Sunday, November 10, 2013

Let's Talk About Korean Students

Today I wanted to talk a bit about the stereotype of Asian students. 



When I was at university, I had the opportunity to be both a Teaching Assistant and an English reading/ writing tutor to both domestic and international students. Within those small jobs, I noticed a difference between what we would call the mainland students and the international students, specifically the Asian students. I really felt like the stereotypes were true. 

I will admit this was a big factor for Matt and I when we decided to take teaching jobs here in Korea. I was under the impression that we would get to Korea and into our classrooms and life would be perfect. We would have great lessons, and our students would be perfect and respectful. They would always listen and would be diligent workers. 

I am here to tell you that is not the case! 

Before coming to Korea, I was a middle school teacher at a school in Hawaii, and my Korean students are more similar to my Hawaii students than I thought they would be. I thought I would come up with a list to show you how similar Korean students are to American students. 

Korean Students: 
*Are still obsessed with their phones and will try to sneak them during class 
*Are still kids, so they will lose interest in your lesson 
*They still talk to their friends during class (but unless you speak Korean, you will have no idea what they are talking about) 
*They still sneak gum in class 
*They still drag their feet when it comes to doing work 
*They can usually be bribed with candy 
*Don't come to class prepared (i.e. no book, no pencil, no eraser) 
*They still complain about doing work 
*They still try to copy off each other 
*They still want you to give them the answers 
*They cram for tests 

So what I've learned is that Korean students are just that- students. They are kids, and kids will misbehave. They will talk in class. They will drive you crazy. They will put off doing work. For us, it's a little different because we don't speak Korean, so I don't think our students take us that seriously. Also, we teach at a Hagwon, which is the school they go to have their day school, so by the time they get to us they are exhausted. I also think they don't take our class too seriously because it's just more school, and we are more like class fillers. 

I wanted to write this post because I wanted others that are thinking about teaching in Korea to not be blindsided by stereotypes. Kids in America have their own problems. It is safe to say there are different pressures in Korea than in America. In Korea, the pressure to do well in school. Like an insane pressure that I don't think my students back in Hawaii could understand. But in Hawaii, some of students were dealing with the pressure of drug and alcohol abuse. They were dealing with absent parents. 

If you are coming to teach, just be aware that the kids here are still kids. The perfect classroom does not exist. But it's still a pretty great adventure. 


{If you missed any of my other Expat Diaries just click here.} 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment- I appreciate and read each and every one of them. All replies will be in the comment section, please check back to read them!

- Alex