Welcome to Korea!
UPDATE: Apparently some of the links near the end are broken. I will try to re-link them this weekend. Sorry about the problem. If you do a search with the title of the link on Google it will lead you to the original blog post on my old blog, http://kimchi-icecream.blogspot.com/
The Kimchi Icecream Guide for New EFL/ESL Foreign English Teachers/Instructors in South Korea, 2010 Edition is the culmination of five years of writing and blogging about living and teaching in South Korea. It is based on my experience teaching elementary after school programs and camps, 1 full year of teaching at 3 different middle schools (all girls, and co-ed), 1 year at an all girls academic high school, 1 year at a foreign language training center (English immersion camp programs and the 6 month Teach English in English training program for Korean English teachers), nearly 2 years at a national university of education (training future Korean English elementary teachers in a full time English education program, and a second 6 month Teach English in English training program), and my current experiences teaching at an all boys vocational-academic (it’s currently transitioning from the one to the other) high school. Add to all of this summer and winter English camps during the entire five years, with varying levels of public school students, university students, and Korean English teacher trainees, and you’ll see that I’ve accumulated quite a bit of time and experience teaching in Korea.
My goal is to help new foreign teachers entering Korea for the first time to be informed of everything they need to know in order to make the transition from just keeping their head above the water and doing what I call ‘survival teaching’ to beginning to be able to swim with varying degrees of success and happiness. I write about both the good and bad things that may or may not take place in your teaching and living conditions in Korea. The really hard thing about trying to write an orientation guide is that each foreign teacher has a different personality and their teaching/living situations can be so different as to be almost as though they’re not in the same country. Perhaps the 3 biggest things you’ll need in Korea are a sense of humor, patience, and the mental abilities to adapt and be flexible about things that are literally beyond what you can imagine being possible–these are the things I think are VITAL to surviving and thriving in Korea.
In the readings below I’ve created a 1-3 star rating system to tell you how important I think a particular post is for new teachers to read.
* A little important and something you should read after you’ve been in Korea for a month and settled in.
** Moderately important and something you should read after you’ve unpacked everything in your apartment, and been in your school for a few weeks.
*** Very important information that will help you avoid typical mistakes and problems that new foreign teachers face when they first arrive in Korea.
I’ve put together this guide with everything I think a new foreign teacher (and for that matter even some veterans might find something useful here) might want to read about when they first arrive in Korea that I’ve written and blogged about. Yet there will be things that you think are incomplete or missing; please add comments or email me and if it is possible I will write about the question, issue, or topic.
If any of the following materials are used as a part of an orientation or new foreign teacher training manual I would appreciate being cited as the author (if it’s something that I wrote) and or as a source from which the materials were taken from (if it’s something I found and arranged and posted on the Net). I’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing and blogging and would appreciate the citation. Thanks.
I’ll leave you with this thought about teaching and living in Korea.
Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
I wish all new foreign teachers in Korea good luck tomorrow as the first day of the spring/summer semester begins.
p.s. There are a few kinks in the spacing and text size that I’m trying to work out, sorry.
Before Coming to Korea
2009 SMOE Orientation — SMOE Orientations From The Past . . . taking a look at what’s online and trying to get a sense of what is coming soon . . .
SMOE Orientation August 2009 — Day 2, Notification: Everybody on the 10th floor gets ‘relocated’ due to ‘construction hazards’–uhm, excuse me?
SMOE August Orientation 2009: a brief description of Day 3, and preview of the SMOE orientation series coming soon
2009 SMOE August Orientation Day 4 – teaching demonstrations and getting ear-thermometered for the Nth time . . .
2009 SMOE August Orientation Day 7 (or 6 if you got here last Saturday) — And on the seventh day Smoe told the teachers to pack, get on the buses….
First Week in Korea — Checklists
Cultural Differences and Culture Shock
***New Foreign English Teachers in Korean Public Schools — One Foreign Instructor’s Take On Some Major Cultural Differences
Korean Education System Topics
EFL/ESL Teaching Books (NEW!)
List of EFL/ESL teaching methodology, lesson plans, games and activities, and cultural background books in my personal teaching library
What are good EFL/ESL lesson plan, activity, game, resource books for teaching English in a Korean high school? – Here’s my list.
Bookstores in Korea
New Foreign English Instructors/Teachers in Korea: Bandi & Lunis Bookstore in Jonggak Station, Seoul
Korean English Co-Teacher Topics
New Foreign English Instructors/Teachers in Korea — What to do when your co-teacher doesn’t show up for class.
After School Programs/Classes/Extra Classes and English Camps (NEW!)
Living in Korea — Locations and Conditions (NEW!)
2009 SMOE August Orientation — My new apartment . . . and yep, there’s no gas, no power, and no furniture . . . lol, sigh.
And the ajumma said: “Behold! I bring forth the fridge for your apartment!” — And the foreign teachers Jason and Julianne bowed down in awe before it
Life in Korea – Issues for Foreign Instructors
Lesson Topic Ideas
“I can’t think of any English lesson topics . . .” Lesson Plan Topics List For New Foreign English Teachers In Korean Public Schools
Where to find western and foreign foods in Korea (NEW!)
Namdaemun Market, Seoul, South Korea – How do I get to Namdaemun Market? Where can I find foreign foods and products in Seoul?
Korean Foods (NEW!)
There’s a five part series from the TV show “Bizarre Foods” where they talk about Korean food culture and give a lot of info.
Teacher Training and Conferences in Korea
***Check out KOTESOL’s official website to learn more about it. You can become a member and then attend monthly sessions with presentations, and also attend the yearly international conference held at the end of October in Seoul.
NOTE: Before reading this post below be aware that regardless of the criticisms I make in this post I will still be attending the KOTESOL conference. It is a great place to network with other foreign teachers from hogwans, public schools, training centers/institutes, and universities . . . and get some teacher training and hear presentations about EFL/ESL methodology . . . and the list goes on.
TESOL course & TESOL certification with online certificate programs
CELTA, TESOL TEFL, TESL and CELTYL Certification & Certificate Courses for EFL ESL Teachers. Teach English abroad or overseas at ECC (Thailand) ASIA. Survivor Education Thailand
CELTA Courses Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults
Shopping for Clothing
Being Sick and Hospitals and Medicine in Korean Culture
The Nurse Who Could Speak English — Visit to Seoul National University Hospital International Foreigner Clinic
E2 Visa Health/Medical Check for Renewing a Contract — One of the things I truly dislike about living in Korea
“You should go to the hospital” — Korean cultural norm of going to hospital for many things may backfire on it for H1N1
H1N1 will become an epidemic in Korea that will see a revolution in hygiene awareness, and Koreans staying home when they’re sick
South Korea – Swine Flu will close all schools and pretty much shut the country down for 10 days–and give foreign teachers another 10 day quarantine
Being sick and actually having a sympathetic and understanding co-teacher . . . somebody pinch me!!!
H1N1 ‘Clinic’ is really a tent outside the International Foreign Clinic and ER at Seoul National University Hospital — Nothing says quality care like a screeching bleep sound from construction vehicles outside the tent flap…sigh!
Stories About Teaching in Korean Public Schools (NEW!)
Jason, you’re going to prep the seniors for the listening section on Suneung, and do you want to be in a promotional video for our high school? Wow…
Being sick and actually having a sympathetic and understanding co-teacher . . . somebody pinch me!!!
Blogs can be a great source of information about teaching and living in Korea, but they can also be a very bad source. Be careful not to get sucked in by the ranting and raving blogs–they will poison how you see yourself and Korea.
General Bloggers (NEW!)
Korea Photography Blogs
Korean Food and Western Food and Restaurant Bloggers
Women Expat/Foreign Instructor Blogs (You get your own special category because there aren’t many of you.)
Korean Culture and Language Study Blogs
Public School Bloggers
Hogwan/Training Institute Bloggers
EFL/ESL Academic Journals
Foreign Teacher Association
Definitely worth checking out though I, and other expats, are still waiting to see what ATEK is developing into . . . check it out and decide for yourself.
Welcome to ATEK The Association for Teachers of English in Korea is a new organization of teachers on visas in Korea and their supporters.
Traveling in Korea
Useful EFL/ESL Websites for Foreign Teachers in South Korea
http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/ (great site for making ready to photocopy handouts for class, for example crosswords and word search puzzles)
http://www.mes-english.com/ (not accessible at schools anymore, have to do some work from home internet)
http://www.eslprintables.com/ (have to put up some of your own work in order to download stuff)
http://bogglesworldesl.com/ (best for elementary/beginner students)
Kimchi Icecream Blog Stories About Living in Seoul (NEW!)
Club Freebird, Hondae, Seoul, South Korea — A band I saw the other night and nobody can tell me their name, lol.