Only in Korea could there be celebrity teachers.Â Would that American students were so enamoured of their dedicated instructors.Â As it stands, the only celebrity teacher we know is Mary K. LeTourneau.
Granted, Korea is a very different place.Â Getting a college degree is a good-to-have in the U.S.Â A hard-working and determined American college drop-out (think Bill Gates or Michael Dell) or a state school grad (think Oprah) can still reasonably expect to be wildly successful if s/he has a great idea and the stones to market the hell out of it.
Antithetically, in Korea a college degree from a top college is required if you want to marry the right spouse, establish business connections and earn a good living.
Korean students feel immense pressure to earn straight A’s and high test scores.Â Korean parents spend as musch as half of their annual income on after-school “cramming” programs that purport to improve their children’s chances of admission.
Conditions are perfect for the prolific success of cramming schools (28,000 and counting), the largest of which is Megastudy, a $107M cramming school offering over 2,000 online and classroom courses.Â Megastudy teachers teach English and Literature, Math, Physics, and other required subjects in arenas filled with as many as 10,000 students, and/or record video lectures and facilitate online courses.
Megastudy teachers are richly rewarded for their talent and reputation, earning up to 23% of the per-course selling price which ranges from $13-$120.Â Accomplished teachers can earn millions.Â Megastudy teachers also become celebrities with students clamouring for their autographs.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., teachers slave for menial wages and students only get their autographs on notes sent home to their parents.Â And, cramming schools (afterschool tutoring and test prep courses) are but elective offerings.
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