First Impressions Of Teaching In South Korea

Meet Marek Krawczyk, a young and adventurous guy from Ludlow, Massachusetts in the USA. He has been living and teaching English in Daejon, South Korea for 3 weeks now and in the words of Marek, “I have found Daejon to be pretty awesome so far”.

Marek’s typical day as an English teacher in South Korea

typical day as an English teacher in South Korea

His typical day includes a lot of free time in the morning as his classes only commence in the afternoon. This allows him to hit the gym, do some shopping, relax and get ready for the afternoon’s teaching. Marek teaches for 6 hours each day which is followed by several follow-up phone calls with his students’ parents in the evening.

South Korean locals and co-workers

Marek is the only Western teacher at his school, making the cross-cultural experience all that more intense but as he states, they are incredibly helpful and have assisted him setting up everything and are always around to lend a helping hand if he needs anything. South Koreans tend to all be ever-so hospitable and welcoming to Western expats, especially one’s colleagues and co-workers.

The Hagwon teaching environment

Teaching envronment at Hagwon private schools in South Korea

As Marek teaches English at a Hagwon as opposed to a public school, he isn’t required to create his own lesson plans but instead makes use of the English book material provided to him by his school. English teachers at private schools in South Korea can also substitute book material with other various English learning activities by making use of certain themes, as Marek notes, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chuseok (South Korean Thanksgiving), etc.

Expat community

expat community in South Korea


Expat teachers are usually placed in the same communities, making it super easy to make some new friends and find some fellow expats from the Western world.

Forming bonds with your students

forming bonds with your students in South Korea

Marek explains how “forming a bond with your students is always hard at first because they’re used to the previous teacher and they really miss him or her” but this is easy to overcome and it will soon be you that your students become used to and will miss when you are gone. Like he mentions, the best way to form bonds with your students is to “be understanding, speak slowly, introduce a lot of activities, and just be positive. Giving them high fives, giving them candy when they get the right answer. It’s not as much pushing the curriculum forward, it’s more about teaching them how to speak.” Being an English teacher at a South Korean Hagwon, your lesson plans will primarily focus on teaching your students how to speak and communicate in English. There is far less emphasis on English grammar as the South Korean teachers will focus on this. As he explains when teaching English to your students, “you are going to teach them how to pronounce, speak, and read” in English.

The South Korean teaching adventure

English teacher with students in South Korea

Flying across the world to live and teach in a country whose culture, language, and customs differ quite greatly from the Western world isn’t the easiest thing to do. However it will be one hell of an adventure and, Marek explains, you will grow greatly as a person. You’ll have a lot of time to reflect on your life and actions as well as how your culture impacts those around you.

Marek’s advice to those looking to explore the Eastern world

Sunrise over Seoul in South Korea

“Go on an adventure, do something different. I mean, teaching half way around the world is definitely an adventure and, it’s not going to be easy but it’s definitely going to be a lot of fun!”

Thanks for sharing your first impressions of teaching in South Korea Marek. We wish you all the best for the remainder of your stay in South Korea!

Click here for more information on teaching English in South Korea

Apply to become an English teacher in South Korea

About Stu Brown

Stu has always carried with him a passion for exploring the world through work and travel experiences.

After a year-long adventure working at a school in London and travelling throughout Europe, Stu began his tertiary studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Social Dynamics.

He also holds a 120-Hour internationally accredited TEFL/TESOL certificate and understands what it takes to teach and travel responsibly. As TravelBud CEO he understands that truly exciting and life-changing adventures only happen when you step outside your comfort zone; and not a day goes by when he doesn’t challenge the team to do the same!

Filed under  South Korea • Teacher Diaries 

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  1. agnes

    I love children and I love to teach children ! English is my language ! This would be my greatest dream going to Thailand to the place of holiday !

    • Stu Brown

      Hi Agnes

      It’s wonderful to see how passionate you are about teaching English in Thailand. For more info on this program, you can visit our Teach in Thailand page

      We will have to schedule an interview in person or over Skype to make sure that you meet the minimum requirements and are a suitable candidate for this program so once you have read through all the information simply fill out our enquiry form and our Thailand program specialist will get in touch with you talk you through everything and get you started with your application.

      We’re looking forward to hearing from you 🙂


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