I had my first interview with a hakwon in Tongyoung last night, 9:30pm EST, 10:30am KST. It was quite interesting and not what I expected. I'm not sure the communication between my recruiter at EICO and the school Director was clear, considering they had both just returned from the 5 day Choseuk holiday. The Director was actually hiking up a mountain during our interview, and at one point described the lovely view! Understand I say this without judgement. What I think happened is that the Recruiter and the Director planned the interview prior to the vacation, but were waiting on me to reply to the email about a good time. Well, the issue is the time difference between Korea (KST) and here (EST). By the time I received the email about the interview, they had already closed the office for Choseuk. So while I was sitting at my desk at 9pm on Sunday night, all prettied up for an interview, the Director was hiking up a mountain, still on holiday! Needless to say, we agreed to talk again at another time!
She asked only three questions, but they took me off guard. She asked specifically: 1) how I would handle teaching English to kids that were only there because their parents were making them take the classes, 2) What kind of lessons I would teach and how I would interest the kids, 3) if I drink alcohol.
I had to wing the answers to #1 and #2, and #3 was easy. I am really glad I am taking the TEFL course because I can't imagine going over to a foreign country to teach anything, even a language I was born into, without some kind of training! It blows my mind that schools will hire English teachers that have no experience teaching and/or no training. The TEFL course is teaching me how to create lesson plans and giving me great ideas on how to motivate disinterested students. Luckily, I have covered part of those, but I know for my next interview, I need to study the lesson planning guide to be better prepared. Regarding the alcohol part, teachers of English in foreign countries have a bad reputation for being drunk idiots. Meaning, since the majority are straight out of college, they think a teaching gig overseas is all about adventure, partying, and screwing the native girls. It's especially bad in Korea, where the Americans prefer Seoul's all night party districts, to drink all night, try to hook up with the pretty Korean girls, and then show up drunk or hungover for class. Just another way Americans prove themselves to be irresponsible idiots to the rest of the world. The Director even mentioned a previous teacher doing this, and from all I've read, it's not uncommon. Luckily, this won't be an issue for me, as I am not interested in partying and young Korean girls! (ha! or older Korean girls, or girls period!) Hopefully my age offers advantages in job seeking.
Overall, I think the interview went well, despite our language differences and the wind whistling into the phone. As I progress through the interview process, I will offer some do's and don'ts during the interview and
Be patient with the blog, we are only at the preliminary stages of set up. Soon I will have pictures and videos and detailed information on the entire process of securing work overseas as an English Teacher!
...is moving to South Korea to teach English, fulfilling a dream of many years.