Tuesday, January 5, 2010

For those working in public schools in Korea...some advice...

...from someone perhaps not really qualified. I've never actually worked in a public school but most of my friends these days, besides the coworkers seem to work there. I guess it's just a matter of schedules. The hagwon people are working when I have free time, at night while the hagwon people are not.

Anyway, I hear the same things over and over about evil Korean co-teachers being mean and stupid and horrible teachers, blah, blah, blah. Who am I to say? I'm sure that some of them are bad, but I also wouldn't want to co-teach with quite a few of the foreigners that I've met here! I can see both sides is I guess what I'm saying.

My tips for you, my public school friends. Take it with a grain of salt:

1.If you move schools, and your same problems follow you there, it's not the schools or your co-teachers, it's you with the problem. Adjust your attitude.

2. If you hate it that much, and really can't get along with your co-teachers, work at a hagwon or uni. You'll be working alone, in most cases.

3. Don't stress about the kids actually learning a lot of English. You can only do so much when you see the kids for an hour a week or every 2 weeks. Your Korean co-teacher doesn't really give a crap in a lot of cases, so why should you?

However, with the extra after-school classes, where you see the kids everyday, you actually can make a difference so put your efforts there.

4. Don't bother your co-teacher with trifling things. Ordering electronics off the internet for you or booking flight tickets is not in their job description. Use the Yeogiyo or get some Korean friends to do these things. Then, they'll have a lot more time for things that actually are their problem like making sure your apartment has heat or that you find out about field trips and holidays.

5.Put a smile on and never, ever, ever get angry. This will lead to your downfall.

6.Don't stress about different teaching philosophies. They want you to fit into their stupid system? Just do it and don't argue. It's not worth the trouble.

7. Your coteacher asks you to take care of some paperwork? Do it asap. Like the same or next day. Don't forget. It just makes their life more difficult and they will not be as happy to help you with stuff.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Student Evaluations

So at about this time last year, I was doing a very similar post about the same topic. This year, I seemed to have taken my own advice and gotten extremely high evaluations...89%. My highest class was 98% and my lowest was 79%.

Anyway, how do I do it? I read the student comments. My Korean is a wee bit sketchy so I run them through the google translator to get the basic gist of things. Then, if I see a pattern across classes, I'll shape things up in that area. My previous plan, of making my syllabus much clearer and simpler paid off and I got high points in that area.

This year, the students seemed to think that I should speak a bit more Korean in class. Hmmm...it goes against my general principles of learning a second language. But, in the lower level classes, I can see their point. Perhaps my new plan will be brushing up on the Korean of what I'm teaching that week.