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I decided to get back into the game with English teaching last year while I was living in the states. After three years in Japan and graduating college with a degree in social science, I came back to America in 2010 to settle and work on my future. Things didn’t quite work out as I had planned, and I ended up doing everyday sporting goods retail in order to make my ends meet. Eventually though, English teaching brought me back onto what was for me a greater life path to come back into again.
I joined Footprints Recruiting last year because I was looking for a teaching agency that was above all else: professional, low-cost, and committed to follow things through in caring for their teachers. Luna Ahn, the Asia Placement Department Manager of Footprints, has been a tremendous influential help and guide in my goal to be an English teacher again. She is one part of a big staff that takes initiative in finding qualified teachers and putting them in good placements and situations. I want to let you know that even after you have landed and begin work, you are still gladly part of the Footprints network. Keeping connected to those who have assisted you is important, and I’m really glad it works both ways. I am very thankful for what I have been given.
I chose Korea because I was looking for a public school job with financial incentives, and I was looking for a new place in Asia since I feel that my introverted, mindful personality relates better in this part of the world. One piece of insight that I would give to make your teaching abroad experience unique and special is the more you invest into your students, the more of them that will invest in you. It’s true that being in school will always continue to have its challenges, its ups and downs, as well as its well-behaved and difficult kids. Those students that are looking for motivation want to know that you truly care about them and that your classes and lessons will have a building purpose.
How to be a Memorable Teacher for the Right Reasons
I feel that what separates the remembered teachers from the adequate teachers is that the good teachers do most of the small things well: interacting in small talk with the kids, doing purposeful one-on-one time, giving kids equal opportunities to earn something, discipline appropriately but not overly, producing classes with a variety of activities over the long haul, etc. When it succeeds and you have a class that is attentive and listens by their own choosing, that’s when you can have real joy in your job. Who wouldn’t want that?
A Day in the Life
In a typical lesson, I follow the textbook curriculum and do each topic two times. More often than not, I create my own lesson plan. After greeting the students and speaking any opening announcements, I introduce the English topic through a PowerPoint presentation that illustrates the key vocabulary and expressions, with pictures. Later on, I will have the class do an activity, play a game, or do a worksheet, or introduce a longer term project and build upon it. I purposefully try to mix my activities in accordance with hoping to maintain everyday motivation levels from the students. After work, I currently take Korean language class twice a week at the university near my apartment. It is very doable here to save money for your travels and any expenses you are in serious need to pay off.
Fullfilling New Year's Resolutions
This year, one of my resolutions was to work on and develop my writing. I started my own travel blog which has become a new undertaking for me. I would like to invite you to read first hand my perspectives about Korean and Asian culture. My articles are a little long for a blog, yes, but I aim to make it be presented in the way that I truly want to, which I believe involves fuller writing. Real writing to me involves real and measured sharing. I get something out of it because I foremost do it for me, with the benefit of sharing with those who want to see.
Recently, one of the most memorable experiments that I have ever done in a classroom involved conducting my first ever “show and tell”. Click here to view the results of that academic endeavor.
Advice for both New and Experienced Educators
I encourage all of you who are reading these words to fully take into account what you are experiencing day-to-day, and do whatever you personally can control into making your life more fulfilling and interesting. Teaching and being received well abroad provides one real lifeline into that aim we each possess within us to want more out of life.
Check out Casey's bio.
Learn more about teaching in Korea.