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Step 1: Teaching in Korea FAQ
Step 2: Read The Top Posts of 2006
Step 3: How to Find a Job Teaching in Korea

Monday, 26 November 2007

Monday Madness: Reader Emails Answered

I had a reader ask me some questions on finding a job in Korea. If you haven't read my post on finding a job teaching in Korea already, click here. Hope these questions help those who are looking for jobs in Korea!! Hope my tips help you out, "J"!

Did you typically work a 35 hour week? Any overtime? Is the
overtime optional?
- We had a 30 hour work week, consisting of 6 teaching hours a day. However at my school we had to show up two hours before for prep time, which was unpaid. OT was optional the first time around, but the second time we had to work it (8:45am-8pm) because registration was high.

How long did your application process take from submission to
placement to arrival?
- It was really quick, we applied in May 2006 and we had everything ready by the time we left at the end of July!

Did you keep your work hours to Mondays-Fridays?
- Monday to Friday

What age group did you teach?
- Ages 9-17...no kindergarten. Most classes lasted a month, and the next month would be the same kids.

I am a "gyopo" - does this decrease my chances of securing
employment as an ESL teacher? I was born and raised in the States and
I can barely speak a lick of Korean!
- At my branch they had lots of "gyopos" so that is not a big problem. I'm Chinese myself so people thought I was Korean. Some "gyopos" didn't speak Korean either!

Was your apartment within walking distance to your school?
- Yes, 10 minutes (7 minutes when it's freezing cold!).

What was your compensation package like? It sounds like different
rates apply to expats depending on experience and I do not have any
prior teaching experience. It would be helpful to know what living
expenses were like.
- a fully furnished officetel (bed, sheets, pillows, tv, dresser, drying rack, table, chairs, kitchen utensils, cups, bowls, mugs, glasses, pots, pans, fridge/freezer, AC...the full deal!) We paid about 150-300US/month in maintenance fees. It depends on the age of your building. We had 24/7 security so it was more expensive. We had paid Korean holidays. One month's severance pay at the end of our contract; sick day bonus of 400,000w.

How did you find your first job in Korea? There are ads everywhere
on the internet and I think it would be to my advantage to apply for a
position within a larger hakwon community, one with other native
english speakers.
- We found it though a Google search and some relevant ads we stumbled upon. I would suggest checking out Dave's ESL Cafe as a good place to start. There are lots of ad postings. Email them your application and then if you get far enough, ask for an email reference.

Were there any "hidden costs" or "fees" that you did not anticipate?
- Nope...we did have to pay to FedEx our documents (degree/transcripts) to Korea, that's about it.

Did someone greet you at the airport?
- Yes...the school greeted us there, and drove us back to our officetel/work. We even got dinner!

If there's anything you'd change during your planning or
stay in Korea, what would it be?
- Good question. I think the best way is to just learn to adjust and accept your new way of life in Korea. It will make life a lot easier in the long run, instead of always longing for how ways "used to be" back home.

Lots more questions answered with my FAQ on Teaching in Korea.


Anonymous said...

There are some changes coming to the visa process.

Check them out here:


Looks like you will now need police records/criminal background checks and medical checks as well before being able to get a visa to teach the first time.

Plus side--no longer having to leave the country to renew your visa and being able to change jobs hassle free if you complete 80% of your contract. Some disgusting hagwon owners actually make their foreign teachers' lives hell, if they give notice that they will be leaving at the end of the contract. This should put an end to that nonsense. Well, I'm hoping, but we'll see if this really comes to pass.

Also, find out just how much prep time the school is going to demand. Two hours unpaid would be a deal breaker for me, as would too much overtime as most of my students are kindergarteners. Life is short, and we do need some time to enjoy it.

UofT 1st Year said...

Awsome post! I can't wait to graduate and apply!

Gary said...

John: Thanks for the update...it will be interesting to see how the new visa guidelines work out for you guys over there.

yisei: thanks for commenting. Apply and it's a guarantee you will get a job!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog!

Came across your blog a couple of months ago... been reading it since. Reading your blog got me interested in teaching english in Korea.

I have a problem, english is not my native language, but it is my first language. I'm planning to take a course for the TESOL cert, will that be good enough? i also read that a degree is part of the requirement, but i don't have one, i do have a diploma in advertising, will that help?

Thanks for your time!

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