Monday, June 27, 2011

Applying to SMOE

Once I decided that I wanted to teach in Korea, the next few steps were pretty easy. I filled out the application form on the SMOE** (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) website and wrote a short essay on why I wanted to work in Korea. Then, I sent in my application form and an updated resume. I was contacted shortly after by head office and was given a short phone interview. Basically, the people at SMOE want to make sure that applicants understand what is expected of them during the program and what the program can offer them.

For instance, I was told that I would be teaching 40 students and a winter/summer English camp for students during the holidays. However, I will always be teaching with a Korean teacher, as foreign teachers are not allowed to teach in the classroom by themselves according to Korean law.

What about the perks? I will get 21 days vacation days (most likely 5 to be taken in the winter and 16 in the summer).  Each teacher will be provided with an apartment and a small settling-in allowance. I will have to purchase my plane ticket myself, but will get reimbursed most of the cost on my first payday.  Whether or not the amount given will cover my entire plane ticket will depend on the price of the plane ticket. More on that later…

As a side note, if I end the contract within the first six months, I will need to repay my flight and settling-in allowance. If I finish my contract, I will be given money to help pay for my trip back home, an equivalent amount to my arrival flight. My contract will be a year long, but I will need to attend an orientation session which will be unpaid.

One problem I’m having right now is that I cannot book my plane ticket yet, as I am still unsure when my orientation is going to be, nor do I know how many days it will be. It could be just a few days or up to 10 days. I’ll keep you posted.

**The SMOE program is also known as ETIS (English Teachers in Seoul), but not to be confused with EPIK (English Program in Korea) which places teachers outside of Seoul.

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