Public vs Private Schools


Everyone has read horror stories about shady hogwans in Korea. We feel most of these accounts are rather outdated and in the current Korean ESL market, this is not very common at all.

About 5 yrs ago the Korean government could tell they were having issues and getting a bad reputation.

  • They now require minimum student enrollment for hogwans to provide financial security.
  • All teachers must provide a CRC that has been apostilled – prevents criminals
  • All teachers must have an apostilled degree – prevents fake graduates
  • Labor Board and the courts now protect both sides equally in a dispute.


In 2012, 300 of the 400 teachers we placed at Teach ESL Korea were in hogwans. We’re very confident they’re almost all having a great time, would recommend it to their friends, and most are considering staying for more than 1 year.

Teach ESL Korea has access to all public schools in Korea.

We are fine to help you focus on whichever job you feel is best for you. We will explain the market conditions and requirements for various jobs.

EPIK is now trying to only hire those with a B. Ed, BA in English, Linguistics or CELTA. Those with TEFL-only, will be considered if they can’t find enough of the above applicants. It will take a person with a pretty impressive resume, combined with their TEFL.

  • Private schools have 6-12 kids per class – public schools have 30-40
  • You see each child 1-2 times a week in a public school and 3-5 times a week in hogwans.
  • You can have up to 15 foreign co-teachers in hogwans - but only one foreign teacher in public schools
  • *Public schools no longer let us recruiters buy the flights to Korea in advance, for the teachers. You must pay for the flight and then be reimbursed within 30 days of landing in Korea.
  • Public schools have 4 weeks of paid vacation – private schools have 2
  • 22hrs of teaching in public – 30 for private schools
  • Far more lesson planning for public school classes – we think the hours of work come out to be the same
  • Public – 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Private – 1-9pm, or 10am to 6pm
  • TEFL is now practically required to catch the attention of most hogwans because they have so many teachers to choose from
  • Medical – 50% in either case
  • Apt – same – free, furnished, within walking distance of school
  • Completion bonus (severance), same – 1 month’s pay
  • Pension – always provided for public school teachers, but 50% of hogwans don’t offer this
  • Monday to Friday – all hogwans and public schools we work with
  • Teach ESL Korea is the #1 recruiter for GEPIK, and our EPIK partner has been recruiting for them for 14 years.
  • Teach ESL Korea is now one of the top 10 recruiting companies in Korea so many schools are seeking us out due to our reputation of providing excellent teachers.




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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