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  • Amandada6262000
  • Veteran

    • 128

    • September 03, 2011, 08:48:17 am
    • Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Co-Teacher Leaving School
« on: February 06, 2012, 12:21:23 pm »
My co-teacher told me this morning that as of March 1, she will be gone from my school. This breaks my heart because we have developed an excellent relationship: she is a sweet, caring woman who is always willing to help me - inside school and out- and we make an excellent team teaching together. It also took about six months for the two of us to get to the level of comfort with each other/where we are today.

There are 11 other teachers at my school, none of whom speak enough English to effectively communicate with. My Korean is okay, but not good enough for us to hold conversations.

I've heard some horror stories from people on this site about their beloved co-ts being replaced by cold, calculating jerks.... and I'm praying that it doesn't happen to me!! She has been my only connection/communication with the other teachers here, and I'm afraid if she gets replaced by someone who doesn't like me, I'll be totally alone here.

That being said, a couple of things:
1. Can anyone recommend something special for me to buy for her as a goodbye gift? She has helped me so much....
2. Has anyone been through this before? Do you have any advice for me for getting to know her replacement/working as a team? It will be a strange thing to be at a school longer than my co-teacher...

Any and all advice is appreciated! Thank you!!


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 12:31:11 pm »
Yeah, this time of year sucks! 

My favourite co-teacher won't be at school this year because she is finally pregnant and has been placed on total bed rest.  She is friend at school and outside of school so it's going to be weird not having her around. 

Last year, I was in a similar situation as you although I hadn't known my co-teacher as long.  I was convinced for most of the first semester that her replacement didn't like her.  She was a little bit older, a little more reserved and I seemed to be putting my foot in my mouth constantly around her.  She's now warmed up to me a lot and is really going out of her way to be friendly.  Unfortunately, each teacher is different and there is no universal approach for getting on with co-teachers because they're people.  Just try to be pleasant, accommodating and organised and you should be okay for most things.  You're just going to have to wait and see what the new teacher is like and then take your cues from him/her.  Good luck! 


  • Merryone
  • Super Waygook

    • 343

    • June 19, 2010, 11:04:50 am
    • Namhae
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2012, 12:51:18 pm »
Hi! I work in three schools and the first year I was here, I had two outstanding KT and one good KT. The second year, one teacher moved on,  the other teacher got pregnant and stayed home. For a while, I had no one, but later I had a substitute. I wasn't particularly happy with the substitute. In one school, not only did the KT change, but my principals changed. for a while, I felt like I was in a whole new school, like I was starting over some place new. My new KT was sweet, kind, (very young, first year) and could not speak english. but I hung in there and now I am enjoying the reward for that.

I had to be ok with feeling like I was in Korea alone. I had to learn to be stronger in myself and find other friends to rely on if I needed helping shopping or finding things. I had to learn who I could go to at work if I needed something, which was sometimes hard since most people don't speak english. but I have very caring, supportive co-workers who do everything they can to help me. I learned more about the world around me as a result of not being buffered by a KT who took care of everything. I'd rather have the good KT, but without was an excellent learning experience.

I would get a card for my KT and thank her specifically for the ways she helped me and the things she taught me. Then I would think about what practical gift she might use and get that for her. or if there was a special time when you laughed together, buy her something to remind her of that time. consider cooking a meal from your homeland and inviting your KT to eat with you. make a party out of it.

with your new KT, feel your way carefully. buy presents, hope for the best. Koreans love food presents.
and don't expect everything to run the same way. there may be some changes. pretend like you are on a roller coaster and enjoy the ride!


  • Yeti
  • Adventurer

    • 31

    • February 06, 2012, 12:54:44 pm
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 01:18:15 pm »
As far as gift ideas, you can try to target things that are immediately useful; a scarf, edibles, a calendar, etc. 


  • SpaceRook
  • Expert Waygook

    • 814

    • November 18, 2010, 11:54:36 am
    • South Korea
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 01:47:08 pm »
That being said, a couple of things:
1. Can anyone recommend something special for me to buy for her as a goodbye gift? She has helped me so much....
2. Has anyone been through this before? Do you have any advice for me for getting to know her replacement/working as a team? It will be a strange thing to be at a school longer than my co-teacher...

Any and all advice is appreciated! Thank you!!

I find Korean teachers and Korean students have the same likes, namely chocolate  :)

As for your new teacher, just try to be friendly from the start.  Since you have more experience in the school, give her advice that can make her life easier.  If you establish a relationship where you are mutually helping each other, it will certainly work in your favor. 


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 02:38:57 pm »
1. A book. Even if she's not a reader it will be something different and not the usual chocolates or winter clothes.

2. Find out the new teacher's age and act accordingly. If they're younger, do the polite things that nevertheless show that you're above them on the totem pole - give them directions about the school, where things are and how they work in the English room, etc. Introduce them to the students as if they're the newcomer, etc. If older, let them take charge of whatever they want but make it known you already have a system that works well (assuming you do) and probably will for her, too. Likely they've co-taught before but perhaps not. If it's a complete rookie expect to need a lot of patience.


  • Bulgogi
  • Veteran

    • 92

    • December 07, 2011, 01:45:04 pm
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 01:03:28 pm »
Wow...I was just reading this thread yesterday....and today I found out that 3 of my co-teachers are leaving by next Friday.


  • Yegob
  • Veteran

    • 213

    • March 11, 2011, 08:12:41 am
    • S. Korea
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 01:23:29 pm »
2 out of my 3 co teachers are leaving at the end of the week, they've been with me here for almost 4 years. One of them I will miss dearly, the other... well she's well intentioned but too much of a dingbat.  The one that's staying and will probably be coordinator is a teacher I developed a really good relationship with last year, so that will be cool.

I haven't had any significant issues with any of my coteachers over the 4 year period. Maybe I'm lucky. Maybe I also  know how to play the game so to speak and never seek out stupid conflicts with my Korean co teachers. In return, I'm given pretty much of  free hand 95% of the time.

I only have several months left, and I don't anticipate any problems with any of the potential arrivals, though I guess we shall see.

a really nice looking female would be welcome   8)


Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2012, 01:33:55 pm »
I have 4 co-teachers, and one is also leaving come March. The rest of us pitched in to get her a gift certificate and take her out for dinner with the remaining money.

OP, it's really up to you and your budget. Chocolates (like several mentioned above) are nice, or a nice box of tea/coffee?


  • Yegob
  • Veteran

    • 213

    • March 11, 2011, 08:12:41 am
    • S. Korea
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2012, 03:34:57 pm »
btw re gifts.

I buy my coteachers Belgian chocolates for Christmas every year, and often given them other trinkets from my SE Asian vacations.
for the 2 that are leaving, I'll simply buy them a nice Paris Baguette  cake on their last day as a way of saying "congratulations and thank you for everything".


  • joseph921
  • Super Waygook

    • 433

    • September 15, 2010, 09:00:43 am
Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2012, 09:03:04 pm »
The best gift you can give is your time.
Maybe you can take her out for a nice dinner and spend a good hour or two with her one last time.
Be prepared to ask more than three times, because to be polite, she will decline your offer 3 times lol
(but inside she's having a jamboree that you offered her dinner!).


Re: Co-Teacher Leaving School
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 07:22:11 pm »
A great good-bye gift would be something personalized. What about cookies? Cookies by design has some beautiful cookie baskets that you can give to her!