A teacher that makes $4 million a year? Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
The Wall Street Journal recently chronicled the story of one South Korean teacher who makes a salary that is comparable to that of tech moguls and Wall Street bankers. Kim Ki-hoon, who has been teaching for more than 20 years in after-school tutoring programs called hagwons, is described as a “rock-star teacher.”
As the article states, private, after-school tutoring services in South Korea are popular with students, allowing teachers like Kim to make a luxurious living in a field that does not usually allow for such.
"The harder I work, the more I make," Kim told the outlet. "I like that."
A recent HuffPost Live segment discussed Kim and the South Korean education system.
“It’s quite lucrative, many people go over there to pay off student loans or just travel the world,” Jenn Pedde, who formerly taught in South Korea, said in the segment. “It’s a great money earner if you’re into teaching and making some money.”
“[Kim is] definitely the exception for sure,” said Robyn Larsen, who also taught in South Korea. “I think he's kind of developed a brand name for himself ... Korea, like a lot of places, they’re really into the looks and the appearances of it, so it's kind of more of a prestige to be taking classes from this particular teacher.”
Still, Larsen noted some perceivable flaws in the South Korean system: Students face intense pressure and attend more school than American children.
News about Kim comes at a time when teachers in the United States are facing budget cuts and layoffs. In North Carolina, for example, a recently passed budget would get rid of teacher tenure, eliminate bonuses and cut teacher assistant positions.