Do you have the qualities needed for co-teaching in Korea? I don’t know… maybe?
When you teach English in Korea, you can’t choose your co-teacher.
… could be a teaching newbie or guru…
… could have excellent discipline skills but have poor organization skills…
… could respect you or look down on you…
If you’re unlucky and end up with an uncooperative co-teacher, the only thing we can change is our attitude.
Here are some qualities that may help in dealing with any kind of co-teacher in Korea.
1. Openness to different teaching styles
Working with different styles is difficult but fun. This attitude may be difficult for experienced teachers who have their own routine and philosophy. It’s easy for me because I’m still at the stage of trying to figure out my teaching style. I have a lot to learn from classroom management skills.
2. Flexibility to a sudden change of plans
Surprise! The lesson you were preparing for the last few hours? You don’t need it anymore… sorry.
Or: Heyy… change of schedules! We’re teaching tomorrow’s lesson… in five minutes!
Just brush those off with an “oh well, I can manage.”
3. Communication skills
If you can use body language well and have a good understanding of the Korean language and culture, there will be less misunderstandings with your co-teachers and students. The Korean grammar and respect culture changes the way they communicate.
4. Ability to take different roles
Depending on your co-teacher, you could be taking 90% or 10% of the classroom responsibilities.
They could be an over-controlling one or a sit-in-the-back.
They’re an over-controlling one > Less freedom & Less work.
They’re a sit-in-the-back > More freedom & more work.
Sometimes you’re the happy fun teacher, and other times you are the serious strict teacher.
5. Time management skills
You need to work with multiple co-teachers. Make sure to keep track of your lesson plans with all of them. Some teachers are on top of things, other teachers need more reminders, and some of them never make it on time. Just do lessons on the go!
6. Positive attitude
Don’t always blame each other for poorly managed lessons. Focus on how you can improve. Remember to say thank you for something good that happened.
7. Ability to relieve your stress
Let it go! (I’m sorry if you’re sick of the Frozen fandom)
Preferably outside of school. Maybe it’ll help to talk it out, exercise at a park or sing your heart out at a 노래방!
Hopefully your co-teacher will develop the same habits as you practice them.