Monday, February 22, 2010

"After-school" Programs in Korea

Here's the question:

I am still in Canada searching for teaching work in Korea. It's been like two months and I just don't know what job I want. There are so many that advertise LONG hours and those don't appeal to me and these so-called recruiters never listen to my demands.
Nothing better than new young teachers who want a job, but don't like working. That mentality --in part-- is why I don't hire young teachers or anyone fresh out of college anymore.
I started to see more afterschool and afternoon positions recently. They sound great! Why doesn't everyone want those? Are they hard to get?

First of all, there is usually a difference between  "afternoon" and "after-school" positions. An "afternoon" position is at a hagwon and will typically start at 3 or 4pm and run till 9 or 10pm. An "after-school" position is at a public school and typically runs from 12 0r 1pm until 5 0r 6pm.

It sounds like you want to an "after-school" position. I've worked at several in my time here and all of them are essentially the same. Although the venue is a public school, you are actually working for a recruiter/education company. For example,  ABC Education is a recruiting/education company. They have a curriculum, books, managers, supplies and teachers all within their company. These companies go from school to school trying to make contracts with the principals. Once they have the contracts, they choose the teacher who best suits each school (which means the prinipal has a say). So, each teacher is not actually working for the public school system, but rather a separate company.

The pay varies greatly as well. If you're north of the river, then expect your pay to be less than if you're in the south. And even in the south, you'll be paid based on the neighborhood. For instance, in Yangjae I was making okay money, but then I moved over to Songpa and was making 30% more. Now, I'm in Gangnam making nearly 60% more than I was in Yangjae. Of course, the higher the pay, the more competitive the job is.

You asked "why doesn't everbody want those" jobs? Well, a lot of people do want those jobs. In fact, many of those positions require an in-person interview which puts teachers abroad at a disadvantage. However, it's still worth trying.

On a side note, the after-school jobs are oftentimes looking for teachers on the F2 visa. They do that because F2's are easy to hire, have been in Korea for awhile and usually have housing already. These days, however, some F2's are even being forced to submit the same paperwork at E2's. I protested at first but soon realized that if I didn't do it, then I wouldn't get the job.

In short, the afterschool jobs are great. You're typically teaching medium-sized Elementary classes (10-20 students), have relative freedom in the class (even with the Korean co-teacher) and get a lot of free time. The details of the contract depend on the job and company, but for the most part, they're super sweet gigs.


Chris in South Korea said...

The person asking the question sounds a bit... deserving... but that's beside the point. Looking for two months for teaching in Korea? You're either looking in the wrong places, not sending out resumes, or not saying the right things - either way, get with the program.

Recruiters aren't paid by us, so our 'demands' don't necessarily have to be met. Our 'requests', if nicely asked, may prompt a recruiter to steer us one way over the other - and may win us points when the recruiter tells the school how easy we were to work with :)

Anonymous said...

Somehow I'm guessing that the questioner wants to live in Seoul, but it's also worth noting that there are some after-school programmes in the countryside too.

In my "city" there are about 7 of us working in these positions, but we are employed directly by the Provinal Education Office rather than a private contractor.

We are well-paid and have a lot of leverage over the curriculum as well as awesome English worlds to play around in all day.

However, we have to keep regular office hours and get 14 days vacation instead of the 20 days the public school teachers tend to get.

It works out really well, but somehow I sense that it's not something this guy would be interested in!

The Expat said...


You mean entitled. I have a feeling that his placement woes have more to do with his attitude than anything else.


Office hours, huh? Does that mean you're there from 9-5 everyday?

조안나 said...

I think you failed to mention a few things about the "after-school" position though...

I believe it's generally considered a part time position, therefore, you're not guaranteed health insurance. I'm not sure about pension. I've never seen one of these jobs offer housing, so the pay, when you factor in housing is slightly lower than a typical hagwon job. (but I'm sure it varies from job to job of course.. )

These jobs never offer plane ticket money nor do they provide the "Bonus" at the end of the contract period. There are a lot of pros and cons with after school jobs, and I'm still considering taking one myself at some point as I have two friends who have been teaching in that system for some time now. But, not having that plane ticket money plus not not getting the month salary after completing a year of work is a serious deterrent to me.

The Expat said...

I'm gonna to have to respectfully disagree with you. I've worked in four after-school programs. All of them provided housing and healthcare, three of them paid severance, and two of them paid one-way tickets.

You're right on pension, though. No pension is offered.

Still, there are certainly jobs out there that offer some (if not all) of the perks a normal gig does. Fish them out because they're there.

조안나 said...

Wow, neither of my friends were offered housing or airfare or pension. I'm surprised. I think their housing allowance is something around 400-500,000. Though, I think the ability to pick up part-times/ privates usually makes up for it... Maybe it's because you're F2? I don't know... but if I could find one of those schools that pay airfare too, I'd be quite happy...

Anonymous said...

We generally 11-7, but it can change over winter and summer vacations.

The amazing facilities, the flexibilty within the classroom, the small class sizes along with good housing, opportunities for overtime and comparatively good salary are the pros.

The little vacation and deskwarming times are the cons.

Guess it wouldn't work for everyone, but I enjoy it!

The Expat said...

11-7 is pretty long for an "after-school" gig. What are your teaching times?

Anonymous said...

22 hours... it really is just like regular public school teaching with slightly different hours.

Anyway- just thought I would add a different perspective on the after-school for those not wanting to live in a big city.

Jennifer said...

While I do think the commenter sounded a bit "entitled" as someone else said, I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing what you want - short hours. And I don't think that that means someone is a poor worker.

I, myself, prefer shorter hours, but I give my all during those hours and plan ever class I teach carefully, and if I feel a class needs more attention, I'll bring work home always.

I worked at one school here that advertised its hours as being much shorter than they were in actuality. (Like by 3-4 hours per day) Then they wondered why I wasn't happy.

For some of us our time is worth more than money and thank god there are jobs (like my current gig) that provide employment for those of us who think the Puritan work ethic is for suckers and prefer to have time in their day to work on hobbies, cook a good dinner and relax!

Theresa said...

Jennifer, what school do you work for? I too hate the puritan work ethic and want to have free time while in Korea.

Unknown said...
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