Is ESL for me?
You're already on this site so you definitely have at least a passing interest in ESL in Korea. It is however important to consider if teaching ESL is right for you. After all you will be giving a minimum a year of your life over to it as well as countless hours in preparation and pouring all the passion into it.
Recruiters like to make it as simple as "do you have a degree? Do you have a clean criminal record? and do you have opposable thumbs?". I'm sorry but it's not that simple. You can, however, become an effective ESL teacher relatively easily but you must ask yourself some serious questions first. Lets look at the positive and negative aspects and ask ourselves some questions to see if its right for you.
Examine your motivations and personal qualities
To understand if we will make a good ESL teacher we must look at ourselves, you can learn to be an amazing teacher but you must have al least some inclination of the following qualities:
- A passion for enriching people's lives through education
- Patience and confidence
- Empathy - the ability to understand someone elses position
- Enjoy working with people
- Ability to be self reflective and to use criticism in a positive way to improve and learn
Will you enjoy teaching?
Do some research on what teaching involves, our case studies are a great start. If like people and helping people you're off to a good start. You can do a couple of days volunteering or shadowing to get an idea of a teaching environment. Just bear in mind that if you don't like it it's a long way home or a long year of your life.
Do you want to know more?
Anyone with any experience of ESL in Korea will tell you that daveseslcafe forums are the best place to get a wide range views and opinions. As with any forums it can be tough to get the information you're looking for quickly and there will be a lot of conflicting opinions as well as some very biased ones. Having said this it is still an invaluable resource.
Paul's Personal Experience
"It's so important that you're interested in ESL for the right reasons. It's easy to hear about what you can earn teaching ESL in Korea and think "Yeah I speak English, how hard can it be to teach it?", I honestly thought the same thing when I first heard of it. As process of investigation I went to speak to a director of a local English school who said to me "If you care about doing a good job and the education of your students you will get an ESL qualification first". Now I was pretty hard up at the time and it represented a big financial investment for me at that point in my life but I've never regretted doing it. Ultimately it fuelled my passion for teaching as I know I do a good job and it means I don't worry about the bad things as they don't matter because it's about the students."