Thursday, July 8, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis, redux--this time with Korean subtitles

It's been awhile.

July has been/is going to be a rather lame blogging month for me--I have been insanely busy. As you may have heard, I have decided to stay in Korea for another year, and have been busting my ass to get all of my documents ready to secure myself another E-2 visa. These include:
  • 3 criminal history reports (Korean, Oklahoman, and an Apostille-stamped Coloradan check)
  • An Apostille-stamped copy of my Bachelor's degree (and a copy of that copy)
    • Shout out to my Mom and Dad for getting everything stamped/sent out to me here from Colorado. You guys rock.
  • Passport photos, in which I look insanely photoshoped:
  • Transcripts--signed, sealed, delivered (from TU)HAR HAR Stevie Wonder reference
  • Copies of of passport, E-2 visa, and alien card
  • Letters of recommendation from my manager, Michael, and the terrifyingly intense principal of my hagwon, Mrs. Lee
I have also had to prepare lesson plans and pen a 500-word essay. Why all of this extra work?The difference between this year/the next year is that I am attempting to work at a Korean public school.

A short list of reasons why I want to switch from private (hagwon) teaching to public school:
  • More creative freedom in the classroom/less teaching right out of a textbook
  • More job security
  • Moving away from the questionable "education as business" ethics of the hagwon:
    • keeping kids at school until 12am
    • bumping up test scores and putting up with shitty behavior from kids just because their parents are over-bearing customers jerkfaces
    • Teaching a larger variety of Korean children: not just the spoiled brats privileged ones who can afford to come to an expensive private school
And more sweepingly, why I have decided to stay in Korea another year:
  • I'm getting teaching experience, which I'm going to be able to sell when/if I decide to teach back home
  • Korea is a great base for traveling, and with 20+ vacation days, I could certainly end do some more of that
  • I'm learning Korean, which is good for my brain, I think
  • And obviously (despite a bought of homesickness that has recently kicked in during the last few weeks) I love Korea--the food, the people, the friends I've made here
Yesterday, I was offered a position within Korean public schools. I am waiting on one last document to come through (STRESSFUL like whoa), and then I will be able to send everything in and hopefully get an awesome job at a bomb-ass location in Seoul, Greater Seoul, or Busan.

In related news--I'M COMING HOME for a bit, from July 25th to probably August 15th or so. I'm going to hang around CO for maybe a week or so, then go to New York to see a few friends/interview at the Korean consulate there for a new E-2 visa.

There will be more updates to come, as I finish my year at Swaton/do a few last-minute July fun things...I'm so excited, despite all of the change-induced stress!


  1. Maddie,
    I am so proud of you!! Look how far you have come from your first uncertain days a year ago. You are kicking butt in Korea and going back for more. I am sure you will do well wherever you are assigned and the children you teach will be lucky to have you. Hope to see you when you are home.

    Aunt Michelle

  2. About public school:
    You said:
    # More creative freedom in the classroom/less teaching right out of a textbook
    # More job security

    I say:
    Creative freedom will depend on your coteacher(s). If they are old and stick to their own ways then you will just be an English robot. You might find yourself with creative ideas that they put down. This is at Elementary and I think Middle & High you can do whatever u like.

    You must be applying for SMOE. There is job security but I would say that you are still dealing with Korean people. If there are problems things will take time to solve. You will still have to deal with last minute crap.

    My advice for public school teaching. Schmooze with everyone ...from homeroom teachers to the music teacher. Good luck!

  3. But I think you will enjoy and it see at as a slower paced workplace than a hagwon.

    Plus you get to go home before 5pm !! ;)

  4. Definitely looking forward to working normal 9-5 hours. The late-night hagwon grind is destroying my health .__.

    I am indeed doing SMOE. Also excited for: tons of vacation days/ sick leave/honing my rather lame schmoozing skillz

    Unrelated: Joy--I really enjoy your blog. Your pictures are always beautiful^^ Thanks for commenting