I initially chose Chungdahm Learning, because I could foresee a future where I could professionally and personally grow. Now, looking back on my 4-year journey with the company, I can say that they met all my expectations and offered opportunities beyond what I thought I could experience.
A lot of foreigners worry about their job prospects post-ESL teaching and how being an ESL teacher for 2-3 years would look on their resume. This is why, I always say it is important to choose a company in Korea that you can grow with so, that you have strong references and are constantly being challenged to grow in different ways. It is important, no matter what you do, to never be stagnant while living abroad and take every opportunity to mold your resume with new skills and insight.
Travelling does not have to be the end of your career, it's what you make of your time abroad.
Chungdahm Learning is a company that has endless opportunities for growth. There are many different positions in the company such as instructor, senior instructors and team managers. Also, if you are an F4 visa holder you could work for HQ, Faculty HR and the Curriculum teams. The company is constantly holding events to get their instructors involved in Project Based Learning development, debate competitions and the Goi Peace writing competition. A lot of these events are international and can look good on your resume.
I guess the most important thing is: attitude. My advice to new instructors is get hungry, be open to growing, and offer your assistance. This will get you noticed by the company and possibly lead you on a path to professional and personal development.
I started working for the company in 2014 as an instructor. At that time, I tried to seek ways that I could utilize my skills and boost my resume. I was fortunate enough to land a marketing assistant job with Aclipse (Chungdahm's exclusive recruiting firm), which helped me utilize my social media and journalism skills. I also approached my FM (Faculty Manager) at the time to see if there were any other opportunities I could be a part of, while living and teaching in Korea.
I was offered at the end of 2014 a part time position to be a photography instructor for CDL instructors who were interested in signing up for photography classes and I also worked as a part of HQ's TFT team (Task Force Team) - meeting weekly to discuss material and textbooks for smart learning classrooms. I was lucky enough to be a part of a community of other skilled instructors who had different kinds of knowledge to share.
I went on to be a Senior instructor in 2015 and was promoted to Team Manager in 2016. As a Team Manager I gained a lot of skills related to education and business management, and was later that year asked to report on the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. The WKF is Asia's biggest political and science conference. It was such an exciting event to be involved in, and I got to write live articles for Korean newspapers and online media.
In 2017 and 2018 I blossomed as a manager, managing a branch alongside my team members. I learned so many skills that I would not have otherwise acquired without the opportunities that CDL had offered me. Team Managers at branches are responsible for the smooth running of the branch and the instructors. The role involves endless opportunities for development such as hosting workshops, organizing events, scheduling and rescheduling, hiring and training, mediating between the Korean staff and the instructors, and dealing with complaints and teacher appraisal systems.
Teaching is the kind of job that 'teaches' you a lot about yourself. It is impossible to become a teacher and not grow in some way, since dealing with children can be both rewarding and difficult.
Working for Chungdahm Learning as an instructor you are constantly under a microscope, since your FM/TM review your CCTV recordings often. In my opinion, this is fantastic! It allows those who are willing to accept criticism as well as praise to reflect on their performance and blossom into an even better version of themselves. I have grown more accepting and open minded, understanding the classroom in a new way that makes me calm and attentive at all times.
CDL is a school and a business. After teaching at a few schools before, I preferred the professional attitude that the company expects from all of their employees. It is not a place to chill, but to perform and subsequently enjoy. In this sense, I learned how to become better at sales by selling my product to students and parents. Also, I learned how to dress professionally and show up on time and be 100% prepped and prepared for class. I think these kind of skills are vitally important for any job you seek beyond the ESL world and can be translated anywhere.
As a manager, I learned how to deal with various personalities and accept people for who they are. I tried to embrace the idea that every teacher is different and that you learn from others but by also trial and error in the classroom. It was wonderful to give back what I had gained from being an instructor and share that knowledge with my team members.
More importantly, I learned how to give back and help promote employees who are hungry to succeed. I most recently trained an instructor to become a Team Manager and helped other instructors get involved in PBL development, opportunities in Vietnam, and working at the CDL training center.
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!