Korean tutor story #4

My story as a Korean tutor: Seung-Ae Park

I began my first Korean tutoring about 20 years ago. There was a woman in my church who got married to a Korean guy, and her Korean language was very poor. I wanted to teach her Korean language from the moment I met her, but as both of us had little kids, it was very difficult to allocate time for the lesson. And once I found a textbook for Korean language with Chinese explanations, so I bought two copies of it, gave one to her and I kept the another one. Then I called her once a week to teach Korean using that textbook. I was a rookie teacher who had no idea about teaching, and also she wasn’t the best student. But her Korean improved amazingly over time. After a year her pronunciation became a lot better and she was able to communicate in Korean language freely. Of course, I was so proud of her. I think that experience led me to become a Korean language teacher.

Then I moved to Japan because of my husband’s work. I lived there about 2 years and learnt Japanese language. Studying new language at my age was not an easy task, and I was able to think about language learning process for adults from the perspective of the learner. So when I came back to Korea, I went through the training course for teaching Korean as a second language and acquired the certificate for teaching Korean language.

At first I taught Korean language to immigrant women with Korean spouses at the multicultural center. I was passionate, but a novice teacher who just got her certificate, so teaching Korean to basic level learners by using only Korean language wasn’t an easy task for me. However, thanks to the earnest and serious attitude of learners their Korean got better day by day. I was able to understand how desperate they were, because the Korean language was a vital condition for them to root, live and raise children in this country as proud citizens of Korea. It was a truly rewarding experience.

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I have been providing lessons of Korean language for various learners and trying my best to keep my attitude and intention of my first lessons. In 2012, I visited a small country of Moldova in the Eastern Europe. I gave special lectures for the students of the Korean language department in the Free International University of Moldova for a month. There are not many people in Korea are familiar with Moldova, but Korean culture was very popular in Moldova. I was surprised to see Moldavian students singing K-pop songs. At the last day of lecture, I and the students have spent a joyful time. We tried on Hanbok, the traditional Korean attire, and cooked Korean dishes. And some of the students even came to study in Korea.

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This is a picture of when I taught the TOPIK for immigrants at the local welfare center. Amongst them 1 student had passed with the 4th level, and 2 students had passed with the 3rd level. When we studied Korean language together, I also provided them with the useful information and tips for living in Korea, and sometimes they even consulted me about their life.

Lately I am providing TOPIK lectures for immigrated teenagers of multicultural families at the Nuri School in the city of Ilsan twice a week. Nuri School is an alternative school for immigrated high school students. As they must acquire 4th level of TOPIK to enter the college, they’re studying very diligently.

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Moreover, I have been teaching Korean language for the resident employees of the Japanese company called Tokyo Electron since 2013. Japanese students mostly prefer grammatical explanations and as I can provide thorough explanations in Japanese language, so the learners feel relieved at my lessons and leave positive responses about my lessons. Also I am providing phone call lessons with one of my students.

I always try to teach ‘easily and repetitively’, because I think that language is not learnt as a knowledge that can be reached by research and analyze, but acquired by physical experience.

In the terms of methods, I ask students to organize the words after every class and give a vocabulary quiz at the next lesson. It is an easy and simple way, but the vocabulary memorized repeatedly becomes incredibly helpful later. I always try to provide a tangible goal, so the learner might feel the joy of accomplishment from studying. I think in order to keep focus in work and study, having fun is one of the top priorities.

I am very glad to find out the new system, Ziktalk. I don’t know much about this system yet, but I am anticipating that it might open a new chapter of learning the Korean language. I hope I’ll see you someday. Thank you.