As part of the ‘Teaching In’ series, I asked a few people from different cities and levels of schools to share their view on what they’re experience is like teaching. Sheneice got back to me with her views as a first time teacher. Have a read of her first three months in Korea.
Tell us a little about yourself and what brought you to Korea. (Anything from what you studied, to what your interests are in general).
Hello, my name is Sheneice, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I graduated from York University in June with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, I have always wanted to work in a profession that would allow me to help other better themselves. I chose to come to South Korea to teach because the benefits are awesome, I was told by friends that I would be able to save a lot of money due to the low cost of living here. I also wanted to explore another country and experience the culture.
“Congratulations! You’ve been placed in an elementary school!” What were your first thoughts when you saw that placement certificate at the EPIK orientation?
Initially I wanted middle school, however, I was still pretty excited about working in elementary. I just thought of how cute the kids would be!
Now you’ve been teaching in your elementary school for a little while, do you like teaching elementary schoolers? What is an average day like? Had any Korean surprises yet? How do you respond to changes in your day?
I’ve been teaching in my elementary school for 3 months now and I really enjoy teaching there. My co-teachers and the kids were very welcoming and I love them. The kids are really energetic and very sweet, although there are a couple bad apples. I teach grades 3-5 and I teach about 5 classes a day, therefore, my days can go from being kind of calm to being just out of control. However, it also depends on the class some classes are more attentive and motivated to learn and others could care less.
My co-teachers are pretty good with letting me know when there are changes in my day, however, I have had a couple close calls. There was the morning I walked into school on sports day and couldn’t find any of my co-teachers. The office was locked and I was so confused, eventually I did find one of my co-teachers and she let me know they had come in early to help set up. They didn’t really have a plan for me that day, I got to hang out and watch the kids play games.
If you’ve never taught before, what’s teaching like for you as a newbie? Have you found teaching a struggle or a breeze? Do you have lots of support?
This is my first time teaching and at first I was really nervous! However, I was blessed with very good co-teachers who are usually open to my suggestions and like to actually co-teach with me. They don’t leave me on my own but they also don’t just take over the class. Overall teaching hasn’t been too hard for me I’m enjoying the experience, the kids are great.
Any advice you’d like to give people interested in teaching in Korea – especially those falling into elementary school level. Any things you would have liked to have known before you landed in elementary school?
I would say just have an open mind and a lot of patience! Coming to Korea I was very impatient and I’m not a saint now, however, I can definitely say I can feel myself growing and becoming more patient as the days go on. Your co-teachers will annoy you and so will the kids but just keep pushing through because you’ll have more good days than bad for sure. Enjoy the experience because you’ll learn just as much as you teach, this is a great learning experience.