Amy, 25 years old, Busan

Where and when did you complete your TEFL course?

I completed my TEFL at bli in PE over December 2016/January 2017.

Why did you choose to participate in a TEFL course?

I did the TEFL to learn and practice teaching English to non-native speakers so that I could go to South Korea as an EFL teacher.

Where do you currently teach?

I currently teach at an elementary school in Busan, South Korea.

How would you describe a typical day in your current position?

After my bus ride to school, I am showered with enthusiastic student greetings in the passages on my way to the teachers' room. The mornings are then spent teaching 4 to 5 classes with the assistance of my Korean co-teacher. After a tasty hot (both heat and spice-wise!) Korean lunch at school, the afternoons are spent planning for the next day's lesson and activities.

What was the most challenging situation you've faced so far?

I'd say the language barrier is a big challenge. Often the students will ask me for help, but they can only phase it in Korean and then neither of us can understand each other. Sometimes you also have the trouble-makers passing a comment that you don't understand until your co-teacher tells you after class what they actually said.

What do you enjoy most about being an EFL teacher?

I really enjoy the moments when you can share a joke with the students, whether through a picture in the PowerPoint that surprises or really amuses students, or by someone saying something funny relating to the lesson. It's great when you feel there is a real relationship building with the students in each class.

Which advice would you give future EFL teachers?

If you feel bored with a lesson and dread teaching it, your students will most likely feel the same way. If you're excited about an activity, have really considered it and related it to the key lesson while it's fun, too, you'll have a good student (and teacher) response. There's not much more awkward or demotivating than bored students.

What is next on your bucket list?

To keep exploring.

What do you think about when brainstorming about TEFL?

  1. Thinking that learning how to develop lesson plans was the most confusing thing ever.
  2. Realising that learning English tenses (present perfect continuous tense, etc.) was actually the most confusing thing ever.
  3. I learnt that it's good to be creative and clever with lesson activities/class presentations to make learning fun.

Make sure to also check out Amy's South Korea Travel Journal and get to know more about her life there.