Sluggish Friday and the Best Use for a Pencil Case

It’s pretty rare for me to post twice in two days as still can’t quite shake my University established ‘writing = work’ ethos despite graduating 3 years ago. Consider this a minor blip owing to surreal circumstances.

Cancellations, Evacuations and Apology-Cake

Today has been a strange day. My Thursdays generally alternate between being incredibly quiet, with one first and one second grade lesson (both of which I’ve taught a lot this week already) and incredibly trying, with 3 consecutive third grade lessons (the lesson I haven’t taught yet) plus a 45-minute struggle with the worst behaved of all my classes.

Please Don’t Take A Picture, It’s Been A _____ Day

Or: An Uncharacteristic Work-Related Rant About A Job I Actually Like 

All things considered, it’s fairly easy to have a good day as a teacher in Korea. Weekends in particular are spectacularly easy to enjoy, for a number of obvious reasons (no school, little no lesson planning, a considerable number of same-boat Westerners to share the time with) but also because of the potentially overlooked fact that I can actually afford to do stuff with my weekends here. EPIK pay is nothing spectacular but it’s more than enough to be able to comfortably afford weekends (and weeknights if you’re not as keen on saving) of sightseeing and eating out whenever the mood takes you. Having lived in overpriced England all of my life and never having had an above minimum wage job, this is not something to be sniffed at. Whether I choose to go adventuring or stay at home, weekends in Springtime Busan are lovely and I feel lucky to have them.

A Day in the Life

I would have liked to call this post ‘A Day in the Life of the Average EPIK Teacher’, but I have literally no evidence for it being that as I’m not certain what the ‘average’ EPIK teacher is…for a start, the majority of EPIK teachers work in Elementary schools, which immediately makes for a very different schedule than my own. I’m not sure even if there’s any correlation between schools of the same type, for there’s an awful lot of variables to consider; class size, school size, co-teachers, location, Office of Education, to name a few from the top of my head. Basically, the EPIK job varies so, so much that to attempt to describe an average day is pretty ludicrous.

So I shall describe with as much clarity as possible the only thing I can describe with any clarity at all. This is  A Day in the Life of ‘Carrie-Teacher’: Middle School, Busan.

On ‘Culture Shock’

I’ll freely admit it, I’m a bloody awful blogger as soon as something major happens in my life. Some people (perhaps most people) find that to channel big changes into something creative is the best way to manage the change itself…maybe this is what years ago made someone a dedicated diary writer, and now makes for a successful blogger. I have recently realised that I am the exact opposite of these people, and deal with significant change by  completely ignoring it until it either goes away or becomes manageable purely by virtue of the fact that I have been ‘getting on with it’ for a long enough time. Unfortunately, this makes for a crappy travel blog, and for that I apologise.

However, there’s no point crying over spilled Maekkoli. In this post I’ll attempt to detail my own (confused) feelings on the dreaded ‘Culture Shock’.

A Week In The Life

I have long since decided that attempting to detail the day to day goings on of my life in Korea is absurdly impractical. As such I intend to take the easy way out, occasionally providing you with a snapshot image of the life of an EPIK teacher as and when my schedule/brain allows. Having just finished my first week of teaching, this seems like as good a time as any to begin.

I realised a long while ago that each year EPIK teachers are essentially entered into a huge ‘employment/living lottery‘, of which not everyone is aware of. I have heard tales of GETs (Guest English Teachers – us) finding themselves in near perfect situations as many times as I have heard of people living and working in Hell itself. The draw does not seem to discriminate by experience, creed or colour and therefore, I suppose, is as fair as it is possible to be. I imagine this doesn’t make it any easier to take if you pull a short straw.

“I’m An Alien, I’m No Longer An Illegal Alien, I’m A British Woman In Busan…”

Or: How to finish work early and get home late. 

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Guest post: getting a F-visa without getting married to a Korean

CISK note: Today’s guest post comes to you courtesy of Sharon de Hinojosa, a university professor and TEFL teacher for just under a decade. Her blog - tefltips.blogspot.com – offers plenty of tips on TEFL, and is recently renovated.

TESOL Certs - Smart People, I challange thee! Best place to get one?

Hi All,

I'm now doing my shopping for a certificate which can help me maintain a position in Korea. I plan on moving to Seoul next year, however, I don't think my BA and 2 years of teaching experience is enough to land a decent job within city limits. So I'd like to do what I can, since I have the time and some extra cash, to get a certificate to better my chances.

So that comes to my questions for the community. If you have any CELTA/TESOL/TEFL certs, could you please tell me where you got them, how much, and what you think they are worth? Or if you have a program that you strongly recommend, I'd love to hear about it.

I will only be able to do the cert online, so that means any super advanced ones, like CELTA are not an option now (not to mention I fail some of the requirements to get one), but could be in the future.

As far as I understand, the way to go with TESOL is to make sure to get a 100+ hour cert.

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