teaching esl

My First Day at My New School in Japan

Time really does fly. I was just sitting at my desk in Korea, wasn’t I? Yet, just like that, I was sitting at my new desk in a new school preparing to teach English in Japan for a year. Kind of scary.

I didn’t actually teach any classes today, but I needed to go in to sign lots of paperwork and do some administrative tasks…like burning CD ROMs. After lunch I headed over to the university for an orientation with new teachers throughout the organization. With the exception of myself and two new foreign teachers, they were all Japanese. I’d say maybe 30-40 in total. Because of this, everything was spoken in Japanese. Believe it or not I was able to pick up a number of words from the speaker. I guess studying on your own can actually work.


ESL Teachers: Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think

I recently came across an awesome blog post from Thought Catalog by Brianna Wiest called 20 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are. In my opinion, this post was about fulfillment as much as it was about reflecting on signs that we’re doing better than we think. I believe it applies to ESL teachers who are doing life away from home because normal challenges in life become amplified without our home base of support to fall back on. Over time the smallest things can get you down and make you question how much longer you can stay on the vagabond path. Even more so, maybe it causes some of us to ask ourselves if the decision was even the right one in the first place.

Teaching ESL abroad is a magical experience though, isn’t it?


What’s Worked for Me in the Classroom

I teach for three more days and then have three days off before leaving Quinhon forever.  The three months I’ve spent here have been surreal, sort of like a learn-about-yourself-bootcamp. I have to say, I’m pretty goddamn proud of myself for making it through, since it hasn’t been easy.  The hardest part about the expat life here is the communication and culture barrier. However, the time I’ve spent trying to understand these barriers, while difficult, has also been the best part about living here, hands down.  Should be interesting to integrate these new perspectives into life back in the USA in only 22 days!

Another bright part of my time here in Quinhon has been teaching. My happiest moments here have been in front of the classroom. I’m no expert teacher, but I figured I’d write a post about some teaching tips and tricks that have helped me, because more often than not you won’t get any training in Vietnam before your first class, haha.


Teach ESL Abroad to Travel Like a Pro

ITA - Photo Logo 300 x 250Among the many reasons why teaching ESL abroad rocks is travel. Being in the country you teach in is travel in and of itself. Take for example South Korea, which is where I am.


The One thing you need to know before moving to Korea


What I Miss Most About Korea (and I’m still here!)

I have been living in Korea for exactly four years now. It’s an amazing experience that has helped me to grow as an individual in many ways. Living in another country has forced me to break many of the mental molds I once had as an American.

I’ve learned that there are many different versions and translations of the bigger picture. What I once thought I fully understood about Koreans has proven to have been a preconceived notion as I look back.

Learning a new way of life, a new profession, a new view on life stretched my heart and mind in ways too countless to list here.

This sequel to my life is proving to be better than the original. It’s incredible to see how all the dots from my past have connected and my new direction makes sense to me now.

Growth as a person is no different than growth of a muscle. The more pressure and resistance you subject the muscle to, the bigger and stronger it will become. The muscle’s endurance will also increase.


How CDI-Cheonan (ChungDahm International) Screwed Me Over

This is a really difficult post for me to write, because I am so enraged and sad about what happened to me at the company I work(ed?) for, ChungDahm International. (Shame on the name!)

Please know that every hagwon and every teaching job in Korea is different. Just because I’ve had a nightmarish experience doesn’t mean that everybody does, and it certainly doesn’t mean that South Korea is a bad place to live and work in. This post is about my personal experience with a specific branch of one company.

A little backstory…

I had been planning on working with ChungDahm for over a year. I heard they pay well and on time, and seemed to be a reputable company. Before I came here, I’d been in contact for months with my recruiter. I should have known by the sounds of her ominous name, Misty Crooks, that something was up with ChungDahm.


Classroom Criminal Justice: Enforce Behavior, Drop the Ax, But Keep It FUN!

Coming into the ESL field later in life presents a challenge for me. Without time on my side, I know I need to get training whenever it’s available. I took on obtaining ESL-related certifications along the way. Since coming to Korea I got a TESOL certification, a Business English certification, and my teaching license from back home.

In addition, EPIK holds training modules at times, and although they’re not the most in-depth, hands-on training, they’re better than nothing. You can usually walk away having learned something. Over time, a lot of little things add up to a big thing.


It’s been a month!

I’ve been in South Korea for a little over a month now.

Here are my thoughts.

Teaching at Company X in Cheonan is just okay.

Positives: I love the autonomy I have in front of the classroom. No supervisors are there to look over my shoulder. No one’s yelling at me and telling me what to do. Inside the classroom, I’m da boss, and it’s pretty great. I take pride in the work, and feel really good when things go smoothly in the classroom. It’s actually really fun experimenting with what works and what does not work with each group of students. There’s a lot to learn and it’s pretty much all on me to figure it out. In that sense, I like teaching.


How You Can Make ESL a Long-Term Career

Teaching ESL abroad is becoming more and more popular by the day for a multitude of reasons.

First, there is a bad economic disease circulating the globe and as much as the spin doctors try to paint a rosy picture of improvement, things are still just bad. Jobs are not only less plentiful, but requirements have become more robust and often people are being asked to do far more for less pay these days. This is assuming you can find a job within your line of work in the first place.


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