What I Loved About Teaching in Korea


In a previous post I wrote about why I quit teaching English. Teaching English was arguably the hardest year of my life, but it was also the most rewarding. As with all things in life, there are pros and cons, and these are some of the pros of teaching English.

1.) It was incredibly rewarding.

It was amazing for me to see the growth my students experienced. My kids had a writing book that they kept throughout the whole year. At the beginning of the year, they could barely even write the alphabet. By the end of the year, my kids could write full sentences, with clean letters and decent spelling. It was amazing to see, and whenever I was feeling low I told myself, “They can do that because of your teaching.”  The kids gave me so much love and affection. They would bring me presents, draw pictures, and love to hug me every day. It was truly amazing.

2.) I saved a lot of money. 

There are a lot of wonderful benefits provided to teachers.

  • Housing: Free housing was provided within walking distance to the school. Deposits for even a one-room in Korea can be thousands of dollars, so it was a huge relief to not have this task when arriving in Korea.
  • Health Insurance: In Korea, you automatically get health insurance deducted from your paycheck. All you need to do is show your Alien Registration Card at the doctor’s office and it’s all taken care of. Not to mention the cost of healthcare is a fraction of the cost of what it is in the United States.
  • Pension: Again, each month your pension is automatically deducted from your paycheck. When you leave South Korea for good, you can apply to receive your pension. For a year in Korea, I received about $1,500 for my pension. It was direct-deposited into my American bank account about 2 months after I left Korea.
  • Free snack and breakfast: At my school, the homeroom teachers gave snacks to the kids each morning. In other words, free breakfast! Then the homeroom teachers gave lunch to the kids. Again, free lunch! I saved a lot of money in food costs.
  • Severance Pay: Many schools offer severance pay if you stay until the end of your contract. I received one month’s pay. It was paid to my American bank account after I left.
  • Free flight home: While it used to be common for school’s to pay the flight to Korea, most don’t anymore. Many teachers would fly to Korea, quit or find another job, so it became a huge loss to many schools. Now most schools only pay for your flight home. If you are flying to the Unite States, that could still be huge savings for you! My flight home was $1200+, and I was able to input my Skymiles number!

3.) I had the time and money to travel around Korea. 

You are given paid vacation throughout the year. There is summer and winter break (both a week long), plus a sprinkling of National holiday’s throughout the year. These are great opportunities to travel around the country. Many other teachers even go abroad to Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, China, and more. Flights from South Korea are relatively cheap compared to flying from the US, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to travel abroad.

There are times I really miss teaching. I truly miss the kids and interacting with them on a daily basis. While I did have my struggles, I do not regret going at all. I would even recommend it to anyone who wants to give it a try. The good definitely outweighs the bad, and I’ve always said that my experiences were unique and do not represent the average experience.


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