Friday, January 22, 2010

Footprints Recruiting

After researching every recruiter I could find online I decided to go with Footprints Recruiting based out of Vancouver, Canada. They are one of the biggest and from what I've read and been told they "put the teacher first". I'm not to worried about that though, as I am heading for the public school sector and therefore have a fairly good idea of what I am getting into. The private schools are typically where you run into shady bosses that withhold pay or try to overwork you. The public school stream was more appealing to me because while you do make less money, that pay is secure and guaranteed. Another plus is that you work in unison with a Korean teacher who speaks English. In private schools, or hagwons, you teach your own class to groups of 10-20 students and typically you work between 2-10pm. Public schools have much larger classrooms of 25+ students, and you work between 9-5.

Footprints Recruiting places many teachers in the public school system in South Korea which made it an appealing option. They have over one hundred jobs that they are filling for August 2010 for EPIK, the English Program in Korea. The beauty about EPIK is that there is a one week, or ten day orientation in South Korea before your contract starts. This allows you to network with teachers who will be placed in public schools all over South Korea for the next year. The only catch that many people dislike about EPIK is that you do not find out which school your assigned to until you arrive at the orientation in South Korea! This freaks people out but it's all just part of the ride.

So I had my phone interview with Footprints. It was a half hour with Jeff Strachan, co-owner and before he hung up he welcomed me aboard and said they would be glad to help me get my documents in order and help me secure a spot in EPIK for August 2010. I'll probably talk more about the requirements and which documents you need as I start to gather them. Reference letters, officially sealed transcripts, original degree, E-2 working visa, interviews with the Korean Consulate, etc, etc. Well I got my recruiter so it's time to gather some documents but more on that later.


  1. So what's the experience been like? I read mixed reviews about Footprints.

  2. a little advice. stay on top of recruiting to make sure everything goes well. weird things can happen. missing paperwork, delayed international faxing between footprints and Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE). The SMOE office handling your work here in Seoul is understaffed and overworked. I can tell you that they mean well, but that they way Koreans handle work and workloads and North Americans handle it are so different that trouble while not certain is likely. Last year, SMOE increased its Native Speaker faculty by hundreds. Yet their staffing remains the same.

    If you have any issues, get in touch with me and I'll help. I saw you're following my blog. Lot's of info out there, but if you do what the SMOE tells you, you'll be fine. Try to turn the volume down on all the noise.

    1. Footprints is fine, but the recruiting system is so terribly flawed that you'll need to keep an eye out for yourself. When I got here, I kind of ditched Footprints, their functions. They were my means to get here and that's it. I got nothing from them and expected nothing. So, I have no complaints.

    2. So many people want to come to Korea and to get to Seoul right out of university should make you happy. The SMOE is not loved by all, as I'm sure you've read about, but if you're coming to teach and to learn about Korea, and aren't a tourist first/employee second, you'll excel here.

    3. Part of the trouble with moving to Korea is that everything you hear about it before you get here tends to be wrong. The most popular blogs and bloggers only help construct a misperception about Korea. They have cornered the market on readers and link to each other. It creates a rather grotesque echo-chamber of information about Korea that is always out of perspective with reality. (I like some of these blogs, so don't get me wrong. It's just that when 20 people link to the same story and talk about it, it gives readers the notion that their perception is somehow correct, precise and authoritative.)

    3. Do not get your information from the trolls on the ESL web sites like Dave's ESL. Misinformation is all you'll find there. Talk to folks who contact you and offer to be your contact. (Like me or some of the people I can introduce you to.^^) You really should find people who like Korea and Koreans, who are learning the language and history, who are dedicated teachers, and who like to have fun. We'll give you accurate info and help you when you get here. I hate to say it because quite frankly it makes me sad, but many foreigners in Korea despise it and Koreans. You have to wonder why they're here.

    4. Last thing: come with certified copies of all your paperwork and bring a bunch of sealed transcripts and bring originals of anything you can. You may find you need them. In addition, you're only contracted to remain with your job for 6 months. If something wonderful pops up on your horizon here and you want to jump ship, you'll need all the paperwork at hand. In addition, sometimes your school and the SMOE will want or need things that you swear you already gave them.

    Btw, I'd say from all the things I've heard in the last 2 years, Footprints is better than most.

  3. Just to correct a misconception not all hagwon owners will have you work 2-10. I worked 9-7 but had various breaks in the middle. I've also heard of public schools not allowing you to leave during the periods you don't have class (depends on your boss) but hagwons do? Atleast my hagwon did.

    Be mindful of any recruiter. The fact is their truly just getting paid to get you there. Doing anything beyond such is an added bonus.

    You should check out ATEK on facebook and join them just to keep in touch incase something goes awry.

  4. I was wondering if you would mind clarifying something? I am interested in utilizing Footprints to help me get a job in Taiwan and have been researching them extensively when I stumbled onto your blog. In your postings you say:
    "Footprints is fine, but the recruiting system is so terribly flawed that you'll need to keep an eye out for yourself. When I got here, I kind of ditched Footprints, their functions. They were my means to get here and that's it. I got nothing from them and expected nothing. So, I have no complaints."

    Can you explain what you mean by you "ditched Footprings and their functions?" Did you stay in the job they helped you obtain?

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  6. I recommend Koreaconnections. They seem genuine and the consultants are very professional rather than past teachers who are now recruiting.

  7. Footprints recruiters are awful. They are confused, cant't remember who you are or what stage your paper work is in. I asked one too many questions and they replied "we are no longer interested in your contract being filled."

  8. that's CAN"T or CAN NOT

  9. I used a place called JLC, all I expected from them was the job and it worked out well. Busan public schools, BMOE. I think some people expect a new friend from recruiters, all I want is honestly and straight forward application process.

  10. This has been really useful...Is this blog still active?