I never saw of myself as an educator. I never imagined finding myself teaching English, especially in another country. Luckily, by divine providence and by fate, I’m surrounded by some amazing people whom I am able to learn from. These past two terms (four months) are memorable.
In the institute that I’m currently teaching at, there are four foreign teachers teaching the adult English classes: Chad, Maddy, Patricia, and I. We assist three Korean teachers (Henry, Jessica, and Nina) when it comes to teaching the Juniors (ages 8-14) in the afternoon.
Although I have definitely learned something through my Korean co-teachers, most of the lessons I’ve learned are from my foreign co-teachers:
- Chad: his teaching style is to be aware of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. His “be a friend” approach is very admirable as it is very intimidating for me. Since many of my students are way older than me (think mom, dad, grandparent status…), I tend to hide behind the Korean respect hierarchy. His approach, from what I’ve noticed, has allowed his students to be comfortable and open around him. I often envy the laughter that comes out of his class.
- Patricia: love this lady and her “take it easy” approach. Her constant reminders to relax and not overthink things reminds me that “Hey, I already have the materials to teach, in my hands.” Also, her presence and beginning the day with a word of prayer has helped further established God’s presence in my life and in the workplace. Lastly, her hugs are amazing – especially in this country where hugs are seen as kind of… awkward…
- Maddy: this girl puts me to shame. She is an educator who doesn’t want to settle. Her favorite question is “Why?”. I’ve adopted that three letter word into my vocabulary – much to the disappointment of many of my students. My students think they’re off the hook after answering my question in a sentence or two? Not so quick… Aside from that, her constant desire to learn and prep-work (which Patricia often teases her for giving herself more work than necessary), encourages me to do the same. With her example, I’m able to find ways to make the learning environment for my students more enjoyable.
I’m truly grateful to have these three people around. Sadly, this is Chad and Patricia’s last term in Sangmu Gwangju branch. I’ve gotten quite fond of them and wish they’d stay longer, but they have their own things to do and places to explore. With them leaving, I’m even more grateful that Maddy and I are placed in the same institute. At least there is one constant person, ya know?
But with new faces about to come to the Institute, at least it will encourage me to learn some more and not settle.