This Teacher Makes $4 Million a Year

Meet Kim Ki-hoon, an English teacher in South Korea. He's been teaching English for over 20 years in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies or hagwons. That's not unusual but what's unique about Mr. Kim is that not only is he respected as a teacher, he also makes a lot of money teaching.

How much is a lot of money, you ask? How about $4 million a year:

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students' online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

"The harder I work, the more I make," he says matter of factly. "I like that." [...]

The bulk of Mr. Kim's earnings come from the 150,000 kids who watch his lectures online each year. (Most are high-school students looking to boost their scores on South Korea's version of the SAT.) He is a brand name, with all the overhead that such prominence in the market entails. He employs 30 people to help him manage his teaching empire and runs a publishing company to produce his books.

Amanda Ripley of The Wall Street Journal has the story (Photo: SeongJoon Cho for the Wall Street Journal)


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