About Private School Teaching In Korea (Hagwons)
The Korean term for private school is Hagwon, sometimes spelled out as Hakwon. The translation essentially means private school, however, many westerners also refer to them as language schools, English schools, English academies or English institutes. To the surprise of many, private schools are the largest employers of foreign teachers in Korea, by far! At present, there are over 11,000 westerners working at private schools across the country.
Typical working conditions at private language schools
|Starting Dates||New jobs available every month|
|Class Size||10 – 15 Students Per Class|
|Curriculum||Set curriculum provided by the school|
|Location||Teachers can request specific locations|
|Western Teachers||1 – 20 teachers per school|
|Salary||2.0 to 2.7 million KRW per month |
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|Accommodations||Furnished apartments provided by the schools|
|Severance Pay||Equal To 1 Month’s Salary|
|Avg. Work Hrs (Day)||8 – 9 hours (includes prep time & breaks)|
There are many lucrative opportunities in South Korea’s vast Hagwon industry. These private schools are usually franchised institutions with different branches across the country. Most of these schools are managed independently although some branches and campus locations are owned and operated by the franchise head office.
Typical operating hours of Korean private schools
- Kindergarten & Elementary school students (example working hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm)
- Elementary & Junior High school students (example working hours: 1:00pm – 9:00pm)
- Kindergarten, Elementary and Junior High school students (Schools that offer lessons to all 3 age groups usually have two different work schedules available. Some teachers at the school would be working the morning – afternoon shift and the other teachers would be responsible for working the afternoon – evening shift)
- Adult students (example working hours: 7:00am – 10:00am, 6:00pm – 8:00pm) English institutes that offer adult level classes will usually require a split shift from their teachers. Unlike the younger age groups, adults have limited time and available hours to study English, due to this factor the schools must coordinate the operating hours with adult work schedules.
Student Age Groups
Kindergarten & elementary education is a huge deal in Korea with many private schools catering specifically to these two age groups. As such, a large portion of jobs – which are available to western teachers – are at K1 and Elementary level.
Schools that cater to middle school students are also common with relatively large job counts available annually. Unfortunately the private sector doesn’t have much to offer at the high school level. Korean parents tend to take their children out of private English schools once they reach high school; anticipating they’ll study harder and get accepted into the better universities.
Private schools that cater to adults are typically found in the big metropolitan cities. Generally speaking, adult language schools gravitate towards candidates who have previous TEFL teaching experience.
Resources for teachers
All of the schools Gone2Korea works with will offer a broad range of resources for teachers to utilize. Most schools have very modern facilities coupled with an extensive array of books, games, activities, puzzles and flashcards to use in your classes. The teachers office will also be equipped with pc’s, photocopiers and other crucial tools necessary for teachers. Some facilities even have auditoriums, gymnasiums, indoor play rooms and mini libraries.
Top 15 Hagwon franchises in South Korea
The following schools, when combined, constitute more than 70% of the private teaching sector in Korea. The remaining 30% is comprised of independent schools and smaller less known franchises.
- Avalon English Schools
- Berlitz Adult English Schools
- CDI English Institute
- Eastern Language Schools
- ECC Schools (Division of YBM Education)
- Ewas English Academy
- GNB English Schools
- JungChul English Schools
- Kids College English Schools
- Language Club International (LCI Kids Club Schools)
- Poly Language Schools
- Reading Town English Schools
- Sogang Univeristy Language Program (SLP Schools)
- Topia English Zone (Topia EZ Schools)
- YBM Sisa