Archives for posts with tag: Education
Tsinghua University

Image credit: Jens Schott Knudsen

Posted: 13/04/15
Last updated: 12/05/15

As noted in my article Getting a University Job in Korea, the minimum criteria almost across the board lately is to have a Master’s and two years experience at university level. There are some accepting without, but by the time I get my Master’s it will be the standard. But how to get this experience?

The most obvious answer I can think of is to teach in a country with a less competitive job market. These markets seem to be parts of Asia and the Middle East.

A few countries stand out to me personally. I’ve started by compiling information and observations about them across some time. I’ll probably start by accumulating job listings I can find across a few weeks.


First impressions: A Master’s Degree is not a requirement for most positions. Research into the reputation and lifestyle in the areas of the universities would be really important here. Posts keep saying “only apply if you’re seriously ready to come to China” almost like a warning, as though people bail out fairly frequently, because they can’t handle living in China. For me, I’ll probably want to live in or near a city, and preferably somewhere with a milder climate… I’m not sure that exists though. I would definitely consider moving to China though. Some jobs provide free Chinese lessons, which is great, and I would really appreciate.


I’m having even more difficulty finding positions in Vietnam than in Thailand. But even at RMIT’s campuses the qualifications don’t seem particularly rigorous. I would be very interested in a position at RMIT internationally and would probably jump at the opportunity.


The best resource for jobs in Thailand seems to be ajarn/ajarnjobspace, with another resource being Try using the search function for “university” on ajarn if positions aren’t showing up in the board, this appeared to bring up contemporary results when I tried it. Some advice can be found at A reasonable article about teaching in Thai universities can be found here, but it’s undated.

Ajarn notes:

There’s an old saying that the best jobs never get advertised and teaching jobs are no different.

Who knows what gems you might unearth by simply enquiring at the school admin office or making a speculative phone call? There’s a school near my house that’s had a ‘teachers wanted’ sign hanging on the school gate for months. They’ve probably never heard of either.


Past job listings





Women's High School
Posted: 28/04/15
Last edited: 01/05/15

Even though I’ve yet to even start my hagwon (cram school) job, I’ve been thinking a lot about my plans for afterwards. While a university level job may be possible after one year in a hagwon (albeit unlikely), and sounds great at first thought, right now I can see a lot of merit in taking my ‘career progression’ slowly and more considered. I’m considering applying through EPIK and working a year in a public school.

Why another year, and why a public school?


The experience gained from the different teaching context would be really useful for if I complete a Master’s in TESOL. Lesson planning, co-teaching, teaching mixed-ability classes are three experiences I can think of off the top of my head.


I would be eligible for the TESOL Master’s course at USYD, which requires 2 years full time teaching experience. UNSW asks for a graduate qualification in education as prerequisite, but I think with a Certificate IV in TESOL and two years experience they would strongly consider my application. The University of Melbourne only asks for a CELTA equivalent, which my Cert IV should constitute, but I think it would still be a good idea to have more work and life experience before committing to tertiary study. Macquarie University only requires an undergraduate degree, however is nowhere to be seen in the QS university rankings. Later down the track, these tips should prove really helpful.

Melbourne and USYD rank the highest across global education and linguistics rankings, and Melbourne was one of the top 10 for employer recognition, as well as being higher-ranked generally. I’m strongly leaning towards Melbourne for those reasons, as well as the lifestyle. It would be great to get to know Melbourne even half as well as I know Sydney.


Learning Korean would be much easier if I stay longer. I’m going to try and take class(es) while over there this time, but even after a year I’m not confident I’ll be at a level where I can confidently engage in conversations about topics more than everyday things. If I apply through EPIK there’s a chance I could be placed in an area with far fewer foreigners than in Seoul, which may be a blessing. I’m currently most interested in studying twice a week at Omija Korean in Itaewon.


I can imagine feeling very under qualified teaching at a university level so early, and I think it would be a mild abuse of privilege to sell myself in a job interview as though I was their best candidate. Further, though aware of it before, I’m thinking more critically of the role of hagwons, and how they give the richer an advantage over the poorer, so working in a public school would put this equity issue aside. Further, most hagwons are run as businesses, and seem to ask teachers to fly through content and exaggerate to parents about their children’s progress, and I wouldn’t have this issue in a public school.

The 5-year plan

Roughly, my timeline would go like this:

June 2015-June 2016 teach at English hagwon in Seoul

June-July 2016 travel Korea (a bit more), and Japan (hopefully a lot)

July-August 2016 visit family and friends in Sydney

August 2016-August 2017 work in a public school

August 2017-June 2018/February 2018-November 2018 study Master’s in TESOL

February 2019-December 2020 teach at a university in Korea, or an English academy in Sydney

The cons

Despite it sounding great great overall, I’m worried about being away from family and friends for so long, essentially two years. Secondly, I’m concerned about maintaining a stable and meaningful relationship. I’m already leaving one behind as I leave for my first job, but then moving away to another city after a year in Seoul, then coming back to Sydney for 1-1.5 years for my Master’s, then going back to Korea for 1-2 years of university level teaching, then coming back yet again and teaching academic English here… Then I’m 27 left with a history of fragmented relationships, if any at all.

Moreover, EPIK is currently going through major budget cutbacks. Scroozle’s Sanctuary goes so far as to say: “Pro tip: if you’re thinking about coming to Korea to teach at a public school, don’t”. Contradicting this on Dave’s ESL Forum, Schwa notes: “I think I can still recommend EPIK as a great gap year (or 2) experience or EFL stepping stone, but longtermers are understandably getting frustrated with it. TESOL is what you yourself make of it, not something served up on an easy platter.”

This is all contingent on whether or not I enjoy teaching anyway. I may not even last my first 12 months. But here’s hoping, because if I don’t want to, or can’t teach, then I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m not without hope, but at this stage, I’m definitely without ideas. Maybe my photography will pick up.

Regardless, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Ewha Womans University
Posted: 13/04/15

Last updated: 06/05/15

For my first post I wanted to write about gaining a Professor/Assistant Professor English teaching position at a Korean University. It’s unfinished, but I couldn’t wait to publish my first post, weirdly, so it should become more polished across the next few weeks as I learn more and become more accustomed to the WordPress format. At the time of writing, I’m still in Sydney anxiously awaiting my visa approval for my first teaching job, at a hagwon in Dongjak-gu, Seoul. If I enjoy this year and can imagine myself teaching as a career, then I’m really hoping to get my Master’s and aim for a university position in the future. This isn’t meant to be a ‘how-to’, but more of a ‘how-to-probably’ kind of guide. I’m writing this based on my analysis of job listings, advice I’ve read elsewhere, as well as inferences based on what I would look for if I were recruiting. Even if some things may seem obvious, I think it’s important to try and consider as many factors as possible, to try and differentiate yourself as being above and beyond basic requirements.

Master’s Degree or higher

The most important criterion in getting a university position would be that you hold a master’s degree, ideally (but apparently, not necessarily) in TESOL, or a related field such as linguistics, English or education. Every job posting I’ve seen has asked for this. I’ve seen a posting by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Fig. 4) that preferences Master’s in Education (TESOL) over a Master’s in Arts.

Teaching experience

Generally speaking, the more the better, however minimum requirements seem to vary. Some job listings aren’t explicit about experience being necessary, and welcome any applicant with a Master’s (Fig. 1). Others ask for experience at “accredited institutions” (Fig. 4). Meanwhile, Kyungnam University, Changwon, requests “a minimum of two years experience at the university level or three years experience at the middle/high school level”, and that “experience in private academies will not be counted” (Fig. 3). Kyungpook National University asks for more than 3 years EFL experience with adults, preferably in Korea (Fig. 2). Increasingly, 2 years at university level is becoming the standard requirement, so it’s likely to be the minimum by the time I get my Master’s.


Another asset occasionally listed is research experience— seems to constitute published journal articles. Some advice for publication can be found here.

Finding a job

TEFL guest contributor Jackie asked members of the ‘Foreign Professors and University English Teachers in South Korea’ Facebook group about how they received their positions, to which they responded:

ESL Cafe Job Board: 36% Through a friend: 34% Through a job site besides ESL Cafe: 14% Networking: 7% Dropping application off at a university or applying through the university website: 7%

Fortunately, about a third of jobs go through Dave’s ESL Cafe Job Board. About another third go through friends or networking. Alternate job sites include: Profs AbroadChronicle of Higher EducationTESOL.orgKOTESOLCraigslistJobseekr, and Koreajobfinder.


‘University Jobs in Korea’ at Jackie Bolen’s YouTube Channel (2015) — A web miniseries by the ubiquitous Jackie Bolen

‘Foot >>> Door for Korean unis: What’s attractive?’, ‘MA and 2 years research, stop taking university jobs’, ‘University positions without Uni experience’— Recent discussions at Dave’s ESL Cafe (2015)

‘The Best TEFL Jobs in South Korea’ at (2015) — An up-to-date and comprehensive guide

‘Very Boring Post Unless You’re a Foreigner Looking For a College Teaching Gig’ at Wet Tumblrments (2013) — Reinforces MA and 2 years University experience becoming standard, recommends being in-country for interviews

‘A University Job’ at (2014) — Probably one of the best, and most recent, articles I’ve come across lately about this topic

‘EPISODE SLICE #45: Expat Kerri Dishes on Landing University Teaching Jobs in Korea’— Expat Kerri, speaking on Atlas Sliced, reminds us that you don’t need a Master’s to get a university job (2013)

‘Getting a university job in Korea’ at Overseas Exile (2011) — Provides clarification about differences between jobs, and different visas

‘How to get a University ESL Teaching Job in Korea’ at jackieb99’s HubPage — Gives some good interview tips

‘The #1 Job Search Method That Gets You Hired’ and ‘University Job Guide for English Teachers at Profs Abroad — Offer a detailed strategy, and advice for university job hunting

Past job listings

An archive of recent job listings is provided below to get a clearer idea of the qualifications and experience requested by various institutes, as well as some of the different kinds of positions that are out there. It’s important to remember that often jobs are only listed fairly briefly, so it’s important to continue checking online every week if you’re hoping to find something.