I asked another friend, Chenice to share her experience teaching in South Korea so far. As a new teacher, her experience was one I really wanted to capture because both Puleng and I have had previous teaching experience. So without further ado, here is part three of the series ‘Teaching in Middle School’ from Chenice’s perspective.
“Congratulations! You’ve been placed in a middle school!” So really, what were your first thoughts when you saw that placement certificate at the EPIK orientation?
1). I received my email the day after I came back from being on holiday. I immediately emailed them because I though they sent the email to the wrong person. It was so surreal I was not expecting to be accepted in because there was a problem with my letter of recommendation and I had yet to rectify the problem. After waiting for a reply (time difference and all that)to confirm that I was accepted I thought it best not to share they news in case I then had to tell everyone “oh wait false alarm I’m not going anywhere.” It was finally confirmed and my thought were oh crap I’m going to Korea what will happen to my hair.
Now you’ve been teaching in your middle school for a little while, do you like teaching middle schoolers? What is an average day like? Had any Korean surprises yet? How do you respond to changes in your day?
2)My days here are very repetitive, but that doesn’t mean that they are boring. I wake up,I contemplate how bad I need this job, I get ready in my Harry Potter sized room and I head to work. I teach the same lesson sometimes 8x a week to students of all different level. It’s hard work but it is not the hardest job I have ever had. The kids are relatively well behaved when compared to their western peers. With that being said kids are kids, some kids are the cats pajamas while other kids are milk carton material. I teach in an all girls middle school so they are at the age where looks, attitude, and boys they will never meet mean more to them than their own mothers. At the end of the day its not all fun and its not all terrible its just takes some getting used to. As for Korean surprise I get a new surprise almost everyday to the point its no longer Korean surprise it’s Korean norm.
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?
4) I am a complete noob when it comes to teaching but I find it both difficult and a breeze. I have three amazing co-teachers…and one ass, and an entire community of EPIK teacher so the support system in amazing. I know I will get better as time goes on but as for now I can only learn from my many mistakes and just take all the advice I have from students and teachers and put it towards improving my lesson. The more your students learn the easier teaching will become.