Interviews with ESL teachers on Haeundae Beach, Busan, Korea

Teacher Paul recommends a good warm-up activity, Jessica has some difficulties with the food, Jenna thought her TEFL course was a waste of money and Lisa loves Busan. Find out more by watching the video.

Here is a transcription of the video:

What's your name? Paul.

Where do you come from? From Ontario, Canada.

How long have you been teaching English? I have been teaching English for about 8 and a half months now in Busan, Korea.

What do you think about it? It's cool. It's a good experience. I never taught English before or taught anything before to children. Just being able to travel and make money at the same time is a pretty cool lifestyle.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had with your job? For the first little while they continued to load the work on us, but it really improved over the last couple months. It was a newer school and they started to realize what we wanted and we started to realize what they expected from us. I think you have to meet each others expectations.

How about your housing? Actually I think I am pretty lucky. I have one of the nicer apartments. It's fair sized, more than what I need and it's just me in there. A fair sized kitchen, living room and what else do I need?

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? A good intro game is Simon Says. If you need something quick. You can do many things with it. Point to... these are kids with a low level. It gets them up and moving around which is important with younger children cause they get board and they can loose their attention span. That's my favorite.

The end.

What's your name? Jessica.

Where do you come from? Ontario, Canada.

How long have you been teaching English? Seven and a half months.

How do you like it? Love it. Best thing I have done.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? The food. I don't like the food at all. So it gets kinda expensive cause I buy American food.

Do you feel that you can find everything that you want from back home? No. I find stuff to get me by: chicken, vegetables, cereal. The good stuff you won't obviously find, but enough to keep me happy.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? I play the alphabet game. "You went to the store what did you buy?" I bought apples. The next person says, I bought apples and bananas. So how do you play that? So I say I went to the store and I bought apples. The next kid would say that when I went to the store I bought apples and broccoli. The next kid would say when I went to the store I bought apples, broccoli and carrots. So you have to keep... It practices their memory and they have to keep listening. It's pretty good. It takes a while so it's a good intro to the course.

The end.

What's your name? Jenna Philips.

Where do you come from? I come from a little town near Toronto, Canada.

How long have you been teaching English? I have been teaching for about 10 and a half months.

How do you like it? I like teaching. I can get a little tired with all the speaking, but I love teaching. I love the kids.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? When I first got here it was definitely the language and adjusting. But, ahh maybe my school they have kind of been a little shady. But I love it, it's fun.

Shady how? They loaded us up with extra work and took away some of our vacation days which wasn't in the contract. They made me move apartments. They gave me five days notice and made us move apartments. They took a bonus away from us and gave it to the Korean teachers. Just stuff like that. They don't really care about us at all.

Do you think there is something you could have done to avoid that? I did talk to some of the workers by email, but maybe talking to all of the workers would be better because I only talked with one. But funny enough she left two weeks before I got there and had a bad fall out with the school. So I went through a recruiter and I don't really feel like she knew much about the school. They just kind of place you somewhere. So I would say talking to all of the foreigner teachers there and really looking up on the school.

Have you taken a TEFL or TESOL course before? Yeah, I took TEFL with Oxford Seminars. What did you think? I met some cool people, but I didn't really learn anything. It was a waste of money for me. It was a lot of money and I didn't get anything out of it. I haven't used any of it here. I haven't had to look at my books or anything.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of teaching abroad? Do research before you come over on where you'll be living and your school. Come with an open mind cause living abroad is very different from living at home. And know that it will be different from home. You'll go through some hard times, but there are many many good times.

The end.

What's your name? Lisa.

Where do you come from? A city called London in Canada.

How long have you been teaching English? Around ten months.

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had teaching abroad? Patience. Patience for the kids. Patience for the culture. Patience for the people. It's a lot to deal with sometimes and my patience coming over here was quite thin, so it's grown a lot since I have been here.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? I think the best thing that you can do with the kids is maybe spend about ten minutes at the beginning or maybe five minutes at the end shooting the shit with them. Just talking about day to day life. I really open up to the kids and tell them about my personal life. I think that's really important for them to look at me as human being not only as a teacher. Talk to them about your home life. Open the door to them, different things that they can experience around the world.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of teaching abroad? Research. The city that you live in will make or break your time. I chose Busan specifically because of the beaches. But talking to people who have been here is probably the best tool you have. They are going to be your best resource. Talking about their experiences and sharing them with you.

How do you like Busan? Love it. I don't think I would have as good of an experience in a another city in Korea. This place has been fantastic.

The end.

What's your name? Christy.

Where do you come from? America and Canada. I was born in Canada and moved to the US.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of teaching abroad? I think the biggest thing is to figure out if you want to do public school or a hagwon. Make sure you talk to the boss and people who work at the school.

Do you have a favorite tip, game or classroom activity that you would like to share? Probably my favorite game would be when one student is sitting with their back to the board that has a word written on it. The students can't tell them the word, but they have to act it out or say synonyms for the word. Kids really love it and sometimes the things that they do will make you laugh. 

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