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  • baboo74
  • Adventurer

    • 45

    • April 14, 2011, 02:08:36 pm
    • Korea
How to deal with a co-teacher?
« on: November 26, 2012, 09:10:24 pm »
Hi all waygookers,

Have a problem that has been festering for the last month and a half and I cannot keep it bottled any longer.

I have been working in the same elementary school for the last year and 7 months and have had a really great time. My co-teachers have all been great (3 of them) and all was swell until one of them went away for further English training (in the states). Enter stage left my new co-teacher. Where to begin.....well, unfortunately for her she was in charge of the grade 6ers and because she began 2/3 in to the semester she really had to chance to set her own rules. This a created a very negative atmosphere in class...kids never listen to what she says..etc..

In addition, her pronunciation is so way off it makes me cringe anytime she opens her mouth. Some of the higher level students actually mispronounce words just to ape her. Should I just tell her flat out that she needs to work on her pronunciation. I mean...no wonder some kids cant pronounce words well if they had teachers like her(she was a middle school teacher before). Plus shes got the most nasal voice..which just adds insult to injury

I want to renew there for a third year but Im afraid that I will be with her next year. There is no way in hell I could spend another year with her. I was told the other teacher(who is gone in the states) will return to the school and that the aforementioned teacher may not be an English teacher. Do I tell my main co-teacher about this? Is it right to tell her that I dont want to teach with a co-teacher like her?

Am I being an ass for thinking like this?

thank you for listening....


  • Wintermute
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1196

    • October 06, 2011, 01:07:27 pm
    • MURRICA!!!
    more
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 10:53:16 pm »
Hm, its typical practice to not go over a teachers head and talk with higher ups. HOWEVER, this is one special case where I think you should speak with someone more in charge. They can handle it much better than you.

No teacher wants to hear from another teacher how to do their job. Especially a foreigner correcting their English skills.

If it gives you any reassurance I was in the exact same situation. There was a teacher, he had terrible pronunciation, he taught 2nd year middle school and it was hurting the students education. They were pronouncing things the way he did, being none the wiser to the error. We were the same age. I spoke with someone about the issue. They talked with him. He was depressed for a little while, no biggy, and he got better.

I know you don't want to get her in trouble, but the school will want to do something if it affects the students negatively as it is. And mayyyybe she doesn't know she needs fixing.

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Should I just tell her flat out that she needs to work on her pronunciation.

No. Better to handle it the Korean professional way.

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Do I tell my main co-teacher about this?

Best option.

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Is it right to tell her that I dont want to teach with a co-teacher like her?

What would you gain? Is it worth it? And I'm not actually asking that for you to answer on here, but more in your head. My personal suggestion, I wouldn't say that. But I can't tell you what is right for you.

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kids never listen to what she says

Thats her problem, let her deal with it, but support her.

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aforementioned teacher may not be an English teacher

Most likely true. Teachers change subjects, schools, grades, every year. I wouldn't worry about her next year, sign that contract!


  • money55
  • Super Waygook

    • 277

    • July 05, 2011, 02:12:38 pm
    • south korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 11:09:11 pm »
Why don't you ask her to divide the class, you teach the speaking portion of the class and she teaches another.  Divide your teaching time. 
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 11:19:18 pm by money55 »


  • baboo74
  • Adventurer

    • 45

    • April 14, 2011, 02:08:36 pm
    • Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2012, 06:26:37 am »
Why don't you ask her to divide the class, you teach the speaking portion of the class and she teaches another.  Divide your teaching time. 

The problem is not when we teach together it is when she is alone and I "have to" listen to her (my office is the classroom). I usually move to a different room but sometimes I have work to do and my computer is there. My music is my salvation :)


  • fishead
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1138

    • April 23, 2010, 07:58:05 am
    • Yangju Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 07:28:22 am »
She is probably just on a short term contract and isn't a full teacher.

It's not forever so I would say just be nice and tough it out. I don't see how making a fuss is actually going to fix anything for you..... it will just make the remaining time together even more awkward.

If you have been teaching those kids for longer maybe now is the time to step up a bit and take more of a role until the real teacher comes back.

 This is the best option about her prounciation the parents have already complained to your head teacher nothing stays secrete for long. She's a contract teacher making 1.2 mil a month no housing that is reflective of her ability. If you pay macdon prices don't expect gourmet food


  • 한소로
  • Expert Waygook

    • 783

    • March 20, 2012, 07:50:46 am
    more
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 07:46:22 am »
I had a similiar problem before. The teacher wasn't even an English teacher. She was a computer teacher but they needed her to switch into the open space. She was a very sweet person and she was very embarrassed that she couldn't speak English well. It was to the point that her student would make fun of her and she would get incredibly stressed out.

However, she was just a contract teacher. Like mentioned above, she will probably leave the school soon anyway. It was a unique situation where they had to find someone to fill the space temporarily (possibly). My teacher left the school after one semester and a much better teacher took her place.

Of course, you could always casually ask how long she plans to stay with the school.


  • Grimne_Lothos
  • Expert Waygook

    • 846

    • December 28, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
    • Buyeo, south korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 09:33:53 am »
If she doesn't want to be an English teacher and is just filling in then she doesn't really NEED to work on her pronounciation.   She prolly already knows its isn't good.   Piling on her just makes you a jerk.


  • iseya
  • Expert Waygook

    • 704

    • February 15, 2012, 06:14:49 pm
    • USA
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2012, 09:41:09 am »
Is she a bad teacher/person, or does she just annoy you?
From your inital post, and how you would like to handle the situation, it sounds like you don't like her..
Aside from her poor pronunciation...you havent shown how she's a bad teacher or a bad person.

Directly criticizing her English won't turn out good...especially if you guys aren't on friendly terms now--it'd just come off as an attack. 
I agree with the others, if she's just going to be here a year, then it's best to just ride it out..I cant imagine anything you or anyone else could say to her that would change the situation.  She's not going to start speaking better English after getting a talking to.
If she does stay longer, and you do end up having to teach with her, it couldn't be all bad--you could lead the class and she'd be your back up. Youd have more say/control of the content and how it was put out, and she could learn the proper way to pronounce the target vocab/sentences, as well as what works in controlling the classes.


  • jamasian
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • December 05, 2011, 03:02:00 pm
    • Suncheon, S. Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 10:53:29 am »
I had 3 amazing co-teachers and then one left. The new lady speaks terrible English. Her accent is ok, but her grammar and conversational skills are terrible.

 I would suggest talking to her more often, if you are not on bad terms. She will be able to hear your accent and hers will begin to adjust slowly. Also, every now and then with my co-teacher, I will correct a word that is completely off. You can repeat it directly or say, "Do you mean ___?" followed by an easy definition if she's unsure.

As for the contract. Will you have to work with her? You said most of the annoyance comes from her own class that you involuntarily have to be in. Will this really affect you next year? I don't support going crazy because of that haha If you think you can make it without going crazy then sign. If there are more things that you don't like and you will have more time with her then don't sign.

Ask specifically about you and her relationship before signing. If she's leaving Yaay! If not, you better think about it.


  • Cy&Leon
  • Veteran

    • 167

    • October 10, 2010, 05:49:41 pm
    • South Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 07:55:07 pm »
How long until your co-teacher comes back from the states? Usually, it's less than 6 months thing. When he/she comes back, they are usually pressured into teaching English for more years. So you chances are high. I'm in a similar situation with a 'sub.' But, I know I won't be teaching with her again because I asked the Co's I could trust. Just a few more months until the new semester!


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 08:43:18 pm »
From my time teaching at a rural technical high school in Chungnam, this is without a shadow of a doubt small fries compared to what I dealt with week in week out. Many of my CTs refused to speak at all in class when they deigned to attend.

You've got it good, mate. Some new teacher who may not be an English teacher at all by profession has been charged with turning up part way through a semester and put in charge of a tough class. There's no doubt that accent and behaviour will be an issue.

Yeah, you're being an *** over this. You might easily resign from this job (or simply not re-sign) and end up in a job where a CT with a "nasal" voice and a bad English accent who hasn't had the chance to settle in yet is the least of your problems. Really, it could be a heck of a lot worse.

Talk to your head of department, ask him/her to have a word about the accent issue and offer to help. The behaviour will come in time. Who manages perfect discipline with a class of elementary 6th graders this close to the end of the year when they just joined 2/3s of the way through it? Very few people, that's who. Give the new teacher a break for goodness' sale.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


  • JeremyC
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2322

    • July 15, 2012, 03:48:16 pm
    • Korea
Re: How to deal with a co-teacher?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 10:27:47 pm »
Why don't you ask her to divide the class, you teach the speaking portion of the class and she teaches another.  Divide your teaching time. 

The problem is not when we teach together it is when she is alone and I "have to" listen to her (my office is the classroom). I usually move to a different room but sometimes I have work to do and my computer is there. My music is my salvation :)

Take in your laptop, smart phone or a book and don't work in there when she's teaching alone. If she's already aware she's not as good an English teacher as some others your presence won't be helping either of you.
It's nice to be important but more important to be nice.