If you wish to terminate your contract before its date of completion you usually have to give at least 30 days of notice in writing. This is, of course to give your school ample time to find a replacement for you. You’ll receive salary for your final month, or if you leave in the middle of a month, salary is usually worked out on a pro-rata basis and paid accordingly.
If your contract in terminated before one full year, you lose out on severance pay and a return ticket home, which is why you should never go this route unless absolutely necessary. Some contract might even state that if you terminate your contract early you have to reimburse your employer for the initial flight to Korea. Not nice…
All of this is if you decide to willingly terminate your contract. Your employer on the other hand has similar power and may decide to give you 30 days notice and terminate your contract early, with the same results. This however, only happens if you breach the contract or provide unsatisfactory employment.
What is ‘unsatisfactory employment’? Well to put it in a language everyone will understand: It means you’re always late, your classes are chaotic and unplanned, you often miss school for no apparent reason and you seem to have a unhealthy attraction to strong drink. There are cases of foreigners being fired due to things like this and it really messes things up for the rest of us, the goody-two-shoes bunch.
My advice is simple: Don’t be stupid. Korea is continually extending a welcoming hand to foreigners and generously reimburses them for their services. So don’t slap the hand away! There have been cases of foreigners caught with drugs, arriving drunk at school and acting inappropriately with children. In a socially conversation country like Korea, nothing will get you fired and banned as quickly.