FAQs - Job Hunting

1. How does the job-hunt work? Do I scan your available jobs and choose the ones I like, or will schools contact me directly?
Since there are usually far more applicants than jobs, we find schools will view our database of teachers and let us know who they are most interested in.

When a school expresses interest in your file, our SR (school rep) will email you directly, and cc your TR (teacher rep) with some general details on the school, city, age group, etc.

You will "reply all" so both the SR and TR are included, to either accept or decline the interview.

If you feel you need to decline the interview, please let us know why, so it can help our search moving forward.

To accept the interview, always confirm the best phone number (or Skype name) to contact you on, to make sure we have accurate info.
2. I've read lots of bad things about hagwons. How do I know you're sending me to a good one?
First, all of the teacher reps here at Teach ESL Korea started as hagwon teachers and have experienced first-hand the types of situations that might come up. As our tag line states: "We've done it, and we loved it!" We find that many bad situations in Korea are due to teachers and school directors not being able to form a healthy relationship and compromise. There will be many cultural differences and some things will simply be done in a way that is different from what you're used to. Keeping an open mind and dialogue with your director or co-teacher is the key to being able to work out most problems that occur.

However, we also know that not all schools in Korea are perfect, and we've put a lot of energy into forming relationships only with established, reliable hagwons. We encourage our applicants to make sure they also speak to a current teacher at the school they are considering, to make sure they are comfortable with their decision to work there.

We can't promise you'll get along with everyone, that's up to you, but we can reasonably assure you that you won't be placed somewhere that fires you in the 11th month or tries to ignore the contract or treat you unfairly. If something does happen that you feel is breaking the contract agreement in any way, we will do our best to help you sort it out.
3. So, how do I know you're sending me to a good school, either a hagwon or public school?
We at Teach ESL Korea screen the schools with our SR's, and we also often helped the school in the past. In many cases we can let you email with a current native teacher to ask a few questions. **We can only get you this email address after you have an interview with the school, and only if the school wishes to offer you a contract. This rule is in place to protect the privacy of our current teachers and to make sure they don't get inundated with emails.
4. How flexible are the starting dates listed on the job information? Can the school wait a week or two for me to start?
The start dates are not very flexible in most cases. If it says "a.s.a.p." it means as soon as your E2 visa can be processed, which we normally estimate to be 3-4 weeks after you send all documents to Korea.

The date given is usually around the time the current teacher is finishing their contract, so the school needs a replacement at that time.

A week or two might not seem like much but private schools can, and do, lose business if they aren't stocked with foreign teachers. Your presence gives them an edge in the market and your absence can put their business at risk.

With that said, we will look for jobs from your earliest probable start date as well as 1-2 months later.
5. How flexible are schools in reference to the preferences they list?
It can depend on the school but, as a general rule, this is what they are looking for. So, if a school says "female only" or "North American only" they are generally set on this.
6. I am really interested in the GEPIK public school positions but I heard that I'll have to teach weekends and this isn't listed on the job information. What do I need to know about these jobs that I haven't found out yet?
All jobs will be Monday through Friday unless clearly listed.

Also, make sure you have a TEFL certificate of at least 100 hours (the more hours the better), unless you hold a BA in English, Linguistics, or Education. This is the minimum requirement to qualify for GEPIK.

Be aware that many GEPIK schools are only considering swf's, who are already in Korea for their jobs, but we'd be happy to try and find you one of these great jobs. Idea: If you are okay with living in a rural community your chances of landing a GEPIK job will increase, as many teachers prefer to live in the larger cities. Teachers who work in a rural area also qualify for a pay increase.
7. I have a friend living in city Y, so I really want to be there. Is this possible?
It might be, but we pretty strongly recommend that you don't isolate yourself to just one city. The ESL market in Korea is more challenging than ever before. Keep in mind there are 30,000 teachers there at any time, and most are staying longer than a year, so it reduces the number of available jobs. Combine this with the overwhelming number of new applicants daily, and it's tough enough finding a job in Korea sometimes, let alone a specific city.

Also, please keep in mind how relatively small the country is, geographically. You can get basically anywhere you want in 2-4 hours by bus or train - both of which are inexpensive.

We also find that our SR's shy away from working as enthusiastically with teachers who can only be placed in one area. If they are not in the habit of showing your file to other schools, even if a job comes up in city Y, you won't be top-of-mind
8. I want to go to Korea with my boyfriend/girlfriend. Can we teach at the same school or at least have shared housing?
We think Teach ESL Korea places more couples in Korea than any other recruiting company. This being said, most Korean schools will not even consider hiring a couple. The ones that do, realize the benefits and hire couples year after year.

It is smoothest to place a couple, at an actual couple job, with both of you at the same school, with a shared apartment.

However, it tends to be more likely that we place 1 person in a job in a medium-sized city. Once that person is secure, the 2nd person can use all of their energy to focus on a job in that city.

If it gets to the point where the 1st person is starting, you can both go to Korea together. It will be easier in some ways to network with foreign teachers already in your new city and neighborhood, to find out who is leaving, and when. Meeting schools in person can sometimes be advantageous.
9. I have heard it can be harder to find a job in Korea if I am Asian, or African-American, is this true?
It rankles us to say this, but yes. Many schools in Korea prefer single, white, females, from North America, who are thin, with a nice smile, and something like TEFL or a BA in English to enhance their resume. The further we move away from this perfect mold, the more challenging the job hunt become. Teach ESL Korea has had some success placing a wide variety of applicants so we would be happy to try and help. Even with these challenges, we have successfully placed applicants of all demographics and hope to continue to do so.
10. What happens after I accept a contract with a school?
After you accept a contract, we will move your file into the "E2 process". At this time, our visa representative, Aggie, will help you with all the necessary paperwork for the E2 visa & everything else until your departure. Your Teacher Representative will still be available to help with any contract or Korea related questions, so you will have all the support you will need.

teacher spotlight

Hannah and Brady Q
Hannah and Brady Q., USA
Public schools - EPIK
Sarah, UK
Sarah, UK
Hogwan in Pyeongchon
Colby Charles, Cdn
Colby C, Cdn
Hogwan in Gwangju city
Ben K, USA
Ben K, USA
Hogwan in Gwangmyeong
Keri, USA
Keri, USA
EPIK in Jeju
Logan Monday, USA
Logan Monday, USA
TEK Alumni - now in Macedonia
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