Messages by Justine

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General » Testimonial: From TESOL 101 with Jim to Korea
Hi Rob, first off, congrats and I hope you have an awesome journey in Korea! I had a million questions too before I left, and had a million more when I arrived. I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.

I worked in two public elementary schools with the same fixed curriculum. The curriculum looks something like this:

Lesson 1: Hello, my name is Minsu.
Lesson 2: What's this?
Lesson 3: It's a monkey.
And all the way to Lesson 16 covering the 1-yr, 2-semester curriculum.

The curriculum will specifically tell you how to teach each lesson, in what order, what teaching resources to use, etc. Each lesson is taught in 4 subsequent Periods, each period with different objectives but leading to the overall objective of the lesson.

Period 1 lesson is very introductory, teacher-centred, you introduce some phrase or vocab related to the lesson.

Period 2 lesson builds on the previous lesson, and involves a bit of reading, and understanding of some English expressions.

Period 3 normally consists of some textbook activity (e.g., fill in the blanks, matching, spelling, etc.)

Period 4 is very student-centred, the goal is for students to put what they've learned from Period 1-3 into practice. The student-centred practice could be skits, games, other appropriate activities you can think of.

Each student gets an English textbook, and we had to use a specific English software program to deliver our lessons, and to implement the exercises on students' textbook.

Generally speaking, the lesson plan for each period is very similar to the ones you did in Jim's class. But more specifically, a grade 3 lesson plan could look like this:

LESSON 7: I LIKE APPLES

Overall Objective: At the end of this lesson, students will be able to understand "What is your favorite _____ (food/fruit/animal)?, and be able to respond to the question with "I like _____ (food/fruit/animal). Students will learn the expression: "Me too!" (or other expressions you want to add) and learn the following vocab (keep the vocab to not more than 10 or so).

And we normally followed this order:

1. Greeting (2-5 min)
2. Motivation (3 or so min)
3. Warm-up (3 or so min)
4. Presentation (15 min) – this is where we used the software program.
5. Practice (10 min) – this could be through flashcards or even games
6. Activity (5-10 min) – this part should be student-centred to give the students a chance to practice what they’ve learned through games, activities.
7. Wrap-up (2 min)


From Step 1 to 3, you can introduce and explain your gimmick to the kids, (you really gotta have a gimmick).

Candy Jar:

My gimmick was the classic candy jar =D where I got an empty plastic container, drew pictures of candies and wrote "candy jar" on it, then I explained to the kids that each section of today's class will allow them to earn candies, their goal is to get at least 30 candies (since there are normally 30 students in each class) then I lay down the rules: Be nice, be polite to each other and be happy in the classroom! Then I give them a fun and quick evaluation for each section of the lesson, and I decide how many candies to add to the jar (this is an excellent filler activity and transition to the next part of the lesson). In the last 2 min. of class, that's when you count as a class the number of candies they got. If they've reached their goal, each student gets a candy. If they didn't, better luck next time. I don’t give out candies all the time though ‘cause I don’t want the kids to be motivated by candies alone, but you’d be amaze how powerful of a motivator this is, if properly executed.

Class-point System:

We also introduced a class-point system; we wanted to discourage unhealthy competition within a class, so we encouraged kids to work together to get stickers on their class card, then the class that gains the most stickers out of all 4 classes gets a special reward at the end of the month or so. We don’t tell them what the award will be – keep it a surprise =D

Pass the Pencil Case Game:

What worked well with ALL of my classes was the "Pass the pencil Case Game," where I asked each table to have 1 empty pencil case ready, pass it around their table when I play the "chicken dance" song (it's a fast hyped up song that kids love), then when the music stops the students holding the pencil case is "it" on each table and they have to stand and answer my question, repeat a phrase, spell a word or whatever else I can think of. You can relate this to the lesson as well, and use it as both motivation and warm-up exercise. With the help of your Korean co-teacher, you can also make this activity more structured. Students get real excited with this activity so be prepare to discipline if necessary. I had success doing this activity with all of my classes even without the help of the Korean teacher to explain it for me. You just gotta be lively, good at charades to explain the activity to the kids. Kids pick up on this activity quickly. You can use this activity as motivation, warm-up or the main activity.

Board Games & Other:

My students also loved the Snake & Ladder Game that we play as a class, we have this huge snake & ladder board in the classroom, or sometimes I would use a powerpoint doc that we'd project onto the screen that everyone can see. We normally divide the class in two (boys & girl to make things simple). Some classes also liked board games (played by 2-4 students), some enjoyed singing activity, others dreaded it; my grade 4s loved doing skits and wearing silly costumes and using props that I prepared on a regular basis. The older students liked doing speed games, where they answer as many questions as fast as they can, as well as this Unscramble Word/Phrase Game, where each student gets a writing pad/marker and are given a time limit to solve the word/phrase on tv.

There are so many activities that worked well with my students, but the key is to know your students and the personality of each class in order to plan your lessons and activities better.

The last and effective strategy is...sense of humour and being silly in the classroom once in a while. It's very easy to make kids laugh even w/out having anyone translate what you say.

About my colleagues, generally speaking, they had different attitudes toward me, most were just averse though or shy. There were some sweet teachers that would just come in to my classroom to give me food like rice cake, soup, ice cream, kimbab, etc. In the second school, there is a teacher there that I often had a cup of tea with in the afternoon and we would just talk about anything, from differences in culture to poems. She also taught me a bit of Korean and I taught her English. I also went camping with her and her family in the beautiful secluded mountain in Jeonnam and she took me to so many places in Korea. I had a good experience with my co-teachers in my main school mostly because we had some things in common; the older co-teachers though didn’t bother to talk to me or get to know me a bit. Many teachers too in my main school were very supportive and often complimented my teaching. Just be respectful and interested in Korean culture; make an effort to learn their language and ways. I sometimes brought food to school, took my co-teachers to dinner and I always greeted teachers with a bow and “anyeonghaseyo” in the cafeteria, in the hallway or even in the street.

Here's some resources you gotta bookmark:

http://wiki.galbijim.com/Main_Page : this is useful for bus info, schedule, address, and other locations or tourists spots you’d like to go to in Korea.

http://waygook.org/ : you gotta create an account here, you’ll have access to tons of teaching resources, from songs, videos, powerpoint slides, and game ideas, which are particularly about teaching English in Korea.

http://ebse.co.kr/ebs/index.laf: this is a Korean website, once you manage to make an account here, you can download many excellent quality and age-appropriate English songs, videos, short clips or fairy tales some with good moral values to supplement your teaching.


Good luck, and I wish you the best in your teaching career.
General » Testimonial: From TESOL 101 with Jim to Korea
Thanks Ana Maria!
Yes, I'm really interested in working in South America, I'm not sure though that any school would willing to hire me for just a short summer duration. I will be returning to school this September you see. But I would really love to keep them in my contact list in the future.

With regards to your question, I honestly don't think there is much opportunity to teach Spanish in Korea. Many Koreans are really eager to learn English, some also take their time to learn Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and surprisingly, French as well. I had some students attending a French hagwon (mind you, this was in a small town).

To teach Spanish, maybe you can consider Europe or even Canada and the States. Job postings though from Europe isn't as frequent as those from Asia, but they are there. Sorry I don't have specific info on this one. I just know that there are many european parents who send their kids to language schools to learn English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and what have you (same goes with Canadian and American parents). I just don't know which schools they send their kids to. Try and google: "spanish language school camp europe" then try the States and Canada, and browse through their career section.

Hope that helps.
General » Testimonial: From TESOL 101 with Jim to Korea
Thanks Ana Maria!
Yes, I'm really interested in working in South America, I'm not sure though that any school would willing to hire me for just a short summer duration. I will be returning to school this September you see. But I would really love to keep them in my contact list in the future.

With regards to your question, I honestly don't think there is much opportunity to teach Spanish in Korea. Many Koreans are really eager to learn English, some also take their time to learn Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and surprisingly, French as well. I had some students attending a French hagwon (mind you, this was in a small town).

To teach Spanish, maybe you can consider Europe or even Canada and the States. Job postings though from Europe isn't as frequent as those from Asia, but they are there. Sorry I don't have specific info on this one. I just know that there are many european parents who send their kids to language schools to learn English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and what have you (same goes with Canadian and American parents). I just don't know which schools they send their kids to. Try and google: "spanish language school camp europe" then try the States and Canada, and browse through their career section.

Hope that helps.
General » Testimonial: From TESOL 101 with Jim to Korea
Hi Ana Maria,

Thanks for reading my long piece here =D

Taking the in-class course with Jim really covered the important points about teaching for me. So I think specialization should be done in an area you're interested in focusing more on, and based on your goals and interests. Who and what do you want to teach? Since you're interested in teaching in Korea, I think 'Teaching Grammar' would be most useful in the classroom. I continued to take my specialization after I landed a job in Korea in 'Teaching Children English' because I was only primarily interested in teaching children BUT even at the elementary school level, some grammar was expected to be taught to grades 5 and 6, and even more so at the middle, high school, university and adult level, as well as in other countries.

Because of work visa regulations for Canadians in S. Korea (I'm assuming you're Canadian), a degree is required to get the E-2 visa (aka 1-yr teaching visa) or the C-4 (short-term visa). (Source: http://www.koreanconsulate.on.ca/en/?mnu=a02)

BUT there's also the TALK Program (http://www.talk.go.kr/), a 5 to 6-month teaching program for current college or university students, thus a degree IS NOT required.

Hope that helps. Let me know know if you have other questions.
General » How to get a teaching job in South America
Hey guys, I am interested in working as a teacher in South America this summer, could someone please provide me some contacts of people?

I have a bachelor's degree, a TESOL Certificate and some teaching experience in South Korea, and I also understand some Spanish & French. I am very interested in working with disadvantaged children or youth, and I'm not concerned about salary as long as I'll still be able to feed myself and afford the living expenses there.

If anyone is in South America right now, please kindly respond to this and let me know how you got a job there. Thanks so much.
General » Testimonial: From TESOL 101 with Jim to Korea
Hello there my TESOL buddies, and those still hesitating to go on a journey of a lifetime!

This testimonial was a long time coming, really sorry for the delay in posting about my experience taking TESOL with Jim in Toronto, ON Canada and about my teaching experience in South Korea.

Taking TESOL is one of the most memorable, enlightening and empowering experience I’ve ever had. Jim truly has the gift of empowering those who’ve felt hopeless and powerless to start living the life they’ve always imagined. I call him my angel who guided and supported me in the right path, the person who showed me the light when my world was in total darkness.

Prior to taking this course, I was living a typical routine life and heading towards a materialistic and soulless life, where every year is a repeat of the previous. I’ve always had the longing to live outside the box, to travel, to explore the unknown, to pursue adventures, while making a difference in the lives of some people I come across in my journey. But I felt powerless. I thought that traveling to different countries was something I could never do or afford. Like most people who browse through the TESOL website, I thought that the guarantee of a teaching job is too good to be true by simply taking a single course – a “scam” as sceptics would call this opportunity.

As soon after I completed the class, and regained my sleep from the intensive 1-week course, I started applying for teaching jobs and received positive feedbacks from recruiters and schools right away. It took me approximately 3 months to get my documents ready for my visa, apply for jobs, go over several job offers and save up for my journey (you just need about $300 really, everything will be provided if you end up in a decent school). Finally, I decided to accept the ‘best’ offer: a 1-year teaching contract in a public elementary school, offering a monthly pay of 2.2 million won, 32-days paid vacation, settlement allowance of 300,000 won, severance pay of 2.2 million won, medical insurance and a beautiful fully-equipped and paid-for apartment in a small friendly town overlooking a lake (yes, sounds too good to be true I know!)

If this is your first time teaching or going overseas to be independent, I understand you will be nervous and very wary until you get there and see for yourself. If I hadn’t taken TESOL with Jim, I don’t think I would have lasted that long in my school as teaching support and basic training or orientation was not provided. When you get there, you are expected to know what you’re doing; the full-time teachers there aren’t there to babysit you. This is a REAL teaching opportunity and you will be part of an actual teaching faculty with school events (that sometimes you’re expected to host and organize), teacher meetings, after-school programs, lesson planning, curriculum development, and of course, the bubbly students staring at you, hugging you and calling you “byootipul or handsome teacher” all the time. You will feel like the new local celebrity that just moved into town! The job is very do-able if you come prepared with just basic teacher training, such as the one you will get by taking TESOL with Jim (just enrol now, seriously!)…but anyway, read on.

You will hear Jim say many times in class that pursuing this goal is something you really have to decide on your own. For someone like me who had to climb a mountain to get to where I am today, the feeling I get sitting in my nice cozy apartment in South Korea is hard to put into words. Many will discourage you and try to extinguish your burning passion to live outside the box (well, this was my case at least) so prepare yourself for this, cut off the negativity.

During class, I came to realize many things about myself, about others and about life. I listened intently to Jim speak about life, about teaching, about the different kinds of people who have decided to pursue this path. It amazes me how much he understands and can relate to what people go through in life, as well as how much passion people really have that is just waiting to burst out. He is a very unique man, in my opinion…full of wisdom, passion and positive energy that he openly shares with as many as he can. TESOL staffs are also very supportive in your job search providing you with real contacts of people around the world looking to hire graduates from Global TESOL. Heidy helped me a lot in overcoming barriers and concerns by responding immediately to my lengthy & paranoid emails by email and phone.

Overall, teaching overseas is really just a pursuit to LIVE MORE…for some a chance to be finally happy, to pursue a long-dreaded dream, while for others, a simple break from the routine even for just a couple of months, one year or a lifetime! So whatever your reason for pursuing this path, I hope you stay sincere to the children or students you come across by making a genuine effort in your job. And I hope you stay happy and adventurous throughout your journey.

You can check out some public photos of my time in Korea: http:www.picasaweb.google.com/justineadventures

Feel free to ask me questions about teaching in Korea. I will try my best to answer them.

P.S. I finally have job prospects in Europe! Yey!
General » Recruiting Agencies for teaching jobs over in Asia
To anyone interested in getting a position in South Korea, these are the ones I recommend:

**ENGLISH WORLD (SOUTH KOREA)**
http://www.englishworld.or.kr/index.php
- Soo Kim recently found me a placement so I only have good things to say about this agency - they are the first to make my dream to teach overseas very close to becoming true! She referred me to a school on the same day I contacted her and was hired by the school a week and a half later.

**RAINBOW RECRUITING (SOUTH KOREA)**
http://www.rainbow2korea.com/
- Mata is very friendly and prompt, they respond to emails quickly, will interview you at the most convenient time for you and will work hard in finding you a position (just be flexible, of course), he provides a list of schools that you might like to be referred to.

**REACH TO TEACH**
http://www.reachtoteachrecruiting.com/
- the position start date didn't quite work out with this one, they are recruiting mainly for EPIK in August 2010. Gillian, however is very friendly, personable and most importantly, she is from Canada! That's a big thumbs up for me 'cause they're more familiar w/ my questions and concerns.

**KOREAN HORIZONS (SOUTH KOREA)**
- I have only exchanged simple emails with Alistair so I can't say much about this agency, he will be interviewing me tomorrow. I recommend this agency because they provide tons of goodies (eg., travel guide, map of your city, korean-english dictionary, prepaid airfare, etc.)

**JEJU ESL (main recruiter is Canadian from Vancouver)**
http://www.jejuesl.com/
- work in beautiful JEJU island in Korea, prompt email as well and they recruit KYOPOS and for Gangwon EPIK (the province known to offer the longest paid vacation of up to
30+ days - this might be a thumbs up for people who wants to travel a lot during their contract)

K, good luck with your job search guys! =D
General » Anyone dealt with Testimony Kim
Hey, just giving everyone an update about Daniel and Soo Kim from English World recruiting company based in South Korea, this is their website: http://www.englishworld.or.kr

It took me longer to find more information about the agency mainly because I think they don't have a lot of popular keywords that could be read by search engines. There are testimonials on their site written by foreign teachers placed by them. I also found a blog here that mentioned them for a bit: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/sokha/1/1252997829/tpod.html

Thanks to Shanda for referring me to Daniel and Soo, I was recently placed by them in Ansan, South Korea and will be leaving for a GEPIK position in May 2010. I worked primarily with Soo Kim, she is indeed very friendly and prompt. I will give you guys more info about the services I get from this recruiter esp. before and upon my arrival in South Korea.
General » How to negotiate a contract
Hello my wonderful tesol buddies,

Could someone please tell me how to go about negotiating one's contract? I've been referred to 2 public schools in South Korea by 2 different recruiters. I've been advised by one of the recruiters that I am legible for at least a 2.5 million won monthly pay given my work and academic background and because the public school location could be in a small town. The good thing is that my recruiter will be negotiating on my behalf but I am still curious as to how to go about negotiating things like your monthly pay or rural town bonuses, opting out of housing and getting my own, etc. I just want to prep more when I move overseas so that I'm not taken advantage of just 'cause I don't speak the language there yet and I'm new to the country.

Please reply, I look forward to your feedback.

-Justine