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Please visit my new blog at www.jasonryanteacher.com to read the full article. Below is a preview of . . . Strategies for Managing Co-Teaching Issues, Challenges, and Problems in South Korean Public Schools – Part II

This article is part II in a series about strategies for managing co-teaching issues, challenges, and problems in South Korean public schools.

In Part II there are five topics,

6. My co-teacher tells me at the last second they can’t come to class

7. My co-teacher never looks at the lesson plan I make before class

8. My co-teacher doesn’t care about the lesson materials I make because they’re not a part of the official curriculum/tested

9. My co-teacher yells and threatens the students so that they’re always scared and nervous

10. My co-teacher doesn’t understand anything when I communicate with him/her about day to day issues

You can read Part I here, Strategies for Managing Co-Teaching Issues, Challenges, and Problems in South Korean Public Schools – Part I

Strategies for Managing Co-Teaching Issues, Challenges, and Problems in South Korean Public Schools – Part II

Preface

Co-teaching in South Korean public schools began in 1992 with the Fulbright Scholars program (and possibly before that). Yet even after nearly 20 years of co-teaching there are still very little effective and practical national training programs; nor are there co-teaching manuals for Korean English teachers and native English teachers that specifically address the hard realities of co-teaching situations in schools (note: apparently there are manuals, but as of the publication of this article I have never seen a copy). This article attempts to identify the most common co-teaching issues, challenges, and problems that native English teachers face in public schools–and to suggest practical strategies to manage them. A preview of part three in this topic is provided where the focus is on native English teachers.

Part II – Korean English Co-Teacher Focus

6. My co-teacher tells me at the last second they can’t come to class

Strategy 1: Be proactive. When you arrive at your school ask your co-teachers to let you know at least a day in advance if they cannot attend class with you. But you should also keep in mind that KETs sometimes get told to do things at the last second by their superiors, and may not find out until the last second so they literally cannot tell you in advance. Remind them that you need a co-teacher with you in the classroom, and that you hope they will find someone to replace themselves—even if it’s a Korean teacher (who doesn’t teach English). Having a non-English Korean teacher in the classroom at the very least allows for someone who speaks Korean fluently, and knows how to manage a class of students, to help you.

Strategy 2: If it’s a class that consistently has behavior management problems/issues tell them that you NEED SOMEBODY to assist you in that class. Ask if the co-teacher cannot find any other teacher (regardless of whether or not they are an English teacher) to come to the class to help you. If nobody is free, ask the co-teacher to ask another teacher to be available to come to the classroom for ONE MINUTE to help you if things are completely out of control and you cannot manage the classroom.

Strategy 3: When all else fails, put in a DVD and have the kids watch a movie. Or, call the class ‘self-study period’ and have students review their previous lessons/textbook units. Some native teachers can pull off playing easy games or teaching students a new song (think summer camp stuff) . . . but this depends on the experience/training/teacher personality type and also the general class character and behavior. This is also where having readily available resources (like Uno cards, board games, and other games) can be invaluable.

NOTE: If your co-teacher gives you a hard time for showing a movie during class it may be time to remind them (politely!) that your contract title is that of an “assistant-teacher” and that it also says you will ‘always have a co-teacher during class’ or something to that effect. Don’t be manipulated or shamed into thinking you did something wrong if you are unable to manage a class by alone because a co-teacher was absent without providing another Korean teacher to help manage the class.

. . . . . . . . .

If you would like to read the rest of this article you can see it here, Strategies for Managing Co-Teaching Issues, Challenges, and Problems in South Korean Public Schools – Part II

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