Are you apprehensive about teaching abroad because you have no prior teaching experience? I am here to help quell those fears because I felt similar to you when I first started teaching at ChungDahm. Prior to teaching in Korea for ChungDahm I worked for a bank in Las Vegas. Now, four years after beginning my teach abroad experience, I am the branch manager of ChungDahm's Gangdom location where I help teachers transition to their new jobs.
Team Leaders for ChungDahm help ensure a successful academy. We supervise teachers and facilitate communication and the relationship between management, teachers and students. Providing feedback to teachers about their instruction is a key component of the team leader role. ChungDahm provides a variety of tools to help facilitate effective feedback including the CCTV. The CCTV video records classes. The Team Leader reviews the recordings and writes a classroom observation report for each instructor. This report focuses on two critical elements of the job: content/ information delivery and classroom management. Teachers can succeed in these areas pretty quickly if you follow a few tips:
Delivering the Information:
ChungDahm provides guides that help you prepare for class. The guides are a great tool to make sure you teach the required content/ information for that class. How you teach the information, however, is largely up to you. As a teacher, you have a lot of freedom in the way you teach a class. You can use props or digital examples such as videos or pop culture that will help the students better engage in, and understand the subject matter. Here are some guidelines on instruction:
- Review all auxiliary digital content completely before sharing it with you class: When adding auxiliary information via YouTube, please screen the videos before showing it to the class. This may sound simple, but there will be times when your students have a suggestion for a video that they feel could help the class but it is inappropriate or not relevant to the topic. As a rule of thumb, I tend to only use videos from credible sources such as the BBC or CNN to help stimulate class discussion.
- Build Editing into Student Work Products: Before videotaping class projects, for example delivery of a PowerPoint presentation, teachers should review the student work products, provide feedback, and require students to edit the student work after this review. This a great opportunity to reinforce grammar rules, establish a editing habit, and provide useful feedback. In addition, students often share these videos with their friends and family. You and the student will be embarrassed if the presentation includes errors that could have easily been corrected.
- Be enthusiastic! Our students sit through three-hour blocks of class. It can be difficult to maintain their attention. Fluctuate your voice and show lots of energy, and more students will pay attention. By keeping an energetic classroom, students are more apt to listen and as as result won’t be caught off guard if called upon. Our tablets provide additional ways to keep class interesting. Check out the quick speaking quizzes and the random student generator to either call on all students or one specific student to answer the quiz questions.
- No Korean in the Classroom! It really irritates me when students start speaking Korean when they are not supposed to. At our academy, and at many other ChungDahm locations, students are expected to speak English at all times. The only times they are allowed to speak Korean is when they need help from the Korean teachers/staff members. Whenever my students begin to speak Korean, I immediately tell them to stop. You must set a precedent early on that speaking Korean will not be tolerated. If the students continue to speak Korean, alert them so they will stop. I play a foghorn sound from my computer which is a jarring signal to stop speaking Korean. You also can also penalize students for speaking Korean. Try taking minutes away from their break time as a penalty.
- SMART Classrooms should not distract. One of the strengths of ChungDahm is their smart classrooms. The smart classrooms however can cause distractions if students start drawing and playing on their tablets. To prevent students from using the tablets inappropriately, I teach part of my class from the back of the room because I can see everyone’s tablet screens. Some teachers also implement a rule where the student must keep the tablet on their desk and turned over when they complete an assignment. I have also taken away tablet pens in between activities to prohibit drawing or writing notes to friends.
- Have a behavior management plan. If a student misbehaves, I write their name in big letters on the blackboard so the team leader can see it through the CCTV. Team leaders know that by writing the student’s name on the board, you have tried your best to settle the situation. If a student’s name is on the board, I ask a Korean teacher or staff member to talk to the student to get at the root of the problem in a way I am unable to accomplish speaking English with the student.
One of the main reasons I love my job is I like to see my students grow in their learning. Many of my students were initially not able to complete a sentence in English but end up becoming one of the top English students in their class. Form a strong student- teacher relationship by showing you care and building trust. As I tell my team, your students need to know when it is time to for fun and when it is time for business. I firmly believe, a successful teacher will have time for both.
Marc has been living in Seoul working at the ChungDahm's Gangdong Branch for 4 years now. During those 4 years, he worked his way up from being a teacher and is now a faculty manager for that location. He majored in Finance and Marketing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while working as a manager for a national bank. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking the numerous mountains around Seoul and biking along the massive Han River. To know more about him and his adventures living in Korea, follow Marc on Twitter @geonmakku and on Instagram @geonmakku.