English Program in Korea Reviews | Glassdoor

English Program in Korea Reviews

Updated January 18, 2017
5 reviews

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Pros
  • The cost of living in Korea is low so you can save a decent amount of money/pay off a lot of your student loans (in 8 reviews)

  • You will have a lot of free time (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Last minute changes, long wait times (in 10 reviews)

  • There isn't any room for growth (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Native English Teacher"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Getting to experience a different culture, having the opportunity to meet many people at the school.

    Cons

    I have to say this used to be a very good job 5 or 6 years ago. However, the pay keeps getting lower when you adjust for inflation. Also many school have reduced the amount of vacation time from what it used to be. There are also more foreigners in Korea so Native English teachers are much less special than in the past.

    Advice to Management

    To only have the Native English Teachers used to teach the advanced or intermediate level students. The lower level students don't have the motivation to learn English and probably won't even need it in their future jobs. Also I would test the students speaking in a way similar to TOEIC.


  2. "Not an actual teaching job."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - English As A Second Language Teacher in Chungnam-ni (South Korea)
    Current Contractor - English As A Second Language Teacher in Chungnam-ni (South Korea)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at English Program in Korea as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Get an idea of what "teaching" is like (more on this later).
    - Free housing (more on this later).
    - Decent pay (if, like me you've worked part time jobs through college that had minimum wage pay.)
    - Lots of free time (this can be a con as well, depending on your situation).

    Cons

    - "teaching" is essentially playing games with kids... every day.
    - Baby sitting disrespectful children.
    - You're the last to be notified about anything. That lesson plan you worked for 2 hours on yesterday? It's not happening. You just wasted your time.
    - Kids are unbelievably rude, wild, and undisciplined. God be with you, if you have to endure 3rd and 4th graders. They will swear at you to your face, punch you, throw things at you, be warned.
    - Communication issues: unless your korean is fluent, you're going to have a tough time explaining things to kids and co workers. Also telling kids to stop punching each other, screaming, acting out, etc.. (everyday).
    - "vacation days": your vacation days are actual vacation days for korean holidays, going along with the actual schedule of school. Got a wedding to go to in the middle of october? Good luck, ain't gonna happen.
    - Placement: They don't even tell you where you will be placed ( ! ), or what your living situation will be or anything until the very last minute. I was notified literally 12 hours before I got on my plane to come here.
    - Housing: Have fun sitting in your garbage one room apartment while you see others getting treated with multi-roomed apartments, even multi-leveled. It's all luck of the draw.
    - Pay raise: Your pay gets raised very little each year that passes.. Maxing out around 3 years. Here after 3 years? you just capped your salary, unless you find a different, higher paying job.

    ...It's all based on luck:
    I'm assuming you're someone who wants to be placed in a popular city like Seoul or Busan, near a lot of other young, hip people. You'll want to go "clubbing" and "party", meet plenty of others, maybe even find love. Unfortunately, it's all luck of the draw.
    Like many other first time, foreign teachers I've met, everything from placement, to living situation, work place, grade levels, co workers, there's always something wrong.

    Advice to Management

    Make fair, actual housing standards. Teachers deserve to be treated as actual teachers... not just accessories.


  3. "GPOE"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time

    Pros

    Schedule; Time Off; Own Room

    Cons

    Korean Educational Environment; School Organization


  4. "Doesn't come through on it's promise"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Busan (South Korea)
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Busan (South Korea)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay for the required teaching hours. Kids can be fun and cute at times.

    Cons

    No control of your placement. Each school runs differently. No opportunity for advancement. Major behavior problems in students.

    Advice to Management

    Good idea in theory, very few instances where it works well.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Poor Management of Human Resources"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good compensation given the required qualifications
    Low cost of living
    Good location for travel + a better vacation package than hagwons.
    Yearly increases in salary for renewing.
    Housing is provided
    Can be an eye-opening cultural experience

    Cons

    No actual standardization in terms of quality control--your work and home situation is all up to chance.
    Many first time teachers will sign the contract blind--you are not told what grade level you teach or exactly where (besides the providence) until after signing.
    Lack of communication, in part because of a language barrier but in large part as well because your co-teacher is expected to be your sole point of contact with higher management.
    The freedom you have in creating, planning and teaching English will depend on your co-workers, principal, and vice principal's decisions about what English class should be like, not necessarily on your abilities.
    Co-teaching is, for many, an empty promise. You may be doing lessons alone while your co-teachers take smoke breaks, be reduced to a human tape player, or be given the role of the dancing monkey (entertainer rather than educator).
    Coworkers don't always share the values of senior management about the value of English education.
    If you use a textbook, you will be expected to teach from the textbook even if the language is incorrect or unnatural because that is what students will be tested on. "I have a new game CD!" "Did you enjoy a good sleep?"
    Because the EPIK program seems to be reducing the number of hires, teachers may have multiple schools-sometimes as many as five. This is not beneficial to the students as it means they will only have English conversation classes once a week for one hour.
    If you have a strict principal (or one who doesn't like you), family emergencies not covered by the contract will not equal unpaid leave. My grandfather became very ill and eventually passed away, but because the contract only notes "special leave" for the death of a parent, spouse or child, I had to miss his funeral.

    Advice to Management

    Please treat your employees better-we may be contract labor but providing us with little to no communication, support and opportunities for feedback (especially on our co-teachers) is probably why the turnover rate is so high.
    Brief your regional educational offices and Korean employees about what EPIK teachers are expecting given our Orientation training and in-service training: actual co-teaching situations, freedom in making our classes engaging and practical for students, and that much-talked about Korean hospitality that will let us take care of family emergencies.


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