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For those teaching (or who have taught) adults

 
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ladyandthetramp



Joined: 21 Nov 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:29 am    Post subject: For those teaching (or who have taught) adults Reply with quote

When my next contract ends, I'm thinking I'd like to teach adults. I prefer teaching over disciplining, and I think I'm much more qualified to teach adults than children.

That said, what are the ups and downs of teaching adults? I know many places have split shifts...are they worth it? Are there any places that don't have split shifts?

What places would you (not) recommend?

Any other helpful advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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chotaerang



Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Location: In the gym

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good idea. Teaching kids for my first year here was a dreary experience. Adults on the other hand are really fun to teach. My two bits of advice are this 1) Apply to any of the big chain hagwons (YBM, Pagoda, ܴ) 2) Get 15-20 truly kick-ass lessons together and teach them with gusto. The students progress, they're appreciative, this motivates you ... and thus a virtuous cycle is created. Best of luck
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peppermint



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: traversing the minefields of caddishness.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Split shifts can be evil. When I worked in Seoul, I'd leave the house for my first class at 5:45 am, and get home after my last class at 10:15 pm.
I did have a big break in between, but it still means that you don't get to see friends with other schedules much.

Adults complain- a lot! They don't like to talk to eachother a lot of the time, which can make freetalking classes a pain, and there are times when they just don't want to talk at all.

On the upside- if there's something you want to find- after class you can ask them. Most adults do speak slightly better English when they're relaxed, so the schools don't usually mind you taking them out for coffee or even a beer.

I went from teaching adults to kids, and will never ever look back
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jazblanc77



Joined: 22 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have taught children and adults, though, I much prefer children. My reasons are:

1.) Adults are very demanding - each student will have their own idea of what the class content should be and how it should be delivered and won't be satisfied until you do it their way

2.) Due to the above, adults costantly complain

3.) Some schools have little or no materials or curriculums set out for adult classes. At least for hogwans, in my experience, adult classes are mainly ad hoc ventures that are just meant to be extra money makers.

4.) Unless you are working in a (university/college) programme or an institution that is specifically for adults, student bases may be very low, so, as a result, the levels of the students may vary GREATLY within the same class. This situation adds even more to the complaining factor!

5.) Adults want instant improvement without little participation or hard work.

6.) Adults are judgemental.

NOTE: I am completely biased. I don't like teaching adults and would much prefer sticking with kids. They very rarely show any signs of the above, undesireable, traits AND as a foreigner, you will most likely never have to deal with their complaining parents during their 'counselling call' sessions.
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jazblanc77



Joined: 22 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chotaerang wrote:
Good idea. Teaching kids for my first year here was a dreary experience. Adults on the other hand are really fun to teach. My two bits of advice are this 1) Apply to any of the big chain hagwons (YBM, Pagoda, ܴ) 2) Get 15-20 truly kick-ass lessons together and teach them with gusto. The students progress, they're appreciative, this motivates you ... and thus a virtuous cycle is created. Best of luck


Just a side note: The 'big chain' franchises are usually geared towards newbie teachers with little or no experience teaching and no great contractual expectations. Whereas, you may find some good adult classes there, don't expect any frills in working conditions, pay, vacation, etc. as they are not really geared to accomodate that.
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mindmetoo



Joined: 02 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of me wants to teach adults, just because I feel like I spend far too much time teaching unmotivated students. Not that I blame them. Poor kids have no time to be kids. If they're not in school, they're in a morning and night time hagwon. If they're not in hagwon they're studying. If they're not studying, their taking piano/violin/TKD lessons. The lil virus distribution factories are tired by the time they get to me.

As another poster points out, adults might mean some horrid split shifts. The fun part of having a job is you can forget about it for half your waking day. However a split shift means if you're not at work, you're on the verge of going to work.

And also, given the wild swings in quality of hagwons, I have to ask myself would things be better over all? Sure the kids can be a pain but my apartment is a nice modern loft that I don't share. It's air-conditioned. My coworkers are not psychos and like me. My boss is a kind woman. My director is a decent enough person. I get paid on time.

Of course in Korea you have an advantage that you can do a bit more on site research to verify what you're promised actually exists. You can visit the school, talk to teachers, check out the digs.
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TheWesternShoreKid



Joined: 22 Feb 2003
Location: Parts Unknown

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some of my observations about teaching adults:

The Bad

- Attendance is generally very poor. You have to always worry about payment.
- It is true about adults expecting great improvement with little effort. Also, it is true about them complaining a lot.
- Splits didn't bother me that much. It is better than "teaching" children.
- Mixed levels classes are common. At first I was troubled by this. But then I realized if the students and director didn't have any common sense then I won't either.
- Be ready to meet English teachers who can not speak English.
- Be ready to meet who have studied English for 10+ years and can not string simple sentences together (hopeless).
- You would be surprised...Adults do not behave much better than children. Sometimes I have dealt with drunks, manic-depressives and would-be playboys. Don't expect much with regards to maturity.

The Good

- You have an instant social network at your disposal.
- You will get to meet interesting people with strange stories.
- You will get the chance for privates.
- You can use more interesting things (newspapers, songs, movies) for your classes and feel good about your job...sometimes.
- If you are guy...Hmm...Lots of groupies.
- Adults jobs could be a stepping stone for University/College jobs.
- You can always talk about your problems with management to the students who then will talk to the owner.

The Ugly

- Missing payments/Broken contracts.
- Student - Teacher affair gone sour.
- Student - Student affair gone sour.
- Paying for your own house (luckily I didn't have to).
- Watching Korean staff argue over missing payments. I have seen the police 3 times at my hagwon.
- Students confessing about terrible things in their past or their present lives. Abuse in every form is rampant here. I laugh when people say they want to learn about Korean culture.
- Meeting Bek-Su students who have studied English in Korea and overseas only to end up at an adult English hagwon.

Hope this helps.
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Paula May



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Location: Daejon

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught one class of adults (Mother's Class) at my last school, which was twice a week in the morning, the rest of my classes were children so I had a mix of both this year. I was really nervous when I first started teaching them, because they were all older than I was and it is a very different situation from teaching children. I definately had to leave my comfort zone of teaching. Adults will let you know (or if not you, your director) if they did not like the lesson. It was hard, because it was a mixed level class, to find material that was suitable for everyone. However, I gave them a chance for feedback, asked them what they wanted to study and started to look at more interesting lessons for them.

Eventually, they became my favorite class, because I found them to be very personable. They enjoyed telling me about their day, how their weekend was, about their families and they were always interested in learning about Canadian culture and how I was doing, living in Korea.

I don't believe that everyone is suited to teach adults, likewise, not everyone is suited to teach children. But, there are positives and negatives to both, you just have to weigh them out for yourself.
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sparkx



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: thekimchipot.com

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good points here...If I were to return to teaching I would only teach adults..never children.

Ya, the split shifts can be tough but there are some serious fringe benefits as well. That chunk of free time in the middle of the day can be filled in nicely w/ privates (which will be thrown at you left right and center if you're a decent teacher). You become used to the long hours too..

People here mentioned the issue of adults complaining. I NEVER had that problem. why? because all korean adults come from a world of strict discipline and dictatorial methods of teaching..and they remember these times w/ fondness. I never gave my students an inch. If someone had a suggestion or disagreed with my teaching style I would quickly let them know that its MY CLASS and they are well within their rights to change to a new teacher -- none ever did mind you. I had CEO's of huge companies I was teaching coming to me after class with their heads down to say:

"Uhhh...teacher..i'm sooo sorry teacher...I have meeting in California next week and cant come....soo, sooo sorry teacher."

When you have upper level/free talking classes nothing can be more rewarding. You learn so much about korean culture and the mentality of koreans its unbelievable.

Teaching adults was the only thing that kept me in korea last year. If i had to wipe asses and sing songs i would have packed up and left within my first week (but that's just me of course).
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught an ajuma class (as in, married women) for two semesters on the side. I enjoyed it a lot, but I'm not really concerned whether I'm teaching children or adults, just so long as it's not kindergarten. I'm horrible with tykes.

Anyways, yea, it's much easier to relate to adults than children, and if you get on their good side, it's a really nice side to be on. I got some t-shirts, pants, a hat, taken out to a couple of dinners, all kinds of little side stuff. They even brought me a snack for the break pretty much every day. I actually enjoyed walking into that place every day, and it loosened me up for dealing with the crazy elementary kids later in the evening.
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some waygug-in



Joined: 25 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm teaching both this year, and compared to last year.......... I got it made man. Cool

Yes, adults complain, but the key is to listen, don't get angry even if their requests are unreasonable (they usually are) A lot of it is just knowing how to deal with people.

For example, I have an ajumma class in the morning, and a new student arrived. She was trying to show off. She kept trying to challenge me in class on grammar points, and she really had no clue. Then she cornered me after class and made me commit to correcting essays in my free time. At first, I thought,"how dare you?" but then I remembered how lazy my students are. So I just told them to keep the essays short.
So far, I've only received 2 short essays and it's been over a month.

I really get annoyed at these people who can't make a sentence, but try to correct me. The last time she tried, I couldn't even understand what she was asking, so it turned out to be more embarassing for her.


As far as kids go, it makes a HUGE difference where you work. My kids classes are a dream this year compared to last. If the kids are used to getting their own way, they are very difficult to deal with, but if they are used to having to do what the teacher says, then teaching can be quite fun.


Anyway, I hope this helps in some way

Cheers
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VanIslander



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Location: Geoje, Hadong, Tongyeong,... now in a small coastal island town outside Gyeongsangnamdo!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, like jazblanc77, much prefer children over adults.

Yes, I like the social network provided by the adult students for dinner, drinks, conversation, norebang, travelling, bowling, billiards and the like.

But I've found the adult students don't want to do much work. They want free conversations and a relaxed approach compared to the work and games I do with the youngsters.

Plus elementary school age kids learn so much more than adults in my classes. Memorizing and practicing ten new words is easy for the kids. I can't even direct the adults to do so.

And if I make a mistake, the children are forgiving. It's almost impossible for me to accidentally insult them. The adults are like mine field I have to navigate carefully or else they don't return.

Yes, the adults are judgemental. Worse, they have little joy. Sure, they enjoy the classes sometimes, and there are many joking moments. But the joy of children is infectious, and we often end up laughing together hysterically about the silliest of things, like "chicken in the kitchen and sick in bed" Laughing (You have to be there)
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Badmojo



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Location: I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adults and children. I like both.

The best thing about children is the enthusiasm. You can't match that in any adult class. If only because adults don't jump up and down, yelling, screaming, when they're having a good time. Adults don't smile as much. They're not as cute. Often times, they're not as funny.

Activities last longer with children. You can keep using the ones they like over a longer period of time.

Children love to play any kind of game. They love the competition. They'll work to win. They'll work for those stickers. They'll amp your class right up.

But, oh, the discipline. But, oh, telling them to do something and they're not doing it. Trying to get them to do their homework. Those are the best things about the adult classes. You tell them to do something, they do it. You don't have to keep monitoring.

Adults learn faster. You don't have to keep on the same point for so long. You can do more intellectual things with them. You can do more serious topics. You have more freedom.

I think, in the most important ways, there is no difference. You have to make the class interesting for them. With children, that means activity. With adults, that means finding out what they like, what they're good at, and doing it.

And it always helps to be a funny, enthusiastic, prepared, and motivated teacher. Then you'll have no problems, whoever you teach!
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Surmonk



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Location: Goheung

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howdy,
I'm a newbie,and I realize that I'm posting 4 years later, but I am gratified for all the perspectives I've seen in this thread. I was clearly leaning towards teaching adults before reading this and other threads, but now I'm mixed.

A consistent theme and downside I see is complaints by adults. Yet I've heard that Korean culture is far more authoritative than Western (especially US) standards. So I'm a little confused: are children more respectful to an autocratic rule in the classroom than adults, or are ESL teachers more hesitant to use a heavy hand with adults, and therefore don't, when teaching? And do you think age is a factor? I'm assuming that many ESL teachers are younger than their adult students, and perhaps it's harder to create more authority? Admittedly, these are only guesses....

Thanks
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