Before I begin, I just want to let my readers know that each ChungDahm location has a different set of rules when it comes to preparing for classes. The reason for this is because different locations teach different courses. Depending on the classes being taught at your location, you may need to prepare a lot of information for your class or you may not. Below I will talk about how I go about preparing for my day of teaching and encourage my fellow teachers to do the same.
I have been teaching in Korea and managing at the Gangdong Branch for over 5 years now and I ask all of my teachers to come about an hour early before the actual class starts. One of the reasons for this is because my branch is a combination of ChungDahm Academy and April Institute. April Institute is for young English learners who are learning the building blocks of English while ChungDahm is more critical thinking based. ChungDahm students typically range from 3rd grade to middle school. Since there are a lot of kids, it means there is a good chance numerous April students will forget their reading or homework books. This can create a log-jam at the copy machines, so by coming in early teachers won’t be fighting or rushing to get things done. Another reason why our branch has been so successful is because the foreign teachers and the Korean staff are in constant communication about our students’ performance. Most foreign teachers do not interact with the parents as that is one of the Korean staff’s primary duties. The more information they can collect on the students, the happier the parents will be which in turn can lead to better retention. Successful teachers realize how important the role of the Korean staff is.
The last reason why I ask my teachers to come early is so that they can prepare for their classes. Many teachers teach the same classes but to different students, so if we are all here and we can bounce ideas off of one another. Many teachers like to prepare at home, but I do not encourage this especially if you are a new teacher to ChungDahm. Your head instructor should be at work before you so I encourage new teachers to take advantage of this and come in early to talk about any issues you may have and possible ways to resolve them.
About Preparing for Class:
Many of the classes have answer and question guides on the ChungDahm teacher website called the FTP. These tutorial guides can help the teacher give focus and direct the class. One thing that ChungDahm prides itself on is its methodology. Even though some of the classes can seem repetitive by nature, there are reasons for that. This instills the English fundamentals in the students so that they can achieve great scores on their TOEFL Jr., iBT, or middle/high school entrance exams. If you didn’t know before coming here, Korea is highly competitive and parents are willing to spend a lot of money for their child to get ahead in their education.
Another thing that makes ChungDahm different from other academies is their use of technology. All ChungDahm students and teachers use Samsung or LG tablets for their in class work. Students also can use these tablets at home to do their homework, watch TED talks, or play one of ChungDahm’s English games. Yeah, our company makes their own tablet/PC games. We realize that technology is going to play a vital role in today’s society so we want our students to be familiarized with it. All of the teacher tablets have the ChungDahm textbook inside and is exactly the same as the one the students' have minus the answers. As a teacher, we can control their textbook. One thing that I do with all of my classes is use ‘Media Cards’. Media cards allow you to add pictures and definitions that you can send to your students instantaneously. This will help students get familiarized with picture and word association. Another one that I use frequently is the short-answer or multiple choice answer cards. This allows students to share their ideas. Some classes can be up to 13-15 students and sometimes you may forget to call on a student. By using these two media cards, this allows the students to still vocalize their thoughts. If you have a shy student, don’t worry because we can randomly assign names to our students so that they won’t be afraid to share their answer.
ChungDahm also allows teachers to use Youtube to help enhance their students’ learning abilities. Another reason why I ask my teachers to come early is so that they can screen videos before showing it to class. I have teachers that find videos that match the day’s topic and time stamp the video for later. ChungDahm also has some suggestions on what videos to watch in class, however some of the speakers in the videos speak too fast, so I recommend slowing down each video and explain what is going on.
ChungDahm also has reading classes (V1) where students must read novels or biographies. I strongly suggest that teachers read these novels and not just the condensed versions online. This will help give students the background information that they need. I have created my own homework and quizzes to make sure that students are trying to keep up with the reading material. Having a notebook full of your class answers and videos that you have watched will really cut down on your prep time in the future. I hope this blog helps future and potential teachers realize that there are many resources that you can take advantage of at ChungDahm to make sure you are prepared for each class.
Marc Gonzales has been living in Seoul working at the ChungDahm's Gangdong Branch for 4 years now. During those 4 years, he worked his way up from being a teacher and is now a faculty manager for that location. He majored in Finance and Marketing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while working as a manager for a national bank. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking the numerous mountains around Seoul and biking along the massive Han River. To know more about him and his adventures living in Korea, follow Marc on Twitter @geonmakku and on Instagram @geonmakku.