FWIW I did teach ESL in Korea for about 3 years, and I'm glad to have gotten out of it. Pantisocrat is mostly right, considering it sounds like he's never stepped foot in Korea before. There are many factors you can combine to create a Korea ESL teaching experience, and there are that many different kinds of people doing just that. All of the guys who've responded in this thread who have taught ESL in Korea before have all mostly done different roles. There are small nuances that can make enormous changes to your paygrade and workload. For example... scenario 1 (fantasy level stuff) - you're charming as hell, and incredibly lucky, something gets you in the door - you step off a plane and get two-3 hours of work a day, teaching big-biz executives English one on one. You work from 8-9am, and then again at 7-8pm or so, and you make $150/hr per lesson. You might get comped a meal per, and oft times these people don't even really care to learn English, they're just bored old guys who need somebody to talk to, after they find themselves estranged from their families and friends, and are too shy to go out and make foreign friends at bars or something, and would rather do it by employing them. Scenario two (normal) - similar hours as above but split into two 3 or 4 hour shifts, one in the early morning and one in the evening, but you teach classrooms of young working people, college students, the general middle class populous, who each pay the school a pretty hefty amount of money and you in turn make between $3-6K/month. The school would house you and you are expected to while away the 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the day, everyday. Big names such as Pagoda, YBM Sisa, etc, do this. Keywords in a listing would be 'adult students' and 'split shift' Scenario three : You teach a specialized skill, like iBT/TOEFL/SAT-based cramming - you work afternoons, evenings into the nights; you start work at 3 or 4, might get off work at 11 or even 12. To do a job like this you need to have at least a good SAT English score (as in perfect) and also be able to teach that much to students paying to learn that. Materials may provided - these schools are specialized and bring in high tuitions, but expect to have high turnover as well. These places often offer $5K/month or sometimes more. Oft times, immigrant Korean-Americans or Korean international students excel at this job because they've had to test for English fluency as non native speakers themselves, and can speak both languages - enough Korean to bullshit the management who run the schools like a fast food joint, and speak enough English to sound 'native' to students. You would work alongside some pretty slick hustler types at these kinds of places. Scenario four - elementary and middle school English conversation, no secondary-level test focus. This is the glut of ESL jobs out there in Korea, and the job that most are likely to get stepping off a plane. There are jobs like this in the public schools as well as many more in the private schools, the former being a 9-5 and the latter being a 4-10 job, doing about the same thing, going through lightweight texts and doing reading comprehension. Pays above $2000/month with housing, but rarely pays above $3K with housing. Location in Korea rarely plays a factor in your overall take home pay as well, it's pretty standard whether in a great neighborhood of Seoul, or the sticks. Requires absolutely no special skills besides a college degree from an English-speaing country, and a reasonable command of English (notice that I don't say 'native speaker' specifically) You would work alongside drunk Canadians and Irish people at these kinds of places, many of whom consider it a serious job, but also still think they're in college, 10 years later. Scenario five - kindergarten - 9-1 job, pays $1K-1500/month - this one is probably the truest to it's description - 'kindergarten teacher' is about the same everywhere. Most of the kids can speak reasonable English and you're unlikely to teach them tons, it's babysitting. This is a popular second job for the people teaching in group 4 above, as you can stack the two paychecks if you're willing to work 14 hour days. Also popular for people who can't get visas, and for spinster Korean women who have studied extensively at school type 2, as above. Most of the above jobs, besides a public school, will work you year-round, with Lunar New Year and Korean thanksgiving off. You are highly likely to work on Christmas, real New Year's, and any other western or national Korean holiday. it sucks. Scenario 6 (the good stuff) - teaching at a college - you usually need a master's degree in English for this, to get a callback. Pays like the non-speciality teaching as above, but the classes are less boring, and you get tons of vacation time comparatively. Fewer know-nothing 'managers' above you to boss you around - most all of the other options above, minus the first one, are bound to have someone working below at least two or three people who were teachers last year and are bosses the next year - it's not fun if they're morons - see scenarios three and four for these types of people.
post #31 of 42
6/30/11 at 1:32am