Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A few words on unqualified english teachers

This post is mostly for my mother and others outside of the country that might check in with my blog to what I'm up to but have no knowledge or concern about the normal day-to-day concerns of English teachers in Korea. If you're looking for details, look here or here (particularly the 'english spectrum gate' link).

As long as I've been in Korea, there have been concerns about unqualified foriegn teachers. I'm not admitting to a connection between my arrival and the concerns, mind you. However, I was a relatively unexperienced, definitely unqualified teacher when I arrived. I had plenty of teaching experience but all of it was in athletics; teaching and coaching swimming.

I made several teaching mistakes when I started. It took a while to learn to accurately judge my class' current English ability and I frequently used overly complex language and instructions in class. I really didn't know all the rules of grammar that I should have.

I learned though. Some of the things I learned helped me outside of class. For example, I used to speak too fast and stammer as I spoke. Now, I speak much more slowly and clearly. I have to work at it a little to speak at native-speaker speed. I don't mind; speaking slower means thinking as well as speaking more clearly.

I am still unqualified. Again, I have swimming instruction and coaching qualifications, but that's it. After six years here and a year teaching at a private school, I have sufficient, possibly ample, experience in teaching English.

Ethically, I don't think I made any major mistakes in my teaching. I learned on the job and have since helped others learn to teach ESL on the job.

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