Gettin' My Preparation On

April 23, 1987

The "work" Visa stamp in my passport was proof enough that I was approved and sanctioned by the South Korean government to teach English. That stamp was all that I thought I needed. Admittedly, I had no degree (yet), I had no formal training in teaching or English conversation, no TESOL/TEFL experience, and I hadn't even taken any college courses on teaching. At the time it never even occurred to me that one might need, or even want those things, in order to teach English in Korea. Mr. 신 never mentioned any of that either. But I did have the government stamp:
However, relative to the college kids who were paying to learn from me, I certainly was an SME (subject matter expert). And generally speaking that is enough to warrant getting paid. At least in corporate America. I have worked with many highly paid folks who never even made it to university. But by today's standards for English teachers in Korea I probably would have been considered "unqualified."

The week before I was to start teaching by myself, I shadowed Shin as it would be the only form of training I got. I wasn't getting paid yet but it was a good way to meet most of the students and to see first-hand how to run a class. Basic itinerary went like this:

Shin picks me up at the apartment and drives to the 학원 for first class at 7:40 a.m. 18 PNU Students.
Second class at 8:50 a.m. 18 PNU Students

Drive to home of 2 moms for private tutoring.

Drive out to burbs for private gig.

Drive further out to burbs for corporate gig at 삼천리호 Bicycle Company. 10 executives.

Back to apartment for a short rest.

2 more night classes at the 학원.

Stop at 우동 tent on the way home for a hot bowl of noodles.

Go ni-nite.

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