I am often asked about the best way to carve out a successful career here in Korea and if I have any advice for people hoping to do just that. Obviously, hard work and dedication are fundamental characteristics of success, but having a sound network of people to offer support is equally as important. Personally, my progression from a public school teacher to teaching graduate courses at the university level owes a lot to being surrounded by good people who helped guide me along my career path.
Having left my job as a geography high school teacher in England, I came to Korea to experience teaching abroad. I settled into Korean life pretty quickly and within two years I was lecturing for the National Institute for International Education. It was here that I met many good educators and my career really started to take shape. One such person was Nick Mitchelmore, a prominent teacher trainer who was working at Hanyang University at the time. In the spring of 2011, Nick encouraged me to apply for a vacancy at Hanyang and after getting interview tips from Joshua Davies and Peter DeMarco, two other teacher trainers I met while lecturing for NIEED, I was offered the job.
The people I met through lecturing for EPIK not only helped me get a position at a university, but have also provided me with a range of employment opportunities over the years. These include training Korean teachers across the country, editing public school textbooks, and writing articles for the Asia Society. This network that I developed through being part of the NIIED team has provided me with the foundation to which I have been able to grow my career. I would like to think that I would still be where I am now without that support, but it is highly unlikely that would be the case.