teaching English

Working with Disruptive Students

10 Apr 2010, I have a class of disrespectful students who have been refusing to improve their English every day I have been teaching in Masan, Korea. Thursday was the day I had had enough. The only viable option is to learn how to handle the stress and begin the process of reforming their behavior, however slowly it may be. I then apply this new-found drive to reform myself in other parts of my life.

Rumblings around ATEK - and a new group forming UPDATED

UPDATED 5 April 2010 12:36 PM - I stated in the comments that I would update this post if / when I received a statement / reply from Greg Dolezal, ATEK's current president. Since I failed to do that when I first wrote this post, I sent my sincere apologies to him and asked for his statement. It was not done intentionally or to make anybody look bad. In the interest of timing and continuity, his statement will be at the bottom.


So there's been some noise from around the ATEK camp again - not something that'll make the mainstream media - and word of a new group that may show some promise. In the interest of trying to document things dispassionately, I'll be offering more blockquotes from e-mails or public statements than opinions.

Question from a reader: the whole enchilada

A reader writes in from Thailand:
I've been reading Brian's blog and came across yours. Tell me the truth, are all the horror stories over blown? Am I going to have a good decent employer in Korea and a nice place to live and a rewarding job?

I've been teaching uni in [city redacted] Thailand for five years now. The money is simply not enough, even with Thailand's extremely low cost of living. So Korea looks appealing. I like the Internet speeds, the high tech society, the money that seems to be on offer for ESL teachers. But scared of getting stuck in an abusive situation. I have a BA from an American U but no Masters so, apparently, teaching at a uni in Korea is out of the question.

Life in Korea: 20 things to check on your contract

Author's note: I am not a lawyer - just a blogger reasonably seasoned in reading contracts and figuring out what's missing. This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list - if I'm missing something, comments are open!

Contracts are a tricky thing - while some are barely worth the paper they're printed on, others have some force to them. They're not typically written to benefit you, and there are plenty of protections for the party that writes it. Since there is no such thing as one standard contract, things might be left out that really need to be included.

Although no contract is guaranteed and foolproof, having specifics written into the contract will prevent some of the most common misunderstandings - and give you something to take to the boss or court if need be. Written paperwork does tend to have more weight than oral statements in that case.

Make Me Smile

25 Feb 2010, In one of my classes today, I was asked what I like to study, and everyone quickly responded "math!" :D Today was a great day.

Re: Kushibo and visa reform

OK, so I wrote about visa reform. A version got published in the Korea Times, debated about on Brian in Jeollanam-do and another post on this blog. If you've been reading along, feel free to skip the links - if not, click before continuing.

Kushibo wrote a response on his excellent blog, where he asked a couple interesting questions:

Question from a reader: university jobs, TOPIK tests, and TOEFL certifications

A reader writes in:
hi Chris,

i've been reading your blog for a few months now and I found it to be
pretty good...informative, attractive, well-written, unoffensive...

and then i read a few more posts today, many of them back-dated. holy
sh[!]t! your blog is awesome! as a jeollanamdo person, i've been
sweating my a[$$] off thinking of life post-brian in jeollanamdo, but
i'm really glad to find many of the same wonderful features in your
blog (although you'll never win angriest blogger).

anyway, if you have time, I'd love to know your thoughts on a few topics:
1. university jobs - finding them and any other info.
2. TOPIK exam
3. TEFL/TESOL courses

If you don't get around to it, no worries. i'll still be reading your blog.

thanks for providing such a great resource.


Brilliant guesswork, 2S2, and a few other odds and ends

From Lost in Jeju: Take the Foreign Worker Test!
Fill in the blanks with the correct response:

1. Most foreign workers accept that they have a daunting task to obtain a
visa and maintain their legal status in ______.

2. "These recent hurdles have to do with historic, traditional ______
xenophobia. Suspicion of people, from abroad, coming to ______ doing something
in _____.

3. "You know, there was a time in the early '90s when a foreign worker was
actually sought out; particularly in business, in consulting and finance. Then
as the ______ economy got more on its feet and _____ resurged in all kinds of
ways the pendulum swung the other way,"

Teaching Numbers

12 Feb 2010, Finally, a game that really can teach English, BINGO! But wait, Koreans gotta do things their own way...

On life in Korea and being a nomad teacher

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

Source: "The Walrus and the Carpenter", by Lewis Carroll (text retrieved from http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/walrus.html).

Define nomad: a member of a people who have no permanent home; a person who moves seasonally in search of resources; a wanderer.

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