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Fighting boredom
« on: November 04, 2019, 02:03:13 pm »
This is my 2nd month in Korea, and I have discovered teaching is not for me. I have a great school, coworkers and students (usually!) But I find the teaching routine so monotonous. The students make it interesting but I feel very unfulfilled here, repeating the same lessons every day.  Facing the next 10 months seems so daunting, but I don't want to quit. Any tips on how to get through this? Did you ever feel like teaching was not your passion, and how did you get through it? P.S. I work at a public school.

Thanks :)


  • CO2
  • The Legend

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    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
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Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 02:14:33 pm »
Work to live, don't live to work. I know it's 8 hours a day, but you need to cultivate your life after work.

Join some groups on FB in your town. Start working out, writing, whatever. Go see a movie. Anything.

Cultivate who you are. I know that work is a big part of life, but it's not the biggest and it shouldn't be the most important. As long as your job isn't actively terrible, take it on the chin and use your evenings and weekends to progress who you are and what you value.
The joys of fauxtherhood


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2019, 02:33:33 pm »
Yeah, what waygook.org user CO2 said - work's boring. It's your life outside of work where you should be finding your fulfillment.

Do a thing. Extrovert? Go hang with people. Join some groups. Go out for drinks. Go socialize.
Introvert? Binge Netflix, read a bunch of books, play some video games or whatever. Join a gym, maybe.





Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2019, 03:22:57 pm »
All of the above.

Maybe start pulling (innocent) pranks on the students during your lessons, too.

And I think it was Dave Steps who constantly said to make the theme of your lessons about something that you're personally interested in. It helps to liven the lessons up for yourself a bit.


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2019, 03:24:01 pm »
learn to speak korean, or read books... they can be testy about watching youtube.

also if the kids are a spark for you then focus on them and improve your teaching skills.

my town is quite small but i have found a wine club (rare in Korea insofar as i know), i go to larger nearby towns for various fun activities.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2019, 03:25:11 pm »
All of the above.

Maybe start pulling (innocent) pranks on the students during your lessons, too.

And I think it was Dave Steps who constantly said to make the theme of your lessons about something that you're personally interested in. It helps to liven the lessons up for yourself a bit.

Man I miss that guy. :'(


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2019, 03:28:50 pm »
All of the above.

Maybe start pulling (innocent) pranks on the students during your lessons, too.

And I think it was Dave Steps who constantly said to make the theme of your lessons about something that you're personally interested in. It helps to liven the lessons up for yourself a bit.

Man I miss that guy. :'(

Same. I will always remember his watermelon cake.


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1949

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2019, 04:51:28 pm »
This is my 2nd month in Korea, and I have discovered teaching is not for me. I have a great school, coworkers and students (usually!) But I find the teaching routine so monotonous. The students make it interesting but I feel very unfulfilled here, repeating the same lessons every day.  Facing the next 10 months seems so daunting, but I don't want to quit. Any tips on how to get through this? Did you ever feel like teaching was not your passion, and how did you get through it? P.S. I work at a public school.

Thanks :)

This really depends on the dynamics of your school and possibly, their relationship with you.

I've been here for a while and it's at the point that I can completely disregard the key expressions in the textbook to teach whatever I want and my CTs will just back me up. I've earned that freedom. For example:

The lesson for the 6th graders was, "What's your favourite season?"
A rather dull and silly lesson, but I used it as a starting point to tell my students that the conversation starter "Do you know that Korea has 4 seasons?" is completely awkward and dumb. There's a difference between "Korea has 4 seasons." and "Korea has 4 distinct seasons." Either way, we spoke about using language as a tool for communication and not simply a medium to regurgitate some crappy nationalistic soft-power.
We also spoke about using the ondol and aircon responsibly, during Winter and Summer, respectively.

- My students and I have a lot of fun discussing and comparing cultural differences
- Pick a few students and find relatable subjects to discuss with them (video games, sports etc.) I got into a pretty funny
  but light-hearted argument with a 6th grade boy who was trying to convince me that John Cena is better than The Undertaker.

Find ways to segway or relate the textbook's lessons to what I mentioned above. Lesson is on "It's in the living room", I went on a property website (back home) and showed them how house sizes and prices compared to Korea. I also went onto Google maps and showed them my local neighbourhood. They couldn't believe how big the houses were compared to Korea.

I'm not trying to assert my "cultural superiority" on the students, I just find it tragic that they grow up in such a little bubble and I enjoy showing them what else is out there.

That's one of the ways I make my classes more enjoyable and find some job satisfaction.


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2019, 05:21:30 pm »
inb4 humblebraggers extolling the joys of spending 20 hours a day on "lesson preparation"
Quote
Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32 PM
    Trump is a liar and a con man.
Quote
Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07 pm
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


  • stoat
  • Super Waygook

    • 423

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2019, 05:52:53 pm »
This is my 2nd month in Korea, and I have discovered teaching is not for me. I have a great school, coworkers and students (usually!) But I find the teaching routine so monotonous. The students make it interesting but I feel very unfulfilled here, repeating the same lessons every day.  Facing the next 10 months seems so daunting, but I don't want to quit. Any tips on how to get through this? Did you ever feel like teaching was not your passion, and how did you get through it? P.S. I work at a public school.

Thanks :)

This really depends on the dynamics of your school and possibly, their relationship with you.

I've been here for a while and it's at the point that I can completely disregard the key expressions in the textbook to teach whatever I want and my CTs will just back me up. I've earned that freedom. For example:

The lesson for the 6th graders was, "What's your favourite season?"
A rather dull and silly lesson, but I used it as a starting point to tell my students that the conversation starter "Do you know that Korea has 4 seasons?" is completely awkward and dumb. There's a difference between "Korea has 4 seasons." and "Korea has 4 distinct seasons." Either way, we spoke about using language as a tool for communication and not simply a medium to regurgitate some crappy nationalistic soft-power.
We also spoke about using the ondol and aircon responsibly, during Winter and Summer, respectively.

- My students and I have a lot of fun discussing and comparing cultural differences
- Pick a few students and find relatable subjects to discuss with them (video games, sports etc.) I got into a pretty funny
  but light-hearted argument with a 6th grade boy who was trying to convince me that John Cena is better than The Undertaker.

Find ways to segway or relate the textbook's lessons to what I mentioned above. Lesson is on "It's in the living room", I went on a property website (back home) and showed them how house sizes and prices compared to Korea. I also went onto Google maps and showed them my local neighbourhood. They couldn't believe how big the houses were compared to Korea.

I'm not trying to assert my "cultural superiority" on the students, I just find it tragic that they grow up in such a little bubble and I enjoy showing them what else is out there.

That's one of the ways I make my classes more enjoyable and find some job satisfaction.

Yep, the books are woefully short of proper cultural content.  It's ironic that they spend so much time at the induction teaching NETS about Korean culture when they should really be teaching them how to teach their own culture in an interesting way.  Isn't that one of the reasons why they were hired?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 05:54:40 pm by stoat »


  • NorthStar
  • Expert Waygook

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    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2019, 06:09:13 pm »
OP...has your school made any effort to try and get you involved in things...show you around, invite you to employee dinners, inform you on upcoming events that may be interesting? 

If that, while a shame, it figures.  These people really have taken folks for granted. 

Anyway..OP..if you really feel you want to leave, then leave.  Don't worry about "quitting"...the school will survive, the kids will move on an hour after you are gone.  Teaching is not your average job and being unfulfilled with it, for whatever reason, only compounds matters.  Then again, you can just treat it as a normal 9-5 gig, do the minimum and go home.  That is when things need to be found, to keep you motivated. 

Folks understand....


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1949

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2019, 06:55:44 pm »
Yep, the books are woefully short of proper cultural content.  It's ironic that they spend so much time at the induction teaching NETS about Korean culture when they should really be teaching them how to teach their own culture in an interesting way.  Isn't that one of the reasons why they were hired?

Absolutely, but there's another reason I do this.

In places like China, Japan and Korea, there's the cultural barrier of 'face', which oftentimes prevents students from taking a risk and speaking English in front of their peers. The fear of making a mistake discourages students from speaking.

So...

It's rare to come across a student who isn't interested in cultural differences and segwaying into more interesting, yet lesson specific, topics distracts students from the fact that they're in an English lesson and they're more likely to speak... at least in my experience.


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2019, 06:25:08 am »
This is my 2nd month in Korea, and I have discovered teaching is not for me. I have a great school, coworkers and students (usually!) But I find the teaching routine so monotonous. The students make it interesting but I feel very unfulfilled here, repeating the same lessons every day.  Facing the next 10 months seems so daunting, but I don't want to quit. Any tips on how to get through this? Did you ever feel like teaching was not your passion, and how did you get through it? P.S. I work at a public school.

Thanks :)

This really depends on the dynamics of your school and possibly, their relationship with you.

I've been here for a while and it's at the point that I can completely disregard the key expressions in the textbook to teach whatever I want and my CTs will just back me up. I've earned that freedom. For example:

The lesson for the 6th graders was, "What's your favourite season?"
A rather dull and silly lesson, but I used it as a starting point to tell my students that the conversation starter "Do you know that Korea has 4 seasons?" is completely awkward and dumb. There's a difference between "Korea has 4 seasons." and "Korea has 4 distinct seasons." Either way, we spoke about using language as a tool for communication and not simply a medium to regurgitate some crappy nationalistic soft-power.
We also spoke about using the ondol and aircon responsibly, during Winter and Summer, respectively.

- My students and I have a lot of fun discussing and comparing cultural differences
- Pick a few students and find relatable subjects to discuss with them (video games, sports etc.) I got into a pretty funny
  but light-hearted argument with a 6th grade boy who was trying to convince me that John Cena is better than The Undertaker.

Find ways to segway or relate the textbook's lessons to what I mentioned above. Lesson is on "It's in the living room", I went on a property website (back home) and showed them how house sizes and prices compared to Korea. I also went onto Google maps and showed them my local neighbourhood. They couldn't believe how big the houses were compared to Korea.

I'm not trying to assert my "cultural superiority" on the students, I just find it tragic that they grow up in such a little bubble and I enjoy showing them what else is out there.

That's one of the ways I make my classes more enjoyable and find some job satisfaction.

Unfortunately my coteachers are sticklers for the book so none of this is really possible. My grade 5 coT teaches from the book for 20 min and gives me 20 min to do an activity, my grade 6 coT uses me as a tape recorder for the 1st half of the lesson usually and also gives me 10-20 min for an activity. I sort of feel like a robot being used for games, but this is how they do it and I can't radically change that.

I agree I should not live for work, and have developed some personal goals that I'm working on. This keeps me going but it's really mentally exhausting to get up everyday and do the same thing over and over again. I'd really like to save some money this year so I'm hoping I'll last. At least till winter vacation when there isn't much to do.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1460

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
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Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2019, 07:53:04 am »
This is my 2nd month in Korea, and I have discovered teaching is not for me. I have a great school, coworkers and students (usually!) But I find the teaching routine so monotonous. The students make it interesting but I feel very unfulfilled here, repeating the same lessons every day.  Facing the next 10 months seems so daunting, but I don't want to quit. Any tips on how to get through this? Did you ever feel like teaching was not your passion, and how did you get through it? P.S. I work at a public school.

Thanks :)

This really depends on the dynamics of your school and possibly, their relationship with you.

I've been here for a while and it's at the point that I can completely disregard the key expressions in the textbook to teach whatever I want and my CTs will just back me up. I've earned that freedom. For example:

The lesson for the 6th graders was, "What's your favourite season?"
A rather dull and silly lesson, but I used it as a starting point to tell my students that the conversation starter "Do you know that Korea has 4 seasons?" is completely awkward and dumb. There's a difference between "Korea has 4 seasons." and "Korea has 4 distinct seasons." Either way, we spoke about using language as a tool for communication and not simply a medium to regurgitate some crappy nationalistic soft-power.
We also spoke about using the ondol and aircon responsibly, during Winter and Summer, respectively.

- My students and I have a lot of fun discussing and comparing cultural differences
- Pick a few students and find relatable subjects to discuss with them (video games, sports etc.) I got into a pretty funny
  but light-hearted argument with a 6th grade boy who was trying to convince me that John Cena is better than The Undertaker.

Find ways to segway or relate the textbook's lessons to what I mentioned above. Lesson is on "It's in the living room", I went on a property website (back home) and showed them how house sizes and prices compared to Korea. I also went onto Google maps and showed them my local neighbourhood. They couldn't believe how big the houses were compared to Korea.

I'm not trying to assert my "cultural superiority" on the students, I just find it tragic that they grow up in such a little bubble and I enjoy showing them what else is out there.

That's one of the ways I make my classes more enjoyable and find some job satisfaction.

Unfortunately my coteachers are sticklers for the book so none of this is really possible. My grade 5 coT teaches from the book for 20 min and gives me 20 min to do an activity, my grade 6 coT uses me as a tape recorder for the 1st half of the lesson usually and also gives me 10-20 min for an activity. I sort of feel like a robot being used for games, but this is how they do it and I can't radically change that.

I agree I should not live for work, and have developed some personal goals that I'm working on. This keeps me going but it's really mentally exhausting to get up everyday and do the same thing over and over again. I'd really like to save some money this year so I'm hoping I'll last. At least till winter vacation when there isn't much to do.

I'd gladly trade you my soccer travel school for what you are doing.
At my soccer travel school, classes go like this: Students come in and sit down, I'll say good morning, they'll greet me back, then the soccer students (who hate anything that isn't soccer) get bored and start causing chaos. The co-t tries really hard to get them to calm down and stop being disruptive. After 15 - 20 minutes of that, we can try start my lesson (the soccer boys are much too loud to try anything while they are being crazy, I can stand right next to a student and barely hear them / be heard). 2 minutes later they are back to being really loud and disruptive. takes the co-t another 15 - 20 minutes to calm them down again, then we finish the first slide of the ppt, then boom, class is over. I literally show up, stand at the front of the class, barely say anything, for 3 classes a week.
On a good day, I get about 2 students pay attention, but there are about 7 students who have a high motivation for English. But the soccer students greatly outnumber the non-soccer students.

And they are like this for the Korean teachers too. The only reason the teachers there put up with it, is because the school is private, and the teachers don't want to join the public circuit.


Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2019, 07:59:16 am »
I'm in the minority here, but I'm a big fan of using the textbook.


  • oglop
  • The Legend

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Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2019, 08:10:00 am »
I'm in the minority here, but I'm a big fan of using the textbook.
why? the public school textbooks are, without a doubt, the worst textbooks i have ever seen in my entire life


  • stoat
  • Super Waygook

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    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2019, 08:31:24 am »
I'm in the minority here, but I'm a big fan of using the textbook.
why? the public school textbooks are, without a doubt, the worst textbooks i have ever seen in my entire life

Probably the same reason why the Korean teachers like using them. It's less effort. EFL teaching is usually a choice between textbook + boredom, or slightly more interesting experience + a bit of extra work. Many teachers are quite happy to go with the former option at all times.


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1949

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2019, 08:35:50 am »
Unfortunately my coteachers are sticklers for the book so none of this is really possible. My grade 5 coT teaches from the book for 20 min and gives me 20 min to do an activity, my grade 6 coT uses me as a tape recorder for the 1st half of the lesson usually and also gives me 10-20 min for an activity. I sort of feel like a robot being used for games, but this is how they do it and I can't radically change that.

I agree I should not live for work, and have developed some personal goals that I'm working on. This keeps me going but it's really mentally exhausting to get up everyday and do the same thing over and over again. I'd really like to save some money this year so I'm hoping I'll last. At least till winter vacation when there isn't much to do.

I hear you

I did that tape-recorder and "follow the CT" BS years ago, when I first came to Korea. As time went by I was given more freedom until I took the lead role, it's a complete 180 now.

Even if you're given 10min a lesson, use that time to "teach" not "entertain". My students seem far more satisfied when they've learned something useful, than winning a mindless bomb game. Teaching can still be fun.
The more you carry yourself like a teacher and teach like one, the more freedom you'll have won yourself.



  • NorthStar
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    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
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Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2019, 08:48:08 am »
Quote
I hear you

I did that tape-recorder and "follow the CT" BS years ago, when I first came to Korea. As time went by I was given more freedom until I took the lead role, it's a complete 180 now.

Even if you're given 10min a lesson, use that time to "teach" not "entertain". My students seem far more satisfied when they've learned something useful, than winning a mindless bomb game. Teaching can still be fun.
The more you carry yourself like a teacher and teach like one, the more freedom you'll have won yourself.

Consider yourself lucky.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1580

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Fighting boredom
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2019, 08:53:15 am »
And they are like this for the Korean teachers too. The only reason the teachers there put up with it, is because the school is private, and the teachers don't want to join the public circuit.
More likely they haven't passed the public school tests. And passed the qualifications for that private school first. Rest assured probably a good chunk of them are still taking that yearly public school test. Unless they are officially full-time then are essentially treated like public school teachers contract wise.