A year ago, I posted “Life as an English Teacher to Korean Students” and I guess it’s time to post a second part for such an interesting series. Right?
For some time in 2012, after graduating from college and coming back from Vietnam, I taught English to Koreans living in Metro Manila, mostly in Makati. It was quite a job since I had to go to their house (wherever that is but fortunately located in good and accessible areas) and teach for an hour or two. The question of why I did not work for a company or find a more stable job at that time given that I am a college graduate nagged me for sometime coming from friends and family members. I couldn’t give a sufficient explanation to satisfy my family’s worry, or for some others, just their mere curiosity, because all I had looking back was my desire to immerse myself in the Korean culture, learn more about anything Korean! Working as a teacher to Koreans is very, VERY far from my degree but you see, I was that passionate for the language and culture of Korea at that time.
In 2013, I went back to my hometown and their I got employed in a Korean school where I primarily taught high school Economics.
May it be one-on-one, house-to-house English teaching or class teaching to Koreans, it is fun but is also very challenging!
- The Time and Transportation – Koreans are very particular and strict with time and having to go to their house with the transportation jungle of the Philippines could be very challenging. I experienced this 3 years ago when the traffic, MRT-LRT lanes are much tolerable. So to those who are in this business of teaching Koreans nowadays, I salute you!
- The Subjects to be taught in English to a beginner Student – Sometimes, teaching Koreans may require knowing how to speak and understand Korean, too! For the younger ones, their parents usually requires more than 2 hours of study on several subjects at school. It’s really difficult to explain Economics to a student who barely understands English. I was so glad I self-studied Korean and freed myself from quite a lot of headache. Indeed, there was a reason for the passion!
- Rude Remarks – My high school students in a Korean school were really challenging (but of course, I love them). When it comes to class, some of my Korean students won’t participate and won’t even say a single word the entire hour no matter how hard you try! But you need to continue and teach. Some are also rude and inconsiderate, but then again, you have to stay calm and kind but also being firm in your authority as a teacher. Once you get to their heart, I can guarantee you’ll have a fun and memorable times with them just as I did!
- Wearing different hats at the same time – In relation to #3, as a teacher, I had to deal not just their academics but even their personal lives. I had to be a teacher, a counselor and a friend. Maybe they were what I described in #3 because there is something else going on, especially in the case of my students who I understand a lot because they are living far away from home.
I believe there are a lot more challenges which I may have forgotten for it has been quite a long time since I taught Koreans (I’m now in a totally different career direction haha) and I would like to hear from your own experience, too! What are the challenges you faced?