EPIK Week 1: Class Survival Guide

Moana Powell

Technically, it’s week 2 because the first week (roughly) was spent gaining pearls of wisdom about lesson planning, Korean schools, language and customs. Some of you may have even broken a board in Taekwondo. The whole week, you and every other EPIK teacher around you were moaning, “I wish they would tell me where I am going!” Well guess what?! NOW you know, and you are sitting in the classroom with a bunch of Korean students who are waiting on you to start the class. Some of them are staring at you curiously, some are completely ignoring you and your co-teacher isn’t there yet.


Don’t worry, you WILL survive!! …barely…


Here are the 3 things that will help you make it through the first week as a real live EPIK teacher:


1.     Introduction Powerpoint

There are some great templates online if you are looking for an effective introduction. Feel free to use them but keep in mind WHEN you are starting your year with EPIK. I started in August, which is the beginning of the 2nd semester for Korean students. That means the awesome Introduction slide you found - the one that sets class rules and has them making nametags with their favorite hobby on it - yeah, it was probably used by the teacher in the 1st semester, and they already have their nametags in a nice bundle near your desk.

But DO NOT FEAR!! You can still incorporate the nametags in your lesson. Just have them make another simple nametag, one side in English, the other in Korean. It usually takes about 5 - 10 minutes and students have time to decorate while you walk around the room practicing their names. They actually think it is fun listening to you get it wrong. Some of my students had bets on whether I could say each name properly.


2.     Games

Games are great for filling time, so I had games incorporated into my Powerpoint. I am lucky enough to have a unique name that is also very famous (thank you Disney). The 1st game, after they had nametags, was to have students guess my name. I made it really obvious, it was so obvious, they thought they were wrong.


After they guessed my name, they also had to figure where I am from. Again, based on the picture clues I provided. I split this between 2 slides. The first one had pictures of snacks from my country, part of the flag, and what we eat for breakfast.


The second slide had pictures of me with famous landmarks, and a note about the most popular sport. I even had an outline of my country appear in the corner of the slide for 3 seconds (most students missed it, but the rest got excited when they saw it.)


Students each had a slip of paper that they wrote their answer on with their name – another way for me to figure out who they are. Winners won candy or a small snack.


The next slide was 2 truths, 1 lie. Students guessed the lie, and then we went over it (number of siblings I have). It was a way to introduce my family and fill time by having them bet on how many of each, brothers and sisters. It’s a fun competition. I set up my slides for photos to show one at a time - the excited cheers and groans each time a new sibling appeared on the answer slide definitely make this worthwhile if you have an unusually sized family like mine (2 brothers, 8 sisters).


After my parent’s slide, I had an informational one about myself, followed by a game of Sleeping Elephants. Each complete sentence for Sleeping Elephants made up a question based on my introduction slides, which the students had to answer to get full points.


And that is pretty much it. Most classes didn’t make it past my sibling slide but they know who I am, where I am from and a little bit about my family.


3.     Snacks or Candy

Finally, have a large stash with you to hand out as prizes, because the first lesson with each class is not just an introduction – it’s a light bribe to get the students to participate in activities. Usually one piece of candy or snack per winner is enough for each prize winning portion. (Remember, this is only for the first time you meet the class, don’t make it habit or you will have to ween them off it).


That’s pretty much all you need for a successful first week. Remember, your introduction can be recycled for every class you teach that week, so it lessens the stress and gives you plenty of time to plan for the following week of real lessons.


Oh… one more thing and this is absolutely PARAMOUNT in your first week. Be flexible enough to understand that it is the beginning of the semester for the regular Korean teachers too, so they may have forgotten to tell you about one or two of the extra classes your predecessor signed up for during the first semester – and that you have to continue for stability purposes. I discovered 5 minutes before it happened, that I had an Afterschool Program and a separate mentorship program. I also learned the day of, that I had a Teacher Training schedule where I was required to design and teach a curriculum for the teachers (and Principal) to learn English.


If you are willing to go with the flow, you’ll notice the teachers will also find ways to be as helpful as possible.


Good luck with your first week, you have TOTALLY got this!!!

4 months ago

General Timelines of Public School Programs

Alistair Wery

The process of employment here can be lengthy depending a variety of factors which include:

  1. Your citizenship and if you are applying from outside your home country.
  2. The documents you need for your visa.
  3. The program you apply for (EPIK, GOE or CNOE).
  4. When you apply.

English Program in Korea (EPIK) program Timeline

EPIK is the nationwide public school program which is the most widely-reported and most well-known program. It’s only available at specific times of the year. 

The biggest in-take is in the spring, and their employment dates are 26th February, 26th March and 26th April yearly.  They can recruit up to around 1000 teachers for this period alone.

They also recruit for the fall period and those dates include August 26th, September 26th and October 26th.  Here they have up to 800 teaching positions available.

Also with these dates, EPIK provides an orientation which is 5-8 days beforehand.

1st step – Apply! 

When?  We accept applications 6 months in-advance – so :

  1. Spring program each year, we generally accept applications from the 1st August.
  2. Fall program each year, we generally accept applications from the 1st February.

Initially, you need to send your resume to either or apply online through this website.  We’ll then contact you about your resume and send you an EPIK application form (which has tips inside!) When we receive your EPIK application form – We’ll proof read it for you.  We’ll go through it in detail and offer you advice about improving your application (essays and lesson plan) and other information required.

We will accept resumes for the EPIK Spring program until around the beginning to mid-March and to around mid to late June for the EPIK Fall program.  We always adjust this here and there depending on the number of vacancies available; and we will provide this information to those that are applying with KH. We’ll also give you access to a closed FB group where we will post sample contracts, provide information about the process, interviews, tips + you can read the experiences of those going through the interviews to improve your chances!

2nd Step – Interviews

It’s a first-come, first-served system.  Those that send their applications 1st, will be submitted 1st, will have their interviews 1st and so on. For the EPIK Spring in-take, interviews will begin from the beginning of October and for the EPIK Fall in-take, interviews will begin from the beginning of April. EPIK will communicate with us about your interview time and date and we will let you know.

We will then set up a practice interview with you where we will go through your application completely.  We will skype you and spend around 1hr to go through everything. Then – have your interview with EPIK.  It can last anywhere up to 40mins in length.  EPIK generally provides the result of the interview a few days after.  They will communicate it to us and then we will inform you immediately.

For the previous semester (fall program of 2018) – only 1 teacher out of all the teachers we represented failed their interview.   We have the highest pass rate among all recruitment agencies and direct-hires.  We intend to keep that track record for this semester!  Apply with us and maximize your chance of success.

3rd step – Employment Offer!

Once confirmed – We will need the following :

  1. Signed EPIK Application form.
  2. Nationwide Criminal Background Check with an Apostille (Validated by the Korean consulate for Canadians).
  3. Bachelor notarized first and apostilled (Validated by the Korean consulate for Canadians).
  4. Two sets of sealed transcripts.
  5. Two original reference letters.
  6. Passport size photo.

British and Australian citizens are also required to provide a birth certificate with an apostille.  There may also be other documents you need to send, but we will be specific in your case as the time comes.

With the above – you need to organize this from the 1st step above (and we will provide you with a comprehensive list of information about how to obtain these documents should you decide to work with KH)– in the background of everything else, so that once you receive your employment offer – you are ready to courier your documents to our office.

Those that provide their physical documents first are the ones who are able to get their choice of location.

When EPIK receives your documents, if there is a vacancy in your chosen location, they will recommend you there.  If not, they will place you in a different location.  EPIK does not ask for your 2nd / 3rd preference, etc – only your main preference.  So it’s important to choose wisely.

Everybody chooses Seoul, Seoul, Seoul, Seoul, Seoul!  And so logically, it means that EPIK can’t please everyone.  You have to apply very early if you want Seoul.  And even then, please understand that it will always be challenging.  There are so many other great places here – all of the other metro cities are so very much liked; and provincial regions which are also great – places which may not have a lot of information online, but places you could call home when you are here and realize that it’s really what you make it.

But saying that, we do very much try to get what everyone wants, but we are also realistic with everyone about their chances of getting their chosen location. So it’s advisable to be flexible. EPIK will have a document deadline date which will be around mid-July for the August 26th Fall program and around mid-January for the February 26th Spring program.

Please Note : Your position is not confirmed until EPIK receives your physical documents (1), recommends you to a school district (2), and EPIK provides you a physical employment contract and notice of (NOA) appointment (3).  So to confirm – until you receive your physical contract + NOA, your EPIK public school is not solidified.

With all this said – please secure your documents asap so that we can maximize your chance of getting you the location you want (1) and actually placing you in a school (2). 

If you have applied, passed the interview, sent your physical documents in – and all of the EPIK positions have been filled; you will go on to a wait-list.  If a teacher withdraws from the program, and if you are next in line, you will be able to take their position.  If all of the positions become completely filled and no-one drops out; then EPIK will prioritize you for the next semester and you will be at the front of the queue.  You will need to provide a criminal background check because the one you have provided would have expired + a new signed EPIK application form for the next term.

4th - Arrival

The orientation dates are generally as follows :

  1. 18th-26th February for February 26th start dates and 20th-26th April for March 26th and April 26th start dates.
  2. 18th-26th August for August 26th start dates and 20th-26th October for September 26th and October 26th start dates.

The days are tentative and change from semester to semester by a day here or there.

We will actually invite you one day before the orientation.  We will be meeting you at the airport. And we will be paying for your accommodation for the evening so that you can get a good night’s sleep after your long journey and feel good for the orientation.  We will be taking you out for an evening meal (and paying for it) with everyone that arrives + buying you breakfast in the morning.  We will professionally escort you to the orientation. 

Going with a recruitment company like KH is also a good idea because when you arrive you will be assisted by us.  Sometimes teacher’s have issues that would make them uncomfortable if they were not with a company like KH.  For example, a teacher arrived the other day with their bank card and it simply would not work in the machines; and also, we had a teacher arrive late due to visa-processing times; and we were able to assist her to the orientation site when EPIK was not available at the airport.  Teachers also often arrive with A LOT of baggage – twice as much as 1 person can handle!  We can help you!  And remember – EPIK is at the airport on the day you arrive – not before or after; and if you want to get a good night's sleep before your orientation starts – we can be there for you and we will book and pay for your accommodation for that night.  If you don’t use a recruitment company like KH – you are on your own.  Our services are free (we are paid by the government to recruit you)- so why not?

And once you start your job – maybe you have some issues that we can assist you with – like translation issues with your co-teacher or maybe issues with your apartment for example.  We can assist you and contact EPIK or provide you with the information you need.

And also – we are always busy throughout the year, but it doesn’t mean that we are not by your side – if you contact us for anything at any time, we will do anything we can to assist you.

Hope this information helps?  If you would like to apply – please do.


Gyeongsangnamdo (GOE) and Chungnam (CNOE) Offices of Education

We also work for regional education offices that offer public schools which include EPIK employment contracts.

These regions are :

  1. GOE -
  2. CNOE -

What's the difference with EPIK?

  • They are regional, whereas EPIK is nationwide
  • Their orientations are for fewer days


  • They come with identical employment contracts - They are EPIK contracts, no different
  • They are to teach in public schools - the same as EPIK
  • Same pay scale, same benefits, etc

So why do they recruit outside of EPIK?  

They actually do recruit through EPIK and they also recruit separately from EPIK.  Also, both of these education offices are available each month (except January, February and August), whereas EPIK is only available at specific times.

It's possible to : 

  • Apply most month's of the year for either GOE or CNOE
  • Have a preference for a particular city or county area
  • Have a preference for whether it is an elementary, middle or high school

However - They are not available in January, February, and August.  Also, although you can have a preference with the above, there are no guarantees - it depends on what is available at the time of receiving your documents.  Like EPIK - with GOE and CNOE, you will not know the location of your school or the age group of your children until you arrive; but unlike EPIK - you can have a preference.

The core information in the steps for EPIK also apply to GOE and CNOE positions.

If you would like to apply for these - simply send your resume to us, or apply online and we can move forward with the process.  If you have any q's - just let us know :)

5 months ago