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Personal Teaching Experience in South Korea

Personal Teaching Experience in South Korea | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I have taught English before in an English tutoring institute in Korea on two separate occasions. I am American but I grew up in South Korea. For extra money, I started teaching English for the first time at age 19. I taught very young children, from age 4 to age 7. It was extremely difficult because there were probably about 20 students and at those ages’ children have such different mental capacities. Therefore, teaching was almost impossible as the older children picked up everything very quickly and would become bored and loud, while the younger children would be too scared to talk and practice anything. It felt much more like a daycare than any English class.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Michael A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Relationship with the school staff

When I talked to the boss about how the class needed to be broken up, he would not listen because he did not want to pay for another teacher. I tried personally to break the class up and give them different assignments more appropriate to their levels, however, I found without constant supervision one of the two groups would get very loud and rambunctious. This environment led to two of the students getting into a scuffle over one of them stealing the other pencil. I again pleaded to break up the class but with no avail, so after a couple of months more of it, I was so fed up that I quit.

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Second try

I would go back to teaching again at the age of 25, but this time I enjoyed myself. I was given a class of 15 students with an age range from 8 to 13. They were an existing group of children, so it was nice since they were comfortable with each other and were quick to participate and engage with one another. For the first couple of months, I taught a class in a standard classroom setting, where I would teach these students English with an emphasis on sports topics since all the children in my class were high-level athletes for their age. After a bit of management found out I played sports competitively at a high level when I was younger and funded me to take the students to different sporting venues each week, instead of meeting in a classroom. One class would be spent at the driving range, while another at the batting cages, or on the soccer field, etc. The class was one and a half hours long; the first 30 minutes were for engaging and studying sessions. I would have premade worksheets about the sport we were going to play and vocabulary activities. The next 45 minutes were used to play the sport of the day, the students tried and were encouraged to use as much free speech as possible amongst themselves. This was my favorite part because the students would take off and run with it, talking and correcting each other nonstop for the most part. They enjoyed learning together and lifting one another. The last 15 minutes of the class were used to give the students a drink and a snack while reviewing one last time the vocabulary learned that day as well as give the students a homework assignment on the following week's sport so they will come prepared with some understanding and vocabulary to the next lesson.

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Teaching the last class left such a fond impression on me that when I found out I could teach again online I just had to jump at the chance. While no one is guaranteed a great set of students, with a bit of effort and patience a good teacher can make a positive impact on someone and that’s is what it is all about.

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