I’ve known a few people that have taught English in Korea. Here is some of their advice that they were kind enough to share with me. Amanda says:
Dave’s is a good site. Another one is Serious Teachers. After you post your resume you will most likely be contacted by a recruiter, and they will do all of the work for you. They find you schools and set up interviews and once you’re hired they help you with the flight and settling in process. [You might want to wait] until August when public schools are hiring … 2.1 [million won] is a pretty average starting salary. You can sometimes get higher as a first year teacher in Seoul especially if you have a teaching degree or you are TOEFL certified. Like around 2.2 or 2.3. I wouldn’t go below 2.1 though.
Tess’ advice to me included:
I’d say about 1/2 of the hagwons are horrid, and 1/2 are totally great. It’s all about finding one with honest owners. Def try to talk to at least 1 teacher at the school, so you can get an opinion from a teacher. And whatever you do… don’t teach at Choo Choo Train English in Anyang. Ha..I’ve sent out a lot of these, so I kinda have a back-up that I copy and paste …
Here’s my go-to message:
Most schools hiring English teachers are after school programs, called Hagwons. People have really great and really bad experiences depending on their school, so it’s really worth doing the research on your school and talking to teachers there. This often depends on your boss. It’s harder to work at public schools without experience teaching/a teaching degree/knowing Korean, but it’s a better gig if you get a chance.
When i was there the average salary was between 2.1 and 2.3 million won, which was about 2,000 US a month, but with the dollar and won down, it’s worth less now. Your school pays for your rent, sometimes utilities, and they should pay for your ticket over there and the cost of your visa. You also get a bonus of one month salary at the completion of your 1-year contract. This varies depending on where you live (big city or small) and how desperate schools are, and they usually are pretty desperate.
The visa laws changed right after I got there. You now go through the screening and background stuff here, so it might be different if they pay for it. It’s hard not to get stuck in a 1-year contract. Your visa is totally dependent on your school. You can’t change schools or quit your job and still have a visa.
Korean culture is very conservative and family oriented. Older people are very traditional, and the younger population is more open. In general they are very friendly, respectful and lovely people. I met lots of good friends, and younger Koreans are really fun to party with and love meeting foreigners. I had a great experience with the culture, but not so much with my school.
I also got a TEFL certificate, which is not necessary in Korea, but will help with getting higher pay and the job you want. Most jobs work through recruiters.