[LEARNING CURVE]English education is a two-way street

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[LEARNING CURVE]English education is a two-way street

During a university exchange program, I was surprised to learn of the tutoring possibilities available in Korea. Being an English major, I jumped at any opportunity to tutor individuals in English.
I figured it was easy work and easy money with flexible hours. Although this was the idea at the time, I came to realize that just because a teacher is willing, it does not necessarily mean that students are as well.
I was always fortunate with my tutoring positions because the individuals I tutored seemed as willing to learn as I was to teach. Unfortunately, this was only short-lived. My most recent student was a nightmare.
All I knew before starting my tutoring position was that the child was 9 years old and not very proficient in English. The pay was substantial, so I jumped at the job right away.
After meeting the child for the first time, I came to realize that he wasn’t just a beginner but completely oblivious to the English language. This frustrated me, but the money the parents were giving me seemed to compensate for my discontent.
During our time together, the child would not sit still. He always found a reason to run around or show me his new toy that his parents had bought him. The parents weren’t much help either.
They never did anything to calm the child down when he acted up. It seemed to me they felt that just because they were paying me to teach their child English, their job was done. Whether or not the child learned anything wasn’t a worry, it was just money they could throw away, justified as a necessary expense for their child’s education.
I couldn’t stand this behavior for very long. I am all for parents forcing their kids to sit down and study.
This did not work too well. Since I grew up in America, my Korean language skills are not very good, so communicating with his parents was difficult.
After a long and hard talk mostly consisting of body language, the parents realized what I was saying and turned to their son with a stern glare.
I thought the problem was finally resolved, but I thought too soon. At the next meeting, I expected a whole new student, but the child was as bad as ever.
After this, I decided to quit the job. I couldn’t stand teaching a child who didn’t want to learn. After all was said and done, I came to realize that no amount of money could force me to teach a child as unwilling as he was. That child had made me re-evaluate tutoring in Korea. It may be easy money, but if it doesn’t make me happy then it is not worth doing.

by Daniel Lopez
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