Tuesday 18 December 2012

TEFL Job Applications Are Becoming Too Difficult and Time Consuming

Updated 2 December 2014

I have to admit that like most people I'm a bit lazy. I'd rather just shoot off my CV and cover letter than fill out a job application. In fact, the first time I applied to university jobs in Korea I only had two requirements.
  • They didn't require an in-person interview (because I was living in Peru).
  • They didn't require me to fill out their application (because I had spent hours on my CV).
I changed my mind about filling out forms for job applications though. Since people are lazy, there will be less applicants for a job that require you to fill out an application, meaning that there's less competition and you have a greater chance of getting the job. Second, because it weeds out the lazy teachers, the employer has a better chance of getting serious, professional teachers.

While some places only require minimal documents, such as your CV and cover letter, most places ask for more. Copies of reference letters/proof of employment, passport, degrees, and transcripts are getting more common. Some places also ask for copies of your publications or thesis. Others ask you for a sample lesson plan.

I'm willing to jump through some of the hoops, within reason though. I figure that if there is a lot of red tape just for the application, working there will be even more bureaucratic. If you want to teach at a university in Korea, I'd definitely recommend Jackie Bolen's book, “How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams.” She wrote a couple of guest posts here at TEFL Tips, How to get the university job in Korea that you want and why I love working at a Korean university. She's been in Korea for over a decade and really knows her stuff.

Adverts Requiring Original Degree for the Application
I've seen a couple job adverts that require original degrees and transcripts to be sent to them. Just for the application. I don't apply to those. All I need is for my degree to be lost in the mail and transcripts take time and money to get. I had a friend apply to a job that required his original degree. He got it back; folded twice though and with holes in the top where it had been stapled.
  • Online application form and Introduction form
  • Recommendation letter
  • A copy of foreigner registration card and passport information page
  • Diploma(the last one), transcripts(including every degree), certificates for one's career and current work experience * Only original document will be accepted. In case that you want to submit a copy, please bring it with the original for verification.
  • Two 3x4cm color passport photos
Adverts Requiring Thesis/Publications
I haven't applied to jobs that require copies of my thesis or publications either, such as Ewha Women's University. I have copies of them, but they're scanned (publications) or PDF (thesis). I guess I think it's because I think they want hard copies.
  • In addition to filling out their Ewha Women's University (Employment Application Form) with passport-size photos. You'll also need your cover letter, CV, certificates of academic degrees and professional licenses, official transcripts (for an application!) for all degrees (total GPA included), two letters of recommendation from professors in the relevant fields of study, copy of passport and alien registration card (photo page), record of past employment (if applicable), and copies of published works for the last 4 years and thesis for the final degree (if applicable) 
Adverts for Prestigious Unis with Not-so Prestigious Salaries
Often places that require more documents are worth it because they pay more or are at a prestigious university, such as the ones at SNUE. Some prestigious universities don't pay all that well even though they require you to have at least an MA. However, you often have days off, less hours of teaching per week, and long vacations. 
  • The college programme at SNUE: Teach twelve (12) class hours per week. Maintain two (2) office hours per week. Spring and fall semesters are respectively 15-week long. Lecturers are required to be on campus a week before the semester begins. The monthly salary is 2,695,000 won (before taxation and insurance deduction). You will be paid 35,000 won for any additional/extra hour of teaching.Annual total of 20 weeks of paid vacation. Foreign faculty members are entitled to stay in on-campus apartment for the duration of the contract. Monthly rent varies between 398,000 won (studio apartment) and 630,000 won (two-bedroom apartment). Key money (3-month rent) and first-month rent should be paid before moving in. The College English Program will provide at least 600,000 won as a monthly housing subsidy. 
  • TESOL Institute at SNUE: Salary: 2,800,000 won/month. Accommodation fee 500,000won/month will be provided if applicants have a place to live in Seoul or Gyeongin area) 28 working days of paid holiday a year. m40 hours work per week including 20 hours for teaching and practicum observation. Masters degree (ideally in an education related field).TESOL qualification (one that has a teaching practicum). Teaching experience (at a variety of levels such as intermediate, advanced, adult, children etc and in a variety of areas such as general English, Business English, Exam preparation).Teacher training experience (a number of years(min 1 year) experience in training teachers to be TESOL teachers). Certificate IV in TAA (Australian requirement for teaching any accredited course) preferred. *Teacher training experience preferred

Adverts That Are Way Too Time Consuming
Some adverts are a bit excessive. I've never seen one like this. If they were a prestigious university or a university in a big city I could understand. Or if they offered a huge salary, it might be worth applying. However, this one is a bit too much. It seems like following directions is a bit thing as well, if you send more than one file, your application will be rejected. Now I understand that they want to weed people out, however, they're running the risk of not having enough applicants to choose from. Here's one example:

Andong National University – Department of English Education – Excellent Compensation Package, Small Classes, Personal Relationship with Students

Hello. I am the Teacher Coordinator at Andong National University, Department of English Education, speaking on behalf of the Department Director. We are looking for an experienced, reflective, team-oriented EFL teacher to teach conversation and academic writing classes in our English Education Department (Teacher’s College). Additionally, you may teach content classes (multimedia, culture) and methodology (teaching conversation) classes. This job is not a university, freshman-English language center job. Rather, our students take the Korean Teacher’s Certification exam in their 4th year, and will become well-rounded, fluent English speakers and writers who teach EFL in Korean public middle and high schools. We look forward to hiring a qualified individual to join our close-knit team of native English teachers. We will interview finalists on Skype on January 2 and 3, 2013. The contract begins on March 1, 2013. 
A. Location: Andong National University (Gyeongbuk)
1) from Daegu: One and a half hours north by bus
2) from Daejon: Two and a half hours east by bus
3) from Seoul: Three hours southeast by bus; four hours by train
Andong is a rural city, home to outdoor markets and the famous International Mask Festival in September. We enjoy a low-stress lifestyle with access to bars, restaurants, Home Plus and Emart. The teacher housing is located a 3-minute walk from a supermarket and the Nakdong River, which has newly constructed recreation facilities, including a basketball court, a soccer field (earthen), outdoor exercise equipment, landscaping, and miles of walking and bicycle paths. 

B. Academic Qualifications and Minimum Work Experience:
[1] Qualifications: B.A. or M.A./M.Ed. in English Literature, English Linguistics, English Language Teaching, TESOL/TEFL, English Education, Applied Linguistics or other language intensive/related fields (e.g., philosophy, journalism).
[2] Preference given to TEFL certification (100 hours or more) holders
[3] Minimum work experience: 3 years’ total EFL teaching experience with 14-year-olds and older. Preference will be given to applicants with teaching experience in an Asian public middle or high school combined with university language center experience. 

C. Compensation Package and Working Conditions:
[1] Period of employment: March 1, 2013, to February 28, 2014. Contract is renewable with both parties’ agreement.
[2] Class content: freshman – senior conversation and academic writing classes. May teach some department content courses and teaching methodology classes. Class size is typically 10-18 students.
[3] Monthly Salary: 2,200,000 won for B.A. (2,300,000 won for M.A.). A huge private office with computer and internet is provided.
[4] Weekly contact hours: 13 teaching hours; 5 office hours. Normally, teachers have Fridays off, although this is not contractually specified.
[5] Overtime hours (>13/week): 30,000 won/hour (rare to teach OT)
[6] Winter/Summer Camp for English Education Students: after end of semester, and before vacation leave, up to 40 teaching hours. Typically, our camp runs at 12 hours/week for 3 weeks, Fridays off.
[7] Paid Vacation: minimum 30-day holiday at the end of each semester.
[8] Fully-furnished studio accommodation (26 m2 with glassed in balcony) in all-foreigner building. Small outdoor common area. Utilities and additional services paid by the employee.
[9] Additional Compensation: Medical insurance (50% paid by employer); national pension program (50% paid by employer); one month severance pay upon completion of one-year contract.
[10] Additional Duties: the employee will assist the Department of English Education and its faculty as needed (e.g., student performances, school festivals, workshops, off-campus camps, etc.)

E. Application Process and Materials for Document Screening:
[1] Applicants must submit a portfolio via email. The portfolio MUST BE one document (format: MS “.doc/docx”, PowerPoint “.ppt/pptx”; or “.pdf”).
[1A] Portfolios received as numerous individual documents will not be reviewed. Portfolios will be deleted for your privacy on January 1, 2013.
[2] Your portfolio MUST be constructed as follows: (page numbers are approximated):
Page 1: Formal cover letter addressed to Dr. Joong-Eun Ahn, Ph.D. (no address blocks necessary): state purpose, intent and what you bring to our department (1 page).
Pages 2-4: Resume (3 pages maximum)
Pages 5-7: Recommendation letters. Please submit at least two (three is better) recent recommendation letters from persons of authority (program/department directors, school principals, teacher coordinator). Provide phone numbers for direct contact.
Page 8: Your teaching philosophy (400 words max).
Pages 9-14: Written responses to six interview questions (see bottom of this announcement).
Pages 15-18: one sample of a detailed lesson plan for a middle school, high school or university conversation class (can involve all language skills); must include original worksheets created by you.
Pages 19-20: one 2-page sample of a detailed lesson by lesson, 15-week syllabus designed for a conversation class. If you have one, include an additional 2-page sample of an academic writing class.
Additional Pages: include up to 5 additional pages/slides of material you consider fundamental to your portfolio (one page of photos max).
Official Document Pages: photo of: passport, university diploma and academic certificates. Include your current E-2 visa, if applicable. 

Dr. Joong-Eun Ahn
Director, English Education Department
Andong National University:
Email: ahnje@andong.ac.kr

Mr. Douglas Baumwoll
Foreign Teacher Coordinator:
Email: douglas.baumwoll@yahoo.com

Written Interview Questions
Please answer the following questions (repeat the question at the top of your response). Write 350 words per response. Use Times New Roman 14-point font (or similar) and line spacing of 1.15 for our ease of reading. Thank you.
[1] Discuss specifically how and why you will employ spot-checking of basic grammar in 50-minute, communicative approach conversation classes for our education major students.
[2] Describe your teaching style, content, and learning outcomes of a 45-hour, “How to Teach Conversation” methodology class for seniors. Address cultural learner issues (for our students and for their future public school students).
[3] Describe learning outcomes regarding a 45-hour, “Beginning Academic Writing” class for sophomores. The focus is writing structured paragraphs. Include three paragraph types you will teach and why.
[4] For conversation classes, I encourage you to use outside materials for 25% of your lesson time. Discuss materials and activities you will use in your freshman – junior conversation classroom. Why?
[5] Regarding reflective teaching practice, what is the most significant change you have made to your teaching style in the last 12 months? Why?
[6] How does your own experience as a second language learner (from the age of 14-22) shape the content and learning outcomes of your university EFL conversation classroom?


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