Category: Career

Types Of English Teaching Jobs In Korea

English Education In South Korea

Considering how largely education is valued in South Korea, it comes with no surprise that it’s become a central hub for many current and aspiring educators. There are many different types of English teaching jobs in Korea. Below are a few pros and cons to consider when thinking about teaching in the peninsula.

 

Korean students learning English at Chungdahm Institute in South Korea

Public Schools

A native English language teacher in a classroom for EPIK

Pro:

The English Program in Korea (also known as EPIK) is the best way to get your foot into Korea’s public school system. EPIK offers some flexibility regarding curriculum and teaching methods, as they typically cater to bigger class sizes. 

Con:

There’s some limitations regarding location preferences—one could end up in a very rural area. It’s common for one instructor to be assigned to each school so there will likely not be any foreign colleagues. Also, the pay may be less competitive—as pay caps within the public school system are precisely set.

 

Private Academies (Hagwons)

Pro:

For those preferring a more lucrative salary, hagwons or private academies might be the better route—as private academies tend to have more structured curriculums that allow educators to engage closely with students or on a more individualized level. The plus side of working in the afternoons frees up time in the morning for personal activities.

Con:

As hagwons are prominent nationwide, different reputations may vary—especially within the small, privately owned academies.

 

A group of English language teachers posing with awards in South Korea

International Schools

Pro:

International schools cater to a diverse student body including both local and expatriate learners. There might be some reassurance with the familiarities of teaching a Western curriculum.

Con:

Since they follow international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), international schools only hire certified teachers.

 

Universities

Pro:

For those with a masters or a doctorate, teaching positions at universities might be an option. These roles often involve conducting specific research topics alongside teaching responsibilities. It is a combination of contributing to the academic community while enjoying a higher level of autonomy in the classroom.

Con:

University positions tend to be extremely competitive—many require, at the very least, a master’s degree in a specialized field.

 

South Korea’s vibrant education landscape offers a multitude of teaching positions to suit various preferences and skill sets. Whether you’re drawn to the flexibility of public schools, the structure of hagwons, the global environment of international schools, or the academic rigor of universities, there’s a teaching role in South Korea waiting to be embraced. If you want help navigating the different types of teaching jobs in Korea, apply to Aclipse now!

Joe Achacoso first embarked on his ESL journey in 2010 to satiate his longing desire for travel. An opportunity intended to be a 1-year contract turned into a 10-year tenure—as an English teacher, faculty manager, instructor trainer and curriculum developer. His adventures in global education continued with a master’s, and it came full circle when he joined Aclipse’s recruiting team—hoping to help the like-minded achieve the same transformative experience!

My First Two Weeks Teaching English In Korea

Teaching English In Korea

Leading up to my big move across the world, I was beyond nervous. I had a lot of doubts, fears, and uncertainty. As someone who loves adventure while simultaneously struggles with facing the unknown, I felt like I was about to leap into a big, dark pit. Let me tell you about my first two weeks teaching English in Korea.

Landing In Busan, South Korea

As soon as I landed in Busan, South Korea, some of my fears started to melt away one by one. I’m extremely thankful for Aclipse and staff at my branch who helped me make this move more seamless. A couple of foreign teachers from my branch met me at the Busan airport and took me to my new apartment. They helped me get settled and eased some of my anxiety. 

View of the Ocean with the City of Busan, South Korea in the background.

Having lived in Busan for a month earlier in the year, I was somewhat familiar with life in Korea, but having just made such a big move, it was very comforting having such kind people welcome me with open arms. The Korean staff at my branch were also a huge help, and took me to apply for my Alien Registration Card and get my required health check. They’re such kind people that really care about the wellbeing of their teachers.

 

Training Week

I arrived in Busan on a Saturday, so I had that Sunday to settle in before I had to begin training week. Luckily, I was able to complete training online from the comfort of my apartment, which allowed me to continue to get settled. Training week was quite intense, as we had to retain a lot of information in such a short time. However, the other trainees in my group were all so nice, and we all benefited a lot from our group study sessions together. Although challenging, I do feel like training week definitely helped me get familiar with the methodology of how to teach April classes.

Getting Out And About

My first full weekend in Busan after training week allowed me to explore a bit more of my area. I’m a big nature lover, so scoping out some peaceful places to recharge was a priority for me. Busan’s winters are fairly mild, so despite arriving in mid November, I’ve been able to get outside some on the weekends. I love spending time at beaches here, and exploring the nearby parks like Busan Citizens Park

 

People walking in Busan Citizens Park in South Korea with a pagoda in the background.

Officially Teaching In The Classroom

I began teaching at the start of my second week in South Korea. I was definitely nervous at first, as that was my first time teaching English as a foreign language. I really cared about doing a good job, and with the combination of meeting all my students, remembering the methodology of the lessons, and managing the behavior in the classroom, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, I have a very kind headteacher who really helped make sure I was on the right track, keeping up with the admin work, and answered all my questions. 

After a full week of teaching, I definitely started to understand the structure and flow of my lessons more. My students started getting more comfortable with me as well! I have 90 students a week, and by my second week of teaching, I surprised myself by learning a good majority of their names!

 

A Wonderful Journey

Looking back on my first two weeks teaching English in Korea, I feel quite proud of my ability to deal with change and roll with the punches. I’ve been living here for almost 3 months now, and while I still face challenges, things continue to get more familiar and comfortable. I’ve joined a language exchange program that has led to many great friendships. I’ve eaten lots of great food, spent time in beautiful cafes, and seen only a small fraction of the beauty Korea has to offer! 

Taking on such a big life change always comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Remembering to find small joys every day and finding home in myself has been extremely important to my journey so far. I’m excited to see how I continue to grow this year and grateful I have this opportunity of a lifetime!

 

A group of English teachers and Korean staff at a dinner after classes are over.

Springtime in Korea is full of vibrant experiences for you to enjoy while teaching and living in Korea. I encourage you to embrace the beauty of the season and create unforgettable memories that will last you a lifetime! (Below is a great VLOG done by an April English teacher at Creverse! It’s not me, but hope it helps you get a better feel for what’s to come! )

 

What It Takes To Teach English In Korea

Teaching English In Korea

Teaching English in Korea is personally and professionally rewarding. If you are considering applying for a position you’ll need to demonstrate you have what it takes to be a successful ESL teacher. Here are some characteristics and qualifications that are sought after and can help you succeed as an English teacher with Creverse Inc.

 

A Native English teacher in a classroom with Korean middle school students in South Korea

English Language Proficiency

Clear communication and superior English skills are vital for teaching. You must be able to explain concepts in a way that is easily understood and caters to the language ability of your students. Being comfortable and confident in your role as a language model is also necessary to earn the students’ trust and respect.

 

Enthusiastic & Passionate

Students learn best and succeed when their teachers are passionate and enthusiastic. A positive and energetic demeanor helps to motivate and inspire students. Effective teachers are friendly, yet firm; connect well with students, cater to their needs and interests making lessons relevant, relatable and fun.

 

Professional

Teachers need to be punctual, responsible, and committed to providing high level instruction. Demonstrating a strong work ethic is important in any professional setting. Teachers should be open to accepting and implementing constructive feedback and strive to be the best teacher possible.

 

Team Player

Teachers work in collaboration with each other and Korean staff. Being supportive and contributing positively to the workplace is highly valued. Your colleagues are your initial support group and social network…and will be excited to show you the ropes. Establishing a positive rapport from your arrival goes a long way in making the experience mutually beneficial.

 

Adaptable & Culturally Sensitive

Adapting to new environments, teaching methods, and cultural norms is essential. Understanding and respecting Korean culture is integral to adjusting well. Being open-minded and flexible will help you integrate into the local community and work effectively with students and colleagues. It’s important to consider strategies that will help you to have a positive year living and teaching in Korea.

 

Teaching Certification/Experience:

While not required, a CELTA certification will earn you a higher salary. Completing a TEFL or TESOL course may help you feel more prepared and confident in the English teacher role. While formal teaching experience is also not required, those with full-time classroom experience will benefit with a higher salary offer.

 

Visa Requirements

A sample alien registration card required for all foreigners in Korea

Ensure that you meet the requirements to work in Korea. This includes obtaining the necessary documents for a visa and fulfilling immigration requirements. To be eligible you must have at least the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree – any major, however, English and Education majors are highly valued.
  • Background check – with no charges, dismissed or otherwise

Have you got what it takes? Take the next step and submit your resume to find out!!

Colette Neville hailing from Ontario, Canada embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime and taught English in Japan for 5 years after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and a Bachelor’s in Education! While overseas she honed her teaching skills, advanced professionally to trainer, area manager, curriculum specialist and enjoyed the many riches of Japanese culture. Her love of travel led her to explore many of Japan’s neighbouring countries, including South Korea! Upon return to Canada, she landed a job with Aclipse recruiting and now enjoys sharing her experiences and guiding candidates through the steps to secure the perfect overseas placement! Upon reflection, she believes her experience teaching abroad was a very meaningful and life changing event….and is certain it will be for others too! 

From Tanzania to Korea: My Experience as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

 My Experience as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

Before getting caught up in the daily grind of the working world, I decided it was the perfect time to become a Peace Corps volunteer. After graduating university with a degree in engineering, I was placed in Tanzania as a Math and Physics teacher. I loved teaching more than I ever thought I would. I felt such a strong connection with the students, and extended an extra year and a half to see my first students graduate from high school.

At the end of my service, I decided it was time to learn a new language and experience another new country. I packed up and moved to Korea. Fast forward a few years, and I found out about CREVERSE.

It was much easier being in the country and knowing the language. In addition, the recruiter and staff at the branch I worked with were very supportive with the housing and visa process. I feel like there was much less hand-holding than when I applied to the Peace Corps. That being said, it was also a much simpler process to apply for CREVERSE.

The Curriculum

I’ve been very impressed with the materials we use in the classroom, and they are continuously making improvements and updates. This is the first time I’ve used a smart textbook. The students and teacher all use electronic tablets to more personally experience classes and interact with each other and the material. It feels like a great way to escape the rote learning that seems to pervade so many facets of education. There is a set curriculum for each module, so the teacher’s task is made easy. Steps and guidelines are all set out.

The Students

Obviously, the best part of teaching is the students. CREVERSE is no exception. Of course, just like any job or position anywhere, there will be not-so-good days where things don’t go the way you hoped or expected. But coming to work every day and seeing the smiles and hearing the greetings of students who are genuinely happy to see you is one of the best feelings in the world.

The Life

If you’ve discovered a love for teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer and are looking for a change of pace in a new country, Korea is an amazing place. There are countless opportunities to get out and explore this beautiful and historic country. CREVERSE’s teaching hours make it easy to get out before or after work. Try taking Korean lessons, join a dance class, or adventure on your own. Weekends are great for bus trips around the country or hiking trips up the many mountains. Many of the mountains are right in the middle of cities. Or, spend some down time picnicking by the Han River. The possibilities are endless!

Nick Allen Taylor is an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) who spent 3.5 years in Tanzania. He has a BS in
Mechanical Engineering and a BA in International Relations from Oregon State University. He has lived in Korea for over 7 years, 3 of which he’s spent as an English Instructor at CREVERSE.   

Life After Korea

Goodbye Korea

When I was living abroad I wasn’t sure what life would be like when I finished my contract and moved home. The plan was to live in South Korea for a year, but I ended up extending my contract and living in Busan for almost two years. I knew there would be some reverse culture shock when I moved home but was really surprised by what life after Korea was like.  

My boyfriend, Colin, and I packed up our apartment in Busan, had a goodbye party with all our friends, said some tearful goodbyes, and boarded the plane to leave Korea. It didn’t really dawn on me until the plane was in the air that I wouldn’t see those friends or live in Korea again for a long time, if ever. Although I was very sad to say goodbye to friends and to a city I absolutely loved living in. I was very excited to go home and see friends and family I hadn’t seen in almost 2 years! 

two women holding a drink on the beach in busan highlighting life in korea

Aloha

Before returning home, Colin and I stopped in Hawaii for a week to relax and enjoy having some time off work. Honestly, taking a vacation in Hawaii was one of the best decisions we made! Although it was expensive, it was worth it and definitely helped with the reverse culture shock. It was nice to be in an English speaking country again, but still be on vacation. We got to go to restaurants, grocery stores, bars, gas stations, etc. and enjoy the simple pleasure of talking to people in English 24-7! We did feel a little overwhelmed hearing everyone else’s conversation (it was sort of nice not knowing what other people were saying in Korea sometimes). Not to mention we got to enjoy all the gorgeous sights and beautiful beaches that Hawaii has to offer. 

 

arial view of the ocean in hawaii

REVERSE Culture Shock

Once we returned home reverse culture shock hit with full swing. Shortly after we got off the plane in St. Louis, I started having wheezing and a tight feeling in my chest – something that has never happened to me before. I had to go to urgent care and was abruptly reintroduced to American healthcare and how expensive it is – Korean healthcare was fast and extremely cheap (with or without insurance). Luckily it wasn’t serious. It turns out my body just was shocked from all the allergens that I was suddenly being exposed to! 

It was great to see family and friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, but also overwhelming trying to find time to see everyone. I felt a little guilty trying to juggle time with family and friends, and was very glad we’d been on vacation- because it really helped with the jet lag. Honestly if I could do it over again I’d say ask a friend or family member to host a “welcome-back” party for you when you return. That way you can see everyone at once, and won’t feel guilty if you need a few days to rest/recharge later on. 

(See below – a friend from Cinncinati drove down to see me after we got home!) 

 

two women posing in front of a fountain

Home Sweet Home

Some of the great things about life after Korea are that I realized how easy and convenient it was to do so many things in America. Signing up for a phone plan was pain free, and going car shopping wasn’t bad either. I’m big into rewards programs and coupons, and never really got to take advantage of that in Korea since I didn’t learn much Korean! I also really enjoy going to the gym, and gyms are much cheaper in the US. 

(See below – a Friendsgiving party with some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time!) 

 

family photo in a living room

Missing the Kids

One challenging part about life after Korea was the education culture in America, in Korea it’s very rigorous from an early age. Going from teaching Kindergarten in Korea to teaching Pre-School in America was a hard transition for me. Education culture for kids below 5 years old is much more laid back in America and focused on play and social skills. This was so different than what I experienced in Korea. I had a hard time adjusting at first but now I believe there is a happy medium between the two educational cultures. Kids should be able to play and have fun, but structure and high expectations aren’t a bad thing! 

Speaking of education, some of my old students from Korea wrote me really wonderful letters which I’m incredibly thankful for. It’s nice to hear from them and know that they are doing well, and I’m definitely excited to write back!  

(See below – an adorable letter from one of my past students.)

student letter to her English teacher from Korean student

Life After Korea

Moving abroad has changed my perspective on a lot of things. I now have a tremendous amount of respect for immigrants and refugees because it isn’t easy to move to another country, especially when you can’t speak the language or have no family to help you. I’m passionate about helping those that are less fortunate, and can understand a small part of the struggle that immigrants face. 

Moving abroad opened up many opportunities for me. I was able to save money, pay off all of my debt, and travel to four different countries! I am so thankful for all the amazing memories I have. Transitioning to life after Korea wasn’t easy, but now that I’m settled I’m very happy and love that I have so many stories to share with friends and family. I also can’t wait until I can see my friends from South Korea again! 

3 backpackers enjoying the view on top of a hill overlooking Busan beach highlighting life in korea
couple posing in front of a fountain in Korea

 

Monica Russo graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Psychology and is from St. Louis, Missouri. After spending a couple years in social work she decided to move abroad to learn more about other cultures and to challenge herself to live outside her comfort zone. Monica lived in Busan, South Korea for a year and a half and loved her time there.  She loves new experiences, hiking, exploring other cities and helping others any way that she can. Her philosophy is work hard, play hard!