ChungDahm calendars are divided into 4 semesters. There are Summer, Spring, Winter and Fall semesters that generally consist of 13 weeks. During these semesters plenty of things are going on, such as Winter and Summer Intensive schedules. Semesters come and go pretty quickly, and before you know it the end of the term has arrived and you should be mentally preparing yourself for the next semester. Unlike most school terms, ChungDahm does not have breaks in-between semesters, so for any ChungDahm teacher the beginning of each new semester is stressful and fast-paced. You have to adjust to a winding down environment and then to a brand new starting environment. It takes a lot of mental preparation and classroom prepping to become accustomed to this environment.
The things that consistently change every semester are student lists and the classes that you will teach. Most ChungDahm academies switch around classes that they are offering so that students do not become bored with the same material. The students that you teach every 13 weeks can consist of old and new faces. It depends on the levels you’re assigned and the class type your academy is teaching for those 13 weeks. Other changes include: schedules, weekly hours, team leaders, team groups, and classroom allocation.
How to prepare for the new semester:
Every semester you are going to get new students and sometimes you will get 15 new students all at once. Seating charts and seat allocation is a great way to remember student names. Within the first 3 weeks if you make use of your seating chart, you should have every students name down to a tee. Seat allocation also helps with cold calling. If certain students are undisciplined or are being rowdy, the quickest way to get their attention is to call our their name loudly. Getting to know your students names is vital to maintaining a regulated classroom environment that suits the teacher and the students.
Group Allocation and Rewards
Assigning students to groups with team captains regulates student management and keeps classroom discipline in check. Korean students are highly competitive and look forward to competing against one another when there is an end reward in sight. Offering a set of rules that work off a reward system can be very helpful to any new teacher who would need students to be more motivated and kept under-control. For example, using homework checks and weekly review test scores to add up group points could get students to do tasks more efficiently and effectively. Same goes for students who are not behaving well, a point system in a group environment allows the other students to micro-manage student management. Also, remember to be fair and keep up the reward system in a clear and defined way.
Being prepared for your first week as a teacher is vitally important. Students gain respect for their teachers within the first few lessons, and for Korean students it is very important to know what you are talking about and to come across as knowledgeable and well prepared. Thinking of ways to spice up your lesson and classroom, goes a long way with the students. It is important to keep in mind that they have been sitting in school since 8 a.m. that morning so try to remember this when they enter your ChungDahm classroom. Some good ideas for week one would be to play ice-breakers, or share something interesting about yourself, and have some funny videos on hand to show before the end of class.
Classroom rules are vitally important to student management. On day one of week one it is vitally important that you let every student know your classroom rules and what you expect of each and every student. It is even more important to carry out these rules when necessary and to not budge on anything that you said is a ‘classroom rule’. Students pick up on a teachers attentiveness and fairness. It is never easy to come across as the mean teacher but you will be more respected if you come across as the ‘fair’ teacher. Your life will become a lot easier if you can stamp down the classroom rules before week four of the semester arrives. Being consistent and fair is vital.
Team leaders and team groups
Every semester you will be allocated a team leader and a team group. Team groups will be mixed up, and generally shifted around from semester to semester. Be ready to adjust to your new team leaders style and try really hard to respect their different approaches in teaching. It is never easy to be criticized or take advice from someone you may not even know, but remember that they have more experience than you and generally want to help you in whatever way they can. Also, being in a new group offers teachers opportunities to learn from each other’s styles and possibly make new connections and friends. Embrace your team members and be respectful of their teaching styles and be open to learning new techniques and practices.
It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people. After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information on teaching in Korea!