I have been receiving Emails and messages from fellow Pinoys inquiring about job openings in Korea, particularly on teaching. Although I am working (legally) as an ESL teacher in an academy and there have been many Filipinos working as English teachers in SK, let me tell you that it’s not that easy for a Filipino or any non-native English speaker to find a teaching job here LEGALLY, if you’re not a holder of F2-1 visa (spousal visa) or f-5 visa (permanent residence visa), or if you’re not a naturalized Korean citizen. One of the requirements for teaching English in Korea is that you MUST have citizenship and a valid passport from one of the following English speaking countries: Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa or United States.
When I was looking for a job, I have experienced being rejected many times just because I’m NOT A NATIVE SPEAKER, and according to some wonjangnims (directors/owners of academies), it is ILLEGAL for a NON-NATIVE SPEAKER or a FILIPINO to teach in Korea, which is not entirely true. As I have said, F2-1 VISA HOLDERS can teach English LEGALLY in Korea. My husband and I even asked the Korean Immigration Office about this, and an official said that as long as you’re holding an f2-1 or f-5 visa, or if you have already acquired Korean citizenship, you can work LEGALLY anywhere in Korea. I guess most hagwons just don’t want to hire Filipino teachers because of that common misconception about Filipino English accent. Although there are so many Filipino teachers who can speak English LIKE A NATIVE SPEAKER and who are more experienced and dedicated educators, we have to accept the fact that SOME Koreans have prejudice against Filipino teachers, and most wonjangnims would rather hire a native speaker or someone who looks “like a native speaker”. (Hopefully, this will soon change.) An academy where I used to work part-time hired a Russian, who could barely speak English, to teach English. She was hired because she has Caucasian features. I was hired to assist her in class. I was asked to pretend I was a Kyopo (a Korean born and raised in an English-speaking country). After all, I don’t look like a Filipina, and my features are more similar to a Korean. Besides, I don’t sound Filipino when I speak English, so it was easy to make the students, my co-teachers (other than my wonjangnim and supervisor), and parents (of the students) believe I was a Kyopo… but my heart was screaming, and everyday I was asking myself why I had to feign my identity like that. I couldn’t take the lying so I decided to quit. My wonjangnim didn’t want to let me go and was offering me a regular teaching job and a higher salary, but my skills and years of experience as an EDUCATOR are too good for an academy that is more of a business than a place of learning. Most of all, I didn’t favor the lying.
I’m not trying to sound pessimistic here… I just want my fellow Filipinos to realize that Korea is not the place for Filipino teachers who want to find great teaching opportunities, unless you’re already in Korea and you register as a private tutor or you attain the visas I have mentioned earlier. I’m just fortunate to be able to find a wonjangnim who has seen my potential as an efficient and effective educator, but before finding the right job, I had to go to many academies and submit my resume personally. There are other Filipino teachers in Korea, but like me, most of them have lived here before applying for a teaching job. If you are currently in the Philippines, most likely, you will not find an academy that would be willing to spend for your ticket and board and lodging once you are in Korea, some of the benefits that only E-1 or E-2 visa holders (legal working visas for native English speakers) can enjoy.
Try looking for teaching jobs in neighboring countries such as China and Singapore where Filipino English teachers are in high demand. I have friends working in China and Singapore and they have been working there as English teachers for some years now. The Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as Western countries like the United States and New Zealand are hiring competent teachers and instructors from the Philippines. (For more information, refer to OFW Guide.) Recently, Japan and Canada have offered more teaching jobs to Filipino teachers. One of my university classmates, a fellow writer and debater, is now teaching in Canada. Working conditions are more than satisfactory and she was even able to take her family to Canada.
There are also job openings for Filipinos in South Korea, mostly technical and engineering.
Good luck on finding the right job for you, kabayan! ^^
Once you’ve found the job abroad that you have been wanting to have, show them the great potential of a Filipino professional or Filipino worker. MAKE YOURSELF AND YOUR COUNTRY PROUD by doing your job well. ^^v
- What I Miss in Pinas (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- First Things I Have Learned from Teaching Korean Students (chrissantosra.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes Teaching English Abroad (tripbase.com)
- Prospective English Teachers Can Now Work as English Language Assistants in France or Morocco Upon Completion of the TEFL Certificate Program (prweb.com)
- Those Who Wish to Become English Teachers Can Soon Gain TESOL/TEFL Certification at The Language House’s Newest Location in Nice, France (prweb.com)
- English Teaching Jobs in Turkey (englishjobsturkey.wordpress.com)
- Local needs and local resources in teaching English (neltachoutari.wordpress.com)
- A Risk Worth Taking (shawniabroad.wordpress.com)
- Classroom Etiquette (sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com)
- Korea or Bust: Part I (travelingenglishteacher.wordpress.com)