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Tefl in South Korea

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Comments

  • #2


    Great that you had a good time, the 30+ people I knew were robbed, weren't paid, left early and went back to their home countries, and like I said was screwed over.
    30 people is a larger amount than 1

    I take it you taught maths too, thanks for that numerical lesson.

    I've only actually known of one school that was didn't give the teachers what they expected and to be honest it was more the recruiter than the school. The school told the recruiter the salary but the recruiter lied to the candidates (all South African women) and told them the salary was higher and in some cases that the school was in Seoul when it was nowhere near it, in fact not even on mainland Korea. Worst of all, the recruiter was the mother of one of the guys teaching there.

    I know of more teachers who did midnight runs than got screwed over and I was there for three years.

    I've read the stories online and I'm not denying it does happen but it wasn't at the rate of 100% you said, I'd be surprised if it was even 1%.

    Speak to the current and past teachers at the school to get some advice before agreeing to sign. That goes for public schools too (if you are being hired outside of peak hiring season) because sometimes the public schools can be terrible to work for.


  • #2


    cloneslad wrote: »
    I take it you taught maths too, thanks for that numerical lesson.

    I've only actually known of one school that was didn't give the teachers what they expected and to be honest it was more the recruiter than the school. The school told the recruiter the salary but the recruiter lied to the candidates (all South African women) and told them the salary was higher and in some cases that the school was in Seoul when it was nowhere near it, in fact not even on mainland Korea. Worst of all, the recruiter was the mother of one of the guys teaching there.

    I know of more teachers who did midnight runs than got screwed over and I was there for three years.

    I've read the stories online and I'm not denying it does happen but it wasn't at the rate of 100% you said, I'd be surprised if it was even 1%.

    Speak to the current and past teachers at the school to get some advice before agreeing to sign. That goes for public schools too (if you are being hired outside of peak hiring season) because sometimes the public schools can be terrible to work for.

    Some public schools may be terrible to work for, but none can screw you like the hagwons gone. Check in with the LOFT Korea legal group on FB if you want an insight into much fun chasing up your wages are :)

    I'm not arguing with you further, yay you got lucky in your hagwon but the majority don't and to recommend them to a newbie teacher who hasn't even set foot in the country over the safe option of public schools is quite careless imo


  • #2


    Some public schools may be terrible to work for, but none can screw you like the hagwons gone. Check in with the LOFT Korea legal group on FB if you want an insight into much fun chasing up your wages are :)

    I'm not arguing with you further, yay you got lucky in your hagwon but the majority don't and to recommend them to a newbie teacher who hasn't even set foot in the country over the safe option of public schools is quite careless imo

    The majority don't get screwed over, a minority do it's just that those who don't have issues have no need to speak online about their employment.

    Public schools will always be safer option than hagwons but for the most part hagwons pay more money so with a bit of research on the school it would be worth considering a hagwon.


  • #2


    Great that you had a good time, the 30+ people I knew were robbed, weren't paid, left early and went back to their home countries, and like I said was screwed over.
    30 people is a larger amount than 1

    I knew loads of hagwon workers, 50+, over a 6 year period and I can only remember one or two getting screwed over.

    When you say “went home” do you mean left at the end of their contract or left before the year was up? If it’s the latter you have very very unlucky friends and it’s a tad bit of an anomaly that you knew them all.


  • #2


    I had a great hagwon and boss/co-workers for the first 2.5 years I was here, and after eight years here total, I can definitely say anecdotally that the numbers 'getting screwed' by their hagwon are dwarfed by the numbers who do just fine, they just don't need to vent so it never gets highlighted online.

    Of those that did get screwed over it was often the case, but not always, down to a lack of basic cop-on and research about the school they chose/coming over on a wing and prayer with no background work done.

    Then you've the bunch of ethnocentrics who can't believe a foreign country and totally different culture such as Korea doesn't function exactly like home, and who then chuck their toys out of the pram and cause a ruckus with the boss/others with no professional working experience struggling to adapt in their first job and might get let go...all these folks might gravitate to the internet for a sympathy bitter-party also.

    Factor it all into the mix and the bottom line is, have your head screwed on, do your homework and then you should be fine unless you get very unlucky with the few gangster operations there undoubtedly are out there.


  • #2
    Hello,

    Know of any good Hagwons hiring? :)

    I've had a few offers, but I am very indecisive because of the horror stories you read online.


  • #2


    Hello,

    Know of any good Hagwons hiring? :)

    I've had a few offers, but I am very indecisive because of the horror stories you read online.


    Every hagwon is different, by and large most are decent, even if their primary goal is to make money.

    What cities are the hagwons based in? Maybe fine an expat Facebook group based in the relevant city and ask there.


  • #2


    Been awhile since anyone posted here! I am hoping to go out to Korea in 2021, currently taking the TEFL course (120 online hr plus 20 hr in-person) and have a 4 year college degree.

    I guess I won't know until I apply for jobs but I am a little worried my age will count against me. I'll be 37 in 2021. Is it common for late 30s to 40s to work teaching English in Korea?


  • #2


    Steyr 556 wrote: »
    Been awhile since anyone posted here! I am hoping to go out to Korea in 2021, currently taking the TEFL course (120 online hr plus 20 hr in-person) and have a 4 year college degree.

    I guess I won't know until I apply for jobs but I am a little worried my age will count against me. I'll be 37 in 2021. Is it common for late 30s to 40s to work teaching English in Korea?

    It's almost 10 years since I left. It was common enough to see people in their mid 30's there at the time.

    There are still some people knocking around that were my age when I left which means they will also be 37 next year. Also a good few gone to China and Vietnam and still working away.

    No point lying to you though, you will be discrimiated because of your age, but in their defence they will also discrimiate based on gender, looks, skin colour, nationality etc :o

    What area of Korea are you looking to go teach in? Are you looking for private / public schools? I know a lot of schools were hit badly because of COVID and had to close up so I would guess the jobs market isn't what it once was.


  • #2


    cloneslad wrote: »
    It's almost 10 years since I left. It was common enough to see people in their mid 30's there at the time.

    There are still some people knocking around that were my age when I left which means they will also be 37 next year. Also a good few gone to China and Vietnam and still working away.

    No point lying to you though, you will be discrimiated because of your age, but in their defence they will also discrimiate based on gender, looks, skin colour, nationality etc :o

    What area of Korea are you looking to go teach in? Are you looking for private / public schools? I know a lot of schools were hit badly because of COVID and had to close up so I would guess the jobs market isn't what it once was.

    Hey Cloneslad thanks for the reply!

    I understand that schools will want younger teachers, but it's a country of 50 million so hopefully at least one school will see past my age!

    I have no preference for location. I would be happy to go anywhere really as long as it's mainland Korea. I will put an application in for EPIK and GEPIK but I know they are tougher to get into so I would be focusing on private schools.


  • #2


    Steyr 556 wrote: »
    Hey Cloneslad thanks for the reply!

    I understand that schools will want younger teachers, but it's a country of 50 million so hopefully at least one school will see past my age!

    I have no preference for location. I would be happy to go anywhere really as long as it's mainland Korea. I will put an application in for EPIK and GEPIK but I know they are tougher to get into so I would be focusing on private schools.

    You'll have a good selection of schools to choose from, I'm sure. I'd imagine age is lower down their list of criteria than looks / ethnicity / gender.

    I lived on an island just off the mainland (though it was connected via a bridge and later an under water tunnel) and it was unbelievable. Getting to go to the beahc before work and running in the hills and mountains whenever you wanted was ideal. It also had a population of about 300,000 so it wasn't quiet by Irish standards.

    Hopefully there are others here with more recent knowledge of working there and they can help you more but I'll be happy to answer any questions you have or give advice on areas that I have visited. It doesn't feel that long since I was last there but it will be 10 years in March.


  • #2


    I don't think you'll be discrimated against at all because of your age.

    Sadly, as was stated, some private evening schools (hagwons) do discriminate when hiring, schools also often opt for a North American accent.

    My advice would be to apply to a public school through EPIK for a 8:30ish to 430ish om job. Hagwons usually run from 4pm to 10pm, unless it's a kindergarten.


  • #2


    Can anyone give me an idea of how often this is viewed as a long-term career by those who go over? Do emigrants see it as something they are going to stick with for more than 5-10 years?

    If people leave South Korea do they generally move to another country and continue teaching English there? Or do they come back to Ireland (or elsewhere) and find themselves having to retrain in something else?


  • #2


    Can anyone give me an idea of how often this is viewed as a long-term career by those who go over? Do emigrants see it as something they are going to stick with for more than 5-10 years?

    If people leave South Korea do they generally move to another country and continue teaching English there? Or do they come back to Ireland (or elsewhere) and find themselves having to retrain in something else?

    It depends from people to people. I cannot see even those in middle school taking it up long term. I think it is like being an air host/hostess where you don't stay in the role past 40 usually. But then again you have peeps in their 40+ that are working in the universities. If you have a Masters and TEFL you can potentially teach in the universities. I had partook in a Masters programme when I returned to Ireland in 2012 but it was to get into an IT related career.

    Great to see folks interested in going over next year / soon!


  • #2


    red_bairn wrote: »
    It depends from people to people. I cannot see even those in middle school taking it up long term. I think it is like being an air host/hostess where you don't stay in the role past 40 usually. But then again you have peeps in their 40+ that are working in the universities. If you have a Masters and TEFL you can potentially teach in the universities. I had partook in a Masters programme when I returned to Ireland in 2012 but it was to get into an IT related career.

    Great to see folks interested in going over next year / soon!

    When you say middle school are you referring to people who teach that age group?

    Do you know any more about the reasons why people eventually leave? To start families back in Ireland perhaps?

    Does a Masters in any subject enable you to teach in the universities?


  • #2


    Largely, it's a lot of people paying off their university debts who are in Korea, particularly Americans. That said, they are those who settle (marry a Korean person, or just decide to stay), and get better jobs with private schools and universities.

    If you are intereted in a teaching career in Ireland, post-Korea, it doesn't hurt the old CV.

    They are also those who make a career out of ESL abroad and do it into their 60s, I've seen many teachers move on to China, the Middle East, and lately a LOT are going to Vietnam after Korea.


  • #2


    As Munsterdevil said, many Americans go over to do 2-3 years and pay off a large chunk of their college debt.

    A number of countries (Not Ireland) can cash out their compulsory pension payments, which if I remember correctly were something like 4.5% of your salary plus a match from your employer. You also receive a bonus month salary for every 12 months you work too (everyone gets this) so if you worked 3 years there you would get your 39 months salary for 36 months worked plus your 4.5% pension deduction returned to you along with your employers 4.5% so it really is a nice little pay-off to set you up for going back home to start your career.

    From the people I know who went there, I would say about 50% of the people go back home after a few years working in Korea and less than 10% stay on for the long term (8-10 years+). The other 40%+ went travelling / working as teachers elsewhere.

    Personally I did about 3 years all in all. It was over 2 stints broken up by coming home to do a Masters in an unrelated field. I went back to the island and worked for the same school on my return because I knew how great they were and I actually had a much better time the 2nd time around. I was 26 when I left for the last time and while I could have stayed on longer I didn't see a carer in TEFL as being long term for me so I wanted to get back to Ireland and start working on my career before, what I thought at the time, I got too old.


  • #2


    cloneslad wrote: »
    As Munsterdevil said, many Americans go over to do 2-3 years and pay off a large chunk of their college debt.

    A number of countries (Not Ireland) can cash out their compulsory pension payments, which if I remember correctly were something like 4.5% of your salary plus a match from your employer. You also receive a bonus month salary for every 12 months you work too (everyone gets this) so if you worked 3 years there you would get your 39 months salary for 36 months worked plus your 4.5% pension deduction returned to you along with your employers 4.5% so it really is a nice little pay-off to set you up for going back home to start your career.

    From the people I know who went there, I would say about 50% of the people go back home after a few years working in Korea and less than 10% stay on for the long term (8-10 years+). The other 40%+ went travelling / working as teachers elsewhere.

    Personally I did about 3 years all in all. It was over 2 stints broken up by coming home to do a Masters in an unrelated field. I went back to the island and worked for the same school on my return because I knew how great they were and I actually had a much better time the 2nd time around. I was 26 when I left for the last time and while I could have stayed on longer I didn't see a carer in TEFL as being long term for me so I wanted to get back to Ireland and start working on my career before, what I thought at the time, I got too old.

    Some very good points here, particularly about a career in TEFL, it's easy stay abroad for a while, but returning home and settling can be difficult, making a career out of TEFL in Ireland is not easy, and unadvisable in my opinion. A lot of people while teaching abroad also do distance masters/post-grads in unrelated fields which is clever.

    Regarding pensions, luckily I got a Uni job for four years that had a private pension scheme, thus I got my pension back (almost 10 grand)


  • #2
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