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Pay
« on: May 11, 2021, 05:25:08 pm »
There are a lot of complaints about pay . So put a number on What you think is a fair wage to teach English in Korea. 3m? 4m? 10m?


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6781

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: Pay
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 05:44:54 pm »
Median pay for an American BA holder is $5,655 a month. (6.3 million won)

https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm





  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4848

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: Pay
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 08:01:05 pm »
Median pay for an American BA holder is $5,655 a month. (6.3 million won)

https://www.bls.gov/emp/chart-unemployment-earnings-education.htm





That is for a bachelor's degree, so BEng, BCom, BPharm, and many other professional degrees are included in that number.


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6781

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: Pay
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2021, 08:14:41 pm »
What did we on the board major in?


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2659

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
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Re: Pay
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2021, 11:40:01 pm »
1. If pay is a prime concern, isn't teaching barking up the wrong tree?

2. Philosophy major here. Journalism for 7 years and English language teaching for 18 years makes up every penny and won I've earned over the last quarter century, and I haven't worked a day over that stretch (as the saying goes), though an hour or two this day or that, certainly.

3. I guess tutoring long term - or short-term savings for new grads - can be lucrative. But most of us aren't teaching primarily for the pay, are we?

4. Fair pay is whatever the market will bear. Some teach ESL overseas for volunteer experience, some for subsistence wages but awesome experiences, some for a comfortable expat lifestyle, some for travel, some for the ability to bank coin, some to emigrate and marry a foreigner, some for what have you.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2021, 11:51:54 pm by VanIslander »


Re: Pay
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 06:01:24 am »
Based off inflation and dwindling benefits Id say 3.1-3.5 to start.


Re: Pay
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 07:42:33 am »
Based off inflation and dwindling benefits Id say 3.1-3.5 to start.

I agree with this rate (3.1 ~ 3.5 + housing) being a comfortable and reasonable starting salary from 2021.
While the pay might not be the prime concern for some ESL teachers, in order for the salary to be considered comfortable and livable and not borderline poverty level, it should be raised to counter inflation.

In 1997 ~ 2.1 was an incredible salary.  (It was a time when Korean families of four would live off this income and minimum wage was like 1 or two dollars).
In 2011 ~ This was still considered a comfortable and livable salary for one person (without having to be frugal) and the minimum wage was still at 4 to 5 dollars, I believe.
In 2021 ~ The current starting salary 2.0 ~ 2.1 and housing is a little bit tight, and instead of a salary, I see it a really lucrative and comfortable internship stipend. With minimum wage pushing close to $9.00 dollars now... it would be difficult to sustain a quality life here with the current salary.

Right now with the pandemic still out there, it is still possible to save $1,000 dollars every month... but that requires being extremely frugal.


Re: Pay
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2021, 07:47:17 am »
Complex issue

I definitely think the pay needs to increase, but I also believe that pay needs to be justified by results.

The EPIK programme needs to be completely scraped. A new national and contemporary EFL curriculum needs to
be drafted that every teacher, Korean and GET must to follow... no more of this "teach what you want" BS. Students need to be formally assessed on English communicative competences and their promotion to advance to the next English grade depends on this. Those who don't make the cut are promoted to the next grade as normal, but join foundation level of English classes instead of regular English classes.

Keep teachers who are at level 1 or 1+ and offer regular training on how to conform to a curriculum and teaching approaches.
Offer part-time study programmes for GETs willing to get licenses in teaching the new curriculum and incentivise with a pay increase. Future GET applicants need to hold a teaching license.

Then, bump the salary up to 4mil, starting.


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

    • 2711

    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
    • Busan
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Re: Pay
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2021, 07:59:36 am »
it is still possible to save $1,000 dollars every month... but that requires being extremely frugal.
this conversation always leads me to believe that ESL teachers, on average, are just absolute garbage at budgeting. i save ~1,000,000 every month with just a tiny amount of effort. being "extremely frugal" i'm sure i could save a lot more.

but anyway i agree with aristocrat. i just don't think the government has the budget (read: political will) to make it happen
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 08:01:22 am by tylerthegloob »
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Re: Pay
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2021, 08:06:39 am »
this conversation always leads me to believe that ESL teachers, on average, are just absolute garbage at budgeting. i save ~1,000,000 every month with just a tiny amount of effort. being "extremely frugal" i'm sure i could save a lot more.

but anyway i agree with aristocrat. i just don't think the government has the budget (read: political will) to make it happen

Some of us have families too.


Re: Pay
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2021, 08:12:40 am »
In my opinion....to get results the GETs and Korean coteachers must have good relationships and the GETs must be given the tools and support needed to do their jobs effectively......wi th the number of times I have experienced lack of budget for English or just specifically the GET, lack of support from the cot, constant privacy issues, rumors etc about foreign teachers, somewhat hostile environments, not being included in activities or something as small as all teachers getting a planner from the school but oh we don't buy one for you because you arent a teacher blah blah and just general hate by some Korean teachers, English or otherwise.....it creates stress and sometimes less willingness to care about one's job and increased obstacles .....

If we want the EPIK or any other program to work, we have to have the support from all involved and the want for us to be here....then maybe we would have pay increases....but as it stands now Korean teachers complain so often if we get even the slightest benefit that they don't and definitely don't want us paid more....some even want us to have less vacation etc....heard those comments often from Korean teachers and other subject teachers also making comments that English isn't important or the GETs class isn't important.....I've personally been told by another subject teacher to shut the hell up unless I speak Korean and that foreigners shouldn't be allowed to hold jobs..
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 08:16:37 am by nightninja »


Re: Pay
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2021, 08:15:11 am »
In my opinion....to get results the GETs and Korean coteachers must have good relationships and the GETs must be given the tools and support needed to do their jobs effectively......wi th the number of times I have experienced lack of budget for English or just specifically the GET, lack of support from the cot, constant privacy issues, rumors etc about foreign teachers, somewhat hostile environments, not being included in activities or something as small as all teachers getting a planner from the school but oh we don't buy one for you because you arent a teacher blah blah and just general hate by some Korean teachers, English or otherwise.....it creates stress and sometimes less willingness to care about one's job and increased obstacles .....

If we want the EPIK or any other program to work, we have to have the support from all involved and the want for us to be here....then maybe we would have pay increases....but as it stands now Korean teachers complain so often if we get even the slightest benefit that they don't and definitely don't want us paid more....some even want us to have less vacation etc....heard those comments often from Korean teachers

GET?? - Guest English Teacher??   Not everyone is on an E-2


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

    • 2711

    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
    • Busan
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Re: Pay
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2021, 08:17:16 am »
i'm not sure this is the right job for someone trying to support a family. if that someone is on a marriage visa, i'm sure there are more lucrative opportunities for them (and, ideally, their korean partner will have a job that makes more than 2.1). if we're talking about two foreigners trying to start a family on E2 visas (each earning 2.1...), i really think they should reconsider their decision.
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Re: Pay
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2021, 08:18:31 am »
GET?? - Guest English Teacher??   Not everyone is on an E-2

no but speaking about pay for English teachers regardless of visa...in public schools or hagwons........

guest english teacher
native English teacher.....


Re: Pay
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2021, 08:48:18 am »
i'm not sure this is the right job for someone trying to support a family. if that someone is on a marriage visa, i'm sure there are more lucrative opportunities for them (and, ideally, their korean partner will have a job that makes more than 2.1). if we're talking about two foreigners trying to start a family on E2 visas (each earning 2.1...), i really think they should reconsider their decision.

More lucrative sure, but the benefits of public school far outweigh the monetary compensation for some. Real vacation time, NPS/NHIS, severance, sick leave, etc.


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

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    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
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Re: Pay
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2021, 08:53:20 am »
and i agree! which is why i think that, especially for someone straight out of university with a bachelor's, EPIK really isn't as bad as some people make it out to be
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Re: Pay
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2021, 09:26:00 am »
and i agree! which is why i think that, especially for someone straight out of university with a bachelor's, EPIK really isn't as bad as some people make it out to be

Sure but it shouldn't be based off a payscale from 20-30 years ago.


  • 745sticky
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1646

    • March 26, 2020, 01:52:57 pm
    • Korea
Re: Pay
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2021, 09:52:00 am »
Sure but it shouldn't be based off a payscale from 20-30 years ago.
unfortunately most jobs (at least where im from) are based on that same payscale lol. although ig some states are bumping it to 15/hr


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

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    • September 28, 2016, 10:46:24 am
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Re: Pay
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2021, 09:54:51 am »
the supply of teachers interested in korea was much lower 20-30 years ago. the quality of life in korea was (i assume) also much lower (though the cost of living was too). the way i see it, 2.1 jobs are fine for people just out of school with no experience, but not really for others. but others should (ideally) have more qualifications, more experience (and so on). so yeah maybe the top part of the pay scale could use some expansion, but i really don't think the bottom end needs it (how many of us here are actually making 2.1 anyway?).

my question for people who want to increase the pay without increasing the requirements: do you really think someone with a bachelor's in philosophy and an extremely basic TEFL course (read: 0 experience teaching in a classroom) and no other relevant experience provides value worth 3-4 million? personally, i don't.
more gg more skill


  • pkjh
  • The Legend

    • 2139

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
    • Asia
Re: Pay
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2021, 10:12:25 am »
New, fresh out of university, Korean full-time teachers start at 2.1, but they do get a bump in pay like every single year.