I picked up…or the way it all sounded to me anyway…

“jduihcoiaspjasdpojsadjasdjasjpas-JOHN-jhscoapasdoscdohijscdpjascpjicasop-NOT HAPPY-kjscaspjsapkjsaojscakcsakasckpsakp-TEACHER-jsckncaskjpascoihcaspjiascpkjascpkas-SEOUL-ojscojcaskoasknasnkocasknasck-SCHOOL-jskoasckjpaskpascknascnjkaskca-SUWON-kjscjnacsknaskpascknascknlascjlcasoihcaskscaknlscaklncasknscaknasckjca…ohscojcasknlcasknacsknacskpcaspihcaobcaip-JOHN-kjascoiacspiascascisapsajop-LYING-jbicasoacsoihaspjcasoihcaskcasknlacohcaskcas…

Understand GIF

And so it went…on, and on, and on…I attempted to interject from time to time – and was met with a swift “HADGIIII-MAAA!” (which means something like “stop doing that!”), so that was her plan – to simply scream at me in a language I don’t understand, and if I ever try to reply; she’d just tell me to shut the fuck up.

Eventually she got frustrated…probably because I started unintentionally grinning, due to a huge nervousness/embarrassment overload…same thing usually happened in school…they didn’t like it then either. She called in one of the receptionists in order to translate her abrasive little speech she had just squealed into my ear. Turns out she was majorly pissed off, which granted wasn’t much of a surprise. It was then explained to me that she had been getting a lot of phone calls from agents asking for references…this I knew…in fact I had received an email from one, saying that my boss was “very unpleasant on the phone”…now I was more aware of what she had meant by that.

The translation continued, with Mrs. Satan storming back in the room every now and again, barking intermittently. I was told that Mrs. Satan was very annoyed, as she likes me a lot and wants me to stay…apparently “the Moms” (as they are known), feel the same way…so much so that they all got together and said that they would follow me to my next school – out of some kind of hap-hazard desperate snap decision, she had assured the Moms that I would be staying…and to ignore me and their children, no matter how many times they hear otherwise. This didn’t last for long (FUCKING DURRRRRRR! LIKE REALLY?!?! COME ON?!?!) and now they were even more irritated. They wanted to know which school I was going to, and when.

That is obviously mental, and clearly completely her own stupid fault…but listen, it gets worse…

She was now demanding that I move out of this city, never to return. She promised she would do everything in her power to keep me out…she would point blank REFUSE to give me a positive reference if the school was in the same city…if I decided upon another city, then yeah sure – she would give me the glowing reference she felt I truly deserve. This was to counteract the Moms who would be a lot less likely to up sticks and move simply to keep the same English teacher for their children. Smart plan…but devious…actually, straight up fucking evil.

I sat there and shook my head in disbelief. This was crazy. I wasn’t sure what to do…so I simply stood up and walked out, I still had a class to teach after all.

The next day she was all smiles. That wasn’t particularly surprising…she called me to her desk and handed me a small pink bag…something one of the children’s mothers had given her moments before…“Uhh…present…for your Mother…” she looked up at me with her eyes twinkling, as if butter wouldn’t melt – I said thank you and headed back to my seat. Later that day her husband called me into his office, and apologised on behalf of his wife…which I thought was pretty unusual…”please – please – don’t be angry…please, please…”

I wasn’t particularly angry actually, I was tired…exhausted of their mental shit…hoping and wishing that some honesty and decency may prevail for fucking once. Fat chance. Things just died down as per usual, there just tends to be an absolutely insane off the richter scale level eruption and then nothing…then another…then nothing…repeat, repeat, repeat -BOOOOM – bullet to the brain.

In my last week they tried a new tactic, which was faux-genuine niceness. They both approached me at once, flanking me from either side, handed me a doughnut (hats off to them for that one) and told me that they would miss me…that I was great…and that all of the children, mothers, and staff would miss me too…which was lovely, sure…but it made for a very, very awkward dialogue.

“My son loves you. He will miss you so much.”

“Aww, that’s nice – I will miss him too! I just need a position with less hours…I feel tired all of the time you see..”

“But I love you, we both love you. We all love you here.”

“Aww, that is very nice…but as I say…I just want a job with less hours next year – I need to focus on other things…and you know…I am a little tired as I sa-”

“The mothers are not happy – they all want you to stay, they will be very disappointed.”

“I know, I know…I have insomnia, I need more sleep, that’s basically -”

“We will offer you more money.”

“It’s not that, it really is just that -”

“But my son loves you. He will miss you so much.”

Martin Frustrated GIF

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It went on and on, and on; but I am getting annoyed once again just reliving it all, actually that may have something to do with the fact that I am in a crowded coffee shop and a child has been screaming “MUMMMYYYYYYYYY” over and over and over, right in my ear hole, for the past twenty minutes – whatever the reason please forgive me for cutting it a little short.

So yes, the day I hopped and skipped away from that place was a very happy one…well, bittersweet I suppose, I mean some of the people there, especially the children – will be missed for sure. After all, it is they who made the experience such a positive one…filled with funny tales, anecdotes, and memories, some of which I have shared with you on this site…Mrs. Satan however, well she can just straight up go to hell – I guess it would suit her anyways.

There was one last funny tale to be had though, and here it is – before I left my boss told me that he wasn’t really feeling education anymore, he said it wasn’t such a great business to be in…certainly not profitable anyway. He was looking to switch it up a bit, and is now looking at selling up and instead getting into a whole different field. This is going to sound more mad than Mrs. Satan, but I swear it is true! Apparently they are looking at investing in horses. Canadian horses. Race horses, for racing…but once they are older and of no more use – you can make them into skin care treatments…for the face…I wished him all the luck in the world, he said he was off to Japan soon, to inspect the Canadian horses…that he would be selling from Korea…for racing…and skin cream…

Alright, that’s enough I reckon!

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91 Replies to “Mrs. Satan (South Korea)”

  1. I am not sure you meant for this to be funny, but I laughed my as off. Glad you are out of that hell.

    FYI… I am a former Dale Carnegie instructor. I can assure you there are no chapters on cooing and shoulder rubs. I am also 99% sure that the book is someone else’s, or she isn’t paying attention.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hahaha Bobby, I prefer to make fun of even the most intense situations, otherwise I’d have a breakdown I imagine! Great to be free mind!

      Ohhh I am 100% certain she isn’t paying attention, after all, I would doubt lots of shrieking is in there? I guess she came up with the shoulder rubs by herself…hmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So funny! I love the way you write. I wish you all the best at your new school and trust that “The mothers are not happy – they all want you to stay, they will be very disappointed.” will also apply to where you go next! Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow sounds crazy! I guess one good thing you can take from it is that you were a really good teacher and they enjoyed having you there 🙂 Best of luck working at your new school, hope you don’t encounter any other “Mrs.Satan” characters there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha Marissa she is on a whole different level, you don’t have to worry about that! A subterranean level deep underground with spikes and molten lava…but I digress…anyway yeah I was FREAKED out, great to be out!


  4. What a horror story. When people let loose on you like that, they’re all smiles and nice-nice later because they feel better! They got it out of their system! (For now…) They can’t understand what YOUR problem might be if they think about you AT ALL. Total mind fuck. Wonderful you got out. Now I shall feel sorry for the horses….

    Another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh you are right, I think it’s best that we can’t understand and comprehend people of this sort…I wouldn’t want to actually! But yes, clawed myself free and things are looking rosy for next year!

      Glad you enjoyed the tale anyway, at least something positive came out of the situation! 🙂


  5. Okay, I don’t want to believe half of the things you write, but somehow I believe you anyway. Lol. You should seriously write a book one day, it would be immensely amusing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. haha believe it Kari, believe! Sadly it’s always the unfortunate truth, but I have to laugh as if I don’t I’ll cry. That’s for certain.

      But thanks for the vote of confidence, that’s lovely of you to say 🙂


  6. I remember having a Ms Satan too…from I’ll miss you, my daughter misses you, to you better come back, have you no compassion, to karma will get you for leaving, to but all we want is to work together! Eventually “My child is traumatized and needs to go to counseling!” I remember being a bit astounded and confused. After all, normal people wish you well, and if they are kind, they give you a leaving present. But anyway, you made it funny, and it does become that way in the end. Good luck in your new job and hope you get lots of rest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my, they really threw it all out there amd hoped something would stick! I’m sorry to hear that, such an uncomfortable situation to be in! Urgh.

      But thank you, on to bigger and better things let’s hope!


  7. How to win friends and influence people….did not know that was a real book! I thought it was just a saying….anyway she didn’t get past the foreword….teaching is hard enough you don’t need grief too. Good luck in your new position. Hope you are not too happy to find stories to write about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha ME TOO! I thought it was a myth, but there we have it! Anyway obviously not worth the read if she has read it!

      Thanks so much on the well wishes, I’m sure the kids will keep me on my toes and full of stories! Well, fingers crossed or I’ll have to call it a day! 😦


  8. Dammit why did you have to add the horse part? I had to know if it was a real thing, turns out it is, they make face and hand creams from horse oil because it apparently makes you super hot in the face.The guy started making it for his Mum and people starting calling her a MILF so now he has a whole company. So thank you because I have learned something new today and damn you because that is not something I needed to learn hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, that’s insane. I’m sorry you had to work for such psychos. Kind of reminds me of a boss we had in Russia. I used to work as Head of Studies in a language school and we shared an office, and not only did she openly eavesdrop on me speaking English to my husband, she would actually take notes and ask me for the meaning of the words she didn’t know! And when my husband quit for a better-paying job and told her the reason he left was because the pay was crappy and he now earned twice as much at another school, she was in complete denial and kept grilling me for hidden reasons behind his leaving. Oh, and when I was leaving for New Zealand she must have been jealous or something because she casually mentioned NZ is riddled with earthquakes… and oh yeah, good luck surviving them. I still have nightmares about that woman! Hope your new place is better and psycho-free, or at least psycho-light.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You always find a way to make us laugh on here, don’t you? Somehow I always come away from your posts thinking, “Only you, John, only you!” This was a riot. I loved it! Glad you’re getting out of there and finding a life for yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. For Koreans that are so trend, tech, and hip conscious, sounds like your bosses are quite old school when it comes to management by intimidation. Your story sounds like something out of long ago, like colonial Hong Kong. Thanks for informing us of this corner of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s crazy people everywhere … and I do the same … I start to laugh, I can’t help it and it defo makes the whole thing worse. Sounds like you’re doing good stuff though. I’ll be back for more reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You have a knack for describing hilariously terrible situations. Maybe this next one wasn’t too funny (not yet), but man, I was laughing reading it. They sound freakin’ nuts!

    Skin cream made from horses? Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I wondered whether you’d dropped off the face of the earth. Instead, it seems that through some glitch or other, I’d stopped following you, which might never have occurred to me as the solution but for the fact that WordPress offered your blog to me as one I might be interested in! Sheesh! 🙂 Glad you’re out of what was obviously a mega insane situation.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well I didn’t do it on purpose! 🙂 It was obviously a conspiracy to stop me from laughing explosively in the middle of the night and waking everyone in my street!


  15. Just finished the story haha! Thank you for reminding me with comment!!
    Hope your new job will be so much better than the job you just left!! 😥
    and ewwwwwww. never new that they use horse (CANADIAN HORSE!!!) for skin care product..;;

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I am pleased, haha! But you are right, it’s just another level of craziness…someone researched it and it is a legitimate thing too…I mean I want youthful skin but not at that cost! Jheez!

      Anyway thanks for reading. You are wonderful!


  16. What is it with Dale Carnegie and crazy bosses? Our crazy Hagwon boss had a quote by him up on the wall as he’d attempt to convince us of lie after lie. This guy must be a go-to for these nut jobs. Anyway, good to see your moving on to another school that’s hopefully not so bad. Too bad that you have to leave town to do it. Craziness.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I laughed my head off when I read this, bit glad you are out of the situation. I too tend to laugh in inappropriate situations. the difference between you and me though is that while being lectured in any language at all, I knew I probably had committed whatever crime I was accused of.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yeaaah wow, typical hagwon. I got out 3 years ago thankfully! I had a Mrs. Satan too. I also loved my students and they and their moms loved me too, but the amount of emotional stress that came with that job was totally not worth it. I think that’s why I moved across the country, because when they begged me to stay I was just like “no, I want to move to Busan. That’s all.”

    Don’t miss it at all, but I do have lots of great stories like this one. 😛 Glad you got out and I hope you’ve found a better job.


  19. Thank heavens you are outta there. It’s challenging enough to teach without worrying about a wacko boss in the background! Hope your next job is less stressful and more fulfilling.


  20. Just…wow. I come from a family of teachers. This trumps all their stories. Kudos to you for knowing your own mind and valuing your sanity. And thanks for the follow.


  21. Well. This honestly made me laugh so hard I almost cried. She clearly needs a translator for that book. I actually have worked for Vietnamese people though, and I understand where you’re coming from. It’s a whole scary and crazy world. They’re nice people.. But if you made them mad, you better watch out. lol. Every culture is different though. Glad you were able to leave a bad situation. Thanks for like my first post on a new blog I’m starting. 🙂


  22. Oh my gosh, this is so hilarious. I’ve heard of similar stories, but this was just such an in-depth story I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! I’ll try to avoid similar situations when I get to Korea! *crosses fingers*


    1. Stephanie it was utter craziness! Just a totally mad situation! I actually just returned to Korea a couple of days ago after a few months of travelling!

      Where abouts are you going to be? You and your husband will have a lovely time for sure 😀


  23. i find this piece insulting to your Korean employers. You picked one short moment in time, where the owners wanted you to come back, blame them for yor tiredness even though you were the onedeciding to stay up late for personal reasons and so on. What a distorted picture you have painted about Korea and your employers.

    They paid you onn time, they treated you well throughout the year, probably gave you a nice apartment. didn’t cheat you on pension, medical and severance yet all you can do is call her Mrs. satan because she wante dyou to continue teaching in her academy. is this how you pay people back for putting up with you and your antics for a year? You have to give a false impression about them to those who read your blog?

    obviously you have a problem which you need to deal with before you return to the classroom.


    1. You can find it insulting if you like, and it may offend you – but that doesn’t mean you are right…actually in this circumstance your lack of knowledge of the situation makes you look foolish I am afraid! Because…they didn’t usually pay me on time…my apartment smelled like sewage so was far from “nice”…they DID cheat me on my pension as they didn’t pay into it…the severance pay I received was less than stipulated in my contract…should I continue?

      So is it a false impression? No.

      I didn’t give the name of the school, or location – as although I was wronged, I am not a negative person and don’t wish any harm to my previous employers (I wish the best for them), so in no way would this give a false impression that would be detrimental. Korea in general I always speak positively about…the hagwon system is DEFINITELY flawed though, and if you are Korean I am sure you would understand that – as when money is introduced to education, then each student has a price tag over their head, and is thought of in dollars rather than grades.

      I have no problem in the classroom – if I did, why would they be so desperate for me to stay? Wouldn’t make sense! The truth is I pour my heart into every class, and give unbounded energy and love to every student – as my reward is to see them succeed…and they do. If you can call this “antics”, then yeah…guilty.

      Oh, and one more thing – this is a COMEDY website, where I make light of often bad situations I find myself in. You have taken it very seriously, and honestly think you should lighten up – it would make your life more positive 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. It’s crazy how people try to bribe you by paying you “more” – I don’t think people consider that regardless of getting more benefits & a bigger paycheck – we can’t control when our bodies & mind get tired and just don’t want to work for long hours.

    I’ve never live in Korea but I have relatives there – and from what I’ve seen in their routine: it seems that it’s all about work in Korea (early morning until night) & even my family in America still has that habit even after years of living here.

    I don’t want to stereotype my own people but sometimes, a lot of Koreans mindsets are really screwed up & stubborn. I try to be understanding because a lot of the older generations have lived through really turbulent times & Koreas changing too fast – the younger generations are living totally different lives than what their parents experienced so you can only imagine that people are insane in this country as far as their mindsets.

    Reading your blog further reminded me of why I don’t want to teach English in Korea even with all the good benefits & the work experience there just sounds crazy – Plus, I don’t believe any country should value another language more than their own language (just a personal opinion, of course). Humans should be able to enjoy life to relax & chill without having to think about work, money + being successful all the time but we can only change so much in how this world is nowadays.

    But, its cool that you took that opportunity to teach English there.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Aww, I love the fact that you were teaching kids! Sorry, I am quite biased. I am quite curious, did you get a better job and a work schedule? Did you leave the city, did they give you a positive reference? Too many questions.

    I hope you are doing better on your insomnia! Thanks for liking one of my articles. And good job on your posts!


  26. Korea can be extremely frustrating for foreigners. I think it’s frustrating for Koreans too, and it’s tough dealing with Hagwon employers at the best of times. I was so fortunate to work for an awesome Director for a lot of years. That helps make your stay so much better. I’ve dealt with some pretty freaky Directors too and that’s no fun 😦
    We love Korea so much though. It’s our second home.


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