SMOE Reviews

Updated May 20, 2015
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21 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great Experience

    Former Employee - English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE (Less than a year)

    Pros

    They were a great support system and answered any questions I had very quickly.

    Cons

    I have nothing bad to say about SMOE.


  2. Native English Teacher

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Stable job if you are responsible, teaching kids the basics of the English language. Best of all, you get to live in Seoul Korea. Also, the teaching hours are not demanding.

    Cons

    Sometimes there are conflicts in expectations. For example, Korean work culture really values eating together for certain dinners and almost always for lunches. Those who like to eat alone or who don't like last minute dinner obligations may have some trouble.


  3. Patchy communication, varied experience.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Native Speaking English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Current Employee - Native Speaking English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I have been working at SMOE full-time (More than a year)

    Negative Outlook
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Based in the heart of Korea (Seoul)
    Government-based positions (SMOE is a government entity)
    Good pay for fresh grads

    Cons

    Poor internal communication, You will get inconsistent details about policies, regulations and changes from various parties when it could just be centralized.
    They've scaled back to primarily Elementary-level placements
    Experience can vary greatly by location (i.e., apartment can be sub-par for some, but have a great school, or vice versa).
    Management does little to retain current staff

    Advice to Management

    Be PROACTIVE, about retaining your staff. The budget issues you are suffering are a direct result of high turnover rates because you do little to nothing to retain the teachers you have; instead of focusing just on recruiting new teachers every year, trying improving the incentives (+2,000,000won is good, but maybe you could offer a relocation bonus if the teacher is willing to move to a location you have no teachers in). Alternatively you could offer a monetary bonus to teachers that stay with SMOE but you can ask them to represent SMOE at events, (i.e., have them talk to new teachers at the orientations, have them coordinate the current NSETs in their locations to set up social events).
    Delegate communication transmissions of your regulations, documentation requirements and policy changes to ONE party and have that party deliver the messages (could be done with a simple listserv).
    Standardize the experience by controlling available "set-up/relocation" package (i.e., 500,000 won for all new teachers without any support from the contracted school, or if the apartment is unfurnished; NO support (0 won) for teachers that receive support from the contracted school, or if the apartment is furnished).


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  5. English Native Teacher

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Housing and flight to and from Korea provided.

    Cons

    Cultural shock, sometimes your school will expect you to do more than your contract. You can refuse them, but your work can difficult after that. They have high expectations of their employees, and honor and respect is extremely important to the superiors.


  6. Fun, but needs a lot more organization

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - NSET in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - NSET in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great experience and made getting to Korea easy. If you get assigned to a school with a competent administration and English department then you'll have a good opportunity

    Cons

    The program is very disorganized and schools often don't know how to properly implement the NSETS. They should probably hire actual teachers instead of just recent college grads.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Native English Teacher

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Contractor - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE as a contractor (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Moving overseas can be complicated, the program matched teachers up with schools. They had an apartment arranged for me. I was the first Native English Teacher at my school so every was new, protocol, procedures, English classroom, etc. Benefits were great. It was good salary, no rent, medical, dental, pension plans were generous. They program was good about providing first time teachers with a week long workshop prior to teaching. It helped me build a network in a new country.

    Cons

    Lots of lost in communication. I learned that much of my school life depended heavily on the main co-teacher I was partnered up with each semester. The first semester my main co-teacher was not popular and was questionably bullied by other staff. So she kept to herself. Since I didn't Korean, I relied on her to tell me about staff meetings, field trips, etc. which I didn't attend because she didn't. My second semester was much better with a new main co-teacher who was new to the school. It made it acceptable for her to ask what were the procedures and policies of our school were. The staff seemed to generally like her. I had to lead English camps during summer and winter breaks. There was still enough time to travel once the camps were over but I needed to ask for permission to travel from the principal. This rule confused me because I assumed I had the freedom to choose what I did on my free time. But it was more out of culture that I was suppose to ask for the "blessing" to travel.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Good place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Steady income, good placement and training. Lots of time when not teaching to plan or do whatever you need to do on a computer.

    Cons

    Slow response or support with issues at school. During school vacation many teachers are required to sit at their desk for 8 hours, even during the freezing winters. Every school is so different yet all schools have to follow the same strict rules.

    Advice to Management

    Need to be more flexible! Each school is different and it isn't right to make all the schools/teachers follow the same strict rules. Don't block access to gmail or other services teacher rely on for communication!


  9. Helpful (1)

    Teaching Abroad

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than 5 years)

    Negative Outlook
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    You don't take work home and you get decent vacation time.
    It's really a crapshoot and everything depends on the school you're placed in.

    Cons

    The organization does not value you at all and you are 100% replaceable.

    Advice to Management

    Get some management.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Solid Organization

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I worked at SMOE full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Great vacation time, benefits and housing. Teaching hours max at 22hrs a week. 40 minute classes and a coteacher always present in class to help teach. Students are generally good, but they are massively overburdened with after school and private academy lessons, so they frequently are tired or don't want to engage.

    Cons

    Inflexible at times with new ideas or teaching strategies. Heavy drinking at company functions, even on weeknights. Administration does not know what Korean teachers speak English well, and frequently push aside younger, better speaking teachers, for older teachers that do not speak very well at all.

    Advice to Management

    Be flexible! The best English speakers at the school should be English teachers!


  11. Helpful (1)

    Great opportunity if you are lucky...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Seoul (South Korea)

    I have been working at SMOE full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The pay is pretty good.They will always pay you on time and honestly. They do your taxes for you (which are cheap in Korea.) Decent health insurance is provided, as is housing. If you like working with children this is great, and if you are teacher from your own country you can apply your skills and easily perform above expectations. Your school might take you in and treat you as family. You might have the chance to learn Korean. Working in a public school in Korea can also provide an opportunity to build professional skills, and experience multiculturalism from a unique perspective. For example, if you are a white male, when you come to Korea you have to learn to be the super-minority, which is similar to what minorities in American small communities experience all the time. Lessons like that are not available to most people and are an invaluable life experience.

    Cons

    It's all luck of the draw as far as what type of housing you get, the quality of your co-teacher/school relationship, how much free time you have, etc. Some people get a sweet deal and others get hell, and there is no way to anticipate which situation you will be places in. I was one of the lucky ones, but I now others who weren't. Also, living in a foreign country can take it's toll on you after several years.

    Advice to Management

    Maybe look at other ways to match NEST to their schools for a better positive match percentage? Also, due to the local currencies volitility it would be nice if severance monies could somehow be available for teachers to buy dollars when the won is highest.



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