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Hi. I am a licensed elementary/primary school teacher and want to come to Korea for a year or 2. I have applied for a career break from my current teaching job so I am free from July 2015- September 2016 (and can extend).  I have applied for EPIK and will also apply for GEPIK when the time comes. I previously researched primary school jobs, just with Google, but from what I saw- the schools only taught an American or British curriculum (I'm Irish). Can anyone give me advice?


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 3835

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
In EPIK/GEPIK schools, they teach the Korean curriculum. Some foreign teachers are asked to teach the curriculum, others are asked too make their own.

"International schools" (very loose term here) usually subscribe to US (and in extremely few cases UK) curricula.



  • travelinpantsgirl
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2042

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Hi. I don't know what your knowledge is of teaching in Korean public schools but as a licensed teacher, you might be really frustrated and bored. In most cases, you don't really teach they way you have been trained to UNLESS you get placed in a high school, sometimes middle schools. But most (if not all) elementary school placements are just foreigner assistants. There are some exceptions, but a lot of those exceptions come with the no co-teacher aspect so you won't get any help with translations or classroom management. If you can afford it, my suggestion is to come to Korea on a working holiday H-1 visa (if you're 30 or under) or visitor visa (this is more a pain but doable) and apply to international schools and private elementary schools. There are some good ones in north Seoul. There are also some bad ones so beware. Also, some of the International schools have separate arm/branch that only teaches the IB curriculum if you're familiar with that.
Anyway, just my two cents since you are experienced and licensed. Good luck!
Hi. I am a licensed elementary/primary school teacher and want to come to Korea for a year or 2. I have applied for a career break from my current teaching job so I am free from July 2015- September 2016 (and can extend).  I have applied for EPIK and will also apply for GEPIK when the time comes. I previously researched primary school jobs, just with Google, but from what I saw- the schools only taught an American or British curriculum (I'm Irish). Can anyone give me advice?
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


  • stotes
  • Adventurer

    • 51

    • August 19, 2012, 07:45:59 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
I will second travlinpantsgirl's advice regarding working at an international or private school.

I am a licensed/ certified teacher from Canada, and I was lucky to work in a high school that gave me 100% autonomy last year, however if you are in an elementary school the situation will typically will be much different.

In most cases in elementary, the teacher-assistant (Native English Teacher / Guest English Teacher) role will most likely have you relegated to 10-15 minute segments of each lesson, helping students drill pronunciation or conducting a game.  Lesson and unit planning are more up to your Korean teachers, and you will find a definite disconnect between educational philosophy that you have experienced and what is expected of you in Korea.  There are some cases where your co-teachers will give you more autonomy, however elementary schools are more restricted to following the curriculum (ie- textbook chapter #1 this week, #2 next week, exam the following next week and so on)

If you don't mind the lack of freedom and 'tape-recorder / game facilitator' role and you're happy to be subservient to the desires and demands of your school's administration and English department, you will have a good time at a public elementary school. 

Public school jobs here can be quite easy and cushy jobs compared to the demands of public school teaching in the West, as you won't have very many responsibilities: most administrative tasks, discipline, marking, parent conferences and the host of other stuff teachers normally have to take on will be taken care of by your co-teachers and the home-room teachers.

If the public school job with EPIK or GEPIK doesn't sound appealing, your best bet is to look for an international school, offshore school or private school that has a more Western oriented curriculum and philosophy, that will be more appropriate to your training and experience.


I am a licensed elementary/primary school teacher. Can anyone give me advice?

go to Taiwan or Hong Kong instead.