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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2020, 09:02:32 am »
My schools provided students with paper covers that were printed with ads and coupons, haha. I think this is how the schools got them for free to give to students. We all just flipped them over and drew our own doodles, or discarded them altogether for brown paper bags because somehow that was cooler. Some students got really fancy with them, too, had 3D origami going on combined with black marker to really make it all pop.

Those were the days.

Anyway, yeah, a lot of Seoul public schools have their pick of teachers, especially if they're flagship schools, and they care more about appearance than they do experience. For as long as they have fresh, young college grads with a particular look available, that's what they're going to go with. Better believe that qualifications and experience have nothing to do with that decision.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 09:24:09 am by Chinguetti »


Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2020, 09:22:57 pm »
 The OP's original question is very pertinent, and it touches on one of the weird contradictions of Korea. 20% of Koreans live in Seoul, with a population of 10 million people. Yet, it's rare for NETs to be placed there. On the other hand, it's far easier for western teachers to get a job in a tiny village in the bowels of forsaken Jeollanamdo, or next to the DMZ, where few people live. It seems an absurd contradiction. While SMOE used to hire lots of foreigners, Seoul was where president Lee Myungbak started cuttingg the nimbers of EPIK teachers first. His successor, JAILED President Park Geunhye, greatly increased cut backs. Yet she insisted on some increase in RURAL teachers, for rural students, which she believed, needed more help.

That situation hasn't fundamentally changed since 2017. What's clear is that after presidents Lee and Park had cut the numbers of EPIK teachers at SMOE, the numbers of public school foreign teachers in Seoul went down. It's not just that people are staying if they like their job. It's that there are fewer public school jobs in Seoul.


  • LIC
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2020, 11:45:01 am »
Living in Korea isn't very pleasant to start with. But, living in Seoul would be hell. Give me the countryside. I live in a small countryside village in the tropics but am still a 15 minute drive from downtown.


Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2020, 01:08:49 pm »
in the tropics

You crack me up! I don't know why, but this is so funny to me.
Does your wife submit to you?


  • Cyanea
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2020, 04:22:52 am »
  Because my friend and I were shocked to see a fresh off the plane noobie at our orientation land herself in central Seoul, while most of us have been here for years and have asked around and yet still get places way out in the wild west of nowhere with long commutes to Seoul.

They hire based on youth and looks, is the answer.

If you're in your twenties, blonde, female, white, north american and ok looking you can have any job you want in central Seoul. Gangnam, Jongno, wherever.

If you do not fit the above description then you will be moved outside of the capital. The less you match their very shallow requirements, the deeper into rural countryside you will be posted.
Catch my drift?


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2020, 07:01:41 am »
Is that how LIC ended up in the arctic?
incumbo studiis


  • hangook77
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #26 on: February 05, 2020, 01:38:22 pm »
Do folks still want to work for the Seoul public schools?  I heard their pay was garbage (2.0 million won), no renewal allowance (2.0 million won you get elsewhere each year), strict enforcement of every anal rule (including desk warming), etc.  No extra teaching, multiple school allowances, etc.  Pay less salary and you have more ridiculous work conditions (can't even go to the bank to pay your bills, etc).  A slight pay cut could be accepted as there is more in Seoul.  Like maybe a job could pay me a little less, maybe 2.8 or 2.9 million a month plus housing.  But dropping to 2.0 or 2.1 with no renewal bonus?  get bent!   


  • hangook77
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2020, 01:40:13 pm »
Also, rents are more expensive in Seoul nowadays.  Rental allowance is 500 K a month where it should be double that.  (Only Gangnam pays you decently?  You get 900 K a month for rental allowance?) 


  • Colburnnn
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2020, 04:49:40 pm »
Yeah but in Seoul you can make vlogs and tell all your mates you live in Seoul innit.

Also, you can pay bills at an atm or on your phone at any time.
Haven't you got some pictures of birds to be jacking off to, son?

Colburnnn: Complains a lot, very sassy. Has a loudmouth.


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2020, 06:35:05 pm »
Also, rents are more expensive in Seoul nowadays.  Rental allowance is 500 K a month where it should be double that.  (Only Gangnam pays you decently?  You get 900 K a month for rental allowance?) 

That's only a reasonable deal if they pay the deposit as well. 900k alone wouldn't even get you an officetel in Gagnam. 900k plus a 10 mil deposit would get you a decent one room.


  • Cyanea
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2020, 12:05:36 am »
Do folks still want to work for the Seoul public schools?  I heard their pay was garbage (2.0 million won), no renewal allowance (2.0 million won you get elsewhere each year), strict enforcement of every anal rule (including desk warming), etc.  No extra teaching, multiple school allowances, etc.  Pay less salary and you have more ridiculous work conditions (can't even go to the bank to pay your bills, etc).  A slight pay cut could be accepted as there is more in Seoul.  Like maybe a job could pay me a little less, maybe 2.8 or 2.9 million a month plus housing.  But dropping to 2.0 or 2.1 with no renewal bonus?  get bent!   

yeah I would take a pay cut to 3.5M per month if they made it P/T and threw in accom as well. Just to be in Seoul and closer to my g/f (she models and is based in G nam).
Catch my drift?


  • mrmv
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2020, 01:18:16 pm »
Within EPIK, I've heard that the Seoul (SMOE) contract dates are actually  a few days earlier than other regions in Korea, making it impossible to transfer. I had a friend who was a 3rd year renewal in a rural area, applied for Seoul, and was told she couldn't because her school/district coordinator was unwilling to let her out of the contract a few days early.

I did manage to be placed in Seoul but only after leaving Korea and reapplying.  In the interview they said that  my previous school liked me (which I'm sure helped), but I've heard that it's pretty random. I'd say my quality of life is better (MUCH shorter commute, better apartment), but I'm making less than I did in my POE...
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 01:43:32 pm by mrmv »


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2020, 10:47:35 am »
yeah I would take a pay cut to 3.5M per month if they made it P/T and threw in accom as well. Just to be in Seoul and closer to my g/f (she models and is based in G nam).


Good luck with SMOE paying you 3.5 mil.  If you are far out however and travelling up to Seoul every weekend, then any money you're making out in the provinces are being burned up.  Could have dated a couple of hotties up there before, but I looked at the weekend travel expenses and realized it wasn't worth it.  (I still had loans and other debts I had to repay,  So had to cut it loose.) 

Anyhow, SMOE pay is garbage and they are much more anal with rules and interpretation of them too.  I'd sooner switch countries once this Corona crap clears in a year or so.  Screw SMOE!  (Unless they bring back the 2 million won renewal allowance and raise the salaries.  Then, maybe, I'd reconsider.) 


Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2020, 10:46:31 am »
I am going to trie to answer the original question here.

Why is it so hard to get a job in Seoul? What is the rationale behind the allocation of public school jobs? EPIK itself is kind of opaque. If you ask them directly about such things  you'll get this:  :blank:  Also, rather than trying to imagine what EPIK is thinking, we can watch what it has done in the past, and what it does now. Before 2008, and to an extent after, I used to regularly see ads for jobs in Seoul, placed by SMOE in Seoul. Back in the day, the ad might say "50 teachers required," or whatever. Yes, getting a public school job in Seoul might have been a little harder than getting other jobs, but it was easier than now. I know people who came to work at SMOE public schools in 2001. At least one of these people left Seoul and went to China, a year ago, because of high living costs and his low salary. From what he and others have told me, back in the day, there was a much higher demand for public school jobs in Seoul, and in Korea generally. He told me SMOE orientations were much bigger. One can infer from this that nowadays lots of public schools in Seoul don't get a native English speaker.

President Lee Myungbak wanted to greatly increase the English fluency of Korean kids. He wanted visible results, fairly soon. So, he quickly ramped up the public schools program, at the same time as tightening visa requirements. He got his wish in the wake of the Great Recession, because lots of teachers came here from Canada and other places. But in 2011, a study showed-or seemed to show-that they weren't getting the fast improvements in English. So, Lee's administration started to cut back the program, beginning with Seoul. Also, my friend who used to teach with SMOE told me one Seoul mayor chose to cut back on western teachers so the kids who needed them could get free school meals.

The next president, Park Geun-hye, cut the program back a lot more, phasing out jobs in high schools and middle schools  outside Seoul. She went a lot further than Lee had gone. Some jobs were cut halfway through the year. On the other hand, she actually wanted to increase the number of jobs in rural areas, where she thought that EPIK could make a difference.

The short answer to your question is:
1). There aren't that many public school positions in Seoul, because a lot of schools in Seoul are without a native teacher. I know more people who have left these positions than people who have joined.

2). The last president, the one who got jailed, increased the jobs in rural areas.

Now someone told me that unusually, the current president wanted to follow Park Geunhye's guidelines in regard to EPIK, UNTIL 2021. This guy was quite angry that a supposedly progressive politician would do this. However, that guy was a drunk Irishman I met in a pub, so I am not sure if that rumour is true. What I can say is that EPIK now is not that different to what it was in 2017. I am sure someone will beg to differ. But rural jobs are still prioritised, it seems.

   I would probably enjoy it a lot if I had a public school job in Pyeongtaek or Osan. At least, if I was actually placed within these cities, and not some village 5 miles away.


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2020, 11:36:45 am »
They hire based on youth and looks, is the answer.

If you're in your twenties, blonde, female, white, north american and ok looking you can have any job you want in central Seoul. Gangnam, Jongno, wherever.

If you do not fit the above description then you will be moved outside of the capital. The less you match their very shallow requirements, the deeper into rural countryside you will be posted.

Same for Korean women.  All the hot ones can get jobs in Seoul. The "others"
have to stay in their boring hometown full of farmers, geriatrics and dog farms.


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2020, 10:51:43 pm »
I am going to trie to answer the original question here.

Why is it so hard to get a job in Seoul? What is the rationale behind the allocation of public school jobs? EPIK itself is kind of opaque. If you ask them directly about such things  you'll get this:  :blank:  Also, rather than trying to imagine what EPIK is thinking, we can watch what it has done in the past, and what it does now. Before 2008, and to an extent after, I used to regularly see ads for jobs in Seoul, placed by SMOE in Seoul. Back in the day, the ad might say "50 teachers required," or whatever. Yes, getting a public school job in Seoul might have been a little harder than getting other jobs, but it was easier than now. I know people who came to work at SMOE public schools in 2001. At least one of these people left Seoul and went to China, a year ago, because of high living costs and his low salary. From what he and others have told me, back in the day, there was a much higher demand for public school jobs in Seoul, and in Korea generally. He told me SMOE orientations were much bigger. One can infer from this that nowadays lots of public schools in Seoul don't get a native English speaker.

President Lee Myungbak wanted to greatly increase the English fluency of Korean kids. He wanted visible results, fairly soon. So, he quickly ramped up the public schools program, at the same time as tightening visa requirements. He got his wish in the wake of the Great Recession, because lots of teachers came here from Canada and other places. But in 2011, a study showed-or seemed to show-that they weren't getting the fast improvements in English. So, Lee's administration started to cut back the program, beginning with Seoul. Also, my friend who used to teach with SMOE told me one Seoul mayor chose to cut back on western teachers so the kids who needed them could get free school meals.

The next president, Park Geun-hye, cut the program back a lot more, phasing out jobs in high schools and middle schools  outside Seoul. She went a lot further than Lee had gone. Some jobs were cut halfway through the year. On the other hand, she actually wanted to increase the number of jobs in rural areas, where she thought that EPIK could make a difference.

The short answer to your question is:
1). There aren't that many public school positions in Seoul, because a lot of schools in Seoul are without a native teacher. I know more people who have left these positions than people who have joined.

2). The last president, the one who got jailed, increased the jobs in rural areas.

Now someone told me that unusually, the current president wanted to follow Park Geunhye's guidelines in regard to EPIK, UNTIL 2021. This guy was quite angry that a supposedly progressive politician would do this. However, that guy was a drunk Irishman I met in a pub, so I am not sure if that rumour is true. What I can say is that EPIK now is not that different to what it was in 2017. I am sure someone will beg to differ. But rural jobs are still prioritised, it seems.

   I would probably enjoy it a lot if I had a public school job in Pyeongtaek or Osan. At least, if I was actually placed within these cities, and not some village 5 miles away.


Some of the funding came from local governments or local organizations.  Some of it comes from the national government.  In 2011 and 2012 or so, it was actually local governments getting elected (Democratic party) that cut it's share and wanted to quickly eliminate positions.  Park Geun Hye did reduce some but these local "progressive" governments got elected in Seoul and Gyeong gi and cut more.  The goal was to reduce to 0 but parents wanted native speakers so politicians backed down a bit.  They still cut but didn't go through with any more.  This was stressful at a time, the US economy had still not recovered and other countries were only beginning to emerge as an ESL destination.  SO, it was stressful.  Those of us who lived elsewhere figured cuts would come down to the other provinces eventually.  We even got notice of potential cuts by about 2015 that never materialized.  Though recently, Ulsan elected a Democratic mayor and he did cut the local funding for nets.  Ulsan is usually Saenueri or whatever they call themselves now,  So, I suspect he will be a one termer.  The fallout from a prosecution investigation of the last mayor and the bad feeling from the impeachment caused a rare change there. 

A few years ago when the cuts were coming down the pipe, the job was still decent paid in relation to inflation at the time, though some countries were screwed on the exchange rate.  Some of us have better exchange rates now but a much higher cost of living.  If we are cut, Korea will shoot itself in the foot as other countries have risen up to take over.  China even with regressing on some openness and once it gets over Corona is still paying much more with a cheaper cost of living.  However, Vietnam is becoming a new hot spot and much less repressive.  Though foreigners will be fine in China as long as they don't meddle in CCP business.  But if you have an ethical problem with it, there is still Vietnam.  With a formal TESOL in class 120 hour certificate or CELTA / DELTA and experience, other places will have places that pay a good wage too.  You can search online.  Even some jobs in Japan have offered partial flight reimbursement which they didn't do before.  Some have also raised their salary to 270,000 yen and 280,000 Yen.  I do remember seeing this not too long ago.  Some public school contractors also seem to have good offers though Interact still seems crappy. 

Anyways, if Korea pulls the plug this time, there are other options.  I had a friend get non renewed out in the country due to some petty Korean contract teacher.  He was married to a FIlipino woman.  He was struggling to stay afloat the last couple of years.  He went over there to China to an "international" school (and he doesn't have an education degree).  He and his FIlipino wife are teaching there now.  He says he works harder than rural EPIK (which did tend to be kind of slack sometimes), but he says they are both working and saving a huge amount of cash together.  They have free housing and free child care.  He said, getting the boot was the est thing to happen to him.  School even bought them good air purifiers for their home. 

I guess in a nutshell, if Korea cuts now, it'll regret it.  Though Korea is much less xenophobic than it was 10 to 15 years ago, there are still some hidden elements that would love to get rid of us.  But Korea will catch itself without teachers and it will backfire in the long run.  The low wages for some jobs and for SMOE, I suspect has caused many experienced teachers to leave.  Some young kids who probably had rich parents who paid for their schooling, had no debt, and are single may still love that 2.1 million.  But if they get married here, they are screwed unless they go home. 

Also if you don't mind going blue collar or trades and living in smaller towns, there's probably money to be made in some pockets in America now.  (Smaller towns to avoid the bs rent prices on the coasts.)  So, there's that. 


  • waygo0k
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2020, 01:05:22 pm »
It’s too late, korea has already shot itself in the foot. Even before the coronavirus situation, schools and hagwons were already having a bit of a hard time filling their 2.1mil plus 10 day holiday vacancies. Now with the coronavirus in full swing, people aren’t just willing to not come to Asia, those in Asia are already getting TFO.

If there was a time for NETs to collectively start bargaining for better pay and conditions...THIS IS IT. The ball, the net, the referee, the scoreboards are all literally in your court. You may not be able to force public schools’ hands, but you can sure as hell tell your hagwons to go to hell if they’re not properly compensating you for sticking around in the middle of this crisis.

NETs should have their hagwon bosses by the balls for at least the next contract year if not longer. Will this actually happen...probably not.


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2020, 06:37:52 pm »
It’s too late, korea has already shot itself in the foot. Even before the coronavirus situation, schools and hagwons were already having a bit of a hard time filling their 2.1mil plus 10 day holiday vacancies. Now with the coronavirus in full swing, people aren’t just willing to not come to Asia, those in Asia are already getting TFO.

If there was a time for NETs to collectively start bargaining for better pay and conditions...THIS IS IT. The ball, the net, the referee, the scoreboards are all literally in your court. You may not be able to force public schools’ hands, but you can sure as hell tell your hagwons to go to hell if they’re not properly compensating you for sticking around in the middle of this crisis.

NETs should have their hagwon bosses by the balls for at least the next contract year if not longer. Will this actually happen...probably not.

...agreed.


  • oglop
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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2020, 06:44:43 pm »
is there any....evidence that schools were finding it hard to fill positions?

and, besides, the coronavirus seems to be spreading everywhere, so i doubt people will worry about coming to korea if it's already present in their own countries


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Re: Why is it so hard to get a public school job in Seoul?
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2020, 07:08:57 pm »
is there any....evidence that schools were finding it hard to fill positions?

No. No evidence. The number of positions open declines slightly every year. Demand is going down bit by bit. At the same time supply is going up due increased awareness among the down and out and to a lesser extent because of the worldwide popularity of Kpop. Japan's been considered cool among a small niche in the West for a while. Now Korea is, too.