Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tips for Newbies and Korean Uni Interviews

A few reader questions that my previous posts cover:

Preparing for your Korean Uni Job Interview

Ten Tips for Newbies to teaching in a Korean University

And check out this book for far more details and answers to all your questions about getting a university job in South Korea:

Reader Questions: Korean Uni Jobs

(I just landed my first uni job, but I don't have a Masters degree).  I would like to invest in getting my masters in education in TESOL. I heard from a friend that it is possible to take intense courses in Seoul during my vacations from the university. Have you heard of this program? Is it worth it?
My answer: I have no idea what you're talking about.  There are a million and one TESOL courses in the world.  Worth it? I also have no idea.  If you're planning on staying in Korea for the long-term, then probably yes.  If you're going back home to do whatever, then likely not.
If I stay at my Uni job for two years, but do not get a masters would that hurt my chances of moving back into Seoul? 

I'm actually very surprised that you managed to land any uni job at all.  Consider yourself lucky.  Moving into Seoul?  Not a chance without a masters unless you happen to get something last minute or personally know the person who does the hiring.  A couple years ago, I was applying for uni jobs (with a Masters and 5 years uni experience) and only got interviews for about 1/2 the jobs I applied for in Seoul.  And I was a prime candidate (young-ish, North American female with experience).

What could I expect at an entry level position at a University?
If you read beyond the first page of this blog, you'll see that I've talked about this extensively.  Use the helpful sidebar labels to find what you're looking for (testing, lesson planning, textbook selection, etc).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Reader Question: Applying for uni jobs from abroad

"I am about to finish my PhD in Cultural Anthropology
 this summer and plan to take a TEFL course in July. I have three years university teaching experience within anthropology but none of that time was spent in ESL. My plan is to apply for the uni jobs that come out in March and start in September. Do you have any tips? Does this sound like a feasible plan? I'm wondering if it would be easier to take a hagwon job for a bit and try to land a uni job once there."

It's not entirely clear if you plan to apply for uni jobs from abroad, or not, but I think that is what you're asking about.  My answer:

It can be very difficult to get a Korean Uni Job
from abroad, but not impossible.  I know a few people who've gotten hired through Skype interviews, but I'd say this is maybe 5-10% of the cases.  Most unis have in-person interview requirements and no exceptions to this rule.  You do have a big advantage because you'll have a PhD and even those unis with the no exception thing might be willing to make an exception in your case.

The other option is to come to Korea beforehand.  If you come, but don't work and just hang around waiting for interview offers, you can burn through your money pretty quickly.  But, you'd be very likely to get a job.  If you want to start work in September, you'd have to start applying for jobs in March/April/May and then just be prepared to come over when you get an interview offer or two (probably in late May/early June)  The other option is working. You suggest a hagwon.  I think this would probably make anyone who is over the age of 30, with a Phd and "real" teaching experience absolutely insane so I don't necessarily recommend this.  The other issue is that you'd have to sign a one year contract and then the school kinds of "owns" you.  As in, it's not as simple to just switch jobs as it would be in your home country.  It could in fact be a total nightmare. 

Best option?  I'd probably try for the Skype interviews and then plan to be in Korea for June/July/August if I didn't get a job offer before then.

For all the details about Korean University Jobs, check out this fabulous Ebook:

EFL Writing Grading Rubric

This upcoming semester at my university, I'll be moving to the actual English Department, which means that I'll be teaching English majors.  I've been given three sections of "Advanced Writing," which should be comprised mostly of 3rd and 4th year students.  While I've taught writing before at my previous uni and in various camps, it's my first time doing it with such high-level students.

I think preparation is key and I've torn myself away from the beach here in beautiful Koh Lanta (which is fabulous by the way) to get a start on it.  Here's a writing grading rubric I've come up with.  I'll use it for my two big assignments and the midterm and final exam.  It's very much a work in progress so any feedback would be appreciated from you, my smart readers.  I'm wondering whether it's focused too much on form/conventions of writing and too little on the actual ideas.  Thoughts?