Life in Korea #1: Public Schools vs. Hagwons

So as you may or may not know, I am an ESL teacher in Korea. I’ve been at it for almost 4 years now, so I have quite a bit of experience with things that go on in public schools and hagwons. This comic is the start of another branch of ideas I want to add to this site. I feel the need to make comics about not only Hyo and I, but things in my life and about living and teaching in Korea in general. It’s a bit of a release for me and I enjoy it.

This first episode talks about one of the biggest decisions one has to make regarding coming to teach in Korea for the first time. These are not all the differences, but 8 main ones I focused on. Other differences include difference in pay, and coteachers. There are pros and cons to both. Which one suits you/has suited you the best? I’ve been in both, and I prefer the public schools.

*Note…I know there are exceptions to everything. This was made based on the general consensus from those in the ESL community in Korea and my own experiences :p*


Public schools vs. Hagwons in Korea




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  • Kahi

    That was awesome! And hilarious!!
    Definitely helped me a lot. I’ve been debating to apply for public school or a hagwon.

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Glad it could help you out…and you got a laugh out of it! 🙂 It’s definitely one of the important decisions one has to make before deciding to teach here.

  • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena

    Hahaha! Funny. I worked in public school for two years and would have to say that is pretty accurate! 😀

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Haha thanks and glad you could relate to it! I’ve been in public schools for 3 years and not much has changed.

  • f

    You forgot about the difference in pay.

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Yea, I really just tried to focus on the main things…I debated adding the comparison in pay though!

  • angela

    Accurate and hysterical!!!

  • Phoenix

    spot on!

  • Sydney

    LOL @ that… see you in 20 minutes! -_____-
    This comic is further affirmation that I need to get out of hagwon life fast!

  • Tuna Ghost

    It was my experience that too many teachers didn’t realize that you don’t ASK to take a sick day, you TELL your school you’re not coming in because you’re throwing up a lot (regardless if that is the case or not).

    • Tim

      I’m going to try that next time! I like your style tuna.

  • Tim

    Ha ha ha true true

  • releasethedogs

    100% truth!

  • Patrick07

    wow … if someday i aplied i think i may go for public school … lol