Adventure Teaching - Types of Teaching Positions in South Korea

There are several types of schools, educational facilities, immersion programs, independent organizations and government run programs that are all a part of the lucrative and competitive education system in South Korea.

Based on your experience, education and location, you will likely be placed in one of these types facilities: a Hagwon, a Kindergarten, an after school program, a public school, a University, or an adult English program. Though they vary in salary and hourly rates, each position contributes in a unique way to the expanding English education system. Take a look at the explanations below to get a better feel for the teaching positions available.

Public Schools

Public school teaching positions seem to vary just like any other government or independently run organization. This can often give teachers an inaccurate representation of what their experience might look like working in a public school. Teachers at public schools are usually the only foreign teacher working there and teaching living conditions vary greatly from one school to the next. Although there are often less working hours (8:00-4:00 or 9:00-5:00) and more vacation time than hagwons, teachers salary is set according to the teacher’s experience and education. Any entry level teacher without experience and a degree in anything other than English or Education can expect to make 2.0-2.1 million won. The salary can reach a max of 2.3 million won for a person who has 2-3 years of documented teaching experience and a degree in education or English. Public Schools offer the typical benefits and additional vacation days: airfare both to and from your home country with the completion of your contract, health insurance split 50/50 with your employer, 20 days paid vacation and paid national holidays, housing (rent) or housing allowance, and a severance bonus with the completion of your contract.

Note: Obtaining a TESOL Certificate will raise your public school salary 100,000 won per month. Look here for more details on taking a course.

Adult English

Some hagwons offer adult conversational, business or travel English classes within their facility. Again, the format of these programs varies greatly from one institution to the next. Teachers typically facilitate classes during times that accommodate their students work or lifestyles, like early morning, lunch hours or after work hours. These teaching positions are often split shifts where the teacher will work early in the morning, have a long break, and return to work for a few hours in the evening. Working with adults, with fewer, more intermittent hours, can be advantageous for some teachers. Adult hagwons usually offer the typical benefits: airfare both to and from your home country with the completion of your contract, health insurance split 50/50 with your employer, 10 days paid vacation and paid national holidays, housing (rent) or housing allowance, and a severance bonus with the completion of your contract.

Hagwons

The term hagwon means “after school program.” Thousands of hagwons exist in South Korea, offering countless subjects to students of all ages. There are math hagwons, dance hagwons, martial art hagwons, sport hagwons, art hagwons, music hagwons, foreign language hagwons, and the list goes on. A Korean student will typically attend several different hagwons throughout the week. The most common are English, Taekwondo and Math hagwons. English hagwons employ mostly foreign English instructors. The majority of foreign teachers in Korea work in Hagwons.

 

After School Programs

Like most programs, the format of classes and schedules varies with each different school or program the institution offers. Students usually attend these institutions after attending their public or private elementary or middle school. After school programs typically operate between the hours of 1:00-9:00, 3:00-10:00, or 4:00-12:00. The majority of English teachers working in hagwons work in this type of school. Elementary and middle school students make up the majority of the student body in these programs, with students attending between 1 and 5 classes per week with classes that vary between 45 minutes and 3 hours each. After school programs usually offer the typical benefits: airfare both to and from your home country with the completion of your contract, health insurance split 50/50 with your employer, 10 days paid vacation and paid national holidays, housing (rent) or housing allowance, and a severance bonus with the completion of your contract.

University Teaching Programs

University positions are usually quite difficult to get. They require specific qualifications (a masters degree or Doctorate) and have no need for recruiters, seeing as they have the pick of the litter when it comes to finding trained, experienced and mature English teachers to be a part of their team. University positions usually offer a low number of teaching hours and greater amounts of vacation time. The salary typically starts at 2.3-2.5 million won and increases with experience, and housing allowance is not always provided.

University Teaching Programs

It is illegal for teachers who are living and working in Korea on E-2 Teaching Visas to teach privately. Although many private tutoring opportunities are available and the compensations for these lessons are quite high, a teacher caught doing lessons may be fined, fired from their work place, or even asked to leave the country.