TEFL Experiences: Teaching English in South Korea

by Ajaz Mohammed Hussain

Hello there!

Greetings from Ulsan in the south-east of South Korea. Yes…I’m finally here.

It’s been almost three months since I did the TEFL course and now I’m putting in to practice all that you taught…and it certainly is helpful. I find myself constantly referring to my TEFL course book for succour and inspiration!

Well, I’m at a private academy as they call here in the heart of Ulsan called the Toplus Institute which specialises in teaching English to elementary and middle school( that’s Korean system by the way) pupils. The ages are from 6 to 16. I’m the only Native speaking English teacher (but will be joined by another colleague in a couple of weeks) in a staff of about ten Korean teachers.

southkorea

The education system here is very different. Academies such are these are not affiliated to the state or private schools but are ancillary to them. All the students here complete a full day of regular school and then attend here for English classes. The school opens about 12.30pm and teachers appear about 1.30pm -2pm and prepare for lessons and do other prep. Classes start at 2.20pm and for 40 minutes. There is a bell, well actually a musical cuckoo singing, which indicates the beginning and commencement of the class and students and teachers have the first five minutes to settle in.

The classes run right up to midnight….yes there are students and teachers all the way until then. On average I have six to seven 40 minutes classes every second day and only two classes Tuesday & Thursday and finish real early. The nature of my lessons is straight forward: I’m a Speaking Teacher with the task of helping students to speak English with proper grammar and pronunciation. I don’t have to worry myself with the technical side of English as that is the domain of the Korean teachers. So there is no need, thankfully, for me to remember all that technical side of grammar.

The academy has books and materials they want to be taught and having familiarised myself with them I just follow the units and work my way through. Once I’m done teaching then I’m left to myself to explore and enjoy the Korean weather and way of life …but then that’s another blog.

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