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What about public schools?
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fxman



Joined: 05 Jul 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:27 am    Post subject: What about public schools? Reply with quote

I'm just looking for some info. My first year contract is almost finished and I've been thinking about holding out for a crack at one of those 'public school' gigs. I'm not enjoying my present hogwan and want to try something different. So I'd just like to hear some others experiences etc. regarding teaching at a public school. The ads make it sound like it's better than hogwan life, but I know better than to take that to the bank.

Comment away. Thanks
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work at a public school and am very happy that I no longer work at a hagwon. I get paid about the same, but I teach 20 classes a week compared to the 35 I had at the hogwan. But that's just the start of what's good about working at a public school.

I get way more than the standard 2 week hogwan vacation. I'm at 8 weeks a year now. Still not as good as some of the university jobs I've heard about, but not too bad either. Also, factor in all the other off days that happen from time to time. I was off today, as a matter of fact. It seems like every couple of weeks a day of classes get cancelled.

It's great work if you can get it. I've found the actual classes more challenging. It's quite a change going from a class of 10 kids to a class of 40.
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also highly interested in having a crack at the real schools, and I'll be sniffing round for a good position soon.

Teaching classes of 40 rather than 10 would be hard to handle...requiring a whole new set of tricks and techniques. It would take a while to get into. Any ideas on how to teach larger classes?, post them up-
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peppermint



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: traversing the minefields of caddishness.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Public school comes with its own set of problems. I'm at a school where as far as I can tell, not a single teacher speaks English, to the point of being comfortable communicating with me. The textbooks you may use will be mostly in Korean- they're aimed at Korean teachers after all. The ammount of preparation goes up exponentially as well. Teachers here are also expected to buy lots of their own supplies- color pencils, story books games etc.


The thing is, that having 1200 kids bow and say hello instead of running and giggling goes a long way towards making it seem worthwhile.
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peppermint wrote:
Public school comes with its own set of problems. I'm at a school where as far as I can tell, not a single teacher speaks English, to the point of being comfortable communicating with me. The textbooks you may use will be mostly in Korean- they're aimed at Korean teachers after all. The ammount of preparation goes up exponentially as well. Teachers here are also expected to buy lots of their own supplies- color pencils, story books games etc.


Wow, that sucks, I can't imagine having my Korean coworkers not be able to communicate with me.

As for textbooks, at my school, the English conversation classes uses a conversation book like you'd find in any hagwon.

Preparation per class does go up. But for me, instead of likely teaching 35 distinct classes per week at a hagwon, I see 10 classes twice a week at the high school. So in essence, all I have to prepare is 2-50 minute classes a week.
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fxman



Joined: 05 Jul 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all of your input! These are valuable insights. I'm wondering about the competition for these jobs. I believe I've got the prereq's for it (a Masters degree (although not in Ed. or ESL), and teaching experience)
but then so do many,many other job seekers. Is it as competitive as getting a university job?

Again, thanks for all of your posts.
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Draven



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fxman wrote:
I'm wondering about the competition for these jobs. I believe I've got the prereq's for it (a Masters degree (although not in Ed. or ESL), and teaching experience)
but then so do many,many other job seekers. Is it as competitive as getting a university job?


It seems to me one of the best ways to get into many of the good jobs is through networking. If it's a publicly advertised job, I imagine the competition would be fierce. Several of the people I know in my town who work at public schools got their jobs through people they know. Myself included.

The job I'm at now was not advertised. I was friends with the guy who was leaving and he recommended me to the boss. As far as I know, they didn't even interview anyone else. When I interviewed, they told me they'd let me know within a month. When I asked if they had many other candidates to see, the response was "No, we have you."

For a job that's advertised, just make sure you do all the regular things you would do for any job to get yourself noticed above other people.
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peppermint



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: traversing the minefields of caddishness.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In case you couldn't guess from the supplies list, I'm at an elementary school. I prep say six classes a week one each for grades three and four, and two for grades five and six. The thing is, younger kids require more prep to keep them out of trouble.

I'm on the frontlines, being the first foreigner ever at the school, and the first foreign teacher for some of the kids. It's a learning process for both of us. If I sounded a little bitter, check the time of the last post- I wasn't overjoyed to be awake. Wink

Qualifications- you don't need a masters, but the teaching experience will help. I know in my city, personality and professionalism count for a lot.
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CanadaCommando



Joined: 13 Feb 2004
Location: People's Republic of C.C.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got a public school gig after bailing on my sinking Hogwan...was outta Korea for good until this.

My job is great-my co-workers are friendly and many are fluent. Kids are very respectful. I teach two different grades, 10 classes a week. So, with my 20 classes, I only have to prep for two as well.

The only downsides to my job, and many public jobs, is that
1) your up early (which is actually a big deterent for some)
2) You are USUALLY there from 8:30-4:30 5 days a week, and do some bonus work the occasional Sat. (once/6 weeks or so for me)

The benefits are too numerous to count. But, to start-respect, never problems with pay, professional atmosphere, and a job you can trust and rely on. I also get 12 weeks of holidays plus the extras (chusok, public holidays, etc) and miscellanious free days.

Jobs in the public that are advertised are ultra competitive...When I applied for mine, they interview 150 people for 2 positions! Many of the jobs start in late Feb (school itself starts in March) and it helps alot if you are in country for the interview.

Good luck. If I dont re-apply for my job next Feb, I will put the name out there.
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ghostshadow



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the public school jobs do they give you the books to use or do you have to get your own book and develope the whole Curriculum yourself?
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CanadaCommando



Joined: 13 Feb 2004
Location: People's Republic of C.C.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For myself, the latter...AND I didnt choose the book, the fellow foriegn teacher did. The book sucks; I dont like to use it as anything other than a supplement for what I make up.

Still, you get lots of time for curriculm writing during your 3 hours of office time each DAY
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peppermint wrote:
I'm on the frontlines, being the first foreigner ever at the school, and the first foreign teacher for some of the kids.


Ouch. That was what made my job last year stink so much. I was their guinea pig.

While I used to praise working at public schools so much when I was doing it, when I look back, the only thing that made it better was the vacation time. I would suggest that you go to the school for a personal interview and thoroughly ask them about what they expect of you as a teacher, what goals they have for their students, and what sort of textbooks are available to you.

My school had no book for me, didn't state a clear-cut goal until about 3 months into the contract, and expected me to teach students to speak award-winning English. Needless to say, I didn't get re-signed at that school. Confused
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Sarah-in-Korea



Joined: 20 Aug 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My high school ROCKS. It has totally ruined me for hagwon work. I can't believe I ever suffered even a YEAR at ECC. Mucho holidays, great kids, the fear of failing keeping their behaviour angelic, English teachers here that can actually speak English when cornered, free trip to China with the kids last month, good pay....

It's a shame I have to leave this job next year but I need to get on with my life. Wish I could take this job back home with me.... Not looking forward to dealing with kiwi brats.
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TJ



Joined: 10 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:41 pm    Post subject: TEACHING AT PUBLIC SCHOOLS Reply with quote

I have been following the input from others on this topic and I agree with 99% of it. I would like to add that the conditions in public schools can vary. For example, last year I taught at an elementary school in Jeollabuk Do and was not particularly happy there. It was nothing major - just a series of little things. This year I'm at a girls middle school in Gyeonggi Do and I feel like I've died and gone to heaven. The staff and students are great.

Sure, teaching classes of 40 students is not easy but if I can do it then anyone can - well almost anyone. And sure some schools don't give much guidance regarding lesson content but then you have to do something to earn your salary.

When it comes to comparing teaching at a hagwan with teaching at a public school there is nothing to compare. Hagwans may pay more but the uncertainties re actually being paid each month and not being robbed of your bonus and return airfare make hagwans a risky choice.

After two years at a hagwan I'm now in my second year at a public school and would never go back to a hagwan.
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adventureman



Joined: 18 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

..

Last edited by adventureman on Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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