Final paper example: Life as a teacher

Discussion with students, Jan 2015
Discussion with students

My life as a teacher is a busy and satisfying one. I teach classes every day of the week, ranging from the middle-level to the highest-level English Conversation class. This semester my classes are in Cheon-eun Kwan, Gyeong-cheon Kwan, and Shalom Kwan. My lessons are based on textbooks chosen by my supervisors. There is so much content from the textbook we have to cover, I

A message from a student at Kangnam University: 11 Dec 2009
A message from a student

normally use PowerPoint to make things clear. I sometimes try to make things fun with discussions and activities, especially in my lower-level classes. The discussions give my students a chance to practice their thinking and speaking skills in a comfortable atmosphere. I think my students enjoy my class. Some of them leave me messages telling me how they feel. My work in the classroom is an enjoyable and important part of my job.

The classroom is only one of the places where I do my work. My time in the office is a chance to relax and catch up. My office is on the 5th floor of Cheon-eun Kwan. The walk up the stairs is a little tiring, but it is a chance for some exercise. Plus, the location

Lunchtime at the office
Lunchtime at the office

is convenient as many of my classes are in the same building. I am required to spend three hours a week in my office, though I probably spend about fifteen to twenty. If I have the time and energy, I bring food from home to eat between my classes. Usually, however, I simply get a sandwich, cup ramyeon or kimbap from the convenience store in the basement of Cheon-eun Kwan. I eat while I work, and I have a lot to do. I make PowerPoint presentations for class, grade quizzes, and mark papers. When the work becomes a little too tiring, I take a fifteen-minute nap to refresh myself. I try to work hard at the office in order to do a good job for my next class.

Taking a nap at the office
Taking a nap at the office

Teaching is not the only part of a teacher’s life. My dog Jaerong is another important part of my life. He is a poodle, and my wife and I got him earlier this year. I take him out for walks two to three times a day. When my alarm doesn’t wake me up, Jaerong usually comes over to remind me it is time to take him out. At the end of my work day, I take Jaerong out for a long walk so we can both get some exercise. He also gets a chance to smell things. Dogs are very curious, and smelling everything is how they learn about the world around them. When Jaerong and I get home, I wrap up my day and get ready for the next one. There’s always something for a teacher to do.

Charles Ian Chun with his dog Jaerong
With my dog Jaerong

Doing English all year round

During summer and winter vacation, students will want to continue studying English. While STUDYING is important and necessary, it can be boring. Instead I recommend students spend their time simply DOING English. By that, I mean use and learn English as you entertain and express yourself.

Here are some fun, simple, and inexpensive ways to keep your skills sharp and even improve them.

1. Read aloud

Choose a book that is also available in Korean. Read the Korean first then the English, maybe one paragraph at a time depending on your comprehension level.

I’ve enjoyed reading The Chronicles of Narnia (나니아 연대기), Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes. English and Korean versions are easy to find.

The Chronicles of Narnia in English and Korean
The Chronicles of Narnia in English and Korean

If you want to save money, consider getting a book from the 영한대역문고 series by YBM Sisa. These books are a great way to become familiar with some English classics at a great price (4,000 won per book!). English is on one side, Korean on the other.

Agatha Christie's Short Stories from YBM Si-sa's 영한대역문고
Agatha Christie’s Short Stories from YBM Si-sa’s 영한대역문고
English on one side, Korean on the other
English on one side, Korean on the other

Don’t worry about understanding every word. Just keep practicing and you’ll get it. You’ll also be practicing the skills necessary to be a good presenter.

Check your progress by recording yourself with your phone! All you need is thirty seconds to a minute to find things you can improve.

Check your progress by recording yourself on your smartphone.
Check your progress by recording yourself on your smartphone.

2. Listen

Instead of listening to audio files that come with your textbook, how about listening to what other English speakers are listening to? Here are some suggestions:

Audiobooks — These are read by actors and can really make a book come alive. I recommend reading the book as you listen. CDs can be purchased at bookstores, though they are quite expensive. I have some CDs, which students may borrow.

Podcasts — These are free and can easily be downloaded to your smartphone.

  • Android — Stitcher is a popular app you can use to download podcasts.
  • iOS — Podcasts already comes with your iPhone.

Some podcasts I enjoy:

  • The Today Show — a popular morning news show in the US. You can find the video version through Podcasts or through your PC.
  • Global News (BBC World Service) — updated twice a day!
  • This American Life — a popular public radio program providing interesting stories
  • Serial — I have not heard this yet, but this true murder-mystery story has been the most popular podcast for weeks.
  • StarTalk — hosted by astrophysicist (천체 물리학자) Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is like a rockstar in the science world
  • WTF with Marc Maron — an interview-based program with one of America’s most respected comedians. There is a lot of bad language (so maybe a teacher shouldn’t recommend this), but Maron is such a brilliant conversationalist, I have to include it.

3. Keep a diary or blog

Write about your day in a journal. This activity is not just for kids. When you’re in your thirties or forties, you’ll be very happy (though probably a little embarrassed) to read about yourself during your college days.

If paper is too old-fashioned for you, start a blog. You can do this on platforms like WordPress (this website is WordPress blog) or Blogger. And, of course, there’s Naver. It’s simple; it’s free; you can pictures and videos with your text. If you’re shy, you don’t have to use your real name!

How about Twitter? Again, you don’t have to use your real name. Just share your thoughts throughout the day and post pictures with explanations about them. You can also follow other people and reply to their Tweets. It’s a great way to interact with people around the world.

Share your thoughts and interests on Twitter!
Share your thoughts and interests on Twitter!

Don’t know what to write about? Use your journal/blog to write summaries or reviews of what you read or listen to.

4. Talk with others

Of course, there is no substitute for personal interaction with others. And you don’t have to speak with only native speakers. Get together with friends and agree to speak English, perhaps during lunch.

Okay, that should be enough to keep anyone busy. If you have other tips to share with your friends, feel free to reply below. Enjoy your break and see you on campus in March!

Help me with the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Students, I need your help! May I use your name in my video?

EBS’s Happy 아이작 Durst has nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS (근위축성 측색 경화증) on 위키백과

I will make my own video this week.


Someone nominates you. Donate $100 to help ALS research or get ice water poured over your head (and still donate $10). Then challenge others and so on . . . It’s a fun way to raise awareness about a good cause.

Normally, you have to act within 24 hours, but I don’t really care about that.

Are you interested?

Remember, you’re students. No one expects you to donate a lot of money (or any money!). But even 5,000원 or 10,000원 would be great!

I don’t know if there are trustworthy ALS organizations in Korea. If someone could find out, that would be very helpful. In N America, people are donating to and (Canada).

Let me be clear: your money is your choice and your business. No pressure, okay? ^^

What I want

I’m asking friends, but I also want to challenge some students. Would you like me to challenge you? Please let me know through 1:1 chat on KakaoTalk.I’ve read that 400,000 people around the world have this disease. 100,000 people die every year.

This campaign has become very successful in N America. I would love to help make it a successful global campaign.Perhaps this could be used for campaigns important to Koreans. It’s up to you. Let’s get this going! ^^

English Writing Contest

I’ve just learned our university will be holding their annual English writing contest soon. Information is below if you’re interested. I encourage everyone to participate.

English Writing Contest

2013 English Writing Contest

Friday, November 8, 2013
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
경천관 408-2

1st prize – 300,000 won

2nd prize – 200,000 won

3rd prize – 100,000 won

For more information
경천관 105호 서비스 행정실 3
영문학과 ☎ 031-280-3876