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What's it like teaching adults?
« on: September 03, 2016, 08:18:14 am »
I tried searching around the site but could not find any posts about this.

I just finished my contract teaching at some middle and elementary schools and it was a pretty stressful experience (maybe I'm just special that way *shrug*). I'm back in the states for a few months, but I'm considering going back and trying my hand at teaching adults, but I'd like to know more about what the experience is like / how it compares to teaching youth.

Thanks.


  • taeyang
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2016, 09:48:02 pm »
I tried searching around the site but could not find any posts about this.

I just finished my contract teaching at some middle and elementary schools and it was a pretty stressful experience (maybe I'm just special that way *shrug*). I'm back in the states for a few months, but I'm considering going back and trying my hand at teaching adults, but I'd like to know more about what the experience is like / how it compares to teaching youth.

Thanks.

I'd say that, compared to teaching children, it's mostly great (with some exceptions, of course). What you often find, though, is that teaching adults requires your working early in the morning and/or later in the evening. Those are the times that most adult language schools (or schools with adult classes) tend to operate (split shifts, as they are called). If you're not an F-visa holder or someone who can get a job at a university, that's the type of job you'll be stuck with, for the most part.

The split shift schedule can be exhausting, but it can get your foot in the door for better jobs (and schedules, maybe) down the line. Adults students, generally speaking, are more motivated, less impulsive or distracted, etc. Of course, I've had a number of adult students that acted more like middle school students, so mileage may vary. But, overall, yes, it's much better, I think... Unless you really love teaching children, of course.



  • Cyanea
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 10:36:07 pm »
overall, yes, it's much better, I think

I tend to feel too self-conscious teaching adults. I'm always aware I have to be extra-careful because adults have sharper sensibilities. You're talking more developed egos.

That's why I prefer teaching kids. You can just relax a whole lot more.
Catch my drift?


Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 11:04:16 pm »
overall, yes, it's much better, I think

I tend to feel too self-conscious teaching adults. I'm always aware I have to be extra-careful because adults have sharper sensibilities. You're talking more developed egos.

That's why I prefer teaching kids. You can just relax a whole lot more.

You must be a kid person, which is great. I don't have that particular inclination or talent (and it is a bit of a talent, I think). I honestly wish I had that because the job possibilities would be much wider for me, and it's just nice to have that gift - congrats. I do much better teaching adults and uni. students, so I stick with my strengths because I sort of have to, I suppose.

You're quite right about the egos and sharper sensibilities among adult students. It's a doubled-edged situation. Students with life experience, an evolved sense of self and personal history, years of education or travel behind them, added with agendas and desires can make actual conversations immensely interesting or total disasters if you have the wrong mix of students, especially when a much older student or students are grouped with students in their 20s. That age difference among Korean adult students can immediately shut down positive dynamics and lead to a kind of cold war or reluctance to speak among the younger ones, with the older ones monopolizing the session, usually in favor of more conservative ideas and judgments. I avoid that by conducting more rotating pair work... get them moving around, and I avoid large group discussions where one older adult tends to speak the most. They can speak their minds with less risk involved when paired up.

However, if you have fairly liberal, tolerant older adult students mixed in with talkative younger adult ones, you can have more open class discussion; the class practically runs itself, depending on what you're doing. That can be a true pleasure, and that's been the norm for me in most situations. I'd say for every group with problematic chemistry, I've had three that are good to wonderful. Not a bad ratio. Of course, when you're teaching adults 1:1 in a kind of Wall Street/Pagoda-type of academy, that can also be good or bad depending on who you're dealing with, but the split-shift schedule mixed with the near-constant amount of attention you must pay to the student every minute can become exhausting, especially if the organization you're working for is piling on the classes. Group classes allow for pair and group work that lets you breath for a minute or two before engaging again, so I find them less of a drain (of course, proper prep-time is needed in that case).
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 11:07:36 pm by Moe Hay »


  • saffaTeacher
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2020, 01:27:15 pm »
Adults are tricky because sometimes their levels are lower than the elem kids' levels and they don't like to play games for learning, so it is less fun. However, you won't have the behavioral problems that you might find with school kids.


  • oglop
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2020, 02:00:14 pm »
Adults are tricky because sometimes their levels are lower than the elem kids' levels and they don't like to play games for learning, so it is less fun.
weird comment. firstly, both elementary students and adults are all...at a variety of levels (obviously?), and most adult classes i teach (or have ever taught) love to play a fun activity or two.

teaching adults is much more interesting than teaching kids


Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2020, 02:09:51 pm »
I also wonder about this because my in-laws want me to teach at a university, but I am really unsure if I would be able to do this....and do it well. I have a fear of having to make curriculum. I also don't like when students of any age say that they want to do something/learn something and then .....not really.

I do not have an MA in English or Education, but I do have one in Public Administration....s o not sure I am even qualified, even after teaching elem and middle in Korea for 5 years. I have an F6 and have not gone back home because my husband does not wish to go to my country yet, but we do plan to eventually.....def will get burnt out teaching kids after a while though...so for those that do teach university....would you take that over public schools or hakwons?


  • oglop
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2020, 02:57:52 pm »
universities are difficult to get into from what i've heard, but you could teach adults part time (two hours a week, for example) and see how you like it. look on worknplay.co.kr


  • Datasapien
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2020, 03:02:07 pm »
From the folks I know at uni, most definitely. Behaviour issues disappear, more freedom to teach as you see fit, more holiday ... (sometimes) more pay. However I don't think it's a question of "I want a uni job, so I'll just go out and get one" anymore - they're becoming a lot harder to get, the biggest pain being the Catch-22 of needing 2 years experience before being able to get 2 years experience (although some unis don't seem to be as strict about that).
I never finish anyth


  • tylerthegloob
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2020, 08:25:02 am »
I taught adults in the US briefly before I came here. It was amazing, except for one student who kept complaining to my boss. However, I think part of what made it so fun for me was the fact that my students were pretty high level (B2) and from all over the world (which made for really interesting discussions). I assume teaching an all Korean adult class would be very different.


  • plan b
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 03:01:48 pm »
I taught adults briefly back in Canada before coming to Korea. Most of the students were from Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Spain. I can honestly say that the Koreans were:

*the least likely cohort to speak up during class, and express any ideas or give an opinion
*most likely the first group to run to a head teacher to complain about me without giving me a chance to explain myself thus completely blindsiding me.

Notwithstanding this, I'd still like to teach adults here in Korea, even with split shifts, because I am sick of teaching kids.


  • tylerthegloob
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2020, 03:14:14 pm »
I taught adults briefly back in Canada before coming to Korea. Most of the students were from Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Spain. I can honestly say that the Koreans were:

*the least likely cohort to speak up during class, and express any ideas or give an opinion
*most likely the first group to run to a head teacher to complain about me without giving me a chance to explain myself thus completely blindsiding me.

Notwithstanding this, I'd still like to teach adults here in Korea, even with split shifts, because I am sick of teaching kids.

woah that's super different from my group. the 1 student who complained about me was from argentina and the japanese students were (most of them) wayyyyyyy quieter than the few korean students i had


  • stoat
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2020, 04:32:54 pm »
I taught adults briefly back in Canada before coming to Korea. Most of the students were from Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Spain. I can honestly say that the Koreans were:

*the least likely cohort to speak up during class, and express any ideas or give an opinion
*most likely the first group to run to a head teacher to complain about me without giving me a chance to explain myself thus completely blindsiding me.

Notwithstanding this, I'd still like to teach adults here in Korea, even with split shifts, because I am sick of teaching kids.

This matches my experiences too. I've taught adults in 6 different countries and found Koreans most likely to complain behind a teacher's back.


  • fka
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2020, 04:37:40 pm »
My experience of teaching Korean uni students has been nothing but positive. Out of hundreds of students, there's been maybe 10 sulky guys who come in late, stare at their phones and act too cool to care. Maybe 20-30% of the students kind of fade into the background but don't cause any problems, and the rest have been a genuine pleasure to teach.

I taught Japanese adults for a year and enjoyed it, but their ability level was extremely mixed and some of them just wanted to do infantile shit like sing Disney songs. Actually, it was more like the same two Disney songs, over and over and over again... 



  • stoat
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Re: What's it like teaching adults?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2020, 05:22:39 pm »
My experience of teaching Korean uni students has been nothing but positive. Out of hundreds of students, there's been maybe 10 sulky guys who come in late, stare at their phones and act too cool to care. Maybe 20-30% of the students kind of fade into the background but don't cause any problems, and the rest have been a genuine pleasure to teach.

I taught Japanese adults for a year and enjoyed it, but their ability level was extremely mixed and some of them just wanted to do infantile shit like sing Disney songs. Actually, it was more like the same two Disney songs, over and over and over again... 



My experience of Korean uni students has also been largely positive but I wouldn't really classify them as adults. There's a certain demographic who's most likely to complain about a teacher and it's not generally someone in their late teens/early twenties.