I have decided to take teaching English a bit more seriously, and in that process realized it might be a good idea to join the KOTESOL group. About two or three years ago I attended their international conference they hold each year in the Fall. Although I showed up at the last half of it, I remember it felt great to be around folks who are interested in teaching English.
Yesterday, I attended the Seoul chapter of the group and enjoyed their monthly meeting nearby Sookmyung University. It was a hot and sultry afternoon when I arrived, and due to a busy morning had skipped lunch. But I grabbed a snack and joined folks in the cool air-conditioned room. There I was greeted by Stafford from the Chosun Bimbo, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting at other events. I also was greeted to some other nice folks who are part of the group.
Things got under way and soon there were two groups swapping stories and ideas about the 4 basic skills one teaches in this job. (Reading, writing, speaking, and listening). I found myself having to kick on the gears in my head and respond to questions like, "Have you had any successful speaking activities lately?" I teach 2nd grade math, and explained that most of the time my goals are for the students to not speak Korean and that the lower levels do well. But I chimed in with several examples and statements on the topics, adding my own flare to the group. Mostly, I just enjoyed being around people who take their teaching job seriously and want to learn more. I hate to say this, and not sound terrible, but I find myself at work not having many conversations about the actual teaching job. Mostly we talk about which students are our favorites and which ones we wish would fall down a well. When it comes to talking about improving our lessons, or how to get the kids to speak, all of that kind of wandered off from the beginning.
But at my school we are left to our own devices and can teach however we see fit, so it is no wonder people don't really feel like talking about it. However, usually we meet with other members at the school to discuss the subject we are teaching (subject meetings). Thankfully, at these events people talk about how to improve and get the kids to use their skills more.
Back to the fun times at the Seoul chapter KOTESOL meeting. We finished up our group discussions and then headed up the hill to the Hyochang park. Both of these areas were new to me, and sorry I didn't grab any pictures. Actually, I brought my camera but realized that I attached my macro lens on accident.
The park picnic was very pleasant, and gave everyone a chance to gab about this and that. I was amongst other seasoned residents of Korea, and so we reflected on how things have changed over time.
All in all, I look forward to attending future meetings and making it to the International Conference in October. I also highly recommend anyone interested in perking up their teaching career to give the group a shot. Enrollment fees are half off, apparently and with membership you get discounts to their big events. Plus, nothing really beats the conversations you can have about teaching and people you can meet who have been in this field for some time.
Head on over to the KOTESOL website, and if you fancy it try out joining as a member.