Saturday, April 9, 2011

Q and A

                My name is Wintermute and over the past month I have written a blog about my experiences in South Korea. Over this month I have received a few questions, and today I will take the time to answer those questions.

                M.D. Flodstrom wrote: “How do I evaluate my own worth while working/teaching?”

This can be quite difficult indeed as you will begin to feel that you are worth very little to the school. You are expendable and replaceable, 40,000 people apply to teach over seas a year, so your contribution isn’t really needed. You can’t measure your worth from how much teachers are paid, even if they were paid more would this yield better results?  In South Korea private school is more about the business then the education. But you should not let any of this deter you from proudly performing one of the most fulfilling roles in history. Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance, In teaching we rely on the “naturals,” the ones who somehow know how to teach. You are one of those few, you will do more for your students then any amount of money or average people could ever do. If you want to evaluate your worth, look at your students, you know your time was worth while when they no longer need you.  My most proud moment in teaching was when two of my students held a conversation in English detailing what colors they were to use in the coloring book page. They did not know I was listening, and they did not do it for me.  Think about this, when you first started, those children could not speak a word, today each child in your class room can now, with superior ease, convey their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions to you. If they understood your worth, they would thank you, as I do.

                Jay and Endless wrote: What is the conversion rate between dollars to won?

Converting KRW (South Korean won) to the USD is pretty easy. The quick and simple method is subtracting 3 zeros. 1,000 KRW is $1.00. This isn’t 100% accurate, but again quick. 1 USD = 1,079.05 KRW, or in other words, 1,000 KRW is 92 cents. So they are very similar. Here is an example. A normal Haircut in America = $12. Style haircuts with shampoo, wash, and dry = 10,000 KRW, or $9.20.

Moby wrote: Have you already graduated from college?

Why yes I have. I have a 4 year bachelors degree in Art and multimedia. My major was digital animation. I studied to become a 3D environmental modeler. I worked in the gaming industry for a while as well as some animation and film work. I have always wanted to travel the world before settling down; I love children and working with them so I figured hey, let’s teach.  I'm 23 by the way.

                I have received a few questions about what I’m doing now.

No I have not signed any of the contracts that I feel are a bit shady. I am currently looking for a new contract, and think I have found one with a private school; I just need to interview with them soon. I just received one for a public school, the contract was good. I requested information on the school before I would sign; they refused to tell me where it was. After a few days of research with friends all around Korea we found it. It’s located on the DMZ border line between North and South Korea. In fact it’s so close to North Korea that it doesn’t even show up on Google maps as North Korea refuses to allow it.  I was upset that they refused to disclose the location of the school prior to my signing it, and therefore, did not sign it.

                I have received A LOT of questions about Midnight classes for High School. I suppose I should explain better, so please read carefully.

Okay, In South Korea High School is like college in America. It is not mandatory at all. You do not have to go to a single class of High School. However 97% of all Koreans graduate High School. Also much like College, you pick your High School and classes. There are High Schools for every discipline under the sun. High School of Science, Foreign Language, and Math, etc etc. As mentioned you pick your classes and times. I had friends who, like me, got out at 6.00p.m., we’d eat dinner, go to a sing room, and then pick up friends at the park who got out at 12:00 a.m. It is your choice to take an 11:00 class.

                Guy movie Blogger (and all who consider teaching) wrote:  Man, I'm glad I found your blog. I've been seriously considering becoming a teacher after graduating and it's so difficult to make up my mind after hearing mixed advice from professors and old teachers and what not.

Please do become a teacher. It is one of the most wonderful experiences ever. Yes be careful during the contract phase. But do not let that stop you, but instead encourage you to do your best. Please continue to read this blog as I will begin detailing my time as a teacher and you will see what I mean. I have no complaints; I would not pass it up. I thought I would only do it for a while but I think this is something I can see myself doing for a long long time. You have the wonderful joy and opportunity to educate the young minds that will one day move and shape the world, to pass this up would be foolish. Your continued contributions to society will be some of the most rewarding you’ve ever had. This week was to help fellow teachers such as you prepare ahead of time, and learn from my mistakes. I have not given up and you should not either.

Some have asked for pictures. Sadly I’m not a big picture taker guy and the ones I do take I take with my phone. I 
have taken literally only a couple with my camera. I suppose later I could take more and provide them. 

My first Apt in Korea, I replaced a female teacher.

My washer

My dryer

These buildings are called Metapolis, there are 4,They can be seen for many towns away.

Son Goku advertising the iphone.

Two of my students, Jenna and James. Jenna is not impressed.

Your friend,


  1. Thanks for the advice! The story you told above about the kids talking in English to one another sounds like the type of thing that makes teaching rewarding. Keep up the good posts!

  2. This is awesome! Love it! keep up the great work!

  3. Thank you for the Q&A! I appreciate it!

  4. Heh, your job must be really rewarding.

  5. I can understand that feeling, it makes me long for the day when I get a child... Also, nice pictures, it looks so different from where I live.

    Please keep writing, I find your blog very interesting!

  6. Jenna is not impressed :D

  7. Awesome rug in your first appartment haha!

  8. lol cute kids, it would be awesome to teach in another country, just for the culture at least.

  9. this is awesome I'm totally interested +followed
    good luck there! those kids look fine

  10. South Korea seems like a beautiful place and thank you for sharing the informative stuff it helps a lot of people who are interested in becoming a teacher :D

  11. hahaha, that student of yours is quite enthusiastic about something. Also, I lived in Germany for some time. The tiny washers never grow on you.

  12. Incredible insight into the teaching profession in Korea. I liked the part where you describe how your students learn to speak english on their own. This is really very interesting info. :)

  13. I am absolutely fascinated with your blog. I love that you took the time to answer some of these questions. Are you Korean or are you fluent in Korean?

  14. I'm 100% home bred white boy americano. I know very basic Korean.

  15. their schools seem pretty relaxed

  16. I wish I went to those schools >_<!

  17. Thats great =) keep it up (Y)


  18. I'd buy anything Goku told me to buy, hahaha

  19. Hey I am from Korea, how do you like it there?

  20. Awesome blog man, you're an interesting guy.

  21. Wow, it's amazing how much the school system differs from the United States. Sounds like it's a more successful form of college. A LOT of students drop out of college which is a little saddening. But I'm glad to hear you got through it!