Teaching English in Korea

March 24, 2012

Avalon English

My new job is teaching English to Korean children. These children are aged 8-15 and vary widely in their personalities and English proficiency. The younger students tend to be boisterous and excitable and require a lot of energy to teach. The older students are usually tired and studious, and some of them speak exceptional English. I teach writing, reading, speaking, and debate classes.

Before starting teaching, of course, I had to go through training. So, on my first full day in Korea, I observed four classes taught by the other foreign teachers at the school. It was the last day of the term, so they mostly played games with their students such as hangman or Simon Says. The new term started the next day, and I was given my textbooks and told to go teach five classes. After my rigorous training, I felt fully prepared. However, I was getting over the flu and still completely disoriented from traveling, so I don’t remember much from those classes. I’m sure they went great.

During the first week of the term, I asked one of my classes to do a writing exercise answering the question: “What is your proudest moment?” I explained what this meant and let them get to work. One student answered with this response:

“I played rest time very interesting.”

Another student had this to say:

“My proud is exercise to, I proud exercise is soccer because my class soccer is first and each other people I really well the soccer and my well subject is math other people is difficult but I like math because math do it my head is smart then successful my dream.”

I especially like the end of that second response: “then successful my dream.” I think that’s a beautiful way to end any piece of writing.

For another class, I gave the students an assignment to write an essay about their hero. One of the students chose me. His thesis was that I was his hero because I’m smart and nice and I look like Steve Jobs and I didn’t give him homework on the first day of class. His supporting details were that I was born in America and I always wear “blue jeans and weird T-shirts.” I only wore button-down dress shirts the first week of class, so the last part was a factual error, but in general it was a solid essay.

My work day starts at 2:00pm. I usually leave my apartment at around 1:30pm and walk the 20-25 minutes to my school. Avalon English takes up two floors of an office building on a busy street in Jinju. I have two hours to lesson plan before classes begin. Starting at 4pm, I teach three 45-minute classes to different groups of the younger students. Then I usually teach two 50-minute classes to the older students. I work almost exclusively from the Avalon textbooks, which makes lesson planning very easy but doesn’t take a lot of creativity. My work day ends at 9:30pm, and then I go home and make dinner. It’s a nice schedule that lets me have time in the mornings to write and go to the gym.

So, while sometimes it can be stressful, I do enjoy this job very much. I like it because teaching in a foreign country is challenging and rewarding, then successful my dream.


One Response to “Teaching English in Korea”

  1. chris783 said

    Hey Robert, I’ve just been offered a position at this school and would LOVE to send an email or somehow chat with you about it. I’ve heard hagwons can be bad so I just want to make sure it’s a good school. My email is Chris_Davis_Tampa@yahoo.com. I really hope to talk with you soon!!

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