Managers in any job have one main purpose: to be the absorbing sponge between two hard materials. They are like the spine of the corporate system: bridging the brain with the rest of the body to work with ease and efficiency. However, it is not an easy job balancing the needs of the teaching staff along with the wants from the higher ups. So, having had both good and bad managers, I would like to tell you about one of my best experiences with management at Chungdahm.
Leading Through Action
It was the beginning of my second contract at Chungdahm. I had just come back from a six-month vacation, so I was feeling a bit rusty after such a long hiatus and was lacking confidence. However, my new manager, John, quickly reassured me of my abilities as a teacher.
John started out the training week by having us watch his own class. We were told to take notes and provide him with feedback afterwards. He was a great teacher and had a ton of new strategies for classroom management.
First, he had the classroom set up for the exact number of students and maintained a seating chart for each class. He had created it keeping in mind that the students were at the academy first to learn and second to have fun. It was only after the students were able to be managed properly that the class could be enjoyable for both the teacher and the students. So, he placed the students where they would be able to focus the most and not distract each other.
Second, he had a way with the students that made them respond. He would have the students continuously raise their hands. He would praise the students who did and force the students who didn’t to raise their hands anyways. He did this by simply waiting and repeating that he didn’t see enough hands up. It could be seen as a bit tedious. However, his methods were very effective in engaging all of the students.
Afterwards, when we discussed what happened, he was very open about discussing the different strategies he employed, but more importantly he explained the reasoning. Once these rules and ideas were neatly placed inside my mind; I could bend my teaching ability to match these concepts.
Then came the practice teaching which is called mock teaching. He gave us time to prepare the material on our own and come together afterwards to present. The two new teachers were still struggling a bit because it is a lot to learn, but he was very helpful and patient with them. He stopped the presenter after each page of the lesson and discussed, not commanded, what could be better. The best part was that he asked for my opinions. This trust in my past experience really gave me a boost of confidence. This strategy really helped the new teachers improve quickly, but it also helped me to find new ways to improve.
Now being here for three years, I am quite grateful of the experience I had with that manager. My life as a teacher wouldn’t be the same. He really changed my perspective, and I know that this helped me as a teacher. The experience will also continue to help me in the future.
Neil Frazer has been teaching with Chungdahm for a little over three years. He comes from a small town in Wisconsin, named Spooner and graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor's of Social Work. After traveling to Korea in college he quickly fell in love the culture, food, and quality of life that Korea has to offer and immediately knew he wanted to come back. He looks forward to sharing his experiences of living in Korea and working at the Pyeongchon branch, near Seoul.