Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2009 Foreign English Teachers Living in Korea: Best and Worst Living Conditions Contest

I was talking to Julianne tonight about some of the things I went through while living and teaching on Ganghwa Island in 2005--my first year in Korea.

When I have the time I'm going to do a rewrite of my own Ganghwa Island story . . . but for now the link above will have to do--though there's TONS of stuff I didn't put in that post. (Another post you might find interesting, though not about living conditions but rather teaching/work conditions, is my A Foreign English Teacher's Reflections On 3 Years of Teaching in a Korean Public School English Program)

One blogger, Waygook Next Door (now blogging at Living Life Frame By Frame) has a collection of blog stories about when she first arrived in Korea that are written with a straightforwardness untainted by toxic negativity in spite of the unbelievable crap she was dealing with from the beginning of her time in Korea. For example, Kelsea's story about mold in her apartment . . . pretty bad.

Some recent videos . . .
I'm out of the mold pit!
A little chilly . . .

I've read and heard a large number of horrific new foreign English teacher in Korea living condition stories . . . and decided that it's high time more of them get documented.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is that I haven't really read any stories (not that they aren't out there somewhere, I'm sure) about people being thrilled, happy, and ecstatic with their living conditions--these stories need to be told too!

But it's not just about gathering more ammunition for expats to complain about Korea. This is about getting these stories out into the blogosphere so that newbies preparing to come to Korea, and/or just arriving in Korea, can learn about what to watch for, and learn about strategies and get advice from expat teachers who have been through these things and came out the other side . . . relatively unscathed, and hopefully wiser (lol, though not always!).

With all of these things in mind I am creating the first ever (to my knowledge),

2009 Foreign English Teacher Living in Korea -- Worst Living Conditions Contest

and to balance this out,

2009 Foreign English Teacher Living in Korea -- Best Living Conditions Contest

I am hoping that bloggers will link to my blog and tell their stories with pictures, video, and stories.

Some suggested guidelines . . .

1. Take pictures.
2. Make a video.
3. Write about everything you can think of.
4. Do not use names of schools or teachers or people involved.
5. Try to write about what is happening without swearing and other extreme language--it undermines credibility, etc.
6. Keep a log of times, events, and descriptions of what goes on during each step of your experience. (And updates with more pics and video, of course.)
7. Keep in mind that the advice and suggestions that expats might offer do not work for everybody, and consider that age, nationality, and gender play an enormous role in what you can and can't do in Korea, and the kinds of reactions your choices and actions will receive when following an expat's advice.

Please post other suggestions for the guidelines if you think of anything . . .

I'll try to put in my own entry about what I went through on Ganghwa Island over the next few weeks--but don't know how quickly I'll get it done as university teaching life is nuts in May and June.


UPDATE: Prizes! Duh! Uhm . . . I will buy dinner at the Smokey Saloon in Itaewon for the winners of each category of Best and Worst stories. If you think that's a 'cheap' prize it isn't! Dinner at the Smokey Saloon, the home of the best freaking hamburger in Korea, is pretty pricey but definitely worth it!

Below are the links to a series of posts I wrote originally in an orientation book for new foreign English teachers. I hope people find the information in them useful. I would also appreciate being cited as the author, Jason Ryan, because I spent a lot of time and energy writing them.


New Foreign English Teachers in Korean Public Schools -- Health and Homesickness in Korea

New Foreign English Teachers in Korean Public Schools -- One Foreign Instructor's Take On Some Major Cultural Differences

New Foreign English Teachers in Korean Public Schools--Summer and Winter Camps Checklist

Korean English Co-Teacher Issues: Techniques, Challenges, and Strategies

TESL/TEFL Teaching Method and Theory Books, Lesson Plan and Teaching Resource Books For New Foreign English Teachers In Korean Public Schools

Extra English Conversation Classes: Setting them up; Mixed levels; Getting paid; class size limits and levels of students in the class

"I can’t think of any English lesson topics . . ." Lesson Plan Topics List For New Foreign English Teachers In Korean Public Schools

Introduction For New Foreign English Teachers To The Korean Public School Environment

First Day At School For New Native English Teachers in Korean Public Schools -- Checklist

New Foreign English Instructors -- First Day In Your New Apartment Checklist

8 Tips for Foreign English Instructors Co-teaching with a Korean English Teacher


Kelsey said...

Well, I see you already have my entry...

Jason said...

Somehow I clicked on reject your comment, sorry.

Here's your link and comment.

Windowless hell.
Thankfully i moved across the hallway where there was a room with a window.

But the place is still a shithole.

Jason said...

Hi Kelsey,

Your entry is one of the extremely few stories I've heard that comes close to my own situation that I had in 2005 on Ganghwa.

It pretty much sets the bar for worst conditions--I'm curious to see if anyone can top it (other than myself, of course, lol--wink).

Kelsey said...

Would you like more photos of the place?

Jason said...

I'd have to go back and look at your posts to be sure about this: I don't remember seeing what is around the place, and is there a pic of how it looks from the outside?

I think more pics is always good--lol--so I don't know if I'm the best person to ask considering I upload TONS of pics when I blog . . .

What do you think?

Kelsey said...

Here you go:

I annotated everything with notes, so click on the images.

Kelsey said...

Here's my "formal" entry. ;)

Vancityandy said...

Hopefully you will have a look at my entry. Its a bit late I understand, but Im looking forward to hearing about the winner!

Kelsey said...

VanCityAndy - a link to your entry might help your chances. ;)

Jason said...

I had the same thought when I read it this morning but didn't have time to post a request for the link..