Sunday, December 7, 2014

Differences between contracts

So, for the next chapter of your life, you've decided that you want to go on an exciting adventure in the land of the morning calm. 

Let me congratulate you on taking the first steps of making this dream a reality. One of the first questions that you may be asking yourself is: where should I teach? Should I teach public or private? One way to help make this decision is to compare the differences between the two types of contracts.

First, let’s look at the similarities between both types of contracts. As with any field, contracts can and will vary in length. However, there are some basics that should always be present. 

These include dates of employment, work hours, salary, expectations, vacation, accommodations and benefits. All contracts by Korean law are required to provide health and pension benefits. While these elements should be standard in the contract there are differences between the two types of contracts.

Now that you know what must be present in all contracts, let’s see what the differences are between these two contracts. 

The differences actually lie within the details of the contract. For example, while both contracts are expected to state your salary the salary will differ depending on the job. Most hogwans (private schools) will offer between 1.9 million 2.1 million won ($1,900-$2,100) per month. The public schools on the other hand have a pay scale they follow based on education and experience. Also keep in mind that you will have to provide proof of both. Other monetary differences between the two contracts are bonuses. A private school contract often provides airfare for the employee, while the public school provides an entrance and exit allowance which will equate to about the same.

Furthermore, other differences between the two contracts are the working hours and expectations. In a hogwan, typical work hours start between 1 and 2 pm and work until 8 or 9 pm. Some schools will even have you stay until 10 pm. In my experience, there is a break between classes that is approximately 30 minutes which is enough time to quickly eat dinner. Also, a teacher would usually be teaching 6 or more classes during the day. The public school on the other hand, maintains work hours from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm with plenty of time to eat lunch and usually no more than 5 classes a day.

Vacation time and accommodations 
Usually you are notified of the most convenient days you can take your vacation time. The difference is that you usually get 18 days in the public schools and 10 days with the hogwan. As a side note, public schools do offer sick days while most hogwan contracts do not. Both schools will offer housing, however in the hogwan you are provided a one-room apartment that they have picked out. In the public school, you have an option to take a housing allowance and pay your rent or take an apartment the school offers you. This will depend on the school you are at and your preferences, so make sure that the rent of the apartment you are offered is within your housing allowance or you'll have to cover the remainder.


Jessica Russell

Jessica is a writer and photographer who has lived and taught in Korea for long enough to earn a black belt in taekwondo. A true global pedestrian, Jessica loves to travel, her sights now set on places as diverse as Rio de Janeiro and Mt. Fuji. Her dream is to open a childcare center. Read more about our staff writers.


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