* Why some teaching placements fail: Top 3 reasons

As recruiters, we work hard to screen our applicants well, and being sure that they understand what it is like to live and teach in South Korea. We also only work with reputable and established schools, most of which are regular clients of ours. These policies have resulted in a very high rate of success for our placements.

it is certainly true that most of us who go to teach in Korea  go on to have great experiences that we would not trade for the world. However, once in while things do not work out for some teachers. I have accrued some experience in this business over the years, and I thought this may help some of you who are considering the experience to avoid some unnecessary potholes.

Provided that the school administration is being fair and upholding their half of the bargain, there seem to be three main reasons why positions sometimes go sour…

Top 3 reasons that teaching placements FAIL

1. False Expectations: It is important to remember that although this is a great opportunity to live and work in Asia, it is not a vacation. The first thing to remember is that private schools are profit-driven businesses like any other, so everyone is expected to pull their weight. In addition, the students come first in this business, so it is key to just go with the flow, be adaptable and easy going about things, even if it does not make sense to you; be a good employee for your school. Language institutes (in all countries) tend to be organic in their operation. As such, it is paramount to be a team player.

2. Aptitude and Teaching Skills: We have placed 100’s of teachers over the years. While most learn how to be good teachers, once in awhile we get feedback from one of our client-schools that our teacher is not teaching well or cannot control their students. While fairly rare for us, it does happen once in awhile.  Be sure to consult with other teachers and get help if need be. Work at getting better at your craft. There are endless ESL teaching resources on the internet to assist you on being more effective in the classroom.

3. Culture Clash: It may take some time to adapt to living in a different culture and learning the local cultural norms and expectations. While there so many fascinating things to learn from living in Korea, it is not like back home.  The most important thing to remember is to respect where you are, whether you agree or disagree. This is not western culture so you really can’t judge it by the familiar western standards you are used to. Educate yourself on the cultural differences before you go… it will be more fun and interesting and will prevent unnecessary misunderstandings. 

In summation, why not think of yourself as an ambassador to your country? That is really what you are. In the international community, ideologies and perceptions are often based on stereotypes, so it is up to you properly represent your culture. We have much to learn from each other, so embrace the differences and allow yourself to grow as an individual. It’s part of the adventure.

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