Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reader question...many teachers or only one

This one from Melinda:

"(I see that you're in South Korea)...Do you enjoy it? Should I work at a hagwon with more english teachers or be the only english teacher at a public school?"

The first question first...Do I enjoy teaching in Korea.  I've been here for 6 years now, so obviously I enjoy it to some degree.  Because I work at a uni, I get a relatively high salary for the amount of hours worked and I also get significant vacations so I can travel and also do courses and stuff.  The culture holds no real fascination at this point, but it was fun for the first couple years exploring the country and learning Korean.   But let's just say that if I worked at a hagwon or crappy public school for 6 years, I might be contemplating desperate measures. 

The second question.  I think hagwons are a good place for your first year.  Expectations will be low, in terms of teaching, which is a good thing if you have no training or experience.  You'll only have 8 kids to control instead of 40 at a public school.  Everyone will speak English.  You'll have other foreigners to hold your hand.  In the big hagwons, you'll even have a foreign manager.  On the down-side, you'll probably get ripped off.

Public schools probably won't rip you off (but some do), but you could have a much more stressful year.  Huge classes of unruly kids, and your co-teacher is nowhere to be found.  Office politics that leave your head spinning.  Not a single person in the school speaking English.  Etc, etc.

Tough call! 

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