the job hunt
There are several things your Teacher Representative (TR) will ask you before they can activate your file and begin showing it to potential employers. Since we do our best to personalize the job search and learn about your expectations early on, rather than send a list of jobs that may or may not be of interest to you, it's crucially important that you provide this information to your TR as soon as possible. Ensuring this will ensure that your job search is effective and efficient. Below is a list of questions you'll be asked to answer as soon as we receive and review your application.
It is important for us to know where you are at with the required visa documents.
Criminal Record Check - Have you ordered it and when do you expect to have it? Your criminal record check has to be less than 6 months old and clear of any charges. For Korea, it needs to be apostilled/stamped by the Korean consulate (Canadian applicants) and for China it needs to authenticated by the Chinese Embassy.
University Degree - Do you have your degree in hand or when do you expect to have it? A colour photocopy has to apostilled/stamped by the Korean consulate (Canadian applicants) for Korea or authenticated by the Chinese Embassy for China.
TEFL - Do you have a TEFL certificate? Public schools in Korea require a 100 Hour TEFL certificate, but private schools do not officially require it. Schools in China require either a 120 Hour TEFL certificate, a Bachelor of Education Degree, or 2 years formal, full time teaching experience. A hard copy of the TEFL must be notarized for China.
2. Application Photo
The profile photo you submit with your application is very important, especially for schools in Korea. Please make sure the photo you have submitted is appropriate for a job application and that it will show you as a professional, happy, and enthusiastic applicant.
For tips on what a photo should look like, please see our Application Tips page.
3. Introductory Video
A photo can only say so much about an applicant, which is why most schools in Korea and in China will ask an applicant for a self-introductory video. A video is your chance to show your unique personality and enthusiasm. Videos can be intimidating, but they don't have to be. With a little preparation and planning, anyone can make a great short video.
If you haven't sent your intro video to your Teacher Representative yet, please let them know if and when you can do so.
For more information on how to make a video and to see some examples, please see our Application Tips page.
4. Location Type
What locations or types of cities do you want to focus on?
Flexibility is key, especially in Korea, where there are more applicants than available jobs.Korea has a number of large metropolitan cities to chose from, with excellent transportation, thriving expat communities, a fun night life within a bustling downtown area, and an endless array of restaurants, bars, and cafes. For applicants who are not familiar with Korea, it may seem like Seoul is the only reasonable option and unfortunately, many think that if they're not living in Seoul, they'll be placed in a rural setting, with no foreigners in sight and no access to to the amenities larger cities have to offer. Similarly, there are many locations to chose from in China, aside from Shenzhen, Beijing or Shanghai.
Some cities to consider in Korea, are Gwangju, Daegu and Daejon. We have placed more than 100 teachers per year in each of these cities for over a decade and the reviews from our teachers have been overwhelmingly positive. We are more likely to hear complaints from teachers in Gyeonggi-do, than these 3 metropolitan locations.
In China, while many of our jobs are in Shenzhen, you might also want to consider cities such as Suzhou or Quingdao.
5. Job Type
The main difference in job type will be whether you prefer a public or private schools. In both Korea and China, public schools have larger classes, but fewer teaching hours, while private schools have smaller classes and a heavier work load. Public schools also offer more vacation time, but expect lesson planning.
If you have a TEFL course, but haven't listed it on your resume, please let your TR know. Likewise, if you are currently in the process or taking a course or considering one, please make sure they're aware.
Public schools in Korea require a 100 Hour TEFL certificate, but private schools do not officially require it. Schools in China require either a 120 Hour TEFL certificate, a Bachelor of Education Degree, or 2 years formal, full time teaching experience. A hard copy of the TEFL must be notarized for China.
If you need a recommendation, please consider this course, which comes highly recommended by our applicants.
While we LOVE Korea and and are proud of the thousands of teachers we have placed in the country over the last decade, the reality is that the ESL market in the country is starting to change.
If you haven't considered it yet, please look into Shenzhen, China, which is located across the bay from Hong Kong. If you're looking for a thriving metropolis and want to be in the midst of all the action, this may be a perfect city for you. Other key cities you might want to consider are Qingdao and Hangzhou.
Jobs in China have 50% less teaching hours, which allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable work day/week. Schools in Korea tend to have 35-45+ classes per week, while in China, 8-14 classes per week is the norm. Teachers in China have a better quality of life as a result, since they have a lot more free time to pursue their interests.
Public schools in China offer 3+ months of vacation time, while public schools in Korea offer 18 days
We focus mainly on public school in Shenzhen, China, as well as several large Education Corporations who value teachers and put a lot of effort in upholding their reputation as reliable employers. Schools in Korea know that there are more applicants than jobs and take advantage of this fact.
Shenzhen is very modern, and offers a fun nightlife, a world-class subway system that spans through the area, an endless number of Western and Asian restaurant options, as well plenty of green space throughout the city. It's a modern city, with the youngest population in all of China and the hub of technology and trade.
We have placed over 200 teachers in Shenzhen since moving into the market 2 years ago, including teachers who have taught in Korea first and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive!
Some main advantages to China, also include:
The ability to move up within the company and take on roles beyond teaching, while still being involved in education. Chinese companies are great at recognizing talented and driven individuals and it is possible to move into roles such as curriculum development, publishing, regional training or to become a centre manager.
Teaching on the side is mostly accepted in China and can be very lucrative, with hourly pay of 250-300 RMB per hour.
Public schools in China not only hire ESL teachers, but also actively seek special subject teachers for subjects such as Math, Science, Phys. Ed., Fine Arts, History, or Drama.
To reiterate, we do LOVE Korea and many of our teachers are having an amazing time teaching in the country. However, we feel it's important to give an overview of how the two countries compare.
Before your Teacher Representative (TR) can activate your file, they will need your feedback on the points above. Please send an email to your TR once you receive our Introductory Email, so we can make sure your file can be activated as quickly and smoothly as possible.
You may also want to review our Application Tips to ensure that your profile shows well to our schools.