We have a problem y’all. Today in America about 77% of students have said they were victims of bullying at one point. For some of us, Deebo, the bully from the hit movie Friday, was a real life issue growing up. For students today, Deebo is a reality everyday! Last week my niece was being bullied at school by a bunch of mean girls who forced her to consider ending her life. Yes, a twelve year was contemplating ending her life due to being bullied at school. If you have your hand over your mouth, so did I when I heard this.
So, many of you know that I am a teaching associate at Miami University, where I am charged with co-instructing the EDL 204 course on Sociocultural Foundations. Last week, a few of my students attended a conference and one of the major topics was bullying. At a particular session, a group third years studying education found in their research about bullying that there are programs out there helping to put a stop to non-sensical bullying. One program that was highly suggested was a mentor program. Well I have a spin on that.
We should require all bullies in society to take a course in poetry, art, music or dance to relinquesh the hurt they harness and inflict on others. I know this is overly idealistic, but WHY NOT? If these labeled bullies were able to put their feelings into action in a way that gave them a sensible action and time to reflect, maybe, just maybe, they would understand the pain they inflict on others by bullying. For my niece, since she is the one being bullied in this instance I have chosen for her a lady she can aspire to be. Not any lady. A lady with a powerful future. A lady who has grace, style, and elegance. And a lady who is a global thinker.
Michelle Harris, an English Language teacher in South Korea is the lady I would like my niece to aspire to be.
Michelle and I taught at the same English camp in the Chinju National University of Education- School Based Enterprise during the summer of 2012. Michelle, an African American female from Texas join’s the Getemployedsuccessfully blog this week to share her experience of living in Korea. Thanks for joining us Michelle. First could you give us the run down on how you came to know about English teaching in South Korea?
Tell us why you chose to work and live in South Korea of all places in the world.
Hey everyone! Thanks Johnnie, for giving me the opportunity to share my unique experience with you and your readers. I decided to teach in South Korea for a plethora of reasons. In May of 2011, I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a Texas teaching license. After graduating, I had the privilege of working with Chinese students at a college and career readiness conference (for Lead America) in the states in August of 2011. The students hailed from Hong-Kong and Beijing. They had dreams of living abroad someday and attending American Universities such as Stanford and Yale. This particular conference was actually held at Stanford that year. They were so enthusiastic and eager to tell me about their culture and dreams throughout the conference! It was great getting to know them! They even said, “Michelle, you should come to China!’ At the time, I was thinking that would never happen. I enjoyed working with them in their pursuit to become better English speakers, as well as help prepare them for their future college/career plans (possibly abroad). I was so impressed and even inspired by their dreams. I too, had dreams of going abroad someday but no real practical plan. As I encouraged them, they encouraged me! It was amazing!
This experience sparked my interest in the Asian culture. Also, one of my professors from college sparked my interest in the education system in China as she would highlight some of the teaching practices there. I had a strong desire to live overseas but now, I had a more of a sound purpose to go. I wanted to help more students learn English and pursue their dreams of living abroad. Sounds kind of corny, but it’s so true! Ha-ha. Also, I had a strong desire to learn about new things and people! What better way to do that than immersing yourself in a different culture? Now, let’s rewind; shortly after graduating in May 2011, I had come across a teacher recruiting agency online, teachaway. My recruiter thought the EPIK (English program in Korea) would be a great fit for me. She gave me a lot of information about different cities in Korea and the culture in general. She was very knowledgeable, well-versed and I trusted her. We had a cool relationship. However, the process was put on hold because I had missed the August intake. The intake process started 6 months prior to me learning about it.
I landed a job with EPIK, but in the end I got another job in Korea which is my current place of employment. Side note: Initially (before learning about EPIK), I came across other programs to teach overseas, but these programs were underfunded. I would have to dish out a lot of money that I did not have. I was a recent college graduate. It wasn’t happening! Johnnie, as you know, Korea has many teaching opportunities and school’s offer excellent accommodations. Employers pay for round-trip airfare, provide an apartment, pay for rent fees and offer sufficient salaries. It sounded great to me. Considering other programs I had across that I mentioned, Korea became even more attractive. Also, the school I work for is an education University and was actually founded in the same year as the University I graduated from, Stephen F. Austin State University (which started as a teacher university). I thought that was pretty cool. CUE is a reputable University in Korea. I trusted my recruiter that told me about this position and went for it. As for everything else, I had few worries. I was very confident that God would prepare an exciting and clear path for me in South Korea!
From an African American female’s experience what were some of your family’s or your reservation about living in Asia, but particularly South Korea?
As for my immediate family, when I told them I decided to live in South Korea, they were thrilled and very supportive! They knew about most of the experiences I shared with you and my mother specifically (as a fellow educator ) thought it would be a perfect opportunity to learn about a different culture and teach foreign students.
My three older sisters thought I should definitely go for it. My mother has always encouraged us to see the world! The women in my immediate family did not have any reservations about me as an African American living in South Korea. As for my father, I guess he did in a way. The week I was about to leave, I think my daddy started to worry a bit. It had finally hit him that in a short few days I was about to move to another country! It was funny to me. He called me asking 21 questions. Mind you, I had not given him a lot of detailed information about my plans once arriving in Korea. He knew the jist of it. One of the questions he asked was , “Do you know how they respond to black people down there?” My dad grew up in a predominately African American neighborhood so this question was not shocking to me. I said, “Daddy, I don’t know. But I’m not really worried about that.” All I heard was that Korea was a fairly foreign-friendly country. I did not do much research about it. A friend of mine that had previously taught in Korea did tell me that I honestly was not concerned. I don’t think he got the response he was looking for. Lol. He asked for my recruiters number (in Canada) and the rest is history. Haha. I was lowkey embarrassed but it was kind of cute. At the same time, he was concerned about his ‘baby’ girl.
Reppin’ Obama in S. Korea. For all the young African American girls out there, Ms. Michelle Harris is someone who you can aspire to be like. Young, Talented, Beautiful, and Inspirational!
Follow Michelle’s moves on her blog: www.lt6.blogspot.com
Perusing Yahoo news today I stumbled upon this gem of a cover letter from a genuine student about their aspirations to get “experience.” It made me think sometimes frankness is needed.
Along with the frankness, an attitude of utmost optimism through difficult times is a must. In the picture below you’ll find Rita Levi-Montalcini, Italian neurologist. Mrs. Levi-Montalcini was the oldest ever recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Her quote simply reads “Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them.” Forced to flee Italy after the publishing of Mussolini’s “Manifesto of Race,” Levi-Montalcini turned her aspirations of writing into a passion for science. Similar to the letter from the “frank” student, Levi-Montalcani took a chance to explore her passion with an unwavering attitude.
Here’s the link to the “frank letter”:
Parting and disbursing job search knowledge isn't always the easiest function to do. When I was coaching students about searching for internships I always gave them the same advice. Expand your network internally (at your university) and externally (in the community you want to work). While that advice was solid, today I stumbled upon a great new source. A peridiocal from EMC in 2009 highlights tips for job searching.
In 2012 I spent many of my days toiling over my studies for graduate school. To really numb the pain and sedate my often nightmarish amount of work I used music to cope. None of this will make sense below, but just take my list and build your own bliss of music when you are going through a process of progress. Just so you know, all of these songs were not released in 2012, but fit my emotions of going through graduate school. Happy, sad, hurt, mad, pissed, angry, ecstatic, joyful, and other such emotions graduate students go through.
Anyways, enjoy and repost them if you like.
1) 2ne1- South Korean Band
This video gave me a magic carpet ride back to the bliss of living in South Korea. My favorite K-Pop group, 2ne1 encapsulated my feelings in their song “Lonely.” Often I felt I was on a lonely with my books (which I usually was and will be this semester), but turning on this song made me relax in the fact that everyone may be feeling this way about love, or studying, or something they are going through in their life. Reflect with this one!
2) Lauryn Hill- Social Drugs
The always classic and elegant Lauryn Hill spits truth in “Social Drugs.” This anthem soothes me as I listen to Hill’s pain she is dealing with from being social. At times, being an extrovert leaves me feeling like this. Take a listen!
3) Kanye West- Champion
“When it feels like living is harder than dying, for me giving up is way harder than trying.” The latter quote symbolizes so much when I am down and out from a hard day. Pushing through that last reading assignment or even revising last semester’s paper for that conference next semester, a bean hill can feel like a mountain. Kanye West’s upbeat tempo in this song gives me life to be a “Champion” Enjoy this track!
Have other study music you want to share? Post comments with your favorite study music below. Study hard and enjoy 2013.
This week's interview is with Tyrell Turner, university teacher in South Korea. Tyrell and I taught together in the summer of 2012 and traveled together in 2011 to the Philippines. A great friend and avid traveler here is my dialogue with Mr. Turner.
Tyrell, Connie and I (Summer 2012)
Tyrell we have been pretty good friends for awhile now. We’ve traveled throughout the Philippines and South Korea together.
Oprah has a mean resume…
T.V. show (check)
O.W.N. TV Network (check)
The Oprah Magazine (check)
What’s on your resume? Need a resume? Need help adjusting your resume for grad school or that new job?Join me for a free resume workshop on December 6th from 7-9pm over Facebook and Google documents. Inbox me your name, resume, prospective job or grad school and we can talk about what goes on the resume and what comes off. FREE to all! Join me…
Again December 6th from 7-9pm. See you there~
Kerri & I worked together in South Korea for a bit at the same university. She had an amazing rapport with our students and with our Native English Teachers. So Kerri, what have you been up to this summer?
I finished a 2-year contract with Chinju National University of Education in South Korea in June, and I wanted to do some travelling before starting another job in Korea next year. I am now halfway through a 5-month backpacking trip through Central and South America. I’m in Santa Cruz, Bolivia now, working as a volunteer English teacher for three weeks before continuing to travel south to Chile and Argentina.
Tell us why you chose to work and live in South Korea of all places in the world.
Ever since I started studying English Literature at university, I knew I wanted to live and teach in Asia. I didn’t have an interest in Japan or China, though, so Korea seemed like the right place. After I decided I would move there, I met some friends who had been there and who peaked my interest in Korea. After graduating university in 2006, I backpacked in Europe for 4 months before going to Korea for my first teaching job at a small private school. I’ve now spent 4 of the last 6 years living happily in South Korea.
I’ve seen how inspirational you are to so many in your blog, vlogs, and in classes you teach. So, tell me, where is it you get all of your inspiration? Also, do you have a role model that has inspired you?
Thank you, Johnnie! I find inspiration everywhere: in conversations, in music, in friendships, in books, in travels, in reading my favourite blogs online, and other places too. I think of every day of life as a chance to get better and grow, and I like meeting other people who see life the same way I do. I think some people approach life with a red light, which prevents them from taking advantage of all the little wonderful things that can happen even in a simple day. I would say I try to live my life with a green light on, so that I am open to everything that comes into my life, be they people, or songs, or ideas, or places.
I don’t have a specific role model that I look up to, but I do have favourite authors, musicians, politicians, and celebrities who I like to keep up with, just to see what they are doing and how they are living their lives.
Travel seems to be your wanderlust in life as we can see from your blog, so tell us, is there a another country you would like to work in besides Korea? And why?
Travel is who I am, and I feel very lucky to have visited as many countries as I have so far. I really enjoy Asian culture and people, therefore I would love to keep working in Asia. I am trying hard to improve my Korean language skills so that I might be able to work in North Korea to help educate a new generation. I realize working in North Korea will present many unforeseen difficulties, and the choice to work there is ethically challenging as well, but since I have fallen in love with South Korea, I would like to get to know the people of North Korea if I have the chance.
If I think outside of Asia, I am really falling in love with Latin America, and could see myself living and working in one of these countries after finishing up my time in Asia.
As a very ambitious young woman, what is your biggest fear in your career? And what’s your next career move?
My biggest fear about my career is that I have too much experience outside of Canada, and that if I ever try to come back to Canada to work, that my resume might not be favoured since I have so much experience abroad. I have even had one employer look at my resume and ask how long I plan to be in Canada before returning to Korea. It is a little unsettling to be considered as a temporary employee in your own home country.
I am currently in the process of doing an online TESOL Masters program through The New School. Doing a Masters degree has long since been a dream of mine, and I am so happy to be enrolled now. After I finish my Masters, I am looking to work at Seoul National University of Education, and perhaps to get into curriculum development.
Thank you so much for inviting me as a contributor on your blog, Johnnie.
And Kerri thank you for contributing such a delightful piece. Are you interested in where Kerri is or what she is doing in the world? Check out her blog and YouTube vlog below.
Click one of me