Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Job Search: Finding an ESL job in South Korea

The "search" isn't much to speak of actually. I posted my resume on a popular ESL recruiting site a few days ago and have gotten at least 20 emails from either directors offering me positions or recruiters telling me that they'll find me a great job.

Recruiters are paid a finder's fee by the English schools and are therefore quite eager to make a prospective teacher happy. Directors would obviously like to avoid paying the recruiters and try to approach teachers directly. I've been told that my odds of finding a decent position get better when I work with as many people as I can. I'm working with a few recruiters and have responded to schools with positions that interest me. Basically, this is a sifting process and there are a lot of questionable schools that need to be sifted out! There is the ever present possibility of getting screwed over: not getting paid, having to teach extra classes without being paid overtime, being fired indiscriminately, etc.

You might wonder how I can distinguish the bad from the good, considering I don't have any experience teaching in Korea. I've been spending lots of time reading over the forums on Dave's ESL Cafe, my most important resource about teaching in Korea. Teachers and other community members dispel advice, answer each other's questions and even review contracts for illegal and unfavorable terms. Based on the information given from other teachers, I have a general idea of what to expect in terms of salary, vacation and working hours and what to suspect in terms of shady business practices. But more importantly, I know I can rely on experienced teachers who are looking out for my interests and who can steer me away from bad contracts and bad schools.

Finding a good position seems to involve a bit of luck and a lot of diligence. We'll see where that gets me!


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