teaching

Teaching at a Korean University

I have talked about how to find a teaching job in Korea and what it’s like to work at a private academy (hagwon) —but I want to share a bit about my experience teaching at a Korean university for two years.

A lot of college graduates come to teach in Korea for a new experience and/or the hope of saving a lot of money. A university job in Korea is ideal because you work less hours (12-18 teaching hours a week) and have a fantastic amount of paid vacation (3-5 months of the year). These days, university jobs are very competitive; it’s based on who you know and how great your resume is. 


Infographic Presentation: An ESL Speaking Activity

 

infographic presentation

Infographic Presentation: An ESL Speaking Activity

 


No Room to Grow

While talking with one of my brightest students about her high school and college and job plans, her hopes and dreams, I told her to just find the thing that makes her happy, and try to do that as a job. She looked a me for a moment, a look of confusion on her face before saying:

"I don't have that."

In our whole conversation about job goals, I never once heard any hint of what she would enjoy doing. I know what her dad wants her to do, what her teachers want her to do, and she certainly knows which jobs are most difficult to get and which pay the most. But apparently there's nothing she loves to do.

This makes me really sad.

I know it's rather old hat to complain about the harshness of the Korean school system, but I'm going to jump right in regardless. These are the things I witness on a daily basis. This is the stuff I talk with my students about. I don't know how to fix it, but I can at least give a view from the inside.

It’s not “goodbye.” It’s “안녕히 계세요.”

2-3 students

Goodbyes are always tough. But yesterday, during my last day as an English teacher at Ulsan Sports Science School, I experienced a whole new level of emotional farewells. Over the past year, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers and enthusiastic students, all of whom consistently went above and beyond with their generosity, kindness and sincerity to make me feel welcomed and cared for.


Who Wins: ‘Mr. Bean’ or ‘100 Angry Grandmothers’?

Hello, fellow ESL teachers. Do you have 10 minutes to kill in a class? Have you already shown your students every (currently available on YouTube) episode of the animated Mr. Bean series? Are your kids bored to death of Hangman or–in the case of South Korea–“Nunchi Game,” where they each stand up in the order of words or numbers on the board and the last one to stand is out? Do you have a class that is relatively advanced in English and can offer some creative discourse? Or, do you have a class that barely offers input at all?


My 1st Day Teaching in Vietnam

It’s so hot here. So hot. So jungly. Me and my heat rashes are definitely going through an adjustment period!

 

My morning walk...gorgeous but fucking hot as fuck
My morning walk…gorgeous but fucking hot as fuck

 

My first day of teaching was yesterday…..

 


The Flipside

by Fred Colton

They were supposed to practice writing Mandarin characters but Luke always just sat there and drew dicks. 4,000 hanzi to learn and not a single one Luke couldn’t turn into a thin veiny phallus. He incorporated scrotums as needed to help with the curves and slants. Slid the drawings to the other students and everyone chewed off their bottom lips off to stifle the laughter. Hanzi made of cocks. Just twisting and snaking around each other.

Mandarin, mandatory since kindergarten. Mandatory in over one hundred countries. Kids, Mandarin is your passport to the world. Learn it and you can trade stocks in Paris or be a professor in Capetown.

“Or I could just stay here and keep winning races,” Luke told his parents, and his brother Bob, and the bowtie in the guidance office.


How To: Prepare for and Pass the Epik Interview

Before I get started, I want to make it clear that I'm not just going to tell you exactly what happened in my interview, because that doesn't seem fair. What I can do is tell you all the dumb things I wish I hadn't done and the useful things I wish I had done, in hopes that you will have a better time of it than I did.

First off, make sure Skype works on whatever computer you plan to be in front of during the interview. I know this seems obvious, but trust me on this one: check and double check so there won't be any unforeseen technical difficulties. You know what they say about people who assume.


Probation, Farts, and Broken Electronic Devices: My First Day Ever as a Teacher

Yesterday was a big day for me. For the first time in my life, I got to work in a field that truly interests me: teaching! I was really nervous, and since I only had one week of training in Seoul, I was pretty unprepared.

To make matters worse, I was pulled aside before the class began and told that I was “on probation” for failing this one module of training we had to cover in Seoul. That definitely didn’t help to quell my nerves, and made me feel really uneasy about operating in South Korean business culture. To me “on probation” sounds so sinister. WHY ME?! But basically, what probation entails is nothing more than the Seoul trainers re-evaluating a video of me teaching in four weeks. Hopefully no big deal. And hopefully by then, they’ll pass me. If not, I get sent home.


The (not so) Good Earth


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