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Hey Rachel - What's Your Job?

I'm sure most of you know I live and work in South Korea. But since the education system here is so different to the west, I thought I'd give you an overview of what I do when I'm not working on my novels or studying my MA.

In Korea, they have public and private main education schools for kids (just like the west) but after school's out, around 80% (according to an Economist article) of children head to privately owned academies to study more. These academies can be quite intense, like four-hour math cramming academies or English grammar. Academies for art, music, exercise ... you name it, Korea has it. These kids are learning material above their age and usually levels above what they learn in schools. We natives from English-speaking countries are either working in the public schools or in these English private academies (known as hakwons) to aid in their English-speaking progress.

Korean people are pretty serious about education. So, there are also private academies for adults. Some are cram schools for passing English tests, others are prep schools for studying abroad, general English group classes, or one-to-one tutoring style academies to better their speaking skills. And that latter type is where I work.

I started in Korea at an English kindergarten, at which I taught little ones until about lunchtime and then elementary to middle school students after they finished regular school. After a few years of that, I got the chance to work in a one-to-one adult academy in Seoul and I took it. There, my main students were studying business English, IELTS (an English exam) or general English conversation. At first, it was tough. I really wasn't that qualified or ready for the switch in student type. But I found my feet and survived. That was about seven years ago.

Now, I still work in a one-to-one academy but this one has a mix of students. I might teach business English or IELTS or general English, sometimes prepping for English university entrance interviews or even job interviews. But I also have one-to-one classes with children, the primary focus being English conversation. The classes range from 25 to 50 minutes, depending on if I am sharing the student with a Korean co-worker. With the pandemic still raging, I also have both online and offline classes. The hours are long and don't follow a traditional working day (12-9pm) and I have to work one Saturday per month (9-5). Saturdays are usually really full too, showing how serious studying English is over here!

Well, that's it. Thanks for reading. I know I haven't been active in this blog for a long time, so I would like to rectify that. If you have a question you'd like me to answer in a future blog, comment below or shoot me a message.

As always,

Stay safe and stay gold


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