So, guess who can’t bear working at her current school (Hagwon) and is leaving for pastures new…again? That’s right, it’s me!
In comparison to the English Village I worked at my first year with it’s multitude of issues the Hagwon was a great improvement. That being said, they too worked me to the bone. I exaggerate, to a degree, but I’m 4 weeks from finishing and I’m totally knackered. Teaching requires high energy but my Hagwon gave me minimal breaks, prep time and vacation. I also spent 2 months working 9~9 or thereabouts which almost killed me, it certainly broke me. I cried at work as those 2 months drew to a close and I have cried since.
I haven’t really enjoyed the past two jobs I’ve had and the only work experience I’ve had in Korea. So why am I staying? What makes me so sure the next job will be ‘the’ job. The job that appreciates me, excites me and doesn’t make me cry. Well, I don’t know any of these things however I do know that I am not ready to leave Korea, it has become familiar. A girl who couldn’t use chopsticks is now uncomfortable with a knife and fork. A village girl who never used, or knew how to use public transport, now living it up in the city, unfazed when pushed onto a subway. A girl who relished any attention she got, any chance to interact with others who is now glad of the silence that accompanies both a massive language barrier and the shy nature many Koreans have towards foreigners.
Not to mention, I am a girl in love *makes pretend sick sound*. And, that alone is enough to keep me here, to encourage me to seek out another job, in another school, with a small sense of hope.
So, following what can only be described as a classic Cherry cringe fest of an interview I was offered a job at a kindergarten, another hagwon, in Seoul. The location is pretty cool but it’s very far away from my partner’s workplace and this may prove to be problematic. That being said, my interviewers were so amazing that I’m unsure if I can turn down the offer. Further to which, they still wanted to hire me following my “if you can’t handle at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best” routine. I am very excited to work for a woman and to have female superiors who seem to have a strong sense of empathy and an understanding of human beings. At my previous school(s) I felt exclusively like a commodity, something to be utilized and used until an upgrade (a fresh new teacher) was due. Basically, I felt like a shiny new iPhone that couldn’t hold a charge after a year (classic iPhone) and was upgraded for a newer model Well, these two individuals seemed to care for their employees and go above and beyond to help them settle into Korea, find accommodation and be the best teacher they could be. They also told me they encouraged a global learning environment and that speaking and spelling in British English was encouraged. Wow, too good to be true, right? I am not going to put all my eggs in one basket. I have also applied for a job in the Gyeonggi Province which was where I had originally planned to be situated.
Since I recently had an interview I thought I would list the questions I was asked in the hope that they may be of use to somebody also looking for a new teaching position.
- Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
- What do you think the hardest thing is about teaching in Korea or teaching kindergarten?
- What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
- Can you tell me about your hobbies and interests?
- Can you describe your previous teaching experience in Korea?
- Why is it that you have decided to leave your current Hagwon?
- How would you describe your teaching style?
- How do you spend your free time?
- How much are you hoping to get paid?
- How much are you currently getting paid?
- What is your current working schedule like?
- What textbooks are you familiar with?
- What grades/ages do you teach now?
I was also asked to demo-teach and read a book to them as if they were my students, both of which caused me to become hot and bothered but I somehow made it through and with a job offer at the end of it.
If you are currently working somewhere which doesn’t fill your day with happiness, and happiness is as important to you as it is to me, take that leap.
What’s the worst that could happen?