Saturday, February 25, 2012

Korea Tip 127: An Out for Privates

“Could you teach my child English?”
Any native English speaking teacher in Korea for more than a month has likely heard this multiple times, from multiple people, in multiple locations (buses and bathrooms, subways and stairwells).
Some are glad to comply for the extra cash.  However, others feel stuck in a prickly trap.  Private English tutoring - although very common - is still illegal for foreigners, and it’s grounds for deporting if you get busted.  Besides that many teachers simply don’t want the extra work commitment.
But there just seems to be no good way to respond.  Often those asking the question are bosses, coworkers, friends, or church members - people to whom we feel a measure of social obligation.  We seemed to be forced with a choice of making a social faux pas or else taking on a tutoring job that we really don’t want.
Let me suggest an alternative.  Connect with a native speaker who can do privates legally and willingly.  Usually, this is either a Korean-American or someone married to a Korean. 
For my part, Sarah and I will now be referring people to our friend and church member David Hill, who holds an F5-visa (영주권) which permits him to teach privates along with his Korean wife Hong Young-Ju under the banner of Oxford (영어전문과외).  Check out their website at: www.myfigtree.net.  To make an appointment call (010-4761-9202). 
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