Learning a new skill, like teaching, and moving to a new county can be rather intimidating! Once you complete your training week at Chungdahm Learning, you are shipped off to a whole new life and job. All of a sudden you are on your own and expected to teach a class full of eager and excited young learners. However, new teachers don’t realize that there are plenty of veteran teachers at their branch, who have already gone through everything they are experiencing and possibly have three to six years of teaching knowledge. These teachers at CDL are known as Veteran teachers and if you are lucky they might be ready to help you out and be more than happy to share their wisdom and expertise.
At CDL, teachers are ranked according to how long they have worked at the company and how many years they have been teaching. A veteran teacher usually has a high CCTV score because, of a great class quality and an outstanding student management. At Chungdahm Learning teachers are graded according to how well they perform in class. This is effectively managed by watching their classroom CCTV’s and inputting grades for learning and student management. The best Veterans are known as "all-star" teachers and they are the best to seek for help on overall classroom management. For example, I am considered a “Veteran” now, because I have gotten used to the company's methodologies and have 6 years of teaching experience.
New teachers usually struggle a lot with student management and are not sure how to setup classroom rules and discipline students. Also, Veteran teachers can offer a lot of advice on how to make classes more creative and energetic, while dealing with student issues carefully and efficiently. Here are the top 3 things you could learn from Veteran teachers, and how it can effectively change your teaching experience in Korea.
1. Student Management vs. Learning Management
Getting the knack of student management is vitally important for a successful learning environment. Without a balance between student and learning management, a classroom cannot effectively run and the students will present many unforeseen issues during class time. A Veteran teacher is someone who has experience in creating this balance and who can also offer great insight into how to manage the two well.
New teachers can seek advice from Veteran teachers for ideas on how to enforce discipline and rules in the classroom without coming across as a militant teacher. New teachers' biggest classroom problems are trying to be friends with students instead of establishing respect. As new teachers we forget that students look to us as the authoritative figure, so being the adult in the classroom is something that first year teachers find hard to grasp.
Also, Veteran teachers can offer ideas on how to make your classroom energetic and fun by keeping up a good pace and having the students engaged with the material. Any experienced teacher knows that being creative in the classroom and keeping an open mind is vitally important to the learning process as a whole. Teachers who can entertain their students so much that they are engaged and want to learn the material, is a teacher who has a knack for understanding the minds of children. Essentially a great teacher is an educated entertainer, that not only teaches the material but, is also compassionate and passionate about the material they are teaching. With this learned passion, the kids will follow the teachers passion and mimic a great classroom atmosphere and enjoyment.
2. Retention and Understanding Korean Students
Something that people don’t learn about in their first few weeks of teaching in Korea for Chungdahm, is the importance of student retention. Essentially, like any Hagwon in Korea, CDL is a business and retaining student numbers is vital for the academy to function efficiently and have an outstanding reputation.
Veteran teachers are aware of the importance of retention and can help new teachers understand the significance of it and how to retain student numbers in their classroom. This is of course directly linked to student management and learning management, but it is really about perfecting the art of keeping your kids happy in your classroom. Of course issues do arise throughout the semester, and Veteran teachers can help manage these issues together with you, so that your retention stays within good numbers. For example, a simple idea such as a sticker chart or badge creation could change the whole game in your classroom and students who did not participate before will be begging you for points and doing their homework for stickers!
You can speak about retention without also speaking about understanding of Korean students. The two go hand-in-hand. A teacher who does not grasp the differences in culture and immerses themselves into a Korean way-of-thinking, will struggle to discipline and gain the respect of the classroom. Understanding Korean students is probably one of the most important skills to gain while becoming a first year teacher. This area is where teachers lose their students the most and it could be avoided if new teachers knew how to handle Korean students.
Veteran teachers who have lived in Korea for a number of years, would have more than likely immersed themselves into Korean culture in some way. Within their classrooms they have had their fair share of failure and successes and understand what works and what doesn’t in a Korean classroom. New teachers should seek help from Veteran instructors and ask them what sources and materials to use to learn more about what topics to become knowledgeable in and how to incorporate them in the classroom.
3. Creativity and Classroom Energy
Veteran teachers have a number of tricks up their sleeves! Essentially they have been teaching for much longer than new teachers have and as a result they have tried everything from games, sticker charts, video showing and creative projects. An experienced teacher who has a successful classroom where students are engaged and are retained, means that this teacher has learning management down, and the kids love their classroom and respect their teacher!
It is highly recommended that you bounce ideas off other teachers who have more experience than you, and ask them how to make your classroom energetic and a place where kids want to come! Don’t be shy to approach Veteran teachers as they are usually be more than willing to help. In my experience, most all-star Veteran teachers cannot wait to share their ideas on how to better your classroom and usually are willing to help out any way they can.
Keep in mind that teaching has no limits and any wise teacher who has been teaching for a number of years would agree a teacher never stops learning. We are in a trade where we constantly have to learn and be open-minded to studying new techniques and brushing up on fun ways to engage with our kids. Veteran teachers who constantly look for new ideas and tackle issues with constructive efforts are usually running some of the best classes in the company.
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!