Questions about Korea: 12 to ask your contact before signing a contract

After making the decision to move to Korea to teach and interviewing for a job you think you’d like to accept, the next most important person to contact is someone at the school, a teacher, not a boss, who can give you inside information on the day-to-day environment at the job.

This is perhaps the best advice I can share on this whole process: be sure to contact a teacher where you’re trying to work. If you can’t, I’d look elsewhere.

Most teachers I’ve met are happy to help others. The difficulty is just that many of them get quite a few random emails from people asking vague questions like, “Tell me about Korea.” If you have specific questions, they’re more likely to help.

So here are some examples, some questions I would ask teachers where I’m considering working:

  1. How long have you worked there?
  2. How well do students behave in class? What are some examples, if any, of bad behavior that you’ve experienced from your students?
  3. How do you get along with the boss?
  4. How do you get along with the other teachers? Do the teachers ever hang out outside of work?
  5. Do you communicate well with your Korean co-teachers about classes you share?
  6. How much prep work is required each week, each day, each class?
  7. Will I have access to my own computer at the school, or how’s that work?
  8. Is there A/C and heating in the school?
  9. Will I ever have to work on the weekend? What about overtime or any work in general outside of normal working hours?
  10. How does vacation time work? Who decides when I can take vacation?
  11. How’s the housing? Nice?
  12. Will you be signing up for another contract?

In general, you just want to find out from them, should I come work there? Most teachers will be honest enough to tell you. Just ask.