|Fellow YBM teachers in an ad!|
I'd like to take some time to personally address my experience working with YBM. I loved my experience teaching English in Korea. This article has been on my mind ever since moving to Korea, and now that my 1 year contract has ended I can finally inform my readers. I will be as honest as possible in my evaluation noting the benefits and negatives of working for the company. This is not written to harm any employee, corporation, coworker,student, etc. affiliated with YBM. This is my own personal account which is not meant to be taken as an overall assumption of the company. I would suggest doing further research to gauge an assessment other other companies as well before forming your opinion. If you are a former employee of YBM, or wish to share your personal experience on my blog about teaching at a particular school or company in Korea please send me an e-mail. I would love to post valuable experiences and create a database/network of companies with personal accounts to share with future ESL teachers in Korea.
|2009, LMU students after our tour.|
My history with YBM started in the summer of 2009 when I was in Korea with The Father P. Daly Summer Scholarship in Korea program. The program was built for 4 Loyola Marymount Students to go over to Korea for 2 weeks and learn about Korean culture, industries, and politics. In the program we had a private tour of YBM in which we learned about the booming English Language Economy. First we met with the National Academic Director, Greg Stapleton, who gave us a short overview of the company and its perks. He walked us through each floor of the Jongno Headquarters and then took us to Greg Dawson who was the current academic supervisor for all the teachers in the Jongno office at the time. Dawson paired us up with another teacher and we were able to sit in on different classes being taught that day. Afterwards we went to lunch with Dawson and several teachers to get to know what its like to work at YBM and live in Korea. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the company and held on to Dawsons business card as a valuable resource for my future.
After finishing my Undergraduate Degree at Loyola Marymount in May of 2010 I was hired by YBM. I contacted Greg Dawson from the Jongno office in Seoul and had a phone interview. He was very accomodating and I was formally hired by the company in Mid-April and started my 1 year contract in September. There was a one week training program before the contract so I arrived in Korea on August 15th 2010. I taught for YBM full time M-F which consisted of 30 teacher hours per week unless otherwise mandated 40 hours during busy seasons. I also taught (optional but I will explain problems with this later) Saturday classes for 3 hours a day during one month of my position, and 6 hour Saturday classes during 9 months of my contract. 2 months of my contract I worked overtime at 40 teaching hours per week and 35 teaching hours per week. Yes, I worked overtime and Saturdays for 11 months out of my 12 months. I really enjoyed the extra pay to fund my travels and savings account!
I will not reveal my overall opinion of YBM because I want you to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. With that said, I worked there for one year and found that I was blessed to have the opportunity to teach Adults for 1 year. I taught college students, business men, house wives, professionals, and even Buddhist monks. My students were amazing! I miss you guys! I did not renew my contract the end of the year because I wanted to further develop my skills in Graduate school.
|YBM Jongno teachers posing for their staff picture.|
YBM has many benefits that should be carefully taken into account for all interested in teaching ESL in Korea.
- YBM will always pay you on time and in full. A standard salary is 2.1 million won per month or about $2,000. This can be negotiated slightly with certain TESOL certificates. You are always paid on the 7th day of each month by direct deposit to your bank account.
- YBM will hire you without a TESOL certification. I was hired without one because of my connection to the school, but decided to do a short online course to get an extra $100 a month pay raise and prepare myself better for teaching ESL.
- YBM will always give you enough hours. If you want overtime Jongno (in Seoul) is a good location.
- YBM has a one week training program to immerse you in ESL and provide you with basic strategies for teaching. This training program is paid.
- YBM will place you in a motel for free during your first 15 days in Korea.
- YBM will provide you win a severance bonus after completing 1 year of your contract. However, this will still be taxed. The severance is equivalent of an extra months wages. (Severance Pay)
- Teachers are allows to have class outings with their students. One class per year teachers can go out do lunch/dinner/coffee/movies with their students. This is not funded by YBM and the class must unanimously agree.
- Central Locations in Seoul and city centers. I loved working at the Jongno office because it is smack in the center of downtown Seoul and down the street from famous historical temples, parks and palaces.
- YBM will pay for your round trip airfare on completion of your contract.
- Amazing students! Teaching adults is awesome!
Cons of working at YBM
- All teachers must follow a tight syllabus with the YBM coursebooks. Lesson plans are provided for each lesson that you teach down to the minute. I must say after doing these for 12 months I wonder if they should just hire robots, because sometimes I felt like one. As a new teacher, I found them very helpful in the beginning, but then I became bored out of my mind. The previous teachers never wanted to use the system in the first place and there was alot of tension in the office about it. There were a lot of secret activities and handouts being shared by teachers throughout the office. We were constantly being checked on to see if our Lesson Aims were on the board and that we were following each stage of the Lesson Plans at the exact point in time. Here is what a standard lesson plan looks like:
YBM Speaking Level 3
Unit 2 Lesson Aims
Page 9/listening Talking about skills and experience
Review/preview (5 minutes)
Review: 1. Elicit the Lesson Aims of the previous lesson. "What did we study last time?"
2. Elicit content (Vocabulary, expressions, patterns,explanations, and examples.)
3. Outline the main points on the board as students produce them
Preview: 1. communicate the Lesson Aims, Refer students to the board and syllabus Tell students what will be covered in this lesson (unit/page/supplement)
Warm Up (10 minutes)
Presentation: Q&A (Whole class) ask the students if they've ever had job interviews. As
them what kinds of question there were asked. Ask them about their work experience and skills.
Model some experience and skills questions and answers on the board.
Practice: Q&A (pairs) have the students ask and answer questions about skills and experience using the patterns modeled on the board. Monitor for accuracy.
Main Body (25 minutes)
Activity 1: Listening 1. Elicit answers to the homework (Ex. A) Play the audio once to confirm answers or address any questions. (If no one has done the homework, proceed
directly to Ex B.)
2. Listening Ex B (Pairs): Have the students discuss the questions Tell them they can ask any follow-on questions they like. Monitor and note common errors for the
Activity 2: Supplement (EC3U2-Job Skills and Experience) (New Pairs)
1. Distribute the supplement. Read the instructions. Confirm understanding by asking the students to explain what they'll do. Encourage the students to ask follow-on questions. Monitor and note common errors for the
1. While students are working in pairs near the end of the Main Body, write three or four sentences containing errors (Or commonly mispronounced words) on the board.
2.Bring the class back together. "Let's look at some common mistakes."
3. Elicit corrections (or correct pronunciation), explanations of corrections, and further examples of similar usage (or pronunciation)
1. Elicit this lesson's Lesson Aims. "What was our Lesson Aim today?"
2. Elicit content (Vocabulary, expressions, patterns, explanations, and examples).
3. Outline the main points on the board as students produce them.
1. Communicate the next lesson's Lesson Aims. Refer students to syllabus.
2. Assign any homework and give instructions/modeling.
3. Tell students what will be covered in the next lesson (Unit/page/supplement)
|Out at dinner with 2 of my students Level 2 and Level 4.|
- Teachers must be observed every 3 months. If they do not perform the syllabus exactly then they must be re-evaluated again. Some teachers are evaluated for over 4 months straight with random spot-checks. If you want creativity in designing your own classwork then YBM is not the place for you. In my case, the evaluations were not friendly. I like constructive criticism and I do well with it, but it was more like a do this or we will fire you and get someone new kind of attitude. My coworkers constantly stressed or only performed the required syllabus for the evaluations. (There were secret handouts and activities being shared throughout the office as a relief from the book and strict Lesson Plans like above)
- YBM did not tell me they tax my plane ticket both ways and deduct it from my pay check before arrival.
- YBM will help you find an apartment. But they did not tell me until 2 months after signing my rental agreement that there was a $450 real estate fee. There is also a $300 deposit. This is also taxed.
- The hours are not likely to be good during your first year. Many locations will tell you that you might have to work a split shift for only the first 3 months. This is not true and my coworkers and I were actually given triple shifts, even worse than a split shift. After your first year, you might have the opportunity to get a block schedule, but this depends on who is highest on the ranking sheet in your office. The office has a sheet with everyone's names on it from the date that they started their contract and this is how the schedules are made. The people that have been working at the company the longest are at the top, everyone new is at the bottom. The people at the top get the best schedules and classes according to their schedule request each month.The most requested schedule by them was the 7am-2pm block. The office has a hierarchy system based on length of contract time. If your family is coming into town or your boyfriend is visiting your schedule probably wont get any better either. In addition, the schedule changes each month so you cannot book any travel plans because you never know what your hours will be for the next month. They will tell you Sunday night before your Monday class starts in my experience. I was exhausted after working the entire day with breaks for 2-3 hours in between, not to mention getting up at 6:30am and finishing work at 10pm.
January: 10am -12pm 421 TThF
10am -12pm 431 MWF
2pm - 4 pm 431 MWF
4pm - 6 pm 304 Everyday
6:30pm-8pm 432 MWF
8pm - 10 pm 432 MWF
July: 7am - 8am wot Everyday
9am - 9am 404 Everyday
6:30pm - 8pm 425 TThF
6:30pm - 8pm 431 MWF
8pm - 9 pm TT2 MWF/TThF
9pm - 10pm TT2 TThF
August 10am - 12pm 421 TThF
10am - 12pm 432 MWF
2pm - 4pm 424 TThF
2pm - 4pm 433 MWF
6:30pm - 8pm 423 MWF
6:30pm - 8pm 431 TThF
8pm - 10pm 422 TThF
8pm - 10pm 432 MWF
This finishes my personal account of working with YBM. There are many things I am sure I forgot and I will be happy to answer any questions in detail if you leave me a message. If you are a coworker and think I left something out, let me know and I will add it in!
If you have any questions or comments about "The truth about teaching English at YBM in South Korea" please leave them in the comment box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at email@example.com.