Teaching and traveling. I love them both. That doesn’t mean it is a piece of cake. In fact at times it is really hard. As a teacher of international students (some…most…of which have never even visited America.) Teaching history using western curriculum to students who are not culturally western can be difficult. I had to be very creative at getting them interested in how they learned.
One of the best things I found to help is to get them creating! So I had my students do a lot of projects…A LOT!… I also had them use a number of different presentation formats. They had to present PowerPoints, the news, they had to talk in front of a big group or just a few peers. Those two key elements were used because I felt that it allowed for every student to work at their own language levels; as well, as challenge them outside the normal classroom box. At times projects can be more work for the teacher. I would often times go to my corner coffee shop and grade like a crazy person! (You become a regular in a lot of these places.)
Another experience, I had teaching my wonderful ELL students, is that when we all have fun we learn more. I play games for review. We watch films to help understand and picture cultures or the past. We even sometimes go off on tangents that may or may not relate to K-pop or Kdramas. My students think that they are succeeding at not learning the lesson but really those tangents allows me to connect with the students. So that I can then go and connect history to their own lives. (Tricky teacher move 😉 )
Part of having fun is giving yourself a break. My neighborhood has some great natural hiking trails. You can also travel and get away for a day. There are so many great things to do in Seoul or around the neighborhood. It is worth putting the grading aside, just for a little bit, and go exploring. It has helped me understand my students and their culture more. Which also helps my students learn from me.
Teaching overseas can be daunting. There are a lot of steps. Your school most likely doesn’t have the standards that you have been trained on but I believe it is a great experience. I know that not everyone has the chance to experience what I experience but I hope that you still take the time to go and explore!