Want to teach with EPIK? Don’t use Reach to Teach Recruiting
My first application and the beginning of my horror story was for teaching English in South Korea with the EPIK program, which is a government program in South Korea that brings teachers from native speaking countries. I had done a lot of research into this program and it seemed like the perfect fit for me- higher than average pay, very nice benefits, and a modern environment. Reach to Teach Recruiting is one of the few recruiting agencies with a contract to recruit for EPIK. My recruiter was John Kellenberger, a co-owner of Reach to Teach. I had read reviews online that basically said recruiters cost you nothing to help with the application- the government pays them to recruit. Great! I received an email that said EPIK applications were closed. What I didn’t know was the email was a complete lie.
EPIK applications were not closed, but the deadline for recruiters to submit applications was closed. The actual deadline for EPIK applications closed weeks after I received that email (I didn’t find this out until it was too late). Why would they lie to me? I now know it would be easier for them to make a commission off of me to place me at another school or move my application to the next EPIK start date. They offered me both of these options, which of course only benefited them. At no point did they let me know I still had time to apply directly to EPIK on my own. If they had told me this option was available, but they wouldn’t be able to help me, I would have considered sticking with them and waiting, but instead they decided to lie to me to make sure they got their money.
The worst part was that I had all of my documents ready to go for EPIK. Those documents were going to expire before the next EPIK intake session, so I basically (according to the information John Kellenberger gave me) wasted my time gathering all of those documents, unless of course I went with another option to use the documents I had already received- Korean private schools.
Korean Private Schools: more lies from Reach to Teach Recruiting
Within a couple of days, I received an email from another recruiter. Reach to Teach had given my information to someone it called their “partner,” but it was clear from a simple Google search this was a Korean recruiter. I asked John Kellenberger directly about this and was told their “partner” handled private school applications. I expressed that I had applied to Reach to Teach and was not comfortable working with other recruiters- if I wanted to, I would have applied to one of the many other ads I had seen for private school positions in Korea. I was told they didn’t have anything available with private schools directly- that’s right, Reach to Teach does not work with Korean private schools directly.
They gave me a list of some jobs that were available directly from them in other countries. I was bummed that I had wasted a lot of time and money on the Korean documents and because they lied to me, I had no idea that I could have sent those documents with my application directly to EPIK-at this point, EPIK applications were still open for more than two weeks. I had no idea that I had been duped.
I still had a strong desire to teach abroad so I had a look at the list of options I was given. My next stage was to try to find a job in Taiwan.