Major issues are changes to housing, length of vacation and competition. Larger than this is that there are a bigger supply of applicants than ever before.
As we all know I am in the job market right now looking specifically for an Elementary gig inside Gyeonggi-do. I am not going the route of applying to GEPIK but looking for schools that hire a teacher on their own.
It is dry out there folks, and I think it is mostly due to it being the off season.
Ben Johnston says:
There are going to be great and terrible changes in coming years, and this place, market-wise, will continue to feel a lot more like Japan and a lot less than the Korea I knew in 2006.First, I think we need to get out of our panic mode and take a clearer look at the job market and the job itself.
It should not be surprising to see the Korean government make changes to contracts as the world economy changes and in general as time passes. Of course some of these changes are unattractive.
But do we not all look at our contracts before we sign it? And yes I know contracts out here are like liquid, but you can fight for what you signed.
This is what I want to say:
- No school's boss or owner is created equal. This applies towards coteachers. Therefore your work environment and the benefits of time off will revolve around these individuals attitudes towards you and the teaching profession.
- Public schools, although vulnerable to the same mishaps as private schools, are in my opinion still better.
Quality of life.
- Working hours typically range from 9 am - 7pm or split shifts of 9 - 12 then 2 - 8pm. All in all, the schedule varies. This means that you will eat dinner at 9pm (for some this is okay).
- You will have 20 minutes off here and there. But what will you do in your time off? You can go walk around somewhere or do planning. In these cases your schedule is not concrete and varies. If you are a flexible person who enjoys changes then this will not affect your quality of life.
- Also if you don't mind teaching ages 7 - 14 in one day then you will be fine. But for others going from kindergartners to near middle school aged kids can be draining.
- Intensive periods of teaching nearly 12 hrs straight.
- Solid vacation time of just 10 days throughout the year. Sometimes clustered together in bunches of 5 days or 4 days for your pleasure.
- Quality of life could be heightened by higher salary.
- Working hours are most often and typically 8:30 - 4:30, give or take a difference of 10 minutes. After school programs can have a schedule of only working 12 - 5:30.
- The schedule does not change. However the amount of classes taught each day vary, but that too is a strict schedule.
- These two aspects make for one's quality of life to be regulated with few surprises as to changes day to day. This means you can wake up at the same time and eat meals at the same time. After work there is still time in the day to go to places before having dinner. You can go home clean your house and do laundry without feeling drained from working till 9 or 10pm.
- Also this schedule mirrors what a typical job would be like back in your home country.
- Age range is generally dependent at what level school you teach at. Elementary = 9 - 14 yr olds. Middle = 14 - 16 and High = the rest.
- Because age range doesn't vary highly you can focus your teaching style and lessons towards one age group. A quality of life bonus, in my opinion, because you won't have to stress over finding multiple materials for different ages and different strategies to keep the material interesting.
- Vacation time is meant to be 2 weeks in the summer and 2 weeks in the winter. New rules are coming into play but a lot of the current contracts out there, I bet, are within these guide lines. If there are reasons you are being denied your stated vacation time you can negotiate what is going on with your coteachers. Remember this aspect of teaching is about being ahead of the game and inquiring way ahead of time when you get those 2 weeks. Generally around vacation time schools add in "camps" and other extra stuff to keep you busy. So plan ahead with your coteacher.
- Some days you do no teaching. Due to special days and testing.
- You get to design your own teaching methods and materials. You base the general classes off a set curriculum by the government but how you teach is yours to develop. This is great for quality of life because it allows you to be creative and grow as a teacher.
- Quality of life could be lowered by that generally public schools don't pay as much as private. But all the other reasons give a justified look into why public school has a higher quality of life.
I didn't mention housing with these topics because that varies depending on who finds the house, location and allocation of money.
When it comes down to making the decision of private or public it comes down to quality of life. Sure public school is not some magical arena where the same bullshi* that goes on at private schools doesn't happen. But public schools ARE government regulated and if they deny you pension or even salary you can take it up with the local government. Heck, the school will look bad in their bookkeeping if they make mistakes in paying you. I think they call this job security.
Still if you work here after a while working at either institution is possible since you know the way the system works and what to look out for.
One last thing:
I hope I didn't sound pretentious in my thoughts, and I really want to reassure people that there are jobs available here. Although the job hunt has become more competitive it just means we need to market ourselves a lot harder.
And I would like to leave a note saying that this type of job market is amiable to changes at any time whether there are recessions or not.
As I grow older and learn from my mistakes I realize how important it is to remain an adult and be professional. In that case, I am the one with the magnifying glass and skeptical eyes when checking out a new job position. In other words, I can't rely on my recruiter to know what it is like to teach at the school being offered.
All in all, let's keep an eye on these changes and before we press the panic button let's do a little more thinking and research into what is going on.
***Also if any point I made here about private or public school contrasts from your experience then please share. Teaching jobs vary so much here so it can be difficult to sum them up in a few points.