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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

a basic breakdown of teaching english in south korea.

photo source here.
the date is not really 2015, but i want this post to stay at the top.

regardless of where you were born, you are qualified to work in south korea if you hold a passport from AND earned your degree in the US, Canada, South Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zeland. if you dont have a bachelors but do have two years of undergrad/associates, you can work for korea via the talk program. you do not need to know how to speak korean. you do not need any teaching experience.

in south korea, children go to public school during the day. after the regular school day, they go to after school private academies, also called hogwons. there are hogwons for every subject: math, science, music, art, etc, and of course, learning english. if you teach in south korea, you will work public (meaning public school) or private (meaning hogwons). if you have a masters degree, you may want to instead pursue work at a university or a uni-gwon.

commonalities for most soko jobs: you work under contract for one year. they will reimburse you for your plane ticket. you will have free furnished housing, you'll have medical insurance, you get a one month extra pay as severance at the end of your contract.

public school is a regular mon-fri gig, public holidays off, 9am-5pm or whatever hours they have you working. you will be the only non-korean in the school. you work as an assistant to your korean co-teacher. curriculum might be already prepared, or you may have to make it yourself or with the help of your co-teacher. class size is big, 20, 30, 40+ students per class. usually 45 min a class i think?

hogwon hours are afternoon to evening/night. usually mon-fri, maybe weekends too/instead, depending on the school. you are alone in the classroom and will be one of many non-koreans working at the school, depending on how big the school is. maybe they will have a set curriculum for you to teach, or maybe they give you a book and tell you to have a it.

think of hogwons like fast food joints. maybe you work for mcdonalds or burger king or carl's jr: all serve burgers, but are a little different in both name and location. ie: Sonic is the same everywhere, but you know that the one on Main Street is your favorite and the one you visited one time on Grand Ave was terrible. maybe you've heard great things about the mcdonalds Maharaja Mac, but they wont make it for you b/c it's only on the menu in mcdonalds india. dont swallow things you hear like, "i heard hogwons dont pay on time" or "i heard schools shut down and leave you stranded," or the like. Instead, just remember that you will always hear the negative & rarely hear the positive. case in point:Ive heard TERRIBLE things about the hogwan chain "Wonderland," but i met a girl who worked her first year there at a branch in seoul and she loved it and would've stayed/renewed her contract were it not for family things calling her back home.

are you ready? get your paperwork started. look at the job board on eslcafe. if you are black & nervous about coming, listen to this and read the discussion forums on the fb group. ready? break!

Friday, August 01, 2014

I'm still here

Hi Blogworld. Wow, i have not logged in to my i_teach_esl@yahoo email for well over a year... longer, I think. My apologies to everyone who msged me. When i started this blog, i thought it best to remain anonymous, but since so much time has passed (and, since every so often, someone tries to reach out and I remain unaware)  you can find me on facebook

But you all know about the fb group for black expats, BSSK Brothas&Sistas of South Korea? There is a wealth of information there and lots of people to learn from. Please do check it out 

a little disclaimer: I am now 38 years old. I think that is my reason (or, i'm using it as my reason, anyway) for my lack of patience and my direct and forward manner. If you email me your life story with no actual concrete questions, I will probably be a little put out. I understand the power of writing something out, that's why i started a blog. You should, too. Also, the fb group has so much information: your questions are probably already answers. Please skim the docs and files. And, the internets has changed so much since 2007. There is SO MUCH INFO already out there: you can watch youtube vlogs, read esl forums, etc, to learn all that there is about teaching in south korea. Please really think it through before you message me. Maybe it feels like you know me b/c of this blog, and I'm glad if it helps, but in actuality, i don't know you. Don't msg me all of your deep dark secrets and insecurities and hope that I can save you. I'm just an esl teacher. I like to think i have power in my classroom, but that's about it. If you are so scared to come to korea, I suggest you look deeper for help and what the real issue is.

anyway... you can find me and other fam on fb. My overall msg remains the same: don't let anybody (especially the dominant anglos) tell you what you can and cannot do, or what you are or aren't capable of. Fam is here, let's help/support each other. I've met plenty of fam here in korea that i'm not crazy about, but bottom line is that if you need something, I am here for you. You can reach out any time, and if i am able, i will help.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

this is a kimbop scarf!

knitting is my main hobby. where to get yarn in korea:
you can go to dongdaemun station, it is north on the blue line 4, exit 9. come up the stairs and there is a building to your right (the building next to the parking lot) go to the basement of this building, there are sewing and knitting supplies. the seoul snb google groups is the most active, if you post that youre going there, maybe someone will come to meet you/go with you? there is a facebook group for seoul snb but it is not very active. most people use ravelry or google groups. i think there is a page on the google gropu of other places to buy yarn. more info here:

google group 
and a group on ravelry 

Monday, March 12, 2012

how to get the fbi check and apostille

  • fill out the form, go to the police station, and have them fingerprint you (it cost me $32 i think). Mail it off to the fbi and it should take 6-8 weeks to get it back.
  • scroll down and you'll see it's an $8 fee and it'll take about 10 days via mail service. download and fill out the form "DS-4194 Request for Authentications Service" and the cover letter/request form and mail it all off.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

storage space

my friend was in global village in itaewon the other day and passed on a pamphlet to me. it is for storage space in korea, the website is  Their website says, "We allow people and businesses to store their items with us in our secured storage spaces, at affordable rates, for flexible time periods ranging from two weeks to twenty years."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Need help in translating?

ive not used this service, but hey: Need help in translating:Try calling 02120 and the press 9.Basically you can have a 3 way call (the operator will translate what you want to say to the other person).

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

read it/beat it

ive been working for cdi/cdl since i came to korea in feb 2007. overall i like it. this video is from a former fellow cdi-er. he made a video with the kids doing a parody of  mj's "beat it." i ABSOLUTELY LOVE this video, im sure you will too. if you teach in korea, you'll get the jokes in it and love it just as much as i do. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

graduate schools with diversity scholarships

one of these days, im going for the masters in linguistics or esl. This wasnt my plan, but i have fallen in love with esl. i want to learn all i can and be the best i can in this field and in the classroom. So, here is a list of links for schools that offer nearly free grad school for students of color.
info pulled from old discussion board

university of North Dakota
i met a brotha this weekend who got his masters without paying any tuition at teh university of north dakota. it's the cultural diversity tuition waiver. he also got free housing and a living

illinois state university
has diversity tuition waiver too, but i dont know any first hand info about it:

unversity of minnesota
has diversity tuition waiver called DOVE (again, i know nothing about it):

iowa state university
has a Graduate Minority Assistantship Program (GMAP):

university of new orleans:

Newark and Montclair State University.

IGSE (in korea)
Full scholarships to all students that are accepted. 

John Brown University

marquette university

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

celta and celtyl

if like me, you have decided esl is your career, you may want to get certifications in celta and celtyl. They are not a requirements in south korea, but will definitely assist in getting a university job and i very confidently say they WILL make you a better teacher. Though not crucial for jobs in soko, they ARE for teaching esl anywhere else in the world.

celta is certification for english language teaching to adults. it teaches practical teaching approaches for the classroom, aimed toward learners age 16 and up. you can do it in seoul. i paid about 2.5 million korean won for the course and did it at igse. there are two places to do celta in seoul.
Cheaper one:
Other one: 
celtyl is certification for english language teaching to young learners, aimed toward learners aged 5 to 13. it's not offered in south korea as im writing this post. i did mine in vietnam at ila. i paid about 900USD for the course, and i paid for my flight, accommodation, etc. Info on the celtyl in vietnam here:

btw, i very quickly and easily got my visa vietnam online here: