Educators and linguists looking to teach English in Asia should seriously consider South Korea as a port of call. South Korea features a booming economy, amazing culture and fascinating history. Notably, English teachers have plenty of options between schools to teach at and the pay and benefits available to them.
Public or Private?
One of the most important decisions you will have to make when looking to teach English is the sort of institution you teach in, followed by what sort of position you wish to reach. Both sectors have their own benefits and drawbacks, each of which should be carefully evaluated.
- Public school follows a similar schedule as most Western nations-classes extend from the morning into the middle of the afternoon.
- Private English schools are referred to as “hagwons” and their classes extend from the afternoon into the evening.
Most Korean students will double up on their education, receiving their primary instruction from the public sector, followed by further specialized instruction at a hagwon. Naturally, this intense crunch can be taxing to many Korean students, meaning that you will need to espouse empathy and uniqueness during your time spent teaching.
What are the Tangible Merits of Teaching English to Koreans?
- Monthly salaries can range between 2 and 2.7 million won (nearly $1,800 to $2,425), based on the educator’s experience.
- The average work week is 35 hours.
- National labor laws dictate that half of your entire health insurance costs will be handled by the school you gain employment with. The other half is derived from your salary and comes to around 33.3 won each month (roughly $30).
- Paid time off. There are 20 vacation days in a year, as well as national holidays among the solar and lunar calendars.
- Many employment contracts include a completion bonus.
- Some institutions will also add a severance package upon concluding your contract as a teacher of the English language. The value of this severance is equal to one month’s salary and can be a great boon to affording the trip back home or for touring the country.
What Sort of Requirements are Involved?
There are four requirements and one recommended ability when it comes to teaching English to South Koreans: Be a native speaker of English
- Possess a completed college degree.
- Have a valid passport from a country whose primary language is English, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, etc.
- There are few Korean schools that eschew the need for TEFL certification.
If you want to find success in this pursuit, you will need to appreciate frequently being in the presence of children.
Location, Location, Location
There are five major cities that commonly show up as sites to teach English within.
- Seoul is the national capitol and, at a population exceeding 23 million, is one of the busiest cities in the world.
- While Busan is considerably smaller than Seoul, its status as a coastal city along the southeastern wedge of the country offers visitors and residents many opportunities to experience new things.
- Daegu is the country’s third-largest city and is also one of the oldest cities in the nation. English teacher who also have an appreciation for Asian history frequently choose to teach within this area.
- Ulsan may only have a population slightly over one million people, but its status as a coastal city also gives the opportunity to enjoy sandy beaches.
- Jeju City is the capital of Jeju, an island province and resort area.
“A Guide to Culture Shock: South Korea Edition”
Every country has its own unique quirks that can be galling to outsiders. Here are some notable things to be warned and wary of should you decide to teach in the “Land of the Morning Calm.”
- Toilet paper is not relegated to just the washroom; you are just as likely to see it at your dining table or inside of the classroom.
- Dining is a communal experience and seen as a way of sharing each other’s mind and energy; nobody one eats from an individual bowl.
- Expect to be asked many personal questions. Koreans are curious people and their willingness to ask you personal questions, especially your age, is a complement.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Documents International LLC, a leading apostille service for individuals and businesses.