Coming from University, more than four years ago now, I kept coming to the question of what is my purpose and why am I here. I felt lost and many of my college friends felt the same. There was always a big question mark after graduation and I kept asking myself "What should I do next?". With having limitless possibilities in life, it makes the choices feel impossible to achieve. Life is so big, and you only get to make these big decisions once. Before making this big life decision about what I wanted to commit myself to professionally, I wanted to explore the world and continue to find more about myself from a personal standpoint. Coming to South Korea, I know that I have achieved all of these aspirations and more, and I now have the confidence that nothing is impossible. In this blog I want to let you know how my time teaching in Korea has allowed me to not only gain professional skills, through teaching students and managing a classroom everyday, but also how my three years abroad has allowed me to learn many life skills which I will take with me no matter where I go after my time in Korea is up.
1. Growing Professionally Through Teaching
It is cliche to say that you should love your job because of the service you bring. I thoroughly believe that you shouldn’t do something simply because of someone else. However, because I enjoy my job in other areas, I can say with confidence that I love my job, and one of the big reasons is who I serve and the important skills I can teach.
I have never laughed so hard in my life than I have at work. And I think that is how it should be! Obviously, you need to have control over your classroom, but after that you should be enjoying the education and the students should as well. By providing a service of teaching English, and having the experience to know where they need to grow, I can help my students grow with joy.
There are so many students in my mind that are special, and I want each and every one to succeed in their life. Students have a lot of pressure in other areas of their lives and futures. Concern over High School, University, and eventually getting the job of their dreams is where I can help them. Korea has a huge push for learning English. English is a world language, and most Koreans travel throughout the world. Within their careers they can earn a lot more money simply for knowing English. Also, by leaving Korea they have a lot more possibilities for success.
But that isn’t all that I teach them. I try to teach them how to interact with each other and their teachers, and how to follow through with their work. My goal is to teach students how to be self-motivated.
Although my job as a teacher is to provide students with English skills to help them in their future endeavors, my time as a teacher has also provided me skills which I will take with me in the next steps of my professional career. Two of the greatest things I have learned as a teacher at Chungdahm are how to communicate effectively, and how to think on my feet. Since I am teaching English, it is natural that I should become more advanced in my abilities. But an added bonus of knowing English is that I can speak and write with greater clarity than I ever learned while attending University. I now have a passion for writing and speaking. Within my future, as I continue to grow professionally, I hope to use this ability to continue to help others develop their language skills. Also, life does not always run as planned. Very rarely does anything go as planned. As a teacher I have learned to go with the flow, bounce back on my feet and run in a different direction. This is going to help me a lot within any job I have, because this skill shows confidence and adaptability. And with these skills I hope to go further in life.
2. Growing Personally
As I stated earlier, I wanted to grow and to develop. I wanted to expand my mind beyond what I could learn within a limited environment. And I have done so.
Within Korea, I also have my own freedom. Freedom to see and try new things. Freedom to work and create my own goals. And freedom to succeed in failure.
For my time in Korea, I have learned how to find my own motivation and joy in the life I live each and every day. While some come to Korea in order to escape their habits, lives, and people, they soon find that they can’t escape. It causes them to change. They can see that their habits are the cause of hinder in their life. One of my favorite sayings is, "wherever you go, there you are." It means that you can’t escape yourself. You have to come to terms with who you are, finding your errors of mind, and learn how to cope with them or get rid of them.
I have seen my coworkers grow and develop as they begin to find themselves. But most importantly I have grown as well. When I first came to Korea, I had so much anxiety about everything. I didn’t know how to learn, how to study, how to be happy. But through my many personal failings I have succeeded in solving these issues.
Since coming to Korea, I have gotten to explore new places, meet people from all cultures, lead a volunteer group to an orphanage, go tandem bike riding with blind people, join a drawing group and become a youth leader for a church. From a spiritual perspective I have also gotten to find my beliefs and passions, along with forming my own personal habits. But ultimately I have learned how to put my best foot forward.
Due to my three years of living and teaching in Korea, I now have a passion for writing, creating, helping, and now I know where I want to go with my life. I know how I can be successful. And I know what makes me happy.
So, if you come to Korea with the intention to be better, you will. If you come to Korea with the intention to just have fun, you will. But your intention matters, and what you do with your time shows your true intention.
Neil Frazer has been teaching with Chungdahm for a little over two 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.