If you asked me 6 months ago whether or not I was going to stay another year in Korea, I would’ve said there was maybe POSSSSSSIBLY a 2% chance. Well okay, I probably would’ve made an obscene, sarcastic remark that involved multiple F-bombs – but you know, along the same lines as “2%”.
So it took a while for Korea to grow on me, but it definitely did. And like I went on in my previous post, the benefits (AKA money) are reason enough to stay longer for someone trying to save money and pay off student loans.
And thus, the job search began:
There are two main types of teaching jobs in Korea: public school jobs and private schools/hagwon jobs. Due to complications with my paperwork when I originally came to Korea + UPS ruining my life (yes, the United Postal Service), I wasn’t able to get another public school job here (looong story). And so private schools/hagwons were the way to go.
Finding a hagwon job was a lot more difficult than I expected. There are so many people looking for teaching jobs here in Korea that non-public school jobs have super long hours, low pay and not nearly as many benefits as public school jobs (i.e. no severance, pension or tax exclusion). The boyfriend and I were also trying to move to either Busan or Seoul close to the city and so [good] job opportunities are even more scarce.
After a few interviews and job offers, we ended up accepting a job in Haeundae, Busan at a private school/hagwon! It’s been two weeks of work and it has been compleeetely different than my last job at my middle school in Ulsan. Like the exact opposite.
Instead of seeing each of my twenty 36-student classes once a week, I have one class that I see every day from 9:45-2:30. And instead of teaching bratty, hormonal, moody teenagers, I get to teach the cutest fricken Kindergarteners in the world who speak better English than 95% of my previous kids. And they’re 6. SIX. Instead of teaching in the mother-effing-hood (Ulsan overall isn’t ghetto, I was just lucky enough to be placed in a bad area), I’m teaching in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Korea.
Of course, there are cons as well, although I absolutely ADORE my kids and don’t know how I got so lucky. Cons: rich, private school parents rule the school. That means whatever they say goes – whether it be that they don’t want their son or anybody else in the school calling me “Miss” Kirsten (true story) or that they just don’t want their kid reprimanded or given a bad grade. Like ever. At all. Their wish is literally and I mean LITERALLY our command. Other cons: barely any deskwarming time. So long are the days of sitting at my desk for 5 out of the 8 hours of work to blog, take Buzzfeed quizzes and chat with friends and family back home. There are also a few other cons that I won’t get into quite yet.
Luckily, there are tons of pros. My kids are the obvious pro. There are 8 different Kindergarten classes split up by age and level and I got the 7-year-old geniuses. 7-year-olds in Korean age would be 5-6 year olds in America, by the way. It’s weird. When Koreans are born, they start at 1. And then on January 1st, everybody born the previous year turns 2. And so if I was born on December 31st, I would turn 2 the next day. Shit’s weird.
Anyway, my kids are AWESOME. I have 11 wittle babies and my own classroom and I teach them math, science, phonics, “sing”, gym (which is more or less putting on different videos on the projector screen and dancing around the play room), and a few more English-y classes. They’re super smart and ridiculously adorable. They all call me “Miss Kirsten” (although they’re not allowed to anymore due to preferences of a rich mom, so now I’m just “Kirsten”) and they can actually pronounce it correctly because they haven’t been introduced to the “Kyyyyirsten”‘s and “kRIsten”‘s of the world.
They all love volunteering to answer questions and actually do their work, it’s such a refreshing change from middle schoolers who hate the world. And they’re just so full of love and are super affectionate and always want to hold your hand, give you hugs and talk to you about anything and everything.
Other pros: we have field trips on the reg – like today we went to the most legit science museum and last week we went to a bird museum (although they were all stuffed which was super creepy). I work with 6 other English teachers from England/South Africa/America (one of which is Nate) and we all live in the same building (college-dorm-style except we thankfully all have our own bathrooms and kitchens). It’s awesome. One of them is currently cooking dinner for four of us tonight.
And the rest of the pros: we’re a short walk to the school and more importantly, to the bars. I can see the ocean from my window. I can walk 15 minutes to the beach to watch a dude singing a Korean version of “Let it Go” on repeat for 2 hours from his mobile karaoke machine. (Well I’m hoping he’s always there anyway.) The boyfriend and I live together so no more commuting every day for an hour. Our flat is super nice (albeit super tiny). AND we have a normal shower! Not a small tile room with a shower-slash-sink that soaks you every time you wash your hands when you forget to switch to “shower mode”. It’s the little things.