What type of teaching position can Korea Works help me get?
Technically speaking, Korea Works can help you find any type of teaching job that is eligible under the guidelines of the E2 visa. The vast majority of expats teaching in South Korea work at either a public school or a private language academy, known as a hagwon.
Most hagwons and public schools in South Korea provide the following:
- Airfare reimbursed upon arrival in Korea, one-way flight home provided at the end of your contract
- Housing (utilities not included)
- 50/50 medical insurance through the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)
- Paid time off
- Severance bonus upon completion of a 1 year contract
- Pension - only US, Canadian, and Australian citizens are eligible for the lump-sum refund at the end of their contract
Work Hours and Class Size:
- Hours vary; 9a – 6p (kindergartens) or 1p – 9p (elem/middle)
- Small classes – between 5-15 students, all typically at the same English level
- You have the freedom of being “in charge” of your own classroom as the sole English teacher
- Starting salary at 2.1 mil won/month (depending on the school, higher if you have BA Ed/Eng or teaching experience).
- No need to wait 6 months for the next hiring season! Hagwon positions open monthly.
- There are usually 2 – 15 foreign teachers per hagwon, depending on the size of the campus.
- We’ll search for jobs within your preferred city/area.
- Going with friends, a spouse, or a partner? Awesome. We’ll focus on schools that are in the same area, hiring at the same time. Unless, of course, we find a school looking for 2 teachers at the same time (it’s rare, but it does happen!).
Public School: Pros
Work Hours and Class Size:
- Daytime hours; 8:30a – 4:30p; 20-22 teaching hours/week
- Korean co-teacher in the classroom with you
- Curriculum provided, but it’s a monotonous curriculum and it gets really boring to teach (more below).
- Anything over the allotted teaching hours (usually 22 hours/week), you are usually granted overtime pay (around 20,000won – 25,000/hour).
- 15-18 (or more) paid vacation days per year, plus all National Holidays
Less noticeable discrimination:
- If you’ve done any research, you’ll know that Korean employers are infamous for rejecting applicants based on appearance. This type of blatant discrimination is less common in the public school sector.
Training + Orientation:
- You’ll experience a fully funded, comprehensive, government sponsored 3-day orientation upon arrival in Korea. A great way to meet other new teachers!
- It’s easy to appreciate the stability, consistency, and accountability (provided by the Ministry of Education) of public school jobs.
“Business First” mentality:
- Hagwons depend on student enrollment to stay in operation. Some Hagwon directors are less like educators and more like businessmen/women.
The Korean Mom:
- Korean parents pay extra to send their kids to English hagwons. If a Korean mom is unhappy with the way you’re teaching their kid, they’ll go straight to your director.
More Teaching Time:
- Put simply, you’ll be teaching more. Usually between 25-30 hours per week.
Training + Orientation:
- Training and orientation is not a general requirement, so you may begin teaching a day or two after you arrive. Many hagwons provide a few days of training or job shadowing... it really just depends on the school.
Preferences of Employers:
- We will submit you for jobs based on your preferences. Just keep in mind that employers also choose teachers based on their preferences. If your preferences are too specific, you may find yourself waiting around for months for a Hagwon Director to request an interview with you.
- 10 paid vacation days per year, plus National Holidays.
- It’s no secret – there are far more hagwon horror stories than public school horror stories. Yes, there are dozens of reliable, stable, fun hagwons in Korea – year after year, we have teachers raving about their jobs in hagwons! But there are definitely hagwons out there that shouldn’t be allowed to open their doors, let alone hire foreign teachers. We work diligently to avoid hagwons with this type of reputation.
Public school: CONS
- Starting salary can be as low as 1.8 mil won/month (higher in more rural areas, or if you’re more qualified).
- If you don’t have a BA in Ed/Eng or 1 year of teaching experience, you’ll have to get a 100-hr minimum ESL certificate to even apply for public school jobs.
- You'll be the only foreigner at your school.
- You can list preferences on your application form, but you will not find out what school you’re placed with until after you arrive in Korea. More here.
- Going with friends or a partner? There is no guarantee you’ll get placed near each other. Only married couples are given proximity preference.
- The Ministry of Education only hires twice a year, for February + August start dates. Some rural public schools hire throughout the year, but most only hire twice a year.
- You will wait for months to hear whether you’ve been offered an interview. If the interview is successful, you send in your visa documents. You’re sent a contract AFTER your paperwork clears immigration. In other words – nothing is final until 4-6 weeks before your arrival. Many teachers hate feeling "on the edge of their seats" not knowing if things are finalized.
- If your application is rejected (either pre or post-interview), you cannot apply to teach in a public school again for 1 full year.
- Ranges from 25 – 35+ students per class, all with varying degrees of English language ability.
- Same book, same lesson, for every... single... class. Go look on blogs/forums – this consensus is widespread.
- Sure, only 22 teaching hours/week is sweet! But the rest of your working hours (40 hrs/week) will be spent at school (typically monitored by CCTV). Again, search blogs/forums for more and you'll see that most public school teachers ache with boredom.