Teaching Schedule in Korea
My teaching schedule in Korea is with the EPIK program and it is amazing. I’m 27 years old and have been working ever since my 16th birthday. 10 plus years working, 5 of which have been professional, and never have I had a job where I’ve gotten this much time off while STILL getting paid.
I’m nowhere near lazy, but I’d be a fool to say that I didn’t love this part of the job. With the EPIK program, I teach a full time, 8-hour/day, 40-hour/week schedule as I would if I were working at any normal public school back home. However, the scheduling and breaks are not like anything back home.
The variable schedule
A fact of life in Korean public schools is you will be working with an ever-changing schedule. These changes happen at random and often you find out the morning of. This isn’t particularly bad, though, considering what the changes are.
They range from a condensed schedule for the day (each class 5 mins shorter), to no afternoon classes, to maybe no classes at all. If you actually put your all into this teaching job, create detailed lesson plans, assist students in class, and be the teacher you’re expected to be, then you deserve these breaks.
There aren’t many better feelings than working hard for a month straight, and the next week finding out the kids have “study session” so you don’t have to teach. We deserve this. I know I do, because I work hard.
There is a multitude of breaks throughout the Korean school semester. They can be study, leisure or holiday related. Some of these are actual days off, while others are free time for you at school. The school year runs from March to December. Here’s an example of how it could go:
March – National holiday
April – School sports day
May – Children’s day, national holiday, mid-terms (free time since you don’t administer these)
June – Memorial Day, student’s school trip, teacher’s school trip
July – School festival, random sports (half) day, final exams (like mid-terms)
August – Summer vacation
September – Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving), multi-day school trip
October – National Holiday, mid-terms
November – School birthday (this is when my school’s is), Korean SAT day
December – Christmas
This is a standard schedule with breaks throughout the school year, and you may have many more random days or classes off in between. Amongst all of this, you still get paid! It gets almost comical, but it’s the reality.
Every month there is time off, so you definitely will get your 3 day weekends often to take a trip around Korea. Also, a huge benefit to me is the free time in school which I can use to lesson plan ahead of time.
I may not be happy with every aspect of teaching, but I certainly must admit that it is NOT a difficult schedule to work on and it’s quite favorable to us. For this reason, and the monetary benefits in Korea, I’d recommend anyone try it for at least a year. It most definitely can’t hurt.
Kenneth is a Travel and Teaching Blogger. Kenneth began his ESL teaching adventure in Prague, Czech Republic before his far east journey to the ROK (Republic of Korea), better known as, South Korea. You can call him an avid traveler or a dedicated teacher, but the title he’s most proud of is “Bonafide Foodie.” Always seeking the signature tastes of other cultures is a true passion, and he’s got pictures to prove it. Ultimately, however, Kenneth’s main goal is to share those real personal teaching and travel experiences that YOU can relate to.