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Becoming Part of the System
« on: February 18, 2014, 05:20:40 pm »
I've been in Korea for more than 4 months now and I've loved my experience so far.  I don't have really any complaints except for one thing that seems to present itself as a huge speed bump.

I teach at a small hagwon in a small city, resources are limited and my boss tries her hardest. I create my own curriculum like many others and I honestly feel I give this job 110%. However, I feel like the culture in our school isn't built to develop quality English speaking students. I know this is the case for many as I read many forums from various sites, but I don't want to just roll over and watch the months fly by until the end of my contract.

Like i said resources are very limited(white board and printer/copiers) Also, I'd like to note that my co-teachers are awesome individuals, but all of their English skills are limited and I almost feel as if some our students are speaking at an even par level with them.

To be honest, I really do like working here and I could see myself staying longer than a year. (As they have already asked if I would want to stay). With that being said it would be a lot more enticing if I could change a few that things would help our current students as well as be more appealing to potential students. 

So... I don't want this to sound like a poor me rant,which I see all to often on forums.  I signed up to teach and help students learn English. I feel like I could go the easy route and babysit the next 7 months, but I'd prefer not to. I've tried different reward/point systems and so forth but nothing seems to gain traction,but rather it's created spoiled children who now expect rather than ones who have gratitude.

I'd also like to note that our school has seen a pretty drastic drop in enrollment at the beginning of the new year due to a change in ownership. So now it seems that all the Korean teachers are trying to keep all the children happy instead of really teaching in order to ensure that they keep their jobs.

Maybe my situation is hopeless like many others but I really do care and I'm willing to put in the extra effort to turn things around.

Thanks for any advice in advance..


Re: Becoming Part of the System
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 11:23:44 pm »
It's great that you care and want to actually educate the kids, but a hagwon is a business first and a school second (if you are lucky) pure and simple. That won't change and there is nothing you can do about it. All you can do it try to make them happy and teach them something in the process.

Do you have a more specific question?


  • TDC troll
  • Adventurer

    • 50

    • October 06, 2011, 08:55:42 pm
    • Gyeongi Do
Re: Becoming Part of the System
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 12:36:49 am »
With these small schools you're not going to be able to change a thing .
My advice would be to try and get a job with a bigger school ,with
more resources and funds .

Like the previous poster said , most small schools are ONLY looking at their
bottom line .

With a bigger hakwon you will have some more leeway (possibly) to try do more
of what you want to do .


Re: Becoming Part of the System
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 10:12:41 am »
Ahh.. thanks. I was afraid that this was the case. Fortunately, my situation isn't terrible so I guess I'll just ride the wave and try to enjoy it and hopefully my students learn a few things on the way.


  • Dadkinson
  • Adventurer

    • 39

    • November 16, 2013, 08:47:52 pm
    • Boeun, South Korea
Re: Becoming Part of the System
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 10:32:21 am »
First of all, with so many people living in a foreign country, often very isolated in their placements, this site is a safe haven. I know of a lot of people (myself included), for whom  Korea is their first time out of the country, and/or living on their own. "Poor me" posts are going to happen, and this site shouldn't make people feel guilty about reaching out and asking for insight. End rant.

ANYWAY it's awesome you're wanting to actually teach. There are many situations here that can make one concede to watch their contract fly by until the end. I'm in a situation at a public school where the kids have no desire to learn English, and the staff don't necessarily care if they do. There's not much push toward learning anything in my class, or reinforcement from my coworkers at school that they should. I've found that you just have to make the best of your situation. Mold yourself to fit their attitudes or situation. For example, I've found that I need to entertain more than really teach to get the kids to pay attention and try. So I almost trick them into learning. Play games that involve them having to say certain things, or make your powerpoints short and sweet with lots of eye-catching pictures and words. Basic things we've learned about teaching, but being over-zealous and making the kids think you're trying to have fun lets you sneak in all the English you want to teach.  :azn: