The English teaching industry, and its reputation, is changing rapidly in South Korea. The change has been spurred on by a large group of professional, serious, well-respected foreign teachers and a Korean government determined to clean up the industry.
For the government’s part, they have enacted strict visa regulations for all teachers. First up is the mandatory FBI check (or your country’s equivalent). Korea is looking to import professional teachers, not criminals relocating to Asia. Next up are the education requirements. To be eligible for a teaching visa in South Korea, you must have a 4-year degree from an accredited university, and you must be able to provide your original diploma and sealed transcripts to prove it. Finally, you must pass a physical examination and an in-person interview at a Korean consulate in your home country. In short, if you want to teach in South Korea, you must be a law-abiding citizen who is healthy, well-educated, and motivated enough to jump through some hoops in order to get approved for a visa.
For the teachers’ part, a large group of them gathered, and, wanting to turn their jobs into professions, founded a professional organization called the Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (KOTESL). Their stated aim is “To promote scholarship, disseminate information, and facilitate cross-cultural understanding among persons concerned with the teaching and learning of English in Korea.” If you are considering a teaching position in South Korea, visit their website at http://www.kotesol.org/.
If you’re looking to teach English in Asia, and, at the same time, want to develop a profession, Korea is a good place to get started. And if are going to go, do yourself a favor and learn a bit of the language before showing up.
Do you teach English in Korea? Would you like to? Don’t be shy! Make some comments below.