Teaching Jobs in Korea with Footprints

Video and Photos

Sunset volleyball
Me on Jeju, about to catch a ferry
Children never lie! I am handsome!
I made the mistake of showing them a clip of Mr Bean, now break time has become British comedy hour!
Super Hero mask lesson!
Visiting the temples is a great experience and you can even do a temple stay at some.
Korea has various ski resorts to enjoy during winter.
My kids in their traditional Hanbok.

About

Around since 2001, Footprints is one of the longest-running recruiters working in Korea. With several former teachers on staff, we are among the most experienced agencies in South Korea - for both public and private school jobs.

We do not recruit for just any school though. Footprints only partners with a small number of reputable organizations that we know we can trust. We have great options for you to work with schools in locations all around the country, but we aim for quality over quantity!

Applying for a visa for Korea will take time and patience, and Footprints knows like no other how to turn this seemingly daunting process into smooth sailing.

Seasoned teacher? Fresh out of college and looking for your first overseas teaching experience? Either way, we can help you find the position you are looking for. Take your career on a field trip! Apply today!

Highlights
  • Footprints partners works with a select number of private schools who have a proven, positive track record with past teachers!
  • Competitive salaries with housing and airfare reimbursement always included!
  • Teachers can live well and save up to half their salary, or travel, or pay down student loans, or... who knows?
  • Enjoy the unique language, culture, and cuisine of Korea!
  • Add professional experience to your resume while earning a professional salary!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 18 reviews
  • Benefits 9.3
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 8.9
  • Facilities 9.2
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 18 of 18
Default avatar
AlexaHart
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Mixed Reviews About Footprints

First off, I want to start out by saying that Footprints is a big placement company. They help place English teachers throughout Korea in public and private schools. Thus, every teacher is going to have a different experience because each teacher is placed in a different school.

With that being said, I was unhappy with the support I received from the Footprints team. Here's how it worked. I contacted them (with the advice of a friend who used them and said he liked Footprints), and long story short, they helped secure a job at a hagwon (private school) for me in Seoul in 2010. I was hoping Footprints would answer my questions about the U.S. visa process, but they were unable to do that, so I figured it out on my own. It can be a pretty confusing process.

Prior to going to Korea, there was very little communication from Footprints about what to expect when I arrived in the country. I was unprepared for the vastly different work environment and went through major culture shock. Not once did Footprints check in with me about how I was doing. And, my school ended up going out of business at the end of the year. Luckily, I saw all my money. The director of the school (GDA Junior in Seocho) was also very unprofessional and paranoid.

I know several teachers who have been very satisfied with Footprints, so perhaps I am an anomaly. I was just surprised that Footprints offered such little support to its teachers.

Outside of work, life in Seoul was awesome. I lived in a really tiny apartment in one of the best neighborhoods - Gangnam, which was close to great bars and restaurants. I joined a couple different gyms and took public transportation everywhere. Taxis were also really cheap. In general, Koreans are really friendly. I was able to make friends with some locals, and they taught me how to read Korean, while they practiced their English with me. Win-win!

My apartment was about an eight minute walk to work, which was also a big plus. I lived within walking distance of local markets as well.

As for a typical day at work: I taught super little kids (ages 3 and 4) in the morning and early afternoon. I got to work around 8:30-9 ish. My kids had zero English experience, so my first few months were super rough. I was given very little instruction and got a lot of criticism from my crazy boss on what to do, so it was a huge learning experience. After about five to six months, I finally felt comfortable in the classroom but felt like my boss was always watching me on the cameras (yes, there were cameras + audio in every classroom).

At this particular school, lunch was provided and taken out of our paycheck. At my second, much better school that I found through a friend the year after, lunch was free.

After the morning kids left around 2:30-3:00 ish, we had a 20-minute period to get ready for our afternoon classes, when we taught elementary school kids. My students had a higher English level in the afternoon, so it was way easier. Also, the curriculum was more set. I taught 3-4 different age groups and levels. Every teacher had a different schedule for this particular school. Some teachers were done around 4-5pm, and other teachers weren't finished until 6:50. Teaching takes a ton of energy since you're on your feet all day, so keep that in mind when thinking about working there.

A note on sick days: They are pretty much non-existant in Korea. I got sick a few times and lost my voice and still came in to teach. Teachers who had more than 2-3 sick days got money taken out of their paychecks.

Overall, my first year in Korea using Footprints was one massive lesson. I used what I learned about Korean work culture to have a great second year at a different school. My first year was a culture schock I wasn't expecting, but I'm glad that I experienced it in the long run.

Sorry to say it, but I do not recommend Footprints. I'd recommend teaching English in Korea to anyone, but do your research first about what to expect when you get there! Hierarchy and harmony are HUGE.

Response from Footprints Recruiting

Hello Alexa - First of all thank you for leaving such a detailed account of your experiences. We would like to respond as there are multiple issue at play and we want to make sure future teachers are aware of what they're getting into.

First - the support received from Footprints. Coaching teachers on how to obtain the teaching visa is essential to what we do. To this extent, all teachers in the process of going to Korea receive a visa guide that explains in detail how to go about obtaining a visa. It's absolutely not rocket science, but can be confusing and seem daunting. I'm not sure how Footprints has let you down here? Teachers can always call or email the office with visa questions, and you'll receive a reply within 48 hours. Have you tried getting in touch with us?

Second - being prepared for a culture shock in a foreign country is something every teacher has to go through. We recommend people to read, read, talk to people who have been to Korea, talk to Korean people in your area and try and prepare mentally. Still, the culture shock can be great.

However, we would like to stress that dealing with culture shock is part of being an ESL teacher, and as a recruiter we cannot making arriving in a foreign country any easier - depending on the contract, we arrange airport pickup and show you to your school and/or apartment.

Footprints is a recruiting agency that helps engaged teachers secure professional employment abroad. Being accepted for a professional position with a professional salary sets certain expectations regarding your ability to improvise, adapt, persevere and handle the circumstances as they are on the ground.

Default avatar
rhowell
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in a public school in Incheon

I taught English in a public elementary school in Incheon, South Korea. I have fond memories of my whole year in Korea. While there were many challenges to living in a country where foreigners are such a small minority there were also many perks.

Incheon is a large city approximately thirty minutes by subway to Seoul. While it does not have the wealth of activities and culture of Seoul, there is plenty to do in the city and Seoul is an easy subway ride away. I lived a mere fifteen minute walk from my school and most of my friends could either walk or take public transit easily to their schools. Teaching in a public school means less classes to teach than private, and more dependable salary and more respect of the contract, more vacation days (more travel!). You also get a Korean co-teacher who helps teach and control the classroom with you. Co-teachers can often make or break your public school teaching experience. Sometimes if the level of English is low at your school and your teacher does not assist you, teaching can be incredibly frustrating. Also, public school teaching can be more monotonous than teaching at a private school because there are less individual lessons to teach in one day. Overall, I think public school teaching gives you more opportunities for travel, and more a cultural experience since you are generally the only foreigner in the entire school.

I thoroughly enjoyed living in Incheon, mainly because it is so close to Seoul which is a lively city with a wealth of music, art, museums, good restaurants, shopping, and cultural activities. Lastly, if you're missing home Seoul is the place to find familiarities from your home country.

Default avatar
coreyMO
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience in Ulsan

I went to Ulsan in 2011 with Footprints. Initially I wasn't all too sure about this whole thing, but I chose to push ahead anyway as I really didn't have much to do staying at home in Missouri.

Upon arrival I was put at ease immediately because we were received at the airport by Scott, who runs the Footprints office in Korea and is the go-to guy for the teachers. We got a footprints arrival package which was really cool, and were taken to our apartments. Scott is a great guy and as we were heading to town from the airport I really did feel like Footprints was the right choice to make.

I gotta say that I'm not a huge fan of the Korean housing, it's tiny and a little spartan in terms of decoration... however it is comfortable and you get used to the small space, if 25 million Koreans can get used to it I can too. Over the months I decorated the place a bit and it did become home.

Teachign was an awesome experience, very different from working with kids in the states as they're way better behaved. The school was great, the co-teachers were friendly and I was lucky enough to have a great restaurant around the corner with awesome Korean dishes... and some cheap soju for after work :)