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.
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!