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South Korean ‘Star Teacher’ Makes $4 Million a Year


In the U.S., teachers make average salaries in the $40,000 – 45,000 range. But for one elite tutor in South Korea, teaching earns a wage comparable with that of a CEO or another captain of industry.


(Photo Credit: Marc Smith/Flickr)

CBS News recently followed South Korean tutor Kim Ki-Hoon as he went about his weekend teaching duties one Saturday afternoon. Weekend study sessions are the norm in South Korea. One student tells CBS that he studies from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. on a typical school day.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Kim appears on a TV program featuring “star teachers,” and commutes to school in a chauffeured Mercedes. His students tell reporters that they’re inspired by him, but he worries that the pressures of South Korean education, where 70 percent of students go on to college, can lead to depression.

“I’m not actually proud of my success,” he says. “The other side of the coin is the inefficiency of Korean education.”

Worse, because so many students in South Korea go to college, competition for jobs after graduation is fierce.

“A degree from a good university used to guarantee a spot at least at a top 10 company, but that was when a college degree actually meant something,” one student told a Bloomberg reporter in 2012. “I studied hard and did everything right, but there are too many of us who did.”

Recently, a study from McKinsey found that South Korean college graduates make less than high school graduates in that country, making many wonder if college is worth the cost.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think expectations are too high for students these days? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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