Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Basics of Adult Language Institutes in Korea

Here's the question:
good friend of mine is interested in teaching English to adults. She has been working at the same hogwan with me for about 7 months now and is really miserable there. Let's just say shes not  'kid person'. So she has made some kind of negotiation with our boss and is going to be able to get out of her contract like 5 months early (that was luck). She loves Seoul and does not want to go home, so she is now considering a job working with adults. It is my understanding that most places looking for teachers to teach adults do not use recruiters and that they just hire directly. Is this true? If so, where is a good place to look at job postings for these positions? And also, do these institutions that teach adults provide the visa like the hogwans do? How exactly does it work? 
Your "friend", huh?

I think that after a few months of teaching kids in a hagwon, even the most well-intentioned and good-natured teacher has, at some point, breathed, "I'm not a kid person." Those gigs tend to have that effect on people, especially new teachers. Luckily, she's gotten permission to move on and soon that'll be behind her. Settled on that front.

Finding adult teaching jobs is pretty easy. First of all, take a look at what I wrote here and here. There are some simple tips and things to think about before applying. (Also, take a look at what Chris wrote about contracts.)  Second, you should think about whether you want to teach classes or 1:1. Both of them have their benefits and drawbacks. If your "friend" still feels inclined to make the move, then I would consider applying directly first. This way you can get around the fluff and recruiter sweetening. If the direct links don't yield any immediate responses, you can always go to the big job sites.

The adult language institutes are hagwons as well. And just like with the kiddos, they sponsor your E2 visa; provide housing or allowance (careful though --DE and Pagoda only give one-hundred bucks a month);  provide insurance and pay a pension. Flight tickets differ from place to place, so you'll have to ask about that. In your "friends" case, she's already in Korea, so they'll most likely pay for a visa-run at least.

 I usually recommend teaching adults to second-year teachers because there are a couple thing to consider if you're on your first go-around. Adult hagwons typically have split-shifts. You'll be teaching early in the morning (7:00-ish) and working late into the night (10:00-ish). With that in mind, traveling and weekday partying become more difficult. In fact, if you can't adjust to the split shift, then most of your afternoons will be spent snoozing and that's fine for some, but I encourage first-year teachers to experience more than just working and sleeping. I know that my first year was great because I worked from 10am-4pm. It allowed me to get to know the nation; culture and people quite well with all that free time. Plus, I got to travel out of the country with relative ease.

Luckily, not all adult hagwons offer only split-shift shifts. You might have to wait your turn for block, but DE, English Channel and Pagoda offer both split and block. YBM and BCM typically (but not always) only offer split. Even those gigs, however, come with some other perks. Many times, teachers will only have a certain amount of classes they have to teach. After that, it's up to them. This system allows many teachers to teach the morning block on some days and the evening on the others. That, and those two places only teach twenty days a month. That leaves for a lot of three/four-day weekends and longer breaks on "red days".

From what you told me, it appears that your "friend" is all set. As long as she has her docs in place, some nice interview clothes


foflappy said...

"That, and those two places only teach twenty days a month. That leaves for a lot of three/four-day weekends and longer breaks on "red days".

Have things changed or am I not reading this correctly. I taught in adult hakwons for 5 years.

Yes, these establishments only teach 20 days. However, even if you have the 'red' days (national holidays), by law, you will have to make up for these national holidays if they detract from the 20 days.

At least, that is how I remember it because whenever we had a month with a red day, I was in there on a Saturday making it up..usually at the end of the month.


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