How to Make Your EPIK Job AWESOME! #1 – Use and Learn Korean Manners

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This is my 3rd year of teaching public school – at the same school! I’ve loved my school from Day 1 and I feel so so so amazingly lucky to work here. You hear horror stories about public schools too, not just hagwons, so I basically won the Korean job lottery! Working at the same school has also given me the opportunity to observe and learn a lot more about the way Korean schools are run. Now that I’ve been at this school longer than many of my coworkers, I’ve also been able to compare how teachers treated me in my first year when I had no idea what I was doing, to now, as someone that can converse with them in Korean or English and adheres to Korean manners. This makes new teachers feel comfortable around me, and they see me as another respected staff member and not just “the foreigner”. This is so important in how you feel about your job and your time spent in Korea. I know it has made all the difference to me. I wanted to use these videos to share a few tips I feel contribute to my job being awesome. My hope is that this knowledge can help you have a great experience too!

Bowing and Greetings

One of the first things new teachers notice when they begin working at public schools is the amount of bowing and greetings that can be seen and heard throughout the hallways. Yes, you are not mistaken, teachers and staff bow and greet each other with a standard 안녕하세요 every time they see each other. And you should too! Some teachers may give you a nervous look at first because they’re not sure how, or if they should greet you in English or Korean, but if you offer up a friendly 안녕하세요 to them first I promise it will bring a smile to their face! :)

Using two Hands

Also along the same lines, when interacting with your coteacher or anyone else, use two hands when passing them something, and put one hand on your elbow or chest. Both of these things may need to go without saying for some of you, but you’d be surprised (as was I) with how many foreigners here do not try to follow Korean manners despite working in a Korean environment. You may read on online forums or hear other foreigners say things like “I’m here to teach English and I am American/Canadian/etc, I’m not here to act like I’m Korean.” I certainly have heard that a lot which is one of the reasons why I’m making this blog post. Truthfully, I think people that say that are lazy and/or stubborn!

No reason not to

Greeting and bowing and using Korean manners is completely natural to me now, and I can’t count how many compliments I’ve gotten from my coworkers about how polite I am, and how much they appreciate and respect me for it. These things are so, so, so, easy to do, and they go a long way in establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your coworkers and your school. There’s no good reason not to do them!

The post How to Make Your EPIK Job AWESOME! #1 – Use and Learn Korean Manners appeared first on Evan and Rachel.




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