I was a teacher in South Korea for 5 years. In that time I got to experience a number of different jobs and I feel I was given every opportunity to expand my own skills and experience.
As a Guest English Teacher, I had to teach my basic 22 classes each week in a public school and any extra classes my school wished me to teach. The local department of education also offered me part-time teaching positions as an English instructor to Korean elementary, middle and high school teachers which would take place after school. As I was a newly certified teacher, without teaching experience, I was surprised when I was asked by my coordinator to teach Korean teachers. I had two months of teaching experience at this point, but as I only had to teach the English language, I felt I could step up to the task. I received good evaluations from the teachers and after a couple of terms was asked to instruct them on useful active teaching and learning methodologies one could use in a CLIL classroom. This was a lot more challenging for me as the masters I hold is in literature, not in EFL. I had not learned the necessary methodologies that would support the learning of the English curriculum in Korean schools. I also felt I was teaching people who knew a lot more about the topic than I did. Again, I probably would not have searched out this work myself, but having been asked by the department, I decided to step up again to the task. I educated myself on the topics and received good evaluations, thankfully.
While I technically had the basic qualifications in place to teach these classes, I know I would not have had the confidence to apply for the positions without being asked by my coordinator. I found I was used fully by the department while I worked in the public sector and I personally and professionally developed an enormous amount. “Who you know” can work both ways. People can gain employment opportunities if they are in the right position and know the correct people while employers can find staff they know will work very hard.
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