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23-Jul-2015 16:01

There were rooms for people taking the intermediate level, and they were full of South-East Asian factory workers and manual labourers.

Those people need to study Korean for their jobs, their citizenship, their lives.

If most English teachers had to do normal things themselves – like finding an apartment or understanding a class timetable – we would quickly go to pieces.

When I talk with a student outside of class, it is usually about half in English and half in Korean, both of us code-switching constantly.I can have a conversation in Korean with a Korean – so long as they make allowances for my abilities, put effort into deconstructing my mangled grammar, and stick to easy topics.After two and a half years in Korea, I have TOPIK level 2 Korean.I took the test a year ago, after 18 months of living in Korea, and since then my Korean hasn’t improved much. It’s probably around TOPIK 1.8 these days, if there were such a thing.

This puts me ahead of about ninety percent of the English teachers here, and you know what?I think it is a pretty pitiful achievement on my part.



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