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27 being just a government-based recruiter. It is kind of is almost always different. Discussing what constitutes strange because so many people use a recruiter to get good team-teaching is even more befuddling. I guess the accepted to EPIK, which is essentially a recruiter itself. gist of what I am trying to say is that there is no perfect recipe or formula that is being actively endorsed for our The bit about GICCE is also confusing, but I hope less so teachers here, besides EPIK’s “magical paradise” model of once I explain it. “GICCE” stands for “Gwangju Institute team-teaching that NETs get fed upon arrival. That said, I of Creative Convergence Education,” which is a division of do what I can to help the new teachers have appropriate the Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education (GMOE). expectations once I meet them and have some time to Just a few years ago, almost every Gwangju public school talk. I think the key to successful team-teaching is really teacher was employed directly by the GMOE, but now just open communication and flexibility. Sometimes it is due to department changes and shuffling, the GICCE is beneficial for the students, and sometimes not, depending technically our employer, though the GICCE itself is just on what the students’ specific educational goals are. For a division of the GMOE. example, in middle schools especially, test culture can sometimes minimize the limelight that co-teaching should Interviewer: All right. That makes the letters in the really get to be more impactful for the students. alphabet soup a bit clearer: GET rather than EPIK. What are the main goals of the GET Program? Interviewer: What aspects do GETs like most about the program? And what are the biggest challenges for them – Jonathan: I have never actually been told of any “main in or outside of teaching in Korea? goals” of the program. However, many of our teachers are most assuredly making a positive impact on the lives of Jonathan: Wow. This is a great question, but I am going many students, and I am very thankful to have had the to stick to a very dull answer: “It depends.” If I must give opportunity to work in the program for so long. an answer regarding what teachers like most about the program, I think something that I appreciated a lot myself Interviewer: I believe co-teaching or team-teaching is when I was teaching was having a GET program manager emphasized for GETs? How well is that being actualized? available whose main purpose was essentially just to help GETs – not to mention the very generous vacation package Jonathan: Aha! I love talking about this. I actually did a (26 days), sick days (11 days), and very competitive research study on team-teaching here in South Korea, so salaries. The biggest challenge would probably be the fact I feel pretty well equipped to answer this question. To be that almost all of our teachers are the only NET at their frank, the extent to which team-teaching or co-teaching workplace, which can often feel very isolating, granting that (whatever you want to call it) is utilized effectively really the forced cultural immersion might have other positives. depends on each individual team-teaching pair’s synergy, relationship, and expectations. I have worked with over 40 Interviewer: You have spent the past year in a new co-teachers directly, and each team-teaching relationship position – that of GET program manager. What exactly is was more different than similar. There is actually a your role, or roles, as program manager? manual that is released each year for all Korean teachers who work with a native English teacher (NET) that gives Jonathan: Well, this is a bit harder to answer. I honestly www.gwangjunewsgic.com pretty vague tips about what they should be doing as far do a lot of things. My main function is essentially to as co-teaching is concerned – things such as “teach well coordinate and communicate matters between the GICCE together,” and “teach in a way that balances one another’s and the NETs. I have met other coordinators from different strengths and weaknesses.” The problem with this is that provinces who actually teach full-time in addition to it can be interpreted in any number of ways by different being a coordinator or program manager, but I think teachers who may have different perspectives. The general they actually do far less than I do as far as administrative impression that new EPIK teachers get during orientation matters are concerned. As the Gwangju program manager, tends to be of this team-teaching utopia in which the I do everything from helping set up bank accounts for our Korean English teacher implements highly adaptive and new teachers and helping get ARCs [alien registration responsive pedagogy that perfectly complements that of cards] issued at the immigration office to organizing F the NET, but this almost never actually happens. training sessions and workshops, coordinating special ebruar events, intervening and giving counsel if disputes arise, There is often a lack of time to co-plan lessons together and assisting with creating and sending out paychecks, creating engage in feedback about each lesson in such a way that and providing official documents, translating official y 20 each teacher involved is really bringing their best to the documents written in Korean, assisting with housing table – not to mention that the starting expectations about matters, answering the constant emails and phone queries, 2 what even constitutes “team-teaching” or “co-teaching” and substitute teaching at the Online Center and English 2 202202.indd 27202202.indd 27 2022-01-24  1:25:252022-01-24  1:25:25

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