Why You Should Teach English in South Korea

If you asked me five years ago if I thought I would ever teach kindergarten-aged children, my answer would have been “NO.” In all caps. Prior to moving to Korea to teach English, I didn’t have much experience with super young children at any capacity. Despite this, it has been single-handedly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

If teaching kindergarten in Korea is something anyone is considering, I highly recommend it. However, please know the number one character trait that you must emcompass: PATIENCE.

Pencils are always dropping.  Milk and water are often spilling. Children will be coughing and sneezing in your face and climbing all over you — and yet — at the end of the day, it’s all worth it. It’s all worth it because these small humans are remarkable. They’re so brilliant, witty and unique and yet they have no clue how to properly hold a pencil, chopsticks or tie their shoes.

Here is one of my students'

Here is one of my students’ “training” chopsticks. The tiny holes are where she puts her fingers. So cool!

Last year, I had the honor of teaching a group of kindergarteners as their first ever English teacher. For the full 12 months I spent with them, I was able to witness every high and every low of our day-to-day lives as a class. I learned how to deal with conflict mediation among insanely young children who can barely communicate in their own native language as well as encourage and make inside jokes with the most badass group of kids on the planet.

While they could barely speak conversational English besides, “Hello,” at the beginning of the year, bt the end, they were able to tell me lengthy, hilarious stories, read full sentences and write using spaces, punctuation and correct spelling. It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life and certainly an unforgettable one.

As much as I loved my students and wish I could have spent another year with them, I left that school due to a set of unfortunate circumstances at LCI Kids Club in Suji. I now teach children who are one year younger than my past group — Korean age 6 (ages 4 or 5 anywhere else in the world). My new students are just as spunky, unique and amazing as my last, and I love getting to know each of their quirks.

It’s definitely not the easiest job at times, but to see the look on a child’s face when they are finally able to read a word or read an entire sentence on their own is incredible and a worthwhile way to spend my days.

All in all, these memories are ones I will have forever and they will never be replaced. The way I see it, every job will have it’s downsides despite where I am in the world. No matter how frustrating a day can be, spending it with such innocent and energetic company is a blessing. Children are truly amazing, so I advise anyone interested to teach English in South Korea!

11 Comments

  1. August 7, 2015 / 7:14 am

    It is such a joy and a blessing to work with school-aged children. I did it for 8 years and do not regret any of it! The teaching part, at least 😉

  2. August 7, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    Children truly are amazing. As a fellow teacher, it amazes me how different my days, and class periods within the same day, can be. Teaching is such a rewarding experience, and regardless of the stress and frustrations I wouldn’t trade my job in for anything else.

  3. Because... I'm cheap
    August 7, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    Love this! I thought about going overseas to teach English many many many times. Kids are so fun and learning from other cultures can be stretching. I did go over to Estonia on the mission field for a time, and that was great 🙂

  4. August 7, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    This is one of the most inspiring posts to illustrate the true love of teaching. You sound like a dedicated teacher who’s as passionate about connecting with her students as she is teaching them. Great post – thank you.

    • August 8, 2015 / 11:49 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words!

  5. August 7, 2015 / 11:04 pm

    I really wished my parents taught me other languages growing up. I think being able to speak different languages is an invaluable skill to have!

  6. September 10, 2015 / 12:08 am

    I also never thought I’d ever be a teacher in Korea..let alone for 3 years! I have never taught kindergarten but they look so CUTE! And they seem to absorb so much, it must be a wonderful feeling to watch them grow up and see how their language skills change right before your eyes!

  7. September 14, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    Same here, I never imagined to be a teacher, let alone a KINDERGARTEN teacher! But now that I have been teaching my sweet kids for 4 months, I don’t wanna do anything else! It’s great to see them develop and increase their English skills!

  8. September 14, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    I love teaching little kiddies as well! Soon as my kids start going to school I’m going to try to teach little ones as well. Thanks for sharing the love! <3

  9. September 14, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    These kindies are so cute! glad you’re having a good time. my second son loves all the teachers he has in kindergarten because they show that they love and care for the kids. kudos to teachers like you!

  10. October 30, 2015 / 1:11 am

    Goodness! You go girl! I could never work with children that small. My calling is for older learners. I love teaching high school and above. I really love your blog and I love reading what you write. Keep going!

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