Private language schools or institutes are referred to as buxibans in Taiwan, eikaiwa in Japan, training centers in China and hagwons in Korea. Private schools typically run as after school programs. Students attend these after normal public school hours. Some can be small mom and pop operations and others can be quite large franchises spread across multiple countries and/or cities.
Work hours vary from school to school and country to country. Some have easier going work schedules and then others have 40 hour work weeks. The salary to teach English in Asia also varies country to country. The majority of private schools in Eastern Asia tend to focus on younger students aged 6-13 or so. However, teaching adults is also a possibility.
In Korea teachers typically work from about 2-9 Monday-Friday at a hagwon. In a kindergarten they work from about 9-6:00pm. Kindergartens often have classes in the afternoon for elementary students. Teachers in hagwons usually teach around 30 hours a week and on average they usually teach more than those at private schools in other countries.
You may enjoy this interview with a hagwon owner in Cheonan, Korea.
In China, a teacher may work as many as 40 hours a week, such as at a large franchise like English First. They may teach around 20 hours or so a week and the remaining hours will be office hours. However, teachers at DD Dragon or at Shane English Schools may work six days a week, but only teach around 16-25 hours. And they might not have any office hours except for a few.
Teachers at some training centers may only have a couple of classes a day during the weekdays. The weekends will be the busiest times and on these days teachers will have more hours. At some training centers teachers may have to do some marketing activities. These activities could include passing out flyers on the street or doing demonstration classes in front of prospective students' parents.
Most teachers in Taiwan work around 25 hours a week (full time) in a buxiban. Some employers can give foreign teachers a work visa and ARC for working as little as 12 hours. Like other private schools teachers usually work in the evenings. Many may require you to work on Saturday as well. It is considered illegal to work in most kindergartens, however some teachers still do. Employers usually require a teaching demo when interviewing for a job. This is also common in China.
Teachers in Japan may work as little as 20-25 hours and others may work 40. Teachers at large chains like AEON typically work 40 hours. At ECC teachers typically work less than 30 hours. Teachers in eikaiwa often teach a wide variety of students. Students may be as young as 2-3 years up to adults. Teachers in eikaiwa typically work on weekends.
Some teachers do have bad experiences working in private schools. You may have read that someone's school went under and they weren't paid. Those things can happen, however in terms of probability it is not very likely to happen.
I personally have had o.k experiences with private schools and I was always paid on time. The private schools were mostly o.k, however I did have one bad experience with a public school in Korea. You can usually get a good job with a trustworthy employer by asking the right questions.
For more information and pictures of private schools download the ebook.
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