About a week ago, a friend from home asked me whether or not Korea was treating me better this time around. I didn’t give a particularly good answer, but I did promise to blog about it when I’d had some time to think.
While it’s difficult to determine offhand whether it’s worse or better, I have found that there are some key differences between how my life is now, compared to how it was here before.
Continue reading “The Differentness of Things: Korea Round 2”
… Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now…
Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it’s worth.”
– (Everybody’s Free To Wear) Sunscreen
Before I even begin writing this, let me preface it with the following:
- I don’t have any teaching qualification other than a not-worth-the-paper-it’s-printed-on TESOL certificate.
- I’ve never taught any children younger than 8th grade level – and the 8th graders I taught were gifted students.
- My teaching experience is a combination of university lecturing and high school teaching.
- My high school teaching experience is partly EFL teaching, partly not. It’s more WTF than anything else.
Before I ever got into teaching, I was terrified of it. I was terrified that I would be one of those shitty, bitter teachers who got into the profession because What the fuck do you do you with a degree in English if you don’t want to teach?
Continue reading “I’m a new teacher! Help!”
This is another guest post. Patti has been teaching in Korea for the last seven years, and has a wide variety of experiences. I asked her to write this post because I knew she previously taught public school, and now taught at a hagwon, and did not seem to hate her hagwon.
She has, however, delivered a lot more than I could ever have asked for. Her experiences cover a wide range of teaching positions in Korea, over various levels. My most heartfelt thanks to Patti for sharing these experiences with me, and thus with all of you.
Public School Experience
1. A Typical High School
When I first applied to teach in Incheon, I requested an elementary or middle school, because I had been told by Korean friends back home that working in a high school would be a living hell, as high school students usually don’t want to listen to their teachers, but want to focus solely on their college entrance exams. It makes education more about the grades, and less about actual learning. I find this attitude permeates all levels of Korean education.
As fate would have it, I applied through the Incheon Metropolitan Office of Education (IMOE) directly and was placed in a high school, located in a low-income area in Incheon.
Continue reading “From the Frying Pan to the Fire: My experiences going from the public school system to a hagwon”
This is a guest post written by a friend of mine. Leigh* and I met when we both arrived in Korea, and she currently teaches in a middle school in Daegu. We were in the same intake and attended the same orientation. Like me, she is also a South African (hence the mention of postal strikes back home.) I asked her to write this post about how she got her hagwon job, and why she’s so excited about it, and why she’s sure she hasn’t landed in hagwon hell like my friend Will did. Pictures inserted by me)
Continue reading “Joining the Dark Side: How and Why I’m moving from an EPIK day job to the late shift at a hagwon”
Or: Why it seems that the public school program no longer provides job security
A couple of months ago, news of a major blow hit the EFL teaching community in Korea. Incheon had decided to reject all of the incoming EPIK applicants. Now, there were only nine of them, but many people saw this as a sign of things to come – Seoul had already cut down their intake to only elementary school teachers, and where Seoul leads, the rest of the country tends to follow. Incheon, for instance, had been instituting the same policy.
The scaling back of teachers has a process that is usually as follows:
- Elementary school teachers are given the option to renew at their current schools.
- Middle and High school teachers may renew, but will be transferred to elementary schools.
- In some cases, middle school teachers have been allowed to stay, but in the knowledge that if they leave, their school will not receive a new native English teacher.
This… this was not how Incheon handled it this time around. Continue reading “EPIK Developments In Incheon (and Elsewhere)”