Non-native English teachers to be welcomed soon?

Here’s a news article from Korea Times. Hopefully, South Korea will soon open its doors to qualified English teachers from the Philippines. I’ve been reading some comments (mostly from native teachers) on the net demeaning the non-native English teachers. While most Filipino English teachers I had in the past didn’t have the standard American accent that Koreans like, I wouldn’t say that they were bad or didn’t know what they were teaching. My high school english teachers in Sta. Catalina College (Mrs. Bello and Mrs. Alice Reyes, the wife of director Tony Reyes) were the best I’d had. How I wish I’d pay more attention to their lessons and attended my classes diligently.

There are lots of English language schools in the Philippines. During the summer and winter vacations, thousands of Korean students travel to the country to study and immerse themselves in English. My husband’s niece who traveled to the country for a week October of last year really enjoyed her stay. When she came back to Korea, she had more confidence speaking in English. Back in Korea, she hated her English classes and often call me to complain.

I really hope that the Korean government would open their doors to highly qualified Filipino English teachers. It’s about time!

Seoul’s top educator said he will take diverse steps to upgrade English classes at schools. Kong Jeong-taek, superintendent of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE), said primary and secondary schools in Seoul will have at least an assistant teacher specialized in helping students improve English communication in two or three years.

Under the plan, the top educator will invite more foreign teachers, not only native English speakers but also foreigners who are skilled in the use of English.


  1. Interesting. I’ve read about English as Second Language (ESL) teachers moving abroad to South Korea. I personally know one person who did the same, although he transferred to Japan after two years. I think that as long as one has good knowledge of the English language and finds South Korea a great place to live then he or she has the right mindset to become an ESL teacher.

    I also gave you a mail, and I hope you read that. It’s related to this blog article.

  2. I am interested in teaching English in Korea, but I have heard such bad stories that I am reconsidering, haha. I did not know until now that they only wanted people from the US though.

    1. I have a friend teaching in Seoul, she’s Scottish and all her co-workers are from the UK and Ireland. You can work in Korea as long as your mother tongue is English, not necessarily American English.

  3. Hi! This is good news, and about time too! I teach English to Korean university students here in the Philippines, and I think it’s weird that they flock here by the thousands to study, yet Filipino teachers aren’t deemed “as good as” native English speakers to be able to work there in Korea.

    Nice blog, by the way!

  4. I agree. It’s about time! Filipino English teachers are very much qualified to teach ESL to Koreans. A lot of Koreans are beginners and therefore do not need complicated-high level English from Native speakers. We Filipinos are also Asians. We too studied English as a second language. We know how it feels to have difficulty in learning, memorizing and practicing a new language. Therefore, it is easier for us to understand the needs of Koreans when it comes to teaching English. Let’s hope for this good change in the future for all ESL Filipino Teachers.

    1. I agree that Filipinos have these advantages. But I’d like to mention too that though we take pride in our communication skills and our ability to teach, we also have to bear in mind that our knowledge must always coincide with our experience. As teachers, we have to continuously improve ourselves by educating ourselves in this exciting new profession, especially since the English needs of ESL/EFL learners in other countries are different from ours. If ever the time will come that Filipinos will be accepted in Korea, I hope each and every Filipino would have his TKT/ CELTA/ M.A. etc. qualification that we could show as proof that we Filipinos are fit not to be as mere language assistant but as a certified English teacher worthy of respect as the native speakers.

  5. I think the reason why Korea is still closing its doors to non-native English teachers has got something to do with their culture and their concept of good education. Let’s admit it, even though a lot of Filipinos can speak good English, the way we speak English is still comparatively different from those coming from other English speaking countries. Koreans raelly value their education system and I think that they’re just taking precautions. To think logically, why hire non-native English teachers, when you can hire American teachers who are all born speaking English? It sounds discriminating, but if we really analyze it, it does really make good sense. Plus, if we think of their society and culture, Koreans are really tight-knit.
    They would always have this misconception that would take time to break, unless their society would allow for change.
    I think that it’s great news that Korea is reconsidering tje entry of Filipino ESL teachers. It just needs more time for Koreans to adjust themselves, break some misconceptions and finally accept that Flipino ESL teachers are as good as what the rest of the world has to offer.

  6. Hi,

    I manage an online company teaching Koreans.My company has 6 teachers and almost 40 Korean students in just 6 months. We offer the cheapest price so we are doing quiet well. But still, Can you please help me submit my site where Koreans can easily visit it? Your help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much..

    Happy Chuseok!!!

  7. Hello

    My Name is Bishnu KC from Kathmandu, Nepal. I have seven years experience in English Teaching. I have completed MBA and MA in English Literature. I am very much interested to work in Korea as a English Teacher. So if anyone help me about the job searching in Korea, It would be very kind of you. My email id is
    Please inform me as soon as possible.


  8. Hi,

    Hi everybody, I am Mongolian English teacher. I am teaching English for adults and children for more 15 years. I have excellent Britain English accent and English audio book library which one I use for my lessons. I would like to teach English in Korea.

    Conduct to me:

  9. I am looking forward to work in Korea. I have been teaching Koreans for 7 years. I am fluent in English. I can teach all ages and any level. I have TEFL certificate. My documents are ready, passport and certificates. Should I qualify to your evaluation please contact me. Thank you!

  10. WOW- this is good news alright,,,i’d stayed in the philippines for a while, and my teachers were really good!!!
    I really hope more filipino teachers may teach i korea!

  11. I am C.G.Samuel,and I did my M.A in Political Science, M.Div. in Theology and MSW in Social Work

    I have an intense desire to work as an English teacher in Korea or Japan. I have more than 14 years experience in the field of Teaching

    I do believe that God has given me some potentialities to exercise and use for Him and my fellow beings for which I am committed fully and happy to extend my service to you.
    I am confident that my qualifications, skills and past working experiences are relevant to the requirements of the position and I can make significant contributions to the continued success of any organization in your Country. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you personally how I can best serve your organization.

    Canaan View,House No-10/25,
    Mannuthy P.O,
    Thrissur,Kerala -India.

  12. My name is Linnea Persson, and I recently arrived in Korea with hopes of experiencing a new culture and expand upon my previous teaching experience. Though my country of origin is Sweden, my mother is from the United States, which is where I attended high school. I am a very qualified English teacher, and would love the opportunity to take on a position teaching classes to multiple or private students in Korea. Please contact me if you are interested: .

    I look forward to speaking with you.

  13. Hi, I think korean edu. department is not strict enough to accept filipino teachers. But it depends of how smart you are at english. They only accept filipinos who got married with korean men however it’s strictly screened. They accept those who were degree holders. In my case i’m teaching at public school as an after school program teacher at the same time teaching at private institutions. It’s not easy to apply a job here if you don’t have the qualifications they after for. I was strictly screened during my interview, thankfully i was accepted with no doubt. Not all korean directors or school principals honor filipinos for they knew that we’re not native speakers. But everything is not late, i showed to them that i’m not a kind one who isn’t qualified of what they’re looking for. They appreciated me well when they knew my capacity to teach the students effectively. I heard the feedback that i’m better than the native teacher who just talk a lot in front of the students without giving courage for the students to speak. I’m just thankful to God for having this success and being honored by my co-teachers and supervisors. Filipinos who have license and capable to teach don’t lose your hope. You can do it. Those who are not qualified to teach if u are just highschool graduate please don’t apply so that other filipinos here in South Korea will not be affected. This is one of the problems here in South Korea because even highschool graduates work in different institutions and they’re paid low because of the deficiency in english. Please don’t even try this, it affects the standard knowledge of filipinos in english as we belong to the 3rd largest english speaking country. Thanks for reading.

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