Teaching Job Options
There are a number of different teaching possibilities in Korea. Following is a list and short description of the organisations that most often employ language instructors – hagwons, universities, university-owned language institutes, public schools, in-house corporate programs, as well as various other government or private institutions.
These private (for-profit) language institutes can be found in almost every area of the peninsula. Some are branches or franchises of well-known companies, while others are small-scale, and in some cases, get-rich-quick initiatives, that may not be long-lived. Some of these may open the doors of their beautifully decorated office/classrooms, hire foreign teacher(s), advertise for students, offer classes for a while, and then shut down. The better hagwons will provide housing for their foreign instructors, will offer them contracts with clear language that spell out benefits and expectations in detail and ensure that all immigrations requirements have been met before work begins. The typical full- time employee can be expected to work 20 to 30 hours a week. The majority of classes are conducted in the early morning and the evening. Students can range in age from pre-school age to elementary/middle/high school students to university students to adults, including business people, home-makers, and seniors.
University classes tend to be large (sometimes 100 students) especially those taken by first year students to meet the basic foreign language requirements. Most instructors teach between 10 and 15 hours a week. Some universities provide housing – often in a dorm-like environment or designated units on campus – while others may provide only a housing allowance. In the latter instances, they should also be provided enough money for the ‘deposit’. Most universities will provide benefits as required by law, however some are less forthcoming. The details of the contract are as important for university positions as they are for hagwons. Normally, university instructors have three to four months paid vacation (winter and summer breaks) a year. However, increasingly they are requiring foreign language instructors to teach winter or summer session classes/camps. The majority of university instructors have graduate degrees.
Language Institutes Affiliated with Universities
Many universities operate their own language institutes. Some of their students are also enrolled in the university, but the majority of them are businesspeople. Instructors here also tend to have at least a Master’s Degree, usually in TESOL. Universities outside Seoul and in the more isolated areas often provide better housing, working conditions and salaries.
EPIK and ETIS (Public School) Programs
Foreign teachers are also hired to teach English in the Korean public school system. The EPIK program is sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Education and sends teachers all over Korea, while ETIS operates exclusively within Seoul under the jurisdictions of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. Housing and basic furnishings are usually provided, and salaries are often in the higher range. Someone with a graduate degree in TESOL and/or teaching experience will generally earn more than a new teacher with a non-teaching bachelor’s degree. Teachers are often expected to arrive before the students and the stay until other teachers leave, usually at 17:00. Experiences within both programs vary depending on factors within the particular school while housing, benefits reliability of pay and resources are not all on par.
Corporate In-House Language Programs
Many Korean conglomerates offer their staff in-house language training. Instructors in these programs may be expected to teach more than 30 hours a week, with schedules that range from early morning to late at night. Housing may be provided, usually on-site or requiring a long commute
Teaching English Part-Time
Many full-time instructors also teach part-time, either privately or at a second institution. Private instruction is illegal. Part-time employment at a second institution is illegal as well, unless permission is granted by the sponsoring institution and Korean immigration authorities. You are obliged by law to pay taxes on all income earned. If you fail to do so and get caught and fined, you will not be able to leave Korea until you have paid the required amount. If you do not have sufficient funds, immigration authorities will insist that you arrange for money to be sent from your home country. When considering part-time employment, make sure you know the law and understand that you are taking a serious risk if you teach private lessons.
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Last Updated on 2020-09-01
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