Public School Advantages and Disadvantages

Public Schools in my opinion are much more relaxed environments and this is a big advantage if you not used to handling stress. However, you may find yourself a bit bored at times due to the lengthy required amount of office hours. You will gain some valuable experience, but often times it may seems as if your school doesn’t really care about your performance in the classroom. You may need to actively ask for constructive feedback rather than it being given to you. Public schools have the attitude of Tim Gunn from the popular American TV series Project Runway and you might often hear from your superiors in some variation “Make it Work.” This can be frustrating at times for some teachers that don’t know the goals or the objective of what the school is trying to achieve.

Class Size

The class sizes are generally larger, so you will have to be able to maintain about 30 students at a time. This isn’t always the case at public schools, but as a general rule it is the most common. Plan for lots of group activities and lessons tailored for larger groups. It will be impossible to reach every student and know this going into your class. Is it more difficult to maintain a larger class? Not really! Because public schools will offer you a Korean co-teacher and this person will help you and guide the students to stay on track. This is not always your co-teacher’s core responsibility, but you can ask him or her to assist you when needed. If the class size is around 15-20 students, which can happen at some schools, you may not have or need a co-teacher.

Teaching Hours

Expect to be teaching on average about 20-24 teaching hours a week, this will sometimes be more or less depending on scheduling. Public Schools will base your overtime pay on weekly worked hours. If you teach over the agreed upon hours (usually 24 hours a week) then they will give you overtime pay. If you teach under the 24 hours you pay will remain the same as your monthly salary. Public schools do not dock your pay for teaching under the amount of hours, provided you were at school doing office hours.

Office Hours

Public schools will require you to come into work even when you have no classes. The students get a decent sized break between semesters and this doesn’t mean you will too. You can however use part of your 20 days of vacation time while the students are on a break. You will quickly discover that these 20 days generally don’t cover all student breaks. So there will be many times you will still have to come into work, but not teach any classes. Many esl teachers I know just hang out during this time in the office and relax. During this time you may be required to plan for the coming semester, but it definitely won’t take up all of your time. Sometimes public schools will require you to come in on Saturdays to participate in holiday functions or school group activities. These occasions are very rare and you shouldn’t fret over them. It isn’t like you are working every Saturday.

Starting Pay

Public schools in korea are also more likely to offer you a settlement fee, in other words pay you your first month a chunk of cash to help you make it to your first pay check. My settlement fee was about 300,000 Korean won which equals roughly about $300 American dollars. This can be helpful especially after spending money on the visa process, buying essentials to bring to Korea and possibly being out of work for a short time in your home country. Expect two make anywhere from 1.8 million Korean won (about $1,600 USD) to 2.7million won (about $2,300 USD) a month. Public schools will pay you on a scale that currently looks like the following.

Public school jobs korea