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Is this the typical Hagwon experience?

 
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Kiddirts



Joined: 25 Jul 2003

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 7:30 pm    Post subject: Is this the typical Hagwon experience? Reply with quote

I teach at a school where there are kids of all levels. I am replacing a teacher who could speak both English and Korean. They want me to use the same workbook as this one teacher did and work through the workbook with them. BUT THESE KIDS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M SAYING...(obviously) I mean, they have a command of about 100 english words and they want me to teach using a workbook...it's insane. Parents are complaing that the kids aren't getting anythig out of my class and THEY AREN'T I simply ask a question, repeat the question...rephrase the question 4 times, repeat it...wait 10 seconds...then write the answer on the board...these kids gain nothing...and when I tell the director that I need to do something fun with them...they are just 9 years old, he doesn't get it and says no...work them hard...this area of Daechi is competitive, no games, work them hard...it's CRAZY. 80% of my classes are like this...I have a variety of ages and levels. I do have 4 high school classes I see once a week at this school...and it's wonderful...the kids learn and get a lot out of the class. We talk, have discussions and I teach them. Meanwhile...here's the deal...ALL THE SMART KIDS OF THE SCHOOL that could totally benefit from being in my class are being taught by the least educated english teachers...some can not speak a word of English...it's a joke. They get all the smart kids that can pretty much guide themselves. I get the young, slow kids that they want me to work hard but it's impossible with the kind of program they want me to provide. Everything is ass backwards...I try to explain to them (the director) What kind of math professor did you have in college? Was he better at math than your 2nd grade math teacher? Trying to get him to relate. I swear it's like bringing in a rocket scientist to work on a weather balloon. The smart kids are being cheated (by not having me) and the dumb kids are lost...is this the way it is all over?
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ulsanchris



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Location: take a wild guess

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: hmm Reply with quote

This is pretty common.
What I suggest you do is start with simple activities and then make them more complicated. Start with the vocab and slowly build up to sentences. Get yourself a book on how to teach. I suggest Teaching English to children in Asia by David Paul. Its a good book and can help you a lot.
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typical Korean B.S. They should have known when they hired you that you aren't the same person as their former teacher, that you don't speak Korean fluently etc.
Trying to explain the situation to your director will only confuse his tiny mind. Just invite him, or the supervisor into your lessons to observe/help out. They'll soon see for themselves firsthand the problems you're having and come up with some solutions.
Suggest a few solutions of your own such as a simpler textbook, etc. If they don't listen, co- operate/help, they'll only have themselves to blame when all the parents start pulling their kids out, and you will be able to say that you at least tried...
Theres often such a lack of communication all round, which makes the whole thing farcical anyway...But its a lot easier if you have freee reign to plan your own lessons and do it your way- because theres not a single Korean in the English hogwon trade that knows how to teach, lets face it.
If it wasn't for my CELTA teacher training course just prior to my starting teaching, I'd have had no idea either. It really saved me, when I started..
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Saxiif



Joined: 15 May 2003
Location: Seongnam

PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2003 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well there's glorious flashcards for vocab and if you look up a couple key words in a dictionary (or grab someone who's bilingual) you'll probably get the point across and learn a little korean while you're at it...
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TheUrbanMyth



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: It's not a superiority complex when you really are superior

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rapier wrote:
- because theres not a single Korean in the English hogwon trade that knows how to teach, lets face it.
If..



You're going to have Gord and Yaya all over this thread... Very Happy
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ulsanchris



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Location: take a wild guess

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 12:49 am    Post subject: hmm Reply with quote

kiddirts thinking about it more I think that your school is worse than the average hogwon. tough luck for you unfortunately.
Here are some more suggestions for your classes.
1. you should make your classes and fun as possible and play games that have a specific goal. Trick the kids into thinking english is fun. What you have to do first is get the kids curiosity. bait them. then slowly reveal how to play the game. NOt just any game but one with a specific english target in mind. example: if you want the kids to learn I like ..... type of food. Then put down some food flash cards in a table have a dice (or a coin to toss) and a toy car for each student. then you can have a car race. to move the car forward a student has to answer what each food is. (Its rice etc). Then do a new game either keeping the car race game or come up with a different one. Have the kids then make sentences I like ice cream. YOu can play to and make sure you give wrong answers once in a while to see if the students will correct you. T I ice cream like. S NO teacher. T What?? S you wrong. T oh whats the right answer? S I like ice cream. T Ohhh I like ice cream.
Thats all i have time for now.
Get a book on teaching IT will really help you deal with your classes.
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rosewood



Joined: 15 Mar 2003
Location: Wonju

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I'm not certain if you have tried this, but making them write is a great way to make them work hard as well as learn.
Choose the words they know and have them write them in their notebooks. (I take great interest in having the kids show up prepared. I check. I repeat over and over again, pencils, notebooks, erasers.) All children should have a pen, notebook, etc. Reward them for bringing their stuff (stickers, candy).
Have them write: book, then red book. Table, then brown table. Pencil, then blue pencil. Work with their colours and add them to everything. Stickers. I want a blue sticker. A blue star. A happy face. I don't want a blue sticker. I want a red one. I want two red stars. You get the idea.
Writing English is extremely important because you can show them capitals, periods, spelling, etc. And it is a challenge for them. Also, never, never, never accept messy work. Make them erase and expect them to do their best.
Fuss over it. Make it important. I'll tell you, I still have middle school students who spell red, rid and most of them can't spell Wednesday.
Then begin the weekly spelling tests. A sheet of paper with 10 words per week. Give them 4 weeks of words on one sheet and if you can make sure the parents sign the sheet so they know the kid is responsible for test #1 on Sept 1; Test #2 on Sept 7...etc. Get them busy. Make the parents responsible especially if they are complaining.
Speillling is berry, berry imptante. it day cannt speill rite den day cannt here rite. ok teecher.
Oh yes, And quit talking to your director. Create. You are the expert. Quit asking them for permission and quit letting them tell you how to do things. Don't open the door to criticism. Don't look for direction from them and quit looking over your shoulder. Use the book if you must, but focus on the words and teach them that they are responsible for every word in that book. Get them busy so you can relax. Push the responsibility on them.
Good luck.
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captain kirk



Joined: 29 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

five months this hagwon. teacher before was inexperienced. so i inherited some 'stuff'. like the books. the boss inexperieced too, sort of. got the whole age range up to 12 with me for forty minutes once or twice a week in the phonics part of my time with them. a book called 'i like hats'(lol),and 'I am sam' (son of sam, hehe). after awhile pussyfooting around getting my bearings just arrived i start to wonder why I'M doing this stupid phonics storybook. why me, when time with the foreign teacher is supposed to be conversational, not drill in phonics. the books go like this, 'i like hats' said jack. 'and i like naps', said jane. sort of a whacky simplistic story because it's primarily phonics and the writer's making hat ryhme with 'sat', 'nap', etc. crazy illustrations of grinning cartoon people. so i'm getting more and more irate about inflicting this on these students, and myself. eyes glazed, zombie-fied, meanwhile worried they'll quit. so i kept talking to the boss about it, getting increasingly 'serious' about it. it took awhile. but finally the korean teacher got to do that stuff, until it was abandoned (yeah!). it seems like a foreign teacher has to persist and make the case for changes and persist some more. start talking about how you don't want the director to lose students, because they're looking REALLY bored and so am i, bla bla bla. the 'losing students' notion caught his attention, zap! and we changed the books from the franchise ones, to 'new parade'. the franchise one's were to be used in conjunction with having a computer in the room, like the korean teacher does (i don't). i was adapting the book to 'making it useful', because it was useless. in there for forty minutes with two pages to do. pictures of six items on each with blanks under to write 'cap', 'map', whatever. for kids 12 years old. aie-yi-yie. it took a couple of weeks, but i got my OWN books. NOT some pages from what the korean teacher was doing with them. making do with sh*t books at first. no wonder the previous teacher quit/got fired.
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Gord



Joined: 25 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

captain kirk wrote:
why me, when time with the foreign teacher is supposed to be conversational, not drill in phonics.


What?

I could possibly sympathize if you had said you shouldn't be drilling in writing, but phonics is a primary reason we're here.
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captain kirk



Joined: 29 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2003 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'sympathy' begone. not looking for it. 'phonics is the primary reason we're here'? (foreign teachers). the korean teachers can say 'cat', 'nap', and so on and drill with them in that ridiculously simple phonics storybook, but they dumped it. the teacher before me did that book, who was inexperienced. and the boss, who had only 7 months experience in a hagwon when the previous teacher left, had 'confidence' in the book. meaning he bought a few and didn't want to splurge again on books to get a more appropriate text. foreign teachers are here to demonstrate how to speak properly and stimulate conversation. that text was simply simple words strung together in a whacky 'story' with cartoons of grinning maniacs to attempt to make it interesting. sitting on mats and wearing hats and having naps. practicing phonics, ok, but drilling a moronic text like that with 12 year olds? even the eight year olds were going bonkers. everybody from 8-12 doing 'i am sam', then 'i like hats'. 'i am sam' goes, 'i am a cat', 'can you see me?', 'look at the hat', etc. what is a teacher going to do with that to 'spice it up'. play 'i spy'. ok. i recommend this phonics book to you, then, gord. have a blast!
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