Life At An English Village
So for the past two years, I have been working at an English Village in Seoul. This has been a pretty amazing journey. Like many people that come to Korea to teach English I had only planned to stay one year but it has quickly turned into two and I have already found a new position for it to become three.
Anyways back to the reason I have started this post. Since I have yet to actually work at a hagwon or public school or Univeristy, I can only infer what it would be like to work at one. However, I have made many friends and met about a billion different people who have worked at these places and I have a pretty good idea on how it compares.
First, I would have to say that working at an English Village is a great way to start a position in teaching ESL abroad. In my particular position, I have taught little kindy students, elementary school, middle school, high school, university, and adults. I have taught book based ESL lessons (which is what the majority of hagwons and after school positions do), various theme classes (including medieval times, ancient Egypt, space, and debate just to name a few), and full immersion style classes (with a fake airplane or post office). I have even taught not just Korean students but Japanese and Russians as well. Experiencing many different kinds of classroom settings and students has been a challenge but one that I have embraced.
The English village is not without its faults, though. Just like many other positions in Korea they provide housing. The provided housing isn’t exactly the best it’s right on campus so you are always seeing kids, and you live right next door to all the other foreign teachers. The size of the housing is also tiny one room studio apartments (Its a dorm room). However, I don’t have to pay for any utilities while I live and work here which is nice. As long as the Village has students, they also provide for all three meals in the day (don’t get too excited it is cafeteria food) which it might be subpar but if you are trying to save money is a great bonus.
The classrooms aren’t exactly well maintained, but you are in general free to teach the lessons however you would like. This is something that is very nice because every teacher has their teaching style and allows them more freedom to teach to the class and students instead of the lesson plan.
We currently have two shifts the day shift (9-6 lunch 12-1:20) and the evening shift (1:20 – 8:30 dinner 6-7:20 but sometimes come in at 12:10). Personally, I prefer the day shift because it allows me to have my evenings freer and meet friends for dinner or a different activity. The shift you are on is not set in stone and you can sign up for whatever shift you prefer every month. However if not enough people signup or too many you might not get what you want. One really big negative is that you don’t know what days you have off until the week before and its the same with what classes you will be teaching. I get two days off a week but they are not always on the weekend. It can be any two days (Thursday & Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday etc…) which can be frustrating but if I have an event or something I want off for I simply put in a request and I have yet to be turned down.
Honestly, when all is said and done I have greatly enjoyed my time at the English Village but it is time to move on. To all my old co-workers, I am going to miss you guys.