Apr 22, 2012

Public vs Private

Note: I do not claim to be any kind of expert on this subject. This is just a very, very simplified overview of  teaching in public vs. private schools in Korea, based purely on internet research and talking to people with experience.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the process of getting a job as an English teacher in Korea, here's the rundown:

When looking to teach in Korea, you can go one of two ways: public or private school. Each has its own set of benefits and detriments.

Private school (also called Hagwons)

Jobs are arguably easier to get, pay is generally higher, usually working with several other native English speakers, schools are always hiring--so you could start any time of the year

Odd work hours (often the equivalent of America's "second shift"--aka 3pm-10pm ish), fewer days off, less job security (in extreme cases--you could end up working for a sketchy company that may or may not actually exist), teaching is profit-driven (the goal is to please the customer, aka the parents), not education-driven.

Public school (EPIK--English Program in Korea)

Better job security (you're working for the government), more vacation time, normal work hours, teaching goals are education, not profit

More competitive application process, slightly lower pay, likely will be the only native English speaker in your school, program only hires for two start times a year: Fall and Spring.

The moral of the story: if you're looking to head to Korea, do your research when deciding which route to go. Decide your priorities (money, start date, vacation time, etc), and pick which works best for you.

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