elissa’s esl advice

30 01 2010

benefits of teaching english in korea:

  • medical benefits. elissa believed they paid universal. wasn’t sure if it actually came out of her paycheck.
  • 2 weeks vacay + Korean holidays (how many are there? looks like 11)
  • routine schedule, 8/9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • paid apartment. make sure you negotiate an oven and a washing machine with directions up front
  • ~ $2,100/month is what elissa made. a cert could bump that up a few hundred bucks
  • pension at the end of the year. elissa had $6K at the end of two years
  • paid round trip ticket “home” once a year
  • better odds of getting time off at public schools, not 학 원
  • co-teachers at public schools, not 학 원

good to know…

  • if you want foreigners social life, best options are seoul, pusan and taegu in that order
  • if you can’t get placed in seoul, go south of seoul. 수 원 is a college town
  • there is costco in korea
  • there is a social circuit. check out visitkorea.com. also, adventure korea, but it looks young
  • monthly expenses (back in 2006) = $200, which includes phone, Internet and cellular
  • also, you could teach in a summer camp for 3 months to get your feet wet

this book is making me restless…





networking update

30 01 2010

corporate…
amy wall is a strong woman. she gave me some good contacts to follow up with. leadership development and career and life coaching may be two fits for my skills and passions. these people seem to come from all different backgrounds–education, hr, psych

robin miller was so helpful too. she is a tiny woman and a dynamo. she mentioned outplacement services as gratifying work, something i hadn’t considered before. it combines the soft skills of who are you, what makes you tick with the tactical of ok, here’s what you need to do next, how to market yourself and so on. not sure why this hadn’t occurred to me, since the DBM is what taught me the value of networking, relationships and being deliberate about your career choices. i never would have had this experience of working at f4k without DBM. robin says these people cross over between working within agencies and coming back to corporate HR. not necessarily a specific educational background.

she also said corporate communications at least at their company is more about sponsorships and helping employees find volunteer opportunities. it’s a smaller group of people usually with a PR background. i took that to mean there is less gratifying direct service, working with people one on one.

human resources doesn’t really house the career counseling i was looking for. that’s done more on a contract basis, they find companies to do that for their employees. and they train their managers to grow their employees. so HR folks doing that, not so much. you can come into HR a few different ways–robin came in through the people side. others come in through compliance and finance. executive coaching is another avenue…

on the esl tip…
karen abel, head of esl at durham tech, said the minimum educational level for part-time instructors is a BA (many have an MA), ESL training (this is where a cert can come in), also some degree of teaching experience (volunteering, practicum, tutoring). for teaching within K12, you need to be licensed, which is a much more lengthy process from what i can tell. and maybe overkill, i’m not trying to teach K12 ESL. i was considering, gasp, what will i do when coming home from korea–how will i work or be employed? i guess at that point i’ll have the esl teaching skills to at least work part-time while i figure the rest out.

amy also suggested what about going to school overseas? are there american unis or programs that i could enter even being in korea? hadn’t thought of that.

next steps:

  1. call TESOL program and enroll–do they help you find practicums?
  2. call amy wall’s contacts
  3. call robin miller’s contacts




modern love

30 01 2010

thanks pom for posting this

kids are sledding outside. i’m going to go visit the neighbors’ kids, if this sleet lets up…
the girls survived the night and will live to lay another day.

snow chickens





update on interviews

25 01 2010

nog run was fun tonight. we ran 5 in 8:07mm. i ran with a 29-year-old who was training for his first marathon. things to do before he turned 30. i remember that year.

(time warner is the devil. cable bill went up $10 again this month. hello dsl.)

quick update–
happy to report every person i asked for an informational interview agreed to meet. that’s reassuring. i dragged my heels on setting up those interviews, waiting till thursday of last week to schedule them. what does that say? i’m meeting most this week with a few next week and should have information soon on where the things i like to do might live inside of a company. more later…

quite opposite, i was looking forward to meeting elissa for a beer all week! i couldn’t wait for friday to come. elissa’s a polish girl from madison who taught english in korea. i like her. she was there from 2004-2006 and shared a ton o’ information including–

  • if you want to have a social life (which includes interacting with expats), seoul, pusan and maybe taegu are the places to be. my cousin lives in taegu. i think it’s a college town.
  • there are social clubs (adventurekorea is one) to explore the area and meet people. but wait, all of these people look like KIDS. where are the adults?! are the only over-30s either military or the skeevy, old westerners who move to korea to hook up with exotic asian women?
  • teaching at a govt run school vs a hagwan–
    • possibility of having more time off at a govt run school. elissa had the ENTIRE summer off with pay. no guarantee though.
    • hagwan has more foreigners and slightly better pay.
    • hagwans also may have different aged students. more like after school or supplemental programs as opposed to structured primary, middle or high schools.
  • side tutoring jobs are available to nearly every english teacher.
  • elissa went baptism by fire route with no cert. her first day she was tossed into class without lesson plans, support teachers, nada. a cert and some part-time experience here would be helpful, even if it doesn’t ultimately bump the pay that much.
  • don’t get dental work in korea. or maybe elissa said rural korea.
  • govt contributes a percentage to your pension. elissa had ~6K at the end of two years and traveled post-teaching for 4 months.

i need to spend a sunday at guglhupf with creampuffs and dave’s esl cafe to see if this info is current.

let’s see what else?

there’s an upcoming TESOL class starting in may in chapel hill. saturdays 9:00 – 3:00. $1,100. something to find out–can you get practical, part-time experience at the local community college with a TESOL degree (or need it be the longer ESL degree)?

early interview with robin miller from bcbsnc tomorrow. and still need to do my rebuilding homework. writing a goodbye letter to the good and bad parts of my marriage. hard to do while sitting on the fence. i think i’ll do it tomorrow.





Korean questions

19 01 2010

i am looking forward to having a beer with elissa this friday and picking her brain on all things teaching english in korea. wonder what it says that i’ve made minimal effort info-gathering on the HR front.

running list of questions about tesol korea:

  1. what cert did you get?
  2. where did you teach?
  3. pay rate?
  4. vacation calendar–did you have time to travel?
  5. did you work outside of the school, able to tutor?
  6. expat community? was your social life on hold?
  7. time of year to start–how’s summer?
  8. what do you think about heading over and hunting for a job on the ground?
  9. did you learn korean while there? advice




corporate questions

14 01 2010

running list of questions for informational interviews…

  1. where does career counseling live in this company? does it live here?
  2. how did you get started, what was your career path like?
  3. what are the most important skills, qualities for HR/training & development?
  4. what activities involved in corporate comm/HR/training & development
  5. what growth
  6. what degree(s) most beneficial?
    1. what are your thoughts on online degree programs?
  7. in what areas do you see my skills being most well do my skills transfer to?
    1. HR
    2. corp comm
    3. community relations
  8. where would i start? what could my career path look like?
  9. any other advice?
  10. who do you know who does that work that i could talk to?




separation anxiety

3 01 2010

october 25, 2009 after 9 years of marriage