One problem solved freelance teaching in Seoul!

I’ve mentioned before that I prefer being out and about freelancing around the city to being based in a school. But one problem with teaching in companies is … we are in a meeting room not a classroom. So this means I don’t always have the equipment I need at my fingertips. Usually there’s a white board and some pens, but if I try asking students for some listening apparatus – ie a CD player – I will probably be met with a lot of frowning and head scratching.

If we’re lucky, someone will uncover a dusty old machine lurking at the back of a store cupboard. Then those of us who remember the glory days of the ghetto blaster will spend some time pressing all the big buttons and reminiscing about the good old days. Then I’ll realise that after all that palaver I’ve forgotten to bring the CD. :)

So I’ll have to say the dreaded words – ‘OK I’ll just read out the listening script then‘. And at this point we come across one of my weaknesses: I’m RUBBISH at doing different voices. So if there’s a dialogue between 2 (or heaven forbid 3) people, then all the voices will sound the same. Not only is this confusing to listen to (and probably quite tedious!) but also a bit pointless as this should be an opportunity for the students to hear different accents and dialects from around the world, not just me droning on in what I will describe as mild northern British English. (although some people ask me if I’m Australian.)

So how have I fixed this issue? Drum roll. Well it was one of my students actually. He recommended these mini speakers. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that purchasing these speakers has changed my freelance teaching experience. Perhaps even my life. Because these DBEST mini portable speakers are BRILLIANT. They are a cool design (Designed in the UK, made in China – I chose the Union Jack design but there are plain colours too) great sound from such tiny little fellers, and they join together magnetically to fit neatly into a pouch that snuggles easily into my handbag. Aigoo.

These speakers really are DBEST

Oh I remember teaching in a language school where the classrooms were so well equipped I wondered how it would be possible to teach anywhere else. We had interactive white boards (IWB) which meant we could do all kinds of stuff on there: show fancy flipcharts, Power Point, play DVDs, CDs, digitalised textbooks and annotations, or just use it as a white board. The list is endless. There’s nothing you can’t do with an IWB.

But with all this technology I spent HOURS preparing for classes – in fairness a lot of time was spent trying to work out HOW to USE all the functions on the IWB. But since we had all this technology I’m sure I was not the only one in the staff room who felt as though I should at least attempt to tart up my flip charts. (and this took FOREVER)

But those days are gone. And my life is a lot simpler now. All I need is my book, my speakers, and my iphone with Bluetooth turned on and I’m ready to go. Simple.

2 thoughts on “One problem solved freelance teaching in Seoul!

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

    What sort of credentials do they seek w hen one applies for a freelance teacher?
    Also, is it an advantage to be proficient in both English and Korean or a disadvantage?

    • June 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      First of all, to be a freelance teacher you need an F series visa which allows you to work in Korea. Kyopos (Korean-Americans/other nationality) or foreign nationals married to Koreans can get this visa. Otherwise you need to find a company that will hire you and sponsor you for an E series work visa. There may be working holiday visas etc too but I don’t know about that.

      Companies usually want a teacher whose first language is English. Other requirements depend on the company or school. (They nearly always want to see a photograph of the teacher!) Teaching qualifications are not always required but a 3-4 year university degree is standard (especially for a working visa) and some companies may want an MA / MBA depending on what kind of class it is and who the students are. University jobs usually require an MA and there is a lot of competition for the good posts.

      Many freelance teachers join an agency (giving in a resume etc) and the agency will contact them when there is a job that they think is appropriate for them. Again it can be quite competitive getting some jobs. Most freelance teaching is in companies in the early morning or after 6pm for evening classes. There are also intensive courses especially in summer and winter vacation time. Outgoing teachers can manage to find their own students and teach privately. is a popular site about teaching in Korea with job info too.

      Speaking Korean doesn’t seem to be so necessary although I was interviewed for one job in Korean as they wanted to see how good my language skills were 😕 This was because the student was a beginner. I don’t think being able to speak Korean is ever a disadvantage though! If you can speak English and Korean well, you can branch out from teaching into other jobs such as working in publishing companies which often require bilingual speakers.

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