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Teaching in Korea: Private School Advantages and Disadvantages

By Edited Jun 8, 2015 0 0

Private schools are a bit more high stress as you are evaluated often and regularly, they can be a good option for those that don’t like a regular 9-5pm schedule and for those who want to make a bit more cash. Public schools generally pay more than the public. If you are someone who wishes to excel in your teaching career you can learn many new strategies from teaching at a private school. They many offer more training and esl resources that will guide you to become a better teacher. Although, choose your private school wisely as there are many complaints about particular schools concerning treatment of foreign teachers. Make sure you get an email of a teacher who previously had taught at the school.

Classes

Class size is the biggest advantage of working at a private school over the public school. Less kids to manage means you will have more control over the class as a whole and less behavior problems you will have to deal with. On average private schools have 12-18 students per class allowing for more personal learning. Classes at private schools are sometimes monitored for performance by use of something called CCTV. CCTV is a device that will video tape your class with sound and all. You might be a little camera shy, but after sometime you will get used to it. You will be evaluated based on your class recordings. Not all private schools use CCTV in the classroom, but if you are opposed to this idea then it might be a good idea to ask your recruiter about it before you take the job.

Teaching Hours

Expect to work about 30 teaching hours a week, sometimes it will be more and sometimes it will be less. Private schools are generally not concerned how much overtime you’re putting in as long as they have enough students to fill the classes. Private schools generally contract you to work at least 90 teaching hours a month. This means if you work over the 90 hours then you will get overtime pay. Possibly, if you work under the 90 hours in a given month your private school may dock your pay. It is important to look at the details before you sign any contracts. What is standard?

If you cherish your free-time then be careful of the split schedules. What is a split schedule? It means your hours are scattered throughout the day with breaks in-between. Private schools that cater to adults generally offer split schedules. This could mean you will be teaching at random hours in one day throughout the morning, afternoon and night. I would only advise doing this if you want to gain experience in esl teaching adults for specific future goals, such as working in higher education.

Office Hours

Many private schools in korea do not require office hours meaning you can come in maybe an hour before your class starts depending on the school. It is my opinion that many of these schools do a better and more structured job of teaching the English language and with that comes more responsibility. Your employer will be looking at test score results from your classes and will be giving you frequent evaluations on student retention and grades.

Evaluations

You will be evaluated often at a private school and these evaluations are used to consider raises, give constructive feedback, or give reprimands. The most important calculation to private schools is “are the students enjoying your class?” Why do they care so much about this? Because it is common that parents will shuffle their kids from school to school until they are happy with one. If your students like you then they will tell their parents they love English class and their parents will signing them up for more classes in the future. This will make your boss very happy. If you are working with younger learners at a private school be careful how you discipline them because the ultimate goal is for them to be happy. If they are happy then their parents are happy and they will keep coming back.

If you work with adults then there is a possibility you will be rated by your students. If you’re a likable person then many times students will give you a high rating regardless of your teaching ability. Adult students are attending the classes for personal growth and would like to enjoy their time while in class not be forced to deal with tedious English concepts and memorizing. The same principle applies to teaching adult students –make them happy. Adult students have one great advantage behind them and that is they can recommend the school or the teacher to their friends. If you get people coming to your private school specifically asking to be taught by you then you will probably be rated highly on evaluations regardless of your expertise and test score results.

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