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International schools- which subjects in demand in Korea?
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Jimskins



Joined: 07 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: International schools- which subjects in demand in Korea? Reply with quote

I know the international schools topic has been done to death in other threads but on reading those I couldn't find the answer to the question in my post title.

I currently teach at a good uni in Seoul but it seems every man and his dog has or is getting an MA these days and I'm concerned about my long-term future (especially as my wife and I are thinking about having kids next year).

Anyway, to get to the point, I'm thinking about going home (UK) to get certified and then coming back to teach at an international school. Although my major was in law I would like to teach history in secondary school. However from looking at international job postings and websites it seems that the demand for English is much higher and also that some schools in Korea only teach up to half way through middle school. It would seem that getting trained as a primary school teacher would make me more marketable, at least in Korea. Is this true?
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warmachinenkorea



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: International schools- which subjects in demand in Korea Reply with quote

Jimskins wrote:
I know the international schools topic has been done to death in other threads but on reading those I couldn't find the answer to the question in my post title.

I currently teach at a good uni in Seoul but it seems every man and his dog has or is getting an MA these days and I'm concerned about my long-term future (especially as my wife and I are thinking about having kids next year).

Anyway, to get to the point, I'm thinking about going home (UK) to get certified and then coming back to teach at an international school. Although my major was in law I would like to teach history in secondary school. However from looking at international job postings and websites it seems that the demand for English is much higher and also that some schools in Korea only teach up to half way through middle school. It would seem that getting trained as a primary school teacher would make me more marketable, at least in Korea. Is this true?


I don't know how many stand alone British Schools there are in Korea. I know Seoul Foreign School's British School is about 30 yrs old and it operates inside of their 100 yr old Foreign School. Their biggest thing is American curriculum.

Many of the people in Int schools are certified in multiple things. It allows them to have flexibilty.

You're gonna need to be certified in whatever area you want to teach. Of course in what that Int schools cirriculum is based on.
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FMPJ



Joined: 03 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: International schools- which subjects in demand in Korea Reply with quote

warmachinenkorea wrote:
I know Seoul Foreign School's British School is about 30 yrs old and it operates inside of their 100 yr old Foreign School. Their biggest thing is American curriculum.


Not exactly--SFS is an IB school. The one AP it offered, US History, is no longer in the curriculum.
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warmachinenkorea



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: International schools- which subjects in demand in Korea Reply with quote

FMPJ wrote:
warmachinenkorea wrote:
I know Seoul Foreign School's British School is about 30 yrs old and it operates inside of their 100 yr old Foreign School. Their biggest thing is American curriculum.


Not exactly--SFS is an IB school. The one AP it offered, US History, is no longer in the curriculum.


I stand corrected.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

op:

The areas most in demand for teachers are in the maths and physical sciences. Social science teachers are everywhere and are a penny-a-piece.

Elementary school teachers outnumber high school teachers by about 3/1.

Best bet for on-going, continuous employment would be a teacher who is certified at the primary/elementary level and who can teach maths and (general) science.

That would be quickly followed (low competition and high demand) by high school maths and science (biology, chemistry and physics) teachers.

.
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Ocalmy



Joined: 18 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think going home to get certified is a great idea. I returned to the U.S. last summer to complete a three semester Master of Arts in Teaching program. When it's over, I'll be certified to teach secondary English. Ideally, I'll return to Korea when it's over and get a job at an international school. One big advantage is that I'll be able to teach in the U.S. if my wife and I ever decide to move home permanently.

From my point of view there are three big obstacles to teaching at international schools in Korea:

1) There just aren't that many accredited schools in Korea (compared to places like China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan,).

2) Many/Most of the legitimate international schools in Korea are Christian. They simply won't hire you if you're not a devoted Christian. I think I remember one that even asked me to describe my conversion experience in the application. 'Shocked'

3) The few accredited schools that are not Christian are truly excellent and aren't likely to hire a teacher w/out two or more years of post certification experience--preferably in your home country.

That said, there are several not so great/non-accredited international schools in Korea (i.e. owned and operated by Koreans for mainly wealthy Korean students). I think I might have to start there and then network like crazy for a year or two before I have a chance at a real international school. At least I'll be teaching my subject area and not EFL.

Also, having an M.A. plus certification opens other doors, like Foreign Language high schools for example. Not ideal, but you can make decent money while looking for something better.
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Jimskins



Joined: 07 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses.

Bugger, maths and science were always my weak areas. It's the same situation as the UK, if you can teach those subjects your tuition is free and they even throw in another 6000+ USD if you got a 'B' average at uni or have an MA. Damn my illogical brain!

Ttompatz - when you say elementary teachers outnumber high school teachers 3 to 1 does that imply that i would be best to qualify as a high school teacher or simply that there are more jobs for elementary school teachers?

Hmm it's a tough call to make. But i guess in the worst case scenario where i cant get a job at an Int. school in Korea at least it's another feather in the cap in terms of uni jobs right?
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How marketable is it to be a certified middle school earth science teacher?
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smurfetta



Joined: 03 Oct 2007

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would stick with high school and try to get some training in some niche areas too. I am thinking ICT, technology education, home economics, library, and special education etc... Your experience in EFL will help as well. I would consider your law degree an asset as you could teach high school law courses. Also, think about what kind of extra-curriculars you can offer. Are you good at sports? Would you be willing to set up a debate club or UN club etc... Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I would definitely try to take as many educational and assistive technology courses as possible during your certification. It is so important to be up-to-date with technology in education.

Also, be flexible... You could be teaching an age group/subject that you hadn't intended to.
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valkerie



Joined: 02 Mar 2007
Location: Busan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimskins, unless things have changed since I graduated (in the 90s) you can't get a place on a PGCE for primary or secondary ed. without proving a large part of your undergrad degree were in areas the kids study. Would a law degree cover that?

I am guessing you checked out the application process, but just in case....
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimskins wrote:
Ttompatz - when you say elementary teachers outnumber high school teachers 3 to 1 does that imply that i would be best to qualify as a high school teacher or simply that there are more jobs for elementary school teachers?

Hmm it's a tough call to make. But i guess in the worst case scenario where i cant get a job at an Int. school in Korea at least it's another feather in the cap in terms of uni jobs right?


There are more positions open for elementary school teachers.
The reasons are lower student/teacher ratios and as kids get older there are also reduced numbers as kids drop out.

Also be aware that uni jobs pay MUCH LESS that any decent international school and also have few or none of the perks.

IF you are strictly looking at remuneration packages in terms of NET savings rather than hourly wages then uni positions are at the bottom of the pile.

.
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Jimskins



Joined: 07 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ttompatz - thanks, that's really surprising, i thought what with all the free time to do extra jobs you could save much more in a uni job. I guess the occasional Int. school post we see on Dave's are not really reflective of the usual benefits.

Valkerie - yeah a law degree will get me on. My sister has just started her elementary school training and they let her on with a music management degree!

Hmm, tough decisions to make.
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Chaucer



Joined: 20 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimskins wrote:
Ttompatz - thanks, that's really surprising, i thought what with all the free time to do extra jobs you could save much more in a uni job. I guess the occasional Int. school post we see on Dave's are not really reflective of the usual benefits.


Go back and get an MA! Or do one with U Birmingham--tough, but if you're motivated (kids seem a good motivator) you can do it all from Korea. Then your uni job is secure--and we all (or many of us) know how nice it is to work at a Korean university, what with the canceled classes, long breaks, university festivals (see "canceled classes"), etc. International schools are great in some ways, and when your kids are school age, hoo-ha, they can attend! But they work you to death on those 190 days you have to be there, and certification is longer and more arduous than MA study.
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Jimskins



Joined: 07 Nov 2007

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chaucer wrote:
Jimskins wrote:
Ttompatz - thanks, that's really surprising, i thought what with all the free time to do extra jobs you could save much more in a uni job. I guess the occasional Int. school post we see on Dave's are not really reflective of the usual benefits.


Go back and get an MA! Or do one with U Birmingham--tough, but if you're motivated (kids seem a good motivator) you can do it all from Korea. Then your uni job is secure--and we all (or many of us) know how nice it is to work at a Korean university, what with the canceled classes, long breaks, university festivals (see "canceled classes"), etc. International schools are great in some ways, and when your kids are school age, hoo-ha, they can attend! But they work you to death on those 190 days you have to be there, and certification is longer and more arduous than MA study.


I've got one (see original post). Having one by no means means your uni job is secure. And although I always try to develop my expertise I dont really want to get involved in what a poster somewhere else described as a 'race to the bottom' where a flood of MA holders are forced to do PHDs to hold on to their job (and its stagnant salary). I want a solid plan B in my back pocket.
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Chaucer



Joined: 20 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Ah. Reply with quote

Ah. At my uni there are still holdovers with just BAs; they are all trying to get MAs. I would say the pressure for a PhD at our school is minimal...
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