Always Something New

  • Macy McLaughlin

My Job as a Teacher in South Korea

Updated: Mar 7, 2019

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” ― Phil Collins

My job as an English teacher in South Korea is by far the best job I’ve ever had. I have a great schedule, great coworkers, and wonderful students. As the weeks go on, I am more and more sure that teaching is my calling in life.

All teaching schedules in South Korea are different. Some people work during the day, and others in the evening. My schedule is 2:20 PM - 8:55 PM on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's only 2:20 PM - 7:40 PM. My school is a small private school, so students will come for two English classes after their regular public school hours. Each student has a class with one of the foreign teachers (me), and one with their Korean teacher.

I have 5-7 classes every day, depending on if it's my long day or short day. The classes are 40 minutes long with 5-10 minute breaks in between and one prep period. My first couple classes of the day are level 1 classes, so my students are about 7-9 years old and know very little English. These students just started at the beginning of January, so I am currently only working on teaching them the alphabet. I have them write lines of letters in their notebooks, and then we play a couple of different games to help them learn how to sight read and learn small words. Their favorite game to play in class is Uno which I use as a tool to teach them numbers, colors, and phrases like, “my turn” or “your turn.”

My level 3 class has seven students that are about 9-10 years old. Every month they have a different small storybook that they learn and memorize. My job is mostly to read the book with them to make sure they are pronouncing words correctly. Their Korean teacher teaches them grammar and translation in their other class. I also show them how to answer a few content related questions that they have to answer correctly on their level test each month. For the second half of the class we play games to help them learn English. Every day we play a different game that is usually some sort of memory game, brainstorming game, etc.

My level 6 class has nine students who are about 12 years old and every day I have to read a passage from a textbook with them. I mostly work on pronunciation with them, and their Korean teacher does the rest. We also spend the last half of class playing games similar to level 3 games, sometimes a bit more challenging.

My other three classes are middle school classes. Once again, I mostly read through their material with them to make sure they are pronunciating words correctly.

I love being a teacher because working with kids is so fun and rewarding. Teaching the kids useful life skills and watching them grow and learn is so exciting. While managing a classroom full of children is often a lot of work and energy, it is so worth it.

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