Interview with an English Teacher in Korea
So, The first interview with an English teacher in Korea who taught at Songjeong Middle School in Gwangju as part of the Epik Program.
After sitting doing for a quick interview with Mr. Eugene Bible, who to his students that he taught for 1 year goes by the affectionately given nickname “Eugene Teacher”.
What it is like to work as a teacher in Korea?
The First thing about working in Korea as a teacher is that it all depends where you are placed. It can either be in the city or countryside. And you have no knowledge of the English level in the area.
My position was called Native Speaking English Teacher (NSET). Placed on the outskirts of Gwangju, so the level of english in the
area was lower than the national average. But as for expectations, I had none going into the job. Instead I went in with a flexible mindset. Cause some Schools are rigid about the coursework and want you to follow the textbook word for word, while other schools give you a non defined role and then throw you in the deep end. Each person has a different approach to work, so both ways have their positives and negatives.
Level of English used by students in the class can vary wildly. Some Students are extremely enthusiastic. Then on the other side of the spectrum, You have the students who have difficulty with English so they prefer to sleep or just give up. Be flexible for anything that can happen.
What is the Daily Classroom Like?
In general, Teachers work 20-22hrs per week in normal cases. 4-5hrs per day. Rest of the time is spent deskwarming really. Not allowed to leave school when free or have no class. Must stay on school grounds. Gives you lots of time to plan for lessons or indulge in other activities while at your desk.
Positives Of Working in a Public School in Korea?
- Not as rigid or strict as a Hagwon
- Not money orientated
- Money is decent
- Work is not super stressful
- Air fare is paid and Housing is also provided
- Approx 4 weeks Vacation
Negatives of Working in a Public School?
- Last minute surpises such as schedule changes
- Can feel isolated at times i.e, Language barrier
- In some Schools little to no feedback regarding performance
- Lots of deskwarming
- Camps during Vacation ( Can be inflexible due to lots of planning by the School)
- Depending on size of School, Impact upon a student’s eduaction can be minimal, which can be disheartening.
Any last words to impart?
Be a model for the students. Make english less scary for them. Be a Mascot for english.
At the end of the day, If I can get a few of my students to use english a little more day by day,I consider my day a success.