Often I get asked the question what skills did I gain by teaching in Korea. The answer could be complex depending on an individual’s unique circumstances. It depends on how one makes the most of their time spent living and working in Korea, and how one utilizes their free time accordingly to enhance their lives in various ways. In this blog I will write about the top skills I have gained during my time teaching abroad and will prove to be valuable as I continue to grow professionally.
On the other hand, there are specific skills that an instructor can gain from working at Chungdahm Learning. CDL is one of the most prestigious academies in Northern Asia, even extending to South East Asia and Japan. The company has a reputation for choosing, on average, the best of the best instructors who are competitive and driven.
At Chungdahm Learning you are expected to gain a specific skill set as you reach tenure and this is assessed frequently by Headquarters and Management. The company prides itself in training and re-training their English instructors to make sure that the standard of teaching is the same quality throughout the company. Branches even hold competitions nationwide to reward their star teachers.
I have been working for CDL for 3 years and have transitioned into Management at my branch. The reason I like working for the company is that I have not remained stagnant in my career but, rather with a little hunger and determination I could cease an opportunity that suits my path. I also have had countless opportunities to do other things at the company like lecture photography classes, host debate competitions and report at the World Knowledge Forum last year. In my spare time I study Korean and have recently started studying German full-time. I also am an avid blogger and I have my own photography website. Below I go into further detail about the five skills that you will obtain by working for ChungDahm and will help you in the future no matter what career path you choose.
1. Public Speaking
Teaching at CDL is a show. You come in every day and essentially entertain students by teaching them information in an interesting and engaging way. Essentially working at an academy in Korea, you are the face of the company - a sales person. As a teacher you have to ensure all the students are learning effectively and that they are happy with the quality of our education.
Once you get comfortable teaching in-front of hundreds of student weekly, your confidence sky-rockets and you never fear public speaking again. At CDL our students rotate every 13 weeks, so instructors are repeatedly introducing themselves over and over again. It becomes natural once you have done it many times, and your public awareness shies away.
2. Ability to Adapt
Teaching in an ESL environment can be challenging. There arises many situations where something you prepared for class is not well received or understood by the students. Learning to be adaptive is one of the most important skills you will learn as an instructor at CDL. What works in some cultures does not work in others, and a great teacher will know how to adjust as they reach these problems in their classrooms.
Also, when living in another culture there are often times when you have to adjust your thinking or the way you do things. Living in Korea can be challenging for individuals who have never travelled abroad before. As an instructor, your utmost survival depends on how well you are willing to bend and change your ways to fit into a new society and way of life. This is a skill which will make you desirable by any big corporation in the future.
3. Smart Classroom Skills
Smart classrooms are evolving around the world. Korea is one of the forerunners in technology – having the fastest internet in the world. Thus teaching in a smart classroom environment can be a whole new skill set within itself. Most first world countries are only catching up with the idea of a smart classroom now, but Asia has been doing it for years already. You will be one of the few people in the world who have had the opportunity to run a fully functional smart classroom.
You will learn new ways of grading, inputting scores, digital classroom tricks that not many teaching jobs can offer such an experience in. The efficiency and effectiveness of the Smart class room environment will wow you, and also show you avenues of education you may not have imagined before.
At Chungdahm Learning you will learn how to communicate on so many different levels. Every day you work with Korean staff and foreigners from all over the world, this will present different cultural challenges and misunderstandings. Learning how to communicate with other people and also understand their point of view, is a very unique skill that is difficult to acquire back home. You might even become more sociable and find yourself developing great people skills as well.
There is also the element of management and criticism. Experienced veteran managers will watch your classes and give you feedback on them. It is hard to hear critiques about yourself or things you are not aware of. However, this is the nature of the company and once you get used to it you will find yourself growing in so many ways. It is important to remain open minded and accept the critiques by effectively communicating how you feel as well.
5. Time Management
Most teaching jobs are all about time management. However, in a Korean Hagwon time management means everything. Koreans are obsessed with time and they care a lot about instructors delivering all the class materials to the students in the allocated 3 hours that we teach. Three hours may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t.
You will learn how to manage time like a master; making sure to hit certain components at particular times, so that you can get through all the necessary class material. Also, you are responsible for logging into class on time and making sure that at busy times of the semester you manage all the tasks you need to complete. Like inputting grades and writing report cards.
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 [email protected] to request more information on teaching in Korea!