And now I present to you… Plan Z

I’m not entirely sure of what Plans A-Y consisted of, but I know a few of them involved a taco truck and various attempts at making my living online.

Fuck that shit, I give up! Well, not entirely. I think I’ll always have something brewing on a server somewhere, but it’s time to quit fucking around. It’s time for Plan Z.

Plan Z is the plan I always knew I would turn to if all of my other plans failed. Well, all of my other plans have failed. I have officially given up on making a career out of sitting on my couch in front of my computer in my underwear, and I am now ready to embrace TEACHING ENGLISH as my life’s work! I’ve been resisting it since I came back to Korea in 2010, but for the past three years I’ve been failing at life so here we go.

The first phase of Plan Z is to get a TESOL certificate. For the uninitiated, TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and it’s basically a piece of paper that says “I know how to teach English.” My preliminary research on TESOL certification consisted of asking around and reading opinions online. Nearly everything I heard and read concluded that TESOL is a waste of time, it won’t help you get a job, it won’t make you a better teacher, etc. I took note of the fact that the people who told me in person that it’s a waste of time were already employed full-time as teachers. I also noted that the people online who said it was a waste of time were generally talking about TESOL certificates gotten online for $200-$300. So I concluded that all of these people are idiots, and I enrolled in the TESOL program at Sookmyung Women’s University which is basically right next door to my apartment.

It turns out that this TESOL program is a graduate-level course that comes with credits I can transfer to a master’s degree program if I choose to pursue it. Maybe that’s why it costs $2,200? That kind of money for an in-person TESOL course really isn’t that much, relatively speaking. Another university in Seoul (Hanyang University) charges $3,000 and it’s not next door to my house. I also have a friend who took a class in the U.S. and he paid about $2,000 and, as far as I know, he didn’t get any grad school credits.

So far the class is a real pain in the ass and the reading is super boring, and there’s a lot of reading. Still, I do think this class will make me a better teacher. That’s really not much of a challenge considering I’ve never had any formal training in how to teach up until now, but the point is that I’m actually learning stuff and becoming aware of things that only academic researchers think about when it comes to the art and business of education. The class is kind of a ballbreaker… it’s every Saturday for 16 weeks, 2 pm to 9:30 pm., and it’s actually three classes, not one: Methodology, Second Language Acquisition, and Intercultural Communication. The good news is that even though it seems like one long class, the fact that it’s three means I’ll wind up with 9 grad school credits if I elect to use them. NINE! That’s assuming that I pass the class, of course.

And thus begins the first phase of Plan Z. Second phase, grad school. Maybe.

posted by Michael in Whatever on 9/19/2013 | Comments (2)
  • Judith Mopalia

    Having taught for 10 years, in part in a school with an ESL department and teaching an ESL class myself, I’m quite convinced that great teachers are born, not made. If you can’t stop yourself from teaching (much to the irritation of friends and family), you might be one – it’s a lot like being a writer. If it’s something you absolutely must do, you might be really brilliant at it. That said, teaching skills can be taught, and so these classes may be worthwhile. If I were back in a situation needing to teach ESL, I’d take some. Sadly for me, I’m too old to get into Korea under a teaching program, they seem to cap the age at 60. :( I’d give a lot to be able to do that!

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    Michael Reply:

    Hi Judith, thanks for sharing. I know I have it in me to teach but I’ve been resisting it because… well I dunno, just because! I guess I wanted to be self-employed which, incidentally, I’ve heard isn’t all that great either. But here I go, diving in face-first. Hey at least there’s a lot of vacation time!

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