links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

student artwork

kanisha from my memory tera class drew this on the board last week.
a rather close likeness, really!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

what is cdi like?

read all the emails/questions that i get here.
find more people to talk to here.

Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 5:24:22 AM
Subject: Question about Teaching with CDI in Korea

Hi! My name is T and I love your blog. It actually encouraged me a lot despite all the negative comments I read on Dave's ESL Forum about being black and living/working in Korea. hi t. thank you, expat jane's interview did the same for me. read/listen here.

I am actually going through EO Recruiting company. I don't know if you have ever heard of them, but I have my first phone interview with them this Friday, and if successful, I will have the follow up interview with an HR representative from CDI. I was just wondering, first, if you have any tips for the interview process. I am applying for it from overseas and I've read about the things you may or may not have to do. no specific advice. be yourself. dont curse.

Second, I know it's not required but I don't have any teaching experience. I used to volunteer teaching English to the international students at my University but that is as far as it goes. definitely mention that in your interview.

Are there a lot of teachers over there who have little to no teaching experience? yes, many.

I was wondering how successful they were. everyone varies. it does seem that those w/more experience do better, but i think that's b/c of experience dealing w/children and classroom setting.

I am actually pretty confident in my abilities to learn and become and good teacher for the students. I have been very excited about teaching English overseas. At first I wanted to go to Japan because I speak the language and lived there for 5 years. I love it over there but I wanted to try something new. sounds good to me. japan is only a two hour plane ride away.

I also study Korean during my free-time and really want to learn more about the culture, despite all the things I've heard about race and so on. It's not just Korea but a lot of Asia that is xenophobic and don't really like foreigners, in general. Anyways, I'm talking about the things you already know of I'm sure ^_^ By the way, are you still living in Korea? yes, just renewed my contract, i'll be here for another year at least until feb 2009.

Most of the entries I found in the blog were quite some time ago. Well at least in 2007. Do you still work for CDI and is it still good according to your standards? there are good things. ive never been paid late. once you learn the class structure, teaching there can be easy. i have a lot of issues w/my job and w/the company, of course, but none so bad that it made me want to quit. overall, i am happy there, but it's because i love the kids, and now after being there a year, teaching the classes are much smoother and i have a lot of fun at work. but dont take just my word for it. a pretty good discussion about it on eslcafe here.

I've also heard some negative things about it recently but it won't discourage me from applying and trying to work there. I've already been turned down from a few teaching eikaiwas in Japan but I won't give up. japan turned me down a few times too. meh.

I've dec ided I really want to pursue a job in Korea just because it is a new experience and it would be a challenge for me. Anyways, I appreciate your blog very much and it was really inspiring. A lot of helpful information was on there. Sorry for writing you a novel...haha Hope all is well and once again, thank you! aint nothing. hit me up anytime. and pls check out others here in korea, check their blogs here.

my cat calendar

dear readers, if you have friends abroad, send them mail. even if it's just a postcard saying hi. getting mail from home is so awesome. one time a girlfriend sent me some bit o honey, it was the most wonderful thing to find in my mailbox.

for xmas, my homegirl cheryl sent me some gifts, including a cat desk calendar (i really miss my cats). not the kind of thing i'd have as decor in my home, but i did put it on my desk at work.

sooo many students asked where i got it, and when i told them it was a present from home, each conversation would have, "teacher, i will give money and your friend buy me one too." cute.

things like this can get distracting, but assert yourself and tell the students they may look at it/ask about it at break time, and "right now is class time. Work first." it got to be a competition as to who got to keep that days page of the calendar. then the students starting writing their names on the pages, calling dibbs and eagerly awaiting the day thier page came. it's super cute.

Monday, March 10, 2008

a year plus later

ive gotten many a request for an update, wow, i feel like a celebrity!! i do keep another blog about some minor everyday shizz, in the form of the emails i send to my parents, if you're just really dying to know more about me. stalkers.

in february i finished my one year contract at cdi. i saw 3 runners (teachers who stop showing up to work w/no notice, usually they leave the country & go back home), 3 people get fired, and multiple transfers (teachers requesting or getting sent to a different location). of the 8 or so new teachers that i came in with a year ago, 2 of them finished their contracts.

cdi offered to re-sign me, with no raise. *puh* this is my fault tho, for being technically tardy multiple times. we're to log in on the computer 20 min before class, and i would do a late log in maybe 1 or 2 times a month. update: i asked for and got a raise 6 mo later, holla!

I got a top score of "S" teacher last term, which entitled me to a 1 million won bonus! i didnt get that either, b/c of my tardies. And now that it's been a year, im responsible for my own key money, which i of course dont have saved up, so 1 million won is being pulled out of my paycheck every month for the next 5 months until my key money is paid. i get it back when i move out of the apartment.

with all the above, i feel like a sucker sometimes for re-signing, but honest to goddess, i still love working there. i love the kids. and now that i know the structure, teaching is not labor intensive at all. my prep time for class is 30 min tops, if i take a nap and write left handed. the classes are 3 hours long, but i dont care b/c i love that i only have two sets of kids a day, i feel like i really know my kids. i work 6 hours a day, and i dont take work home with me. i love that i never have to set my alarm clock b/c my work day doesnt start until 4pm. and in my year here, i've never been paid late.

if youre super duper into making money, you could make bank w/cdi. if your score as a top ranked teacher, you get a bonus of 1 million won, second highest set of teachers get 500,000 won, and opportunities for these bonuses are every three months. since class doesnt start until 4pm, you could do (illegal) private lessons in the morning/afternoon (i hear people charge minimum 50$ an hour), with the summer and winter time come cdi "intensive" classes where one month you teach in the morning AND afternoon, but you'll pull a paycheck of over 5 grand. you get paid more if you work your way up to "Head Instructor" but with more work/responsibilities of course. btw, i do none of the above b/c i like my work load as it is and i value my free time.

would i tell people they should come work for cdi? no. i have plenty of gripes about my job. we dont get a year end bonus, we dont get holidays off, we dont get free housing, we dont get health insurance, we dont get paid vacation, we sometimes have to come to mandatory meetings and arent compensated for them. ive seen and experienced things that i thought were unfair. and maybe you wont get easy peasy classes to teach like i do, maybe you'll have these beast classes that require a few hours of prep. im lucky right now, but i fo sho have some coworkers who arent and their workloads are monsters.

so kiddies, check out all kinds of different jobs and pick what works for you. but i do like cdi enough that i'm staying, at least for another year. i have fun at work, the kids are awesome. i love walking down the hallway and seeing a student wave wildly saying, "Oh! Hello Sister Sha!!!!" im happy where i am, things is good. :)