WHY YOU SHOULD BE AN ENGLISH TEACHER IN KOREA

A drawing by an elementary student on a whiteboard in South Korea.

There are many reasons why you should consider teaching English in South Korea. Better yet, don’t just consider it. Apply to be a Foreign English teacher right now. Or, immediately after reading this post.

If you’ve been following my journey for the past two years, you have a pretty good idea of what teaching English through the English Program in Korea (EPIK) is like. Most days are great; some days are good, and a few days aren’t so good.

Overall, moving to Korea has been the best decision I’ve made in my life. I’ve grown personally and professionally. I’ve made incredible friends, and the connections I’ve gained will open up a lifetime of opportunities.

Anyone who has traveled or lived abroad knows one thing every foreigner in another country seems to have in common. Cultural mishaps, miscommunications, and embarrassing moments abound. Who wouldn’t want a job where you get to laugh and/or get laughed at all day, every day?

I’m not going to persuade you to come by listing off a bunch of other reasons why you should. Your experience would be completely different than mine. Instead, I’m going to share some of my favorite, and a few undocumented funny moments from the past 20 months.

There are afternoons I just sit at my desk and literally laugh out loud about things that happened during the day. Like the time my students randomly busted out dance moves, and put on an impromptu performance to start class. Or, the time I asked my students if they remembered where I was from in the United States, and their closest answer was Canada.

The time my landlord thought I was going to run a marathon, but I couldn’t clearly communicate to him that I was only running 10 kilometers. And then I skipped the race altogether, but my landlord still thinks I ran a full marathon. Easiest 26.2 miles I've ever run.

The time I told students to ‘lose their pants’ in class.

What I should have written on the chalkboard was, “Roll 3 – Lose your points."

What I accidentally wrote instead was, “Roll 3 – Lose your pants.”

It’s a good thing most of my third graders didn’t notice. But, my co-teacher did, and we couldn’t stop laughing about it. I was so embarrassed!

It should be noted we had just discussed when to use ‘a pair of’ in regards to items such as pants.

The time I had to start a lesson with half of my fifth grade students crying (as in bawling their eyes out). By the end, most were laughing and happy again. But, I never figured out why they were crying.

The time a fourth grader asked, “Teacher, what is that yellow spot on your back?" during class.

Sure enough my sweatshirt had a huge, brown stain on it. I tried to convince the class it was coffee.

"Coffee! It's coffee. I swear it’s from coffee. Kids, believe me. It’s coffee.”

The time I had to wake up around 6am on a Sunday morning for an English trip with students.

"Sorry, Chase,” my co-teachers said on the bus, “There's no room to sit with us up here, but there's an empty seat in the back with the kids."

The time I sang karaoke and danced on a bus with my principal during a staff field trip.

The time a fire drill happened during a lesson, and I didn’t know what to do with the students. Or, the time I tried to continue teaching when a fire alarm kept going off.

The time a student spanked my butt in front of my principal.

The countless times I’ve had awkward interactions with my principal in the bathroom.

The time I caught my landlord peeing outside of our apartment building.

And every time I do something wrong while playing volleyball with teachers at my school, but no one tells me what I did wrong. They just argue about it in Korean in front of me.

Of course there have been many other cultural mishaps, miscommunications, embarrassing moments, as well as a few tales better left untold. These are just a few of my favorite memories. I know there will be many more to come in the last few months I have left.

There are many reasons why you should consider teaching English in South Korea. Just don’t forget to pack your sense of humor.

Comments

  1. Hi..............

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice day.


    English Teaching In Korea

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading it, and for joining my journey! And thanks for providing opportunities for people to teach English abroad.

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