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5 questions about getting a job at a Korean university
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dminn



Joined: 28 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 2:42 am    Post subject: 5 questions about getting a job at a Korean university Reply with quote

I have applied to over 30 openings at Korean universities that I have seen on this site. However, I have not received a favorable response yet. On paper, I think I meet the required qualifications.

- Native English speaker from the US
- MA in Linguistics from a Japanese university
- BA in International Studies from a American university
- 4 years teaching experience part-time in Japan
- Fluent in Japanese; beginner in Korean

I have lived in Tokyo for the past four years. In my opinion, that shows that I can successfully live overseas and adapt to a different culture (I don't know how the universities view it). Here are some questions I have for fellow forum members:

1. Is my experience in Japan a positive or a negative in my job search?
2. Is the fact that my MA is from a Japanese university a negative?
3. Is being married a factor?
4. Is being Korean-American/non-white a factor?
5. Without connections or introductions from friends, is my job search near impossible?

I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

-dminn
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a huge boost if you go in person to drop off application materials and a bigger boost if you know somebody on the inside.
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dminn



Joined: 28 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.

I am applying to various universities that are spread out all over the country, so it isn't feasible to visit all of them. Also, I'm currently living in Tokyo. It would be easier to visit the universities in the Seoul area, since a flight to Seoul is not too expensive. I am reluctant to go to a univ. without an appointment, especially since they have not shown any interest in my resume and documents.

Any opinions on the questions above?
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll give you a fuller answer this time 'cause you seem like a nice guy.

1. Experience in Japan is as good (unless you run into an oddly prejudiced supervisor somewhere) as experience here in Korea.

2. I've never run into an English teacher with an M.A. from a Japanese university, so I can't be 100% sure, but I have known teachers with M.A.'s from non-English countries and those qualifications were as good as any.

3. Marriage will matter in some jobs because of housing, but I wouldn't worry about it overall.

4. As to being non-white. . . well, with my shirt off I could double for Boo Radley so I have no clue.

5. Connections rock, but I got my first university job with none (my second needed a connection). Not impossible, or even unlikely, without a connection, but a connection is a connection.

Yeah. . . let's see. University hiring season is about over, but it comes on large two times a year and a little smaller another two times a year, so if you intend to come to Seoul to try it in person, time it right.

If you want to give yourself an edge prepare well for the interview. Computer skills are held in reverence by the slightly older powers that be. I was just hired at a university and man, did I prepare. I put together a small portfolio of my work (all nicely designed and printed), which included:

1. Samples of from the Yearbook and Newsletter class which I created and taught.
2. A six-page essay outlining my teaching style, influences and strengths.
3. Two full lesson plans (one intermediate, one beginner) as well as all the materials needed to teach those lessons.
4. Examples of homework and classwork that I had given in the past (designed and printed in color with Microsoft Publisher).
5. Letters of reference (and printed scans).
6. Degree and transcripts (and printed scans).
7. Passport scans.

In addition, although I have no formal TESOL training, I've read at least 20 books about ESL/EFL, so in the interview I came across well -- bone up on the theory and learn a few of the names of the writers.

I expected to go to each university (as it turned out, only one) at least 3 times:

1. Drop off the materials and to strike up conversations with teachers and staff. This allows them to see you, evaluate you, make a personal connection with you, AND (this is important) you can pick up knowledge about the teaching environment and the powers that be.

2. If you don't get a call, make an excuse to go again ("I just wanted to drop this off. . .") and make some more conversation with teachers and staff.

3. The interview. Hopefully, you have mulled over and considered all of the information that you gained from your conversations in the first two visits and you use this information to direct answers specifically designed for the interviewers and to make sample lessons specifically designed for the tastes of the school or the interviewers.

When that's all over, send a thank-you-for-considering-me-and-giving-me-your-time email.

You should be able to hit four universities a day comfortably and make two visits (maybe three, if you get the call) in a week.



On a practical level let me recommend the SWELL program at Seoul Women's University -- financially not really great and you'll work like a dog, BUT it's the best place I've ever experienced from a teaching aspect AND they have no cultural snobbery or racist hiring policies (never seemed that way, anyway). It's a wonderful experience (for most people who have taught or are teaching there {a few knobs would disagree but pay them no heed}) in what English teaching in Korea can be.

Now, finally, even if you don't get the call keep yourself connected with somebody in the university somehow, because, often, somebody pulls out at the last minute and the university, in a scramble, will call whoever is on the their mind ("That _____ guy seemed okay, didn't he? I just got an email from him yesterday.")

Hope this is useful. Good luck, man.
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Mashimaro



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: location, location

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
SWELL program at Seoul Women's University

hehe
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mashimaro wrote:
Quote:
SWELL program at Seoul Women's University

hehe


Do I detect some sarcasm here? Well, I would have to agree with the Beaver, SWELL is a great program for teaching. It will make you a better teacher. Education is number one there, not money - though that is a close second.

I have been working there for three years now and have not had any complaints except for the low level of compensation. The salary is low & the hours high, but the job satisfaction is probably the highest you will have in this country. Lazy people need not apply.

KK
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Mashimaro



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: location, location

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kimcheeking wrote:

Do I detect some sarcasm here?


No sarcasm, just laughing at the name SWELL. Sorry, I've been watching too much Beavis & Butthead Smile
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mashimaro wrote:
No sarcasm, just laughing at the name SWELL. Sorry, I've been watching too much Beavis & Butthead Smile


Seoul Women's University English Language License
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canukteacher



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul, Korea

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, and after the long hours, do you still return to the same crappy housing. Also, this uni may as well be out in the middle of nowhere,,,,,,subway plus taxi.......no thank you.
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

canukteacher wrote:
Yeah, and after the long hours, do you still return to the same crappy housing. Also, this uni may as well be out in the middle of nowhere,,,,,,subway plus taxi.......no thank you.


Seoul Women's University? It's nearly out in the middle of nowhere as far as Seoul goes but I lived just west of downtown the entire time I worked there and, after the subway line was finished, I commuted fine without taking taxis (it's a good haul from the subway station but not taxi distance and it took me about an hour from door to door). The teachers who live on campus are satisfied with their housing situations.

In any case, I didn't mention the SWELL program of SWU as a response to an inquiry about SWU itself, I mentioned it because I really think that as far as teaching and teaching environment go it has no equal among Korean universities. In terms of salary and workload I don't think there's a university that doesn't beat it, but that's a different thing. . .
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kimcheeking
Guest




PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I currently work there and agree 100% with the beav, actually that's where we met - at work. Funny thing is we live in the same neighboorhood... I've been doing the subway and walking for 3 years...
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Carldaddy



Joined: 05 Aug 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:53 am    Post subject: My First Uni Job Reply with quote

Somebody's gonna hate me around here but here's the truth. I got my first Uni job at one of Korea's top 3 and I had no English teaching experience whatsoever.

Here's what I had, and Beaver's list is locktight.

Surprised BA, American University, Communications

Very Happy 7 years in Korea in another industry (Communications)

Idea A portfolio just like Beaver says

Smile All the telephone calls, visits, revisits and pleasantries per the Beav

Laughing Published articles in Korean newspapers and magazines

Wink A deep desire to figure out the business and show them what they want to see

Exclamation Major prep and research for all interviews. (some ask for a presentation/demonstration) Practice and be funny if they seem like they will get it

Cool Reasonable negotiating ability. You don't have to take the first thing offered and most people seemed to appreciate that I know my worth and the parameters of the business

Shocked Lecturing experience at other Universities. Maximise anything you've done in the communications business. Lectures, articles, TV appearances, anything.

Twisted Evil Balls. Apply like a banshee and don't stop. Everytime I send out a resume pack I get a couple of responses. I don't have an MA in anything, no certificate, zippo like that. But I can't underscore enough, the concept of packaging and great writing on the cover letter and back-up materials. Make them simply want you!

Having never worked in Korea might be some disadvantage for you. If that's the case, take the best Hagwon job you can find and go from there. Once you've got a year under your belt here, I think you'll find the waters much friendlier.

Good Luck
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Harpeau



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: In Hannam-dong, Seoul.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the fact that you are not presently living in Korea is the main obstacle to you getting work here. I'm only aware of one ESL uni prof. who was hired outside the country, and she was at an ESL conference and had a Master's in TESOL.

Best of luck.
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Mashimaro



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: location, location

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the_beaver wrote:
Computer skills are held in reverence by the slightly older powers that be.


So my Computing Degree could help me land a Uni job?
I don't have teaching quals. just a year in a hagwon teaching all ages.
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the_beaver



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mashimaro wrote:
So my Computing Degree could help me land a Uni job?
I don't have teaching quals. just a year in a hagwon teaching all ages.


I have more experience than you do, but my degree is equally useless as far as teaching goes.

If you do what I've outlined above you'll be far ahead of the competition.
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