“Imagination is Creativity”
I’ve been working for Chungdahm Learning schools for nearly 5 years now. While I have a special place in my heart for the April Institute program, I made the switch to the i-Garten program to take on a new endeavor. And I’m happy to say I am so happy with my decision!. Here are the main things I rave about working at i-Garten in the Daechi Branch.
The Work Hours
While this varies by campus, my work hours are from 9am to 6pm. I have an hour break during the day. These hours sound pretty normal – they are. However, for the hagwon system, schools that cater to elementary students and older tend to have hours that run from 12pm-8pm or 2pm-10pm. While those hours are great for avoiding traffic and sleeping in, I really enjoy getting off from work and seeing it’s still daytime. In the mornings, I just make sure to drink coffee and gain energy for my students. It wakes me up and I’m good to go.
Strong Phonics Class Curriculum
A real plus of working at i-Garten is that the curriculum is well developed. The books, lessons, and the flow within the books make perfect sense. There is clear organization and an easy to follow methodology of how to complete the delivery of the material. The phonic books have ample pages to practice and reinforce the phonics rule and vocabulary terms for the day. The sight words needed to understand the story are incorporated in the books. All the stories have engaging and charming videos of the story for students to experience listening, reading and watching the before reading together as a class. The students especially enjoy the story videos! I often hear students asking/demanding “One more time?!” after I introduce a new story video.
There are also speaking books that correlate to each lesson’s theme. The speaking books don’t follow the phonics exactly, but they share the same characters characters from the reader books to make a connection. The students follow along in their books, and mark the answers that get covered as a class. They take turns participating and interacting with the smartboard. The technology is great, and the kids love it!
Singing & Dancing
My students are 7 years old ( in Korean age). Since they’re so young, they have very short attention spans, and learn best through entertainment. There are lots of songs! Some songs even have dance routines to follow, and require some choreography. I actually really enjoy making the choreography to the i-Spring phonics songs with my students. We clap, we jump, and we flap our arms like wings to portray vocabulary terms like fly, hen, and bird. My students love it! I hear their adorable voices singing or humming the songs learned in class during break time and recess.
Snacks & Lunch
A perk of working at i-Garten is that they the school provides two snacks and lunch. Guess who else gets 2 snacks and lunch? Having snacks and lunch provided at a fixed time is pretty nice actually- it’s a good way to save some cash! You just have to like Korean food – yum. I have no qualms with that at all. That means rice, kimchi, a soup of the day, protein meat, and various side dishes. I was often lazy to meal prep when working at my prior campus, so this setup is a real life saver. Korean food is so healthy!
Birthday Events & Field Trips
We have monthly birthday events to celebrate students. The library area gets decorated with balloons, banners and there is a cake or birthday cupcake plate laid out. All the students come out to sing happy birthday to their classmates, and take class pictures with the birthday boys and girls. The school even provides a present for each birthday student. Birthday students also receive handmade cards made by teachers, and signed by all their classmates. Everyone has a blast!
There are many months when field trips are scheduled, and students come dressed in their i-Garten shirts and hats. The school provided these to students as Children’s Day gifts. As teachers we get the full-experience of wearing matching outfits with our students, riding on a school bus with them and enjoying experiencing new places and activities. All very picture worthy moments!
The Gifts of Children
As fun as working at i-Garten sounds, I always feel that I should stress that being a teacher (especially a Kindergarten teacher ) takes a lot of energy, silliness, patience, understanding, and real heart. Children are a gift, and deserve amazing teachers. Being a great teacher is not always easy, but it is as rewarding as it is challenging. With all the resources and support, I really can’t imagine being able to focus on the kids in another environment and so super happy to be teaching at i-Garten!
Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.