As the spring term ends and the summer term begins at Chungdahm April, and I begin my 3rd term in teaching in Korea, it’s hard to believe that I’ve already been here for over 6 months. As a result of some students graduating to higher levels, during the summer term I lose some of my current students and at the same time gain new ones. One of the biggest changes summer term brings however is becoming a hybrid teacher. Due to so many students enrolled in the Busanjin Chungdahm program where I teach, all of the April teachers have been trained to teach both the Chungdahm (CDI) and April programs.
My new schedule includes all my regular April classes but also adds on two CDI class on Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10pm. They are long days, (1pm-10pm) but well worth the overtime pay. The biggest adjustment, as I knew it would be, is learning to use the smart tablet used by the current Chungdahm 3.0 program. AprilGate, the program used for April, is as simplistic as it gets. There is virtually no training on it because it is easily comparable to Paint. Luckily, I had some experience using a Samsung tablet before, so the basic functions I knew right away. The program used for CDI classes is called CSLP Tutors. The home screen reminds me of a Mac product, so I’d think any Apple users may find this program easy to understand. Another big adjustment to teaching CDI is getting used to 3 hour classes in comparison to the 45 minute classes in the April program. It is also a big difference teaching students who have a great understanding of English. I speak in full unbroken sentences and my students have no trouble understanding me or keeping with my pace.
CSLP tutors homepage
I teach two different classes, one called V1 Bridge and one called C1 Giga (pictured above in my tablet screen). Subjects and topics in these classes vary each term to avoid repetition for students.
V1 Bridge is a book centered class. Students are given 3 books to read over the 3 month period. The first month we are reading a novel by Rebecca Stead entitled When You Reach Me. Students are required to read a certain number of pages each week, which they are quizzed on at the beginning of class. The quizzes are created by the foreign teachers and designed to determine who read the book and who is just guessing. The remainder of the class is spent exploring different themes that come up in the book, important events, and character development. The final hour is a writing project based on the major theme of the week. I have found the style of the V1 Bridge class to be very enjoyable. Not only is it refreshing to be able to speak fluent English to my students, but there is much more discussion in CDI classes, whereas in April discussion is purely question and answer based.
V1 homepage and writing project
The C1 Giga class is a little different. The class is based around a different theme each week, and usually involves a topic that is debatable. A lot of this class requires the students to offer up their own opinions which is something completely different than the April program. The class poses a question, for example the first week was whether you would like to go on a regular vacation or a volunteer trip. The first 2 hours are spent reading passages supporting either claim, learning new vocabulary, and doing a brief reading and listening quiz. The final hour is concentrated on creating a writing passage yourself based on the opinion you formulated in the previous hours. I find C1 enjoyable because there is a lot of material, students are never bored and I am never trying to add fillers to make up time.
C1 debate project
Even though I have only worked my new summer term schedule for 1 week now, I am already loving the format of CDI classes and the teaching style they give me the freedom to have. If you get the opportunity to work both CDI and April, I would highly recommend accepting. The contrast between the two programs is very refreshing and who doesn’t enjoy a pay bump.