8/13/2014

Teaching in Korea

It's been 4 years since I came to Seoul, the busy and brilliant capital city of Korea.

I studied Early Childhood Education in University of Georgia and since student teaching in Australia, I couldn't get the thought of teaching abroad out of my mind. I eagerly searched for a job and found a place that I wanted to work in Korea.

Working in Korea introduced me to a whole new side of teaching. I was surrounded by children whose native language was not English. I was first placed in a 4-year-old (Pre-K) class with a group of fifteen ESL students who were in an all-English setting for the first time in their lives. Oh, boy. I was nervous, they were nervous, and the parents were nervous. In fact, classroom management only seemed like it would happen when pigs flew. They had NO idea what I was talking about. I now wonder what went through their little minds. There I was, explaining the rules of the classroom to fifteen 4-year-olds who didn't even know a simple phrase like "Come here." Every day, my patience was tested. I am sure you can imagine what the classroom looked like for the first month. Hahaha.




Thankfully, with the help of other teachers and the Korean staff, I was able to quickly settle in, and in time, I came to enjoy teaching and overcoming the constant obstacles in communication and management. It happened slowly at first, but with experience, determination, patience and the support I was getting, things were changing. I was glued to my computer reading about classroom management whenever I got the chance. I came across an article about Whole Brain Teaching, and that literally changed my life. I'll write more about Whole Brain Teaching in the future, but you can find a lot about it on their website, too. :)

Fast forward to now...

I loved teaching the Pre-K class, but there came an opportunity I couldn't miss: I was offered a job to teach at an English school where I could teach a group of nine kindergartners all subjects, not just English. It was an American-curriculum based school, and our class studied materials that met the first grade common core standards. It was a gifted program, which I was untrained for. I had only ever taught in general classrooms and in an ESL classroom (the first year in Korea). Suddenly, I was assigned to teach ESL students, but they were gifted. When I met the first batch of kids at this school, I felt like I was ready to go on a magic carpet ride.

This is my 3rd year, and I am so much in love with teaching this unique class. They bring challenges and excitement and make my job feel so rewarding. I was swept off my feet by the blogging culture, and I lost myself for hour after hour, searching for the brilliant ideas that others around the world were using.

I have found and used the ideas of so many people all of whom I have only ever met 'online', and I hope one day in the future someone may stumble upon my little blog and do the same. If I ever hear that I have supported even one other teacher in the same way I have enjoyed support, I will be so happy. I will share the things we do in our classroom and school with you, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoy doing them.

I am here in Korea, so it is only appropriate to sign off with a quote by Confucius. He once said, 'Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.' I am sure all of you teachers out there can relate to it :)

If you read up to now, you're almost as patient as I am... ;-)

Thanks for reading!




Until next time!

Tiny Teaching Shack

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