Teaching in South Korea is quite a prestigious job. At least in monetary terms as the line of work could result in annual earnings of millions of dollars.
Who knew teachers could earn so much? Apparently in South Korea this is possible due to the way their society is. The saner Korean half is obsessed with education, though it’s not necessarily as novel as it sounds.
The social fabric in the country is structured in such a way that in order to get the right life, you have to find job and life partner, for which you have to have graduated from the right college, high school, middle school and even elementary school.
In a nutshell, if you mess up from the beginning, you’re in trouble.
So whether it’s their own parents, or society itself, students are pressured to succeed. This creates a significant supply of students – who are willing to pay – interested in studying their way up the South Korean dream.
That’s how teachers cash in on it. Take for example, Cha Kil-yong, who teaches mathematics online, and reportedly earns as much as $8million a year.
Cha runs an online school, or rather, what is more popularly known as a “hagwon” called SevenEdu . Being the top-ranked math teacher means that plenty of private school students come to him in order to prepare for college entrance tests.
With a student body of 300,000 at any one time, paying $39 for a 20-hour course, it’s no surprise how much cash he’s bagging.
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But he does add his own effort. In order to appeal to students as well as to make sure his methods yields successful results for his students, he makes the use of a studio filled with props such as masks. He has even appeared in a video alongside a famous South Korean popstar.
“Suppose you give the same ingredients to 100 different chefs. They would make different dishes even though they’re working with the same ingredients. It’s the same with a math class. Even though it’s all math and all in Korean, you can use different ingredients to come up with different results,” the tutor told the Washington Post.
“You’re not only teaching a subject, you also have to be a multi-talented entertainer.”
He is just one beneficiary of a reportedly $20 million dollar industry. In the previous years, when Forbes reported on a South Korean tutors earnings, it quoted a $4 million salary. So while this online tutoring trend in education-obsessed South Korea is nothing new –it is certainly growing.