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E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« on: February 12, 2014, 11:09:05 am »
I'm an EPIK teacher at a public Elementary school and I've been teaching Kindergarten classes here since I was hired in August.  My school is one of the poorest schools in my area, the kid's parents don't have money for private academies, and I'm often their only native English teacher.  I teach them once a week "volunteer" status, (although I am paid 30,000 won per class so not really "volunteer").

My Kindergarten coteacher told me today that some of the other elementary school parents in the area are jealous that my school has a native teacher teaching kindergarten while their school does not.  Even though many of the other school's parents can easily afford to send their kids to private academies (as my school's parents cannot) they insist I not be allowed to teach kindergarten.

They've contacted the ministry of education and apparently my E-2 visa is only for Elementary School students and since kindergarten is not technically elementary school I'm not allowed to teach them.

I want to help out my coteacher but I don't want to go against my visa or the ministry of education.  She's getting lots of pressure from parents who cannot afford private academies.  Any thoughts or advice?


  • theory_
  • Veteran

    • 107

    • March 12, 2013, 09:18:32 am
    • south korea
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 11:17:44 am »
In this situation you're going to want to stand down. I was pulled from teaching them last period because of the visa situation. While you can't formally teach them, meaning you can't have an actual period once a week dedicated to teaching them and getting paid for it; you can still interact with them. Any time I see mine in the cafeteria I stop to chat/play with them. I also drop by their wing of the school ever so often to play with them and sing songs with them. If i'm nearby when the bus loads or unloads I'll hop on to greet them (when arriving), or hop on and say my goodbyes. The other parents of other schools can't stop you from interacting with them. However, based on the rules you shouldn't be teaching them during an actual period.


  • oskinny1
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • November 01, 2010, 10:31:37 am
    • Busan
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 11:17:50 am »
If it goes against your visa then do not do it. Just tell them you are not going to risk being deported to teach kindergarten. If the parents do not like this (which they won't) then tell the co-teacher that they can complain to immigration.

It sucks that you cannot teach them, but don't go against your visa.


Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 11:52:40 am »
In this situation you're going to want to stand down. I was pulled from teaching them last period because of the visa situation. While you can't formally teach them, meaning you can't have an actual period once a week dedicated to teaching them and getting paid for it; you can still interact with them. Any time I see mine in the cafeteria I stop to chat/play with them. I also drop by their wing of the school ever so often to play with them and sing songs with them. If i'm nearby when the bus loads or unloads I'll hop on to greet them (when arriving), or hop on and say my goodbyes. The other parents of other schools can't stop you from interacting with them. However, based on the rules you shouldn't be teaching them during an actual period.

I was thinking about doing this, but could I still get in trouble if I drop by their classes and say hi? I'm worried I'll be pressured to make it a weekly thing and I don't know how much trouble I could get into for this.  I thought my visa was tied to my school and the kindergarten department is a part of my school but I guess I was wrong.


Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 10:08:47 pm »
My co teacher explained this to me.... We're not supposed to teach Kindergarten because of our visa's as you've already said... It's one of those grey areas in Korea.... What happens is the parents want their kids to be learning English as soon as possible so they want a kindergarten with a native speaker. And if they don't have one they will send the students to another school that does have one. As far as I'm aware more students = more money... I'm not certain on this last point so I'm open to correction but this is the vibe I gathered
Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Jobs (2005)


  • Somebody
  • Super Waygook

    • 349

    • May 04, 2012, 01:55:20 pm
    • Suwon
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 10:30:39 pm »
We're not allowed to teach kindergarten in the public school on an E-2 visa but it's ok to teach them at an English kindergarten, which is registered as a hagwon. So, following this logic, kids who attend English kindergartens did not really attend kindergarten; therefore, they need to attend a REAL kindergarten in order to go to elementary school as a first grader. It's just government bs, that's all.


  • climber
  • Super Waygook

    • 270

    • January 02, 2011, 06:52:36 pm
    • Ilsan
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 10:51:37 pm »
I can't say for your situation, but I will tell you mine. I have been working for a public school under GEPIK for 3 years. That entire time I was teaching kindergarten for 20,000 won a class once a week. I am staying at the same school for a fourth year, but there have been a lot of changes. One of those changes came directly from the ministry of education. They strongly advised, so told, the schools they are not to have native teachers teaching K-2. So, I won't be teaching them anymore even though the parents have been praising the English department and transferring kids to my school just because of me. Strange, but I will be going from 28 classes a week to 24, which I am not complaining about.


Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 08:00:16 am »
One of those changes came directly from the ministry of education. They strongly advised, so told, the schools they are not to have native teachers teaching K-2. So, I won't be teaching them anymore even though the parents have been praising the English department and transferring kids to my school just because of me.

I teach 1st and 2nd grade as well.  In fact next semester I'm supposed to teach 24 1st and 2nd grade classes bringing me up to 20 classes.  I feel like I'm probably not "supposed" to be teaching them since I don't know anyone else in EPIK who teaches 1st and 2nd but I do it for my school.  Does anyone know if I can get in trouble for it?


  • amya
  • Veteran

    • 160

    • September 02, 2011, 09:55:40 am
    • Yeoju
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2014, 08:09:03 am »
I thought we were allowed to teach them in afternoon classes?


  • theory_
  • Veteran

    • 107

    • March 12, 2013, 09:18:32 am
    • south korea
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2014, 08:19:17 am »
I teach at a smaller elementary school, so I do teach 1st and 2nd grade; mainly to get me to my 22 classes a week. I teach them once a week. I know people who teach at bigger elementary schools with many sections per grade, so they don't teach 1st and 2nd grade. I think it's just an option schools use to get their teachers to 22 classes because I also know people who teach teachers classes once a week.


  • PVO
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • March 29, 2011, 10:46:53 pm
    • Taebaek
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 02:54:27 pm »
I'm with Epik in my 6th year contract at the same school. Last year I taught grade 2 in the first semester and grade 1 in the second semester just to fill my hours of 22. My school is the biggest Elementary School in our area and we have 3 foreign teachers. We have been told that the Vice-Principal has decided not to have any English classes for grade 1 and 2 starting in March. Now I am wondering if this came from the Ministry of Education or if it is a local decision. Anyone know?


  • Grimne_Lothos
  • Expert Waygook

    • 846

    • December 28, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
    • Buyeo, south korea
Re: E-2 Visa Prohibits me from Teaching Kindergarten at my School?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 03:43:45 pm »
I thought we were allowed to teach them in afternoon classes?

No...your not.   Its been there way for almost two years (there are threads going back this far of teachers whose school seem to randomly find out about this rule.

Its not that complicated really.  The Ministry of education is in charge of your elementary school but the ministry of health (or child welfare or something)is in charge of your school's kindergarden.  You are registered as a teacher with the Depart of Ed but not the Depart of health.  Kindy hagwons are registered with the depart of health...not education.