Did you typically work a 35 hour week? Any overtime? Is the
- 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
- 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.