SMOE seeks committed and driven teachers to teach Korean elementary and middle school students. Teachers should be creative, motivated, and enjoy working with young children. Teachers are expected to regularly communicate with students on a conversational level. Oral communication skills are essential to this position.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Decent Experience

I worked for SMOE in 2008. Your experience will vary greatly depending on what school and area you are placed in. For me, I was in a school that never had foreign teachers before. They were very helpful and happy to have me. My apartment was a five minute walk to the school which was very helpful. The school bought me new furniture and appliances (that were on the checklist to provide) and placed me in a very nice bachelor apartment. I was quite happy at the school. I taught the staff some English and went out with the staff a few times for dinner and karaoke. The staff were very friendly for the most part and tried to make me feel a part of the school.

SMOE had some development training which was interesting and helpful. I didn't like that I had to stay at the school for 40 hours when I only taught 22 hours a day. I also thought that some of the training was useless for teachers who had taught in Korea previously as I had.

Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

SMOE Excellence.

SMOE has placed me in school that I could have only dreamed about. The school is located 10-15minutes away from my apartment and everything that I need to run the classroom is provided. The staff has been overwhelmingly helpful and have calm my nervousness for my first day of official teaching on Monday. In regards to the school, apartment and SMOE staff I have no complaints. However, the SMOE orientation in Suwon for 8 days can use a bit of change. The information that new English teachers were given in those 8 days of orientation at Kyung Hee University is invaluable. The lectures were perfect, every worry that I had about lesson planning, teaching and the students were answered by experienced teachers in a clear and concise manner. I never felt too overloaded and I really enjoyed the cultural awareness topics and fields trip. Now, with all that said and done the only thing that I think SMOE should consider changing are the 12-13hrs class days. Honestly, being for be up from 7am-8:20pm was very tiring and by 5pm most people were exhausted and not as lively in the classroom. I think SMOE should figure out a way to have these orientation lectures last for 12 days and everything ending at 6pm because with jet-lag and exhaustion those 12-13hrs days left a bitter taste in my mouth even if it was for my own good. I also disliked the 12am curfew but I doubt SMOE should change that because I am sure if we teachers didn't have it we might get into a little mischief.

I am extremely grateful for my job and I hope to renew with SMOE/EPIK next year. I already recommended this program to a friend and hopefully she can join me this coming Spring.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you decide to teach abroad with SMOE in Korea?

I decided to teach abroad with SMOE because I had spent my first year in Seoul, teaching in a private academy (hagwon). I enjoyed the hagwon experience because of the small class sizes, yet I wanted to try teaching in a public school setting in my second year. I went with SMOE because they are one of the only organizations that hire for the city of Seoul. SMOE hires through a number of recruiters who will help with the application process. I was a bit apprehensive going with SMOE, because when you apply you don't know what school or area that you will be placed. I found out what school I was placed in during the orientation which was a few weeks before the start of the school year. The public school system is great in that I had a long vacation (six weeks). I also had the chance to work with a Korean co-teacher who assisted with some of the behavior and translation if needed.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

My day to day activities included preparing and organizing my lessons. There is a curriculum that you can follow, although the school board encourages you to use your own materials. I taught oral English to grades 3-6. Most of my activities were expanding on the ideas in the book that they provide. I did a lot of activities that encouraged the students to practice speaking English. Many of the students are shy and really need to be positively reinforced to practice speaking. I taught alongside my Korean co-teacher in most lessons. He would use the book, and I would do more role plays, group activities, and pair work to reinforce the concepts in the book. I also played games, and used songs to encourage my students to practice English speaking. Going to class being prepared for the day was important in keeping the focus of the class. Being prepared also helped with keeping any misbehaving students to a minimum.

How has this experience impacted your future?

I decided to do a third year in a public school in Korea. I didn't stay with SMOE as I wanted to do some travelling in South East Asia before I did more teaching. I learned so much working in a public school both personally and professionally. I really enjoy teaching ESL and working abroad. I love learning about Korean culture and how Korean people live on a day to day basis. The experience in Korea has changed me because I'm much more open minded to different cultures and found a serious passion for travel. I've had the chance to travel on my vacations both in Korea and South East Asia. Although I've been back in my home country of Canada for the last few years, I've been thinking highly of going back abroad in the near future to teach ESL. Maybe Taiwan, or perhaps back to Korea.

Jody kept a blog of her adventures in Korea if you'd like to learn more about living and teaching in Korea.