I arrived in Seoul a few days before training in February, so I could explore the city without the stress of training. It was so cold, I ended up staying in my hotel and enjoying the convenience of delivery services provided throughout Seoul. I received my training schedule during this time, so I was able to familiarize myself with the map and metro system prior to Day 1 of training. I was also able to complete the “pre-training” course online which you must complete and pass in order to successfully complete the training week.
Day 1 of Training:
The medical exam was the first order of business. The whole process was super efficient, and we had time to grab breakfast at one of the many nearby coffee shops prior to being picked up and shuttled to the training center for our 10:00 am session.
We arrived and met our trainer who introduced herself and handed out tablets and program guides for the lesson we would be immersed in for the duration of the week. After introductions, she immediately began mock teaching the first half of the lesson. Next, we took a five minute break and went back into the training session to mock teach what we had just learned. It was weird practicing teaching English to native English speakers and teachers. But we each received individualized feedback on the spot and found out exactly what to work on to improve our teaching skills.
At noon, we did a general orientation where HR managers spoke in detail about Chungdahm and the many opportunities for growth which are available within the organization. Thirty minutes later, we went to lunch at a Japanese Katsu restaurant around the corner.
An hour later, my training group returned to the training center to practice mock teaching. HR managers walked around and popped into study sessions to see if we had any questions and to provide supplemental feedback to better our presentations.
Days 2 - 4 of Training:
I met up with my fellow trainees in the lobby of our hotel at 7:15am, so we could walk to the train station and begin our commute to the training center. We traveled by train and then transferred to the bus which dropped us off right at the training building. The commute took about 30 minutes, and we had time to quickly practice what we did on the previous day.
For the first hour of training, we mock taught what we learned in the previous session. Our trainer consistently provided time for self-reflection, and the training group offered concrete feedback and suggestions for improvement. Following this, our trainer would model the next portion of the lesson. We fervently took notes, and then practiced what we observed. By noon, we grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants in the neighborhood. Next, we returned to the training center and practiced mock teaching each section of the lesson in preparation for Day 5.
Day 5 of Training:
After a long week of studying the methodology, mock teaching at the training center, and then mock teaching in our hotel rooms, we went into the final day of training prepared to execute the entire lesson. After mock teaching different portions of the lesson, our trainers submitted their Pass/Fail recommendations for each trainee. After about ten minutes, one of the training managers announced that we all passed training! We were all excited to be official Chungdahm Instructors! Finally, I was off to my branch to observe a full workday and then attend the staff dinner to be formally welcomed to the team as their new CDI/April instructor!
Christine Singh has been living in Seoul for six months. She is currently teaching at the Gangdong campus. She tutored ESL students through a neighborhood program called Centronia in Washington, D.C. while studying English at Howard University. After teaching in Baltimore City, she decided to move to Korea to gain a new perspective on teaching. To engage with Christine, follow her on instagram @livinlavidapoka.