Every teacher needs a holiday, and when that time arrives you want to be fully prepared for an awesome time, free of school and any daily activities. My vacation time at Chungdahm Learning consists of 15 days and it must be taken consecutively, but this also depends on your branch and the way it is managed.
Since you only get a limited time, you need to prepare carefully and way in advance so that you can go at a good time and get the dates you requested. Also, your branch needs to find a substitute teacher, send your vacation dates to HQ, and ripple through the ranks of your branch.
Recently, I took a vacation to Ireland that was approved by my FM and BM. I requested a Monday to Monday off and left the Saturday before, so my vacation was just over a week. It was a perfect amount of time to visit my sister and do some traveling throughout Europe. Over the years I have done some extensive traveling, so I have learned through experience that being over-prepared is much better than being under-prepared. Traveling can be quite stressful if you haven't organized the logistics of your everyday teaching life properly. You need to think ahead so that your vacation is relaxing and fun.
1. Submitting Vacation Dates
The most important thing is submitting your vacation dates well in advance. At Chungdahm, you can usually submit your vacation request at the end of a semester when you get a teaching survey for the next term. You should probably email your FM first and ask for a meeting, and then in person see how they feel about the dates that you want off. Then once they are aware of it you can email them the request and they will approve it with the branch BM. If the BM accepts the request, then your FM will send your vacation dates to HQ and look for a substitute teacher to teach for you. This process usually takes up to 3 weeks, so it is advised that you do not book any flight tickets until you have received an official email from your FM approving your vacation.
2. Preparing your class for the Substitute Teacher
A substitute teacher will be teaching your classes while you are away, so it is important to keep in mind that it is still your class and the happiness of your students and the smooth running of your class is still your responsibility. There are ways to take care of this while you're away by preparing all materials and giving good instructions about troublesome students to the substitute teacher before you leave. For example, the week before I left I prepared all my IBT books and materials such as the reading exercise for the following week that was a homework handout. I also wrote a note that included names of troubled students and how to deal with them and I left stickers for my sticker chart mentioning how my reward system works.
3. Preparing travel documents in advance
Traveling can be stressful if you leave all necessary tasks till the week before you leave. The most important things to take care of before you leave are money and visas. For example, I always double check that all my bank cards are global and that the bank knows where I am traveling. Then I exchange sufficient money into dollars or the currency of the country I am visiting. Korean banks, such as KEB, has lower exchange rates than the travel exchangers abroad.
Lastly, I always check the traveling requirements for each country such as necessary visas and transit visas at airports. You should also always remember to pack your ARC card and passport so that you can get back into Korea, and make sure you have bought travel insurance and a copy of your address in Korea for immigration.
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!