The QiRanger Adventures

Teaching in Korea: Kids

with 4 comments

There are many teaching opportunities in South Korea. Some are only for short summer or winter camps, while others are year-long teaching contracts at public and private schools. Beyond that, there are six teaching levels:

1) Kindergarten
2) Elementary School
3) Middle School
4) High School
5) University Level
6) Business/Corporate Training

The latter two divisions are specialized areas and usually require that the teacher have multiple years of ESL teaching experience and advanced degrees and/or certificates. Therefore, most coming to Korea will be teaching in the kindergarten through highschool arena. This means that you’ll be teaching kids.

It is an important thing to recognize, since for up to a year, you’ll be in that environment, so the hard question must be asked, “Do I like working with children?”

If the answer is, “No,” then ESL teaching in Korea probably isn’t for you since the most prevalent jobs require working in that environment. A more common answer is ,”I like working with kids aged X-Z.” This means that you enjoy working with children of a specific age range.

I count myself in that group. I love working with kids and can work in any environment, but I hit my educational groove when working with elementary aged children to adults. As a result, I steer myself away from prospective positions that require me to teach kindergarten. I can do it, but I wouldn’t enjoy it.

I cannot stress how important it is to take the time to look inside at yourself to see what age groups you’d like to teach, because some people get here not realizing that they don’t like working with kids and find themselves miserable. They even try blaming the school, when in fact, the blame falls on them.


Written by Steve Miller

November 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Spot on with that commentary. Kids are different than teaching adults. I first taught Jr High, then smaller kids…. but I think I like adults best. But, having said that, besides the weekend adult classes, I am not in the teaching field any more, but really admire those who enjoy teaching and are able to do it well!


    November 15, 2009 at 10:25 am

    • I like teaching both. It requires different strategies and keeps me on my toes!


      November 15, 2009 at 10:30 am

  2. Hi there QI Ranger.

    Another good post. Thought I’d add a comment as you get many readers, some of which may be interested in taking up teaching here in Korea. I think it’s paramount that you like kids if you are getting a job working with them! Be that kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school’ers.

    Having worked here for around four years I’ve had many many co-workers and the ones who don’t like kids stick out like a sore thumb and spend their days complaining about their students instead of enjoying the job. One ex co-worker seemed to despise children and spent the breaks moaning and dragging the rest of down. I shudder to think of how her classes were. Her attitude was ironically very childish.

    Again, this can be a great, great place if you work with kids and you like kids and accept that kids don’t behave like adults.


    November 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    • You hit the nail on the head Gavin. You really need to assess yourself before you come here.


      November 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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