Part 2 of a series: Chung Dahm Institute!!
I want to preface this by saying two things: First, just something to keep in mind, CDI Busan is not CDI Seoul. In fact, it's a company called Injoon Education; the point is, don't expect them to be exactly the same. Second, I'm sure there are many negative posts about CDI and CDI Busan online that you can find. I find that many people that post these may have other problems that lead them to theses views. (Let's leave it nice and general like that!) While I'm not beholden to them or completely in love with all that they do, I am on a whole happy with my time with them and what they have done for me. The posts below are meant as a precaution; consider me to be cautiously optimistic about working for them.
Working for CDI
-First, it is true that you make good money with them; on a whole, the amount is more than other hagwons. But there is a flip side: people that work with CDI have to work more, not on prep work but in actual classroom time. Don't expect to get any public holidays off, only your week of vacation and that's about it.
-That said, you only really work 6 hours a day, so you have the mornings and most of the afternoon to do things on your own if you are so motivated. The hours are later, but that's sort of a benefit depending on your personal schedules.
-CDI expects more professionalism from its teachers than other schools. Don't expect to walk in in flip flops and a t-shirt and sing "Kumbaya" with the kids and that's it. There is a dress code. You are expected to work. I don't mean this in a frightening way; I would rather be at a place that takes itself seriously and does what it says it does. CDI teaches English and does it pretty well, so expect to have to teach yourself. As a seemingly unnecessary addendum, watch your social networking sites, and don't write anything dumb.
-Teaching materials are provided for you. The curriculum is very structured, which has two sides to it. It is very comforting, since most people that come to CDI are not teachers by profession. But it can also be a bit stifling to people that want more freedom planning their classes. There is room to breathe and do your own thing, but it is less than other schools might allow.
-Talk to your fellow teachers at your branch. They are a great resource on the local atmosphere. Before you come, get in contact with your Head Instructor (HI). Ask them specific questions regarding your branch.
-Your living arrangements are taken care of by one Admin person at your branch. Sometimes, that person does not speak the best of English, so find someone to help you translate or speak to your HI. Just make sure everything is clear and understood; ask twice to be sure!
-Apartments: Get pictures of your place. Confirm the price (often, you will have to pay more than the housing stipend, which is currently 350,000 Won). Ask when you can move in. Ask other teachers for stuff, or check out the Korea Bridge website's postings for cheap stuff from foreigners.
-Read before you sign! Ask as many specific questions as you can!
-Clear things with your Branch Manager, then with HR. Don't assume anything will just be "ok" for you to do. This means vacation, contract specifics, whatever!
-Try to get things in writing. This is not a common practice in Korea, but if you are persistent, they will do it, and it's just a good idea to cover yourself.
-Training is a bitch. It's long and strenuous, especially when you just get to a new country. But in the end, you are waaaay overprepared for your classes and should feel confident walking into a classroom.
-Prepare for your classes. Get your books early, do the leg work. Don't walk in with nothing, cuz your classes will bomb big time. Prepare fun examples for the kids, think of additional information that you want to share, add what you personally can. The structure is a skeleton to build on, but you provide the meat, and it's your job to spark the kids' interests.
-Improve as a teacher. Talk to other teachers, watch their classes, experiment with new ideas, look for stuff online. Many teachers can stagnate because they try to do the same thing from their first term; remember that you should grow as a teacher, and really, that makes it more fun and interesting for you.
-CDI levels, from lowest to highest, are:
English Chip (EC) 1
Memory (ME) Mega
Bridge English (BE)
Interactive English (IE) Par
IE Albatross (and Alba Plus)
iBT TOEFL 1
Try out multiple levels to keep things interesting and new. The most fun tend to be elementary school EC classes and upper levels (Par to Alba), but everyone finds their niche in different places.
-CDI has a certain methodology to their teaching. If you are only a lower-level teacher, you might not see what they are building up to. Look into the methodology; if you understand why they do things, it might help you more as a teacher.
-And just generally be positive about the experience! Have fun with the kids and classes, don't hate too much on the company. CDI workers sometimes have a reputation of complaining about work a lot. It's really just like any job; you get as much or as little as you want to put into it.
But make sure that you enjoy your time in Korea as well; don't forget your Trippin'!
7 years ago