English Teachers of South Korea: Damien McGloin

English Teachers of South Korea: Damien McGloin

Name: Damien McGloin
Hometown: Belfast
Age: 25
Currently Living: Uijeongbu
Job: TOPIA English Academy

What are you doing right now?
I’m currently an English teacher with the Uijeongbu branch of TOPIA.

And what’s your typical day?
My typical day involves teaching four to six classes, some essay correction and a lot of communication with the kids. It can be difficult facing a language barrier and struggling to provide a clear and comprehensible lesson but that challenge makes the experience worthwhile.

Where are you from?
I’m from Ireland

Why did you decide to move here?
I came here after six months of teaching in Italy. I enjoyed teaching adults but struggled to adapt to the culture. I was curious about life in Korea and quickly came to love my life here.

Why do you teach?
I teach because I love being able to share my experiences and learn from others while providing (hopefully) useful lessons.

Damien putting in some serious miles in Dongducheon

Damien putting in some serious miles in Dongducheon

If you weren’t teaching, what would you be doing?
I’ve been studying my masters in linguistics so another area which I’ve become interested in through my studies is journalism.

What separates the good teachers from the bad?
I feel that a big obstacle for teachers is the ability to adapt materials and create lessons which kids can really enjoy. Often the books we work with reuse concepts and ideas. Children can sense when a lesson is familiar and it encourages them to switch off. A good teacher knows how to have fun with the kids while providing a worthwhile lesson.

What were the hardest life lessons you had to learn while here?
I think discipline was an issue when I first started out. It can be difficult to control a room full of noisy kids who don’t understand a lot of what you’re trying to say. One of the hardest lessons I learned was how to maintain order without being unfair to the students.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about teaching abroad or living abroad?
My advice is simple: have fun with what you do! Being a teacher provides you with a great opportunity to get to know a lot of great students.

Do you have any passions or hobbies that you pursue abroad?
Hobbies take up most of my free time. I’ve been learning violin for a year and a half and I’ve moved on from my running addiction to spending more time in the gym lifting weights.

What would you be doing if you were still in your home country?
I’d probably be doing the same thing. Teaching English and studying my masters but without the glory of Korean food unfortunately.

Do you want to add anything else?
If you’re considering coming to Korea to teach.. do it! You won’t regret it!

 

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