Teaching in Asia Profile: Mark Murphy

Name: Mark David Murphy, SJU Alum '07
School: Chung Dahm Institute (CDI)
City, Country: Seoul (Sanbon), South Korea
Major/Minor: History/Asian Studies

How did you decide to teach in Asia? Professor Bohr first introduced me to the opportunity. The overriding factors were: 1) to take a year off and enjoy life 2) to learn what I truly wanted "out of life".

How is your program designed (how often do you teach, living arrangements, what is your daily schedule)? I teach Monday-Friday from 4-10 p.m. I teach two classes every day with five minute breaks at the hour. I work for a hagwon (private school) and these hours are typical for most English teachers (at hagwons). It, however, varies. Some of my friends at hagwons for CDI work Mon-Sat.; I lucked out because my school is smaller.

Many of the positions here pay for your apartment, but some do not. It depends if you decide to opt for a salary or hourly job. I chose the salary position, thus my director pays for my apartment. If you want to make money, Korea is definitely the place to teach. You can make anywhere from $2,400-2,700 a month.

CDI is very structured and I teach all of my classes through an organized textbook, which is definitely nice. I still have to prep for my lessons and I currently spend about 1 and a half hours every day; it, however, required more hours in the beginning. After classes are finished my co-workers and I normally go to a restaurant and share a meal.

Describe a memorable experience in the classroom: I do not have one memorable experience in mind, but teaching elementary to middle school students is definitely interesting. Korean students are very sharp, but attend school all day. They arrive at the hagwon after they finish regular school from (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) and often say, "Teacher I'm hungry/tired". The key is to have fun with them and make them laugh.

What advice do you have for students who are considering teaching in Asia? What should underclassmen be doing now to prepare for a career in Asia? I advise anyone who wants to teach in Asia to consider your options. China and Japan are very popular, but Korea is often overlooked. I have a friend who taught in Thailand and you can also teach in other SE Asia countries. There are pros and cons for each country. It all depends on what type of experience you want and if making money is a factor. If making money is not an issue, than make a decision based on what country intrigues you the most. I chose Korea, because I am Korean-American.

There are many websites that post jobs for English teachers. You should definitely research and discard the bad websites. The website I found my job is http://www.eslcafe.com/jobs/korea/. It is reputable and many people use this website. You can also type in eslcafe.com for jobs in China. If the CDI job sounds interesting I can email the recruiters at the main office and refer you.

One last thing. I would recommend researching jobs about 4-5 months in advance if you plan on teaching in Asia. It's better to know what you're getting into rather than rushing at the last second. Also you need an E-2 Visa if you are Caucasian. Any questions feel free to email me at [email protected]