Interviews with ESL teachers on Haeundae Beach in Busan, Korea

Here teacher Daniel talks about the good and bad about teaching in Korea on Haeundae beach. Teachers Katie and Rebecca talk about their challenges, housing, advice and more near Centum City, Busan.

Here is a transcription of the video:

What's your name? Daniel Shepard.

Where do you come from? I am from Portland, Oregon, USA.

How long have you been teaching English? This is my second year, so basically like thirteen months.

How do you like it? Umm, it's got good parts and bad parts.

What are the good parts? I like teaching the kids. They are really well behaved and they are fun.

What about the bad? The management is pretty poor.

Do you work in a hagwon? Yes, I do.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? I guess having higher expectations of it being a super developed country. It's kind of in between development stages.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? I really like doing a strange version of connect four. Having each box represent a question of some sort. You can make it as big as you want on the board and then mark it A-Z and 1 to whatever number. And on your own create questions that correspond to each block. Split the class into 2 groups and then ask them questions about the book they are reading and their vocabulary.

How's your housing? It's good. This time around I took care of it myself. Last time I had issues.

What happened? I came here with my brother and they told us that we were going to have a certain housing situation. It didn't happen and then they told us again that they had fixed the problem, but they hadn't so they didn't want to loose face, etc. So it ended up taking us 4 months to find a place with the help of friends that they had originally promised us. So basically my advice would be to get everything in writing and have someone check it out before hand. Have them send you pictures or something.

The end.

What's your name? Rebecca Bass.

Where do you come from? I am from Colorado in the US.

How long have you been teaching English? Here in Korea three months.

How do you like it? It's been good. I have had some good challenges here in Korea: co-teacher problems, communication problems and stuff like that. Overall I think Korea is a really good place to start teaching or learn how to internationally teach English. So it has been a good experience.

Do you like your housing? I came with my husband. They messed up our housing arrangements, so we are in a really tiny box. If I had to do it over I would probably change, but umm, overall we are really close to the subway and we really like the area, so that's why we decided to stay in the smaller apartment. We live in Myeongnyun in the Dongnae area. So we are 2 stops from the PNU area.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of teaching abroad? Be willing to accept cultural differences between co-workers. You could put your own cultural ways on them or expect them to understand why we do things a certain way. Have the willingness to work hard and I would take your job seriously. I think the best things that my teachers or the principal has told me is that if you work hard that's what matters.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? I do a lot of singing with my kids. I love music so I do a lot of stuff from Youtube. Things like that. They love to learn anything to do with our culture to. I always try to bring in some of our cultural... even Mothers day and Valentines day. Teach them what we do different from them. Like here in Korea on Valentines day they only have chocolate. And on White day they only give candy. So on Valentines day in America they have both and guys can give girls whatever they want and girls can give guys whatever they want. It's not so stringent. Just kinda teaching them to broaden their mind a little bit. Instead of being quite so Korean (laughing).

The end.

What's your name? My name is Katie Mansortz.

Where do you come from? I am from South Bend, Indiana, USA.

How long have you been teaching English? I have been teaching English... Well I have been in Korea for 3 months, but my education was teaching in English.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? Learning to get around initially was difficult. Most Koreans I knew did not take public transit. So I had to figure that one out on my own and learn Korean in order to do it. It's a lot easier than it sounds I guess. It was the hardest challenge at first. For me I don't like spicy food very much. Finding good comfort foods and learning how to make what I like to eat or just learning how to find foods that I think are delicious and not difficult to eat.

How do you find your housing? It's not the best housing, but it's clean. It's close to the bus stops, grocery store and a walking distance from my school. So those are definitely the positives, cause I can walk anywhere I need to go. But it is not central and that can be a challenge at times.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? Stamps are a teachers best friend. They are great for positive reinforcement, so when a child does something good or they get what's really going on you can give them a stamp. Even the kids who are struggling in class you can give them a stamp. It really helps push them forward and motivate them. So it's better than yelling all the time in a foreign language. You can use positive reinforcement instead.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of teaching abroad? Be your co-teachers best friend. Mine has helped me so much and I am so thankful to them. Be flexible cause Korea is dynamic. Everything is going to change at the last minute, so you just have to go with it.

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