student-teacher ratio.In education-obsessed South Korea, the potential for earning a lot of money as a teacher is great. For example, 46-year-old math instructor and cram school tutor Woo Hyeong-cheol makes $4 million a year teaching Web-based classes. His salary is higher than most of the top professional baseball players in South Korea. And he’s just as famous.Teaching is more than just a high-status profession with a high starting salary in South Korea; it’s also one of the most stable careers. Lee Sang Min, assistant professor of education at Korea University, said: “After the economic crisis in 1997, most Koreans considered stability as the most
important thing when choosing a job. Therefore, many university students pursue teaching positions in elementary, middle, and high school.”Lee Sungho H., professor of education at Yonsei University, agreed: “The most critical reason for being a teacher is job stability. Teachers are guaranteed retirement at age 62. In addition, teaching provides fringe benefits such as summer and winter vacations, a fixed daily time schedule,
and a good pension.”South Korea’s high level of respect for teachers is an exemplar for other nations that want to improve student outcomes.
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Bill Costello, M.Ed., is a U.S.-based education columnist, blogger, and author of Awaken Your Birdbrain: Using Creativity to Get What You Want. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com
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