SMOE Reviews in South Korea

Updated September 20, 2014
Updated September 20, 2014
16 Reviews
3.8
16 Reviews
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  1.  

    Good place to work

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than a year

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2.  

    Solid Organization

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    Great opportunity if you are lucky...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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 for more than 3 years

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5.  

    Great experience but ask lots of questions to your co-teacher about your contract or you could lose money in the process

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great experience; meet great people; students are heartwarming

    Cons

    Do the same thing everyday; no possibility to grow

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Teach co-teachers about foreign teachers contracts so that they answer questions correctly about visa.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    Great job and experiences

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good salary when taking into consideration the free apartment and otherwise low cost of living. Rewarding job.

    Cons

    Some schools can be unsure how to best utilize their native speaker.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage school administration and teachers to involve the native speaker in school activities don't forget to invite them or let them know about events or information which other teachers are aware of.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Really good 2 years of my life, but not always because of the job

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

    I worked at SMOE as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Good pay; they provide housing (I had the most amazing apartment); can form good relationships with co-teachers; seeing progress and excitement to learn in students is very fulfilling (I taught an afterschool class for over a year, and started with the alphabet and got to see them read sentences by the end of my classes with them); good work-life balance

    Cons

    Communication can be difficult with other teachers; you must teach by the book; no plan for discipline; some students can be very cynical; depending on your school, you may only see each class once a week; (disclaimer: 1st world problem) they can be stingy with air conditioning/heating

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  8.  

    Native English Teacher

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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 for more than 3 years

    Pros

    good first step into the world of ESL teaching. Depending on who you get as your co-teachers/administration, your time spent in Korea can be really great or downright miserable. Considering the actual amount of work you do, the pay is actually decent.

    Cons

    SMOE isn't really an education office that looks after their NETs. They recently have been implementing changes that are financially impacting the current teachers. A lot of the articles in your contract doesn't matter due to your school's principal holding most of the power(i.e. when you can use your vacation days)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Instead of going to the first idea that comes to mind when it comes to budget restraints(which usually ends up leaving a lot of NETs unhappy), please think of other cost-saving ideas.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    Better than Private

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits for foreign worker in South Korea.

    Cons

    Korean work culture is quite different from western counterpart. You are expected to arrive to work early and leave late. be ready for last minute changes and accept it all with a smile.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management won't read this.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10.  

    awesome cultural experience

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

    I worked at SMOE full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    great hub to get out and see a/several different country/ies with excellent vacation time given as well as accomodations

    Cons

    many projects will be thrown at you out of nowhere; learn to be flexible and get over the fact. it will happen to everyone

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    give greater representation to native teachers to voice their concerns and influence policy

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11.  

    Can't beat the benefits!

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

    I have been working at SMOE full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits and compensation! Good Company

    Cons

    Getting harder and harder to stay in Seoul. They require more and more as each semester comes!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It cost less to keep a current teacher then to recruit a new teacher from overseas... If a teacher decided not renew the contract but a month or so down the road has a change of heart you should work with that teacher to secure another position even if they have to take a cut in benefits... Be more flexible to current teacher!

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

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