Sure I do a lot of teaching here in Korea, but there are also lots of things that teaching in Korea has taught me. I can definitely thank my students for half of my new teachings because there is just nothing like teaching in a Korean classroom.
1. You start talking to everyone, no matter if they’re fluent speakers, friends and family, at a much slower pace.
It’s not that you think they’re stupid, but you’re used to trying not to speak as fast to give your students time to catch up and it’s a hard habit to break.
2. You’ve got stories for DAYS about the crazy -ish your students say to you inside and outside the classroom.
3. After months of having Kimchi for lunch (which you have, at some point, gained an affinity for), you will miss food from home something FIERCE…
4. Literally ANY problem in the classroom can be solved with Gawi Bawi Bo (scissors, rock, and paper). Anything.
It is NOT just a game, it is a way of LIFE!
5. Korean Surprise is as real as outer space and twice as hard to understand.
Oh you mean I’m supposed to be teaching another class right now? That I’ve never done before? Our director’s on his way to observe the class as well? I’ve got 15 minutes? Splendid!
6. The only time you’re going to escape a work related outing when it is brought up is never.
The chances of you going home sober are also slim, no matter whether it’s a Tuesday night or not. Accept it.
7. You know the words (and dances) to songs you will probably never actually understand, whether intentionally or not.
But you’ve got to admit, some of them are definitely catchy!
8. Keeping up with who is or isn’t popular in a boy or girl group is next to impossible. Accept that they will probably all appear the same to you and you will just have to take your kids’ word for it that they’re good.
I have learned to never question the power of EXO no matter what, I just press play.
9. The more Korean words you learn the more you’ll try them in the classroom, only to have your students laugh outright at your adorable Korean baby babble.
Either that or they’ll try to add to your slim vocabulary collection with something more complicated than you are willing to handle.
10. You’ve developed the most unique sign language anyone’s ever come up with, but as long as your students understand that you meant ‘Why is that bad??’, you will flap your arms like a bird for the rest of the school year if you have to!
11. God bless that one student who always responds to your questions and/or translates to the rest of the class.
12. God save you when they’re absent.
13. There are days when your kiddos will drive you absolutely insane…
14….but you love them for better or worse because, seriously, what else would you be doing?