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 either a Kindergarten or afteschool program (hagwon). 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.
Hagwons (afterschool programs)
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.
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: reimbursed, one-way fligh, health insurance split 50/50 with your employer, eleven days paid vacation and paid national holidays, housing (rent) or housing allowance, and a severance bonus with the completion of your contract.
School is very important in Korea. Most parents send their children to school at a young age to capitalize on them learning as much as possible. A lot of Kindergartens have English classes or all of their classes are taught in English, to expose young learners to English as early as possible. Kindergartens are run during the day, usually from 9am – 6pm. The class size and schedule vary between Kindergartens, but all students have one thing in common: HIGH ENERGY! Teachers love teaching at Kindergarten because they can truly see their students develop and grasp the English language throughout the year. The benefits are very consistent across the Kindergartens: accommodation, one-way reimbursed air ticket, health insurance, starting salary of 2.3million KRW and more.