Category: ELT jobs

Volunteer to work for many years teaching English in North Korea

I guess working in North Korea is so appealing, that Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, PUST doesn’t have to pay their English teachers.

Description of Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate will be an energetic, responsible, and well-qualified professional teacher with relevant English teaching experience. In general, a Master’s level degree (in any subject) is required, as well as at least one year’s classroom English teaching experience at high school, college, or university level. An English teaching qualification (TEFL/ CELTA/ TESOL) is also highly preferred. (For undergraduate classes, a Bachelor’s qualification may be accepted if the applicant has sufficient relevant teaching experience.) Due to the nature of the work and campus-based lifestyle, candidates should also be willing to work as part of a team, submit to authority, and exercise flexibility, cross-cultural sensitivity and perseverance.


Deadline: Always Active

Cost/funding for participants:

Not Funded. Positions are not funded – they are voluntary! Those who come to serve with us must have their own financial support, for various costs and expenses incurred.

They copied and pasted a description from Wikipedia (including the “citation needed” part) so academic rigor is there.

The job ad says you have to submit to authority. Maybe read this BBC article to help you guess what that means.

Students “are the sons of some of the most powerful men in North Korea, including senior military figures.” And the students sing: “Our supreme commander Kim Jong-un, we will defend him with our lives,” as they march to breakfast.

Here’s the job ad.

Hourly rate in America vs. Korea for ESL teachers

I recently taught a 3 week course for some Brazilian teens here in Florida. The pay was $24 an hour. The money didn’t impress me but it was a good experience and I was exposed to some cultural differences that gave me an idea for a series of roleplays designed to help teachers prepare for classroom management issues.

More recently I interviewed for a position in the continuing education language program at the local Valencia Community College. I wanted the job because I’ve rarely taught classes with lots of nationalities, and all my experience was in an EFL setting; this was ESL. The pay was $20 an hour. I didn’t take the job, though I would have were it within walking distance. The gas, wear and tear on my car, driving time, etc. just made me feel that it would cost me money to take the job.

I could spend the time working on my second book or working on or writing articles to pad my CV. I could even spend the time teaching SAT classes much closer to home and I imagine I would get the same money or more. I mean when I taught SAT classes as a recent college grad 13 years ago I think I got 20/hour or slightly better. Now I have a Master of Applied Linguistics, a CELTA, and a bunch of experience.

Plus in Korea I don’t think I’ve ever been offered less than $40 an hour. So it’s a bit hard for me to understand this $20 an hour thing. Are American employers just working harder to profit off the work of teachers than their Korean counterparts? Do Koreans take English education more seriously than Americans? Is it simply the high unemployment in America that leads to a big supply / small demand for English teachers while unemployment in Korea doesn’t really impact native English speakers like me?

Teach in the College of English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul

The Department of English Linguistics in the College of English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul needs 2 full time professors. HUFS is a great place to work with an international student body and the freedom to design your own courses. Classes might include conversation, public speaking, debate, composition, and linguistics content courses.

Professors employed at HUFS are required to publish. Depending on the quality of the journals in which you publish, grants between 1 million KRW and 10 million KRW are awarded for up to two articles per year. Support for attending international conferences is also available.

Contract calls for teaching 2 semesters of 16 weeks each. You’ll be teaching 8 (if you have a PhD) or 12 hours per week (if you have a Master’s). Pay range is from 3.1 million per month to 4.6 million KRW per month – salary is based on job position and title (which is based on years of teaching experience) and is non-negotiable. Housing is available.

Please send a cover letter and CV to James Trotta, Candidates should be available to interview on or before June 17th. If selected for an interview candidates will need a full application package:

Certificates of employments (with weekly teaching hours for part time work)

Copies of diplomas: BA, MA, and PhD

Research publication list


3 photos

copy of passport

And if coming with family members:

Marriage certificate

Children’s birth certificates

Photos of family members

Copies of passports

Online training vs. face to face TESOL certificate

A question I received:

I am a student at VCU, and Saw some of your information on,

Could you possible give me some information on ESL online training that would enable me to teach english in vietnam?


I don’t know much about the job market in Vietnam but a face to face TESOL course will always be better received than an online one. You should have no trouble finding a one month course in any major city. I guess you’re in Richmond? I don’t have any specifics but I’m certain you can find something there.

You could probably find a face to face course in Vietnam though I doubt it would be much cheaper. Maybe even more when you add in the cost of room and board. But they would probably be helpful in finding you a job if it was a decent program.

ESL interview questions

I recently got an email asking for some help after a difficult interview. I thought that sharing the interview questions would be helpful although the first one I must admit I’m unable to answer. I did have a student with a hearing disability once and I basically had no idea how to help her with pronunciation. I also had a student with some physical disability that left his speech very difficult to understand. I basically treat them like normal students.


I am an ESL teacher in San Francisco and i am really impressed by what you wrote on I am finding another job in a Community College and had a interview last week. In the interview, I was asked some questions that I found very hard. I am wondering if you would help me with those questions. Particulary, I was asked 4 hard questions.

1) How do you teach ESL to students with disabilities?

2) How would you approach teaching a ESL listening& speaking and a ESL reading& writing class?

3) What is your approach to homework, testing and grades?

4) How would you grade a student’s composition?

Teaching business English to big companies

I have some experience teaching business English to employees of large companies; In 2002 I taught some people at Amway Korea because they had to send emails and whatnot to their home office (that’s when I started working on my business email writing tips handout). Later, I taught some people who worked for Korea’s National Tax Service (kind of like the IRS).

That was a really interesting class. It always helps when you like the students, but also the content was neat. Now usually when I tell people that our text was an OECD publication on principles of taxations on transfer pricing for multinational enterprises they roll their eyes and groan. But I love unique CBI opportunities and if anyone ever needs an English teacher to do a CBI course on transfer pricing and tax implications I figure I can name my own price.

So anyway, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to teach business English in one of those big corporations. I found where those companies turn when they need their employees to learn a language. This British company’s clients include Siemens, First Choice, BP, Ernst & Young, GE, Citigroup, Royal Opera House, and Pfizer. That must be a fun job. I haven’t filled out the application form yet – I start my new job at Hangook University of Foreign Studies in March and plan to stay there a while, but it is on my list of places to consider in the future.

Be careful about English teaching jobs in China

I was in the mood to complain about my heavy workload until I read this article about Chinese employers abusing foreign English teachers. This reminded me of my first job teaching English in Korea, at terrible school in Chinju (Jinju) named English House.

None of us ended up dead at English House as one man did in China recently), but we did experience a number of scary incidents that really just can’t happen in America.

I guess my point is that if you’re taking a job in China, Korea, or anywhere else really do some research. You should be able to do some networking and then find a place that recommended by someone you know and trust. If not, make sure you can escape if you need to.

Nice sample teacher’s resume

So in order to take the new position I’ve been offered with SMU TESOL, I need to add a date to my CV. I wasn’t sure where to put the date so I serached for example resmes. This one doesn’t have a date, but it sure looks nice.

Crazy stuff at CUK

So I work at the Catholic University of Korea, but not for long. They just changed the 4 year limit for non-tenure track teachers to 3 years making this my last semester.

Unfortunately for students, this means that teachers familiar with the departments course offerings are going to be in short supply next sememster since one of my colleagues was just fired (in the middle of the semester) after students complained quite a bit.

Next semester students will ahve one teacher who has taught the department’s content courses before and two who have not. I know from personal experience that the second time teaching a course like Public Speaking or Intercultural Communication is much better (for students and teachers) than the first time. But the university would rather save a few dollars (some Korean law dictates that after 3 years of employment, Korean employers must contribute more to the pension or something) than put experienced teachers (experienced with these particular courses that is) in the classroom.

Moving toward teacher training

I recently had the opportunity to do 4 workshops with TESOL trainees at a university in Chinju. Two were on writing and two on communicative tasks and it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed telling people how I created my activities and why in more detail than I can go into with my students.

It also gives me some valuable teacher training expereince (even if not much) though I’m not sure if I’ll be trying to move toward teacher training in the near future.