GOE Orientation Experience
I chose not to go with EPIK to teach in Korea after a disastrous interview. Instead, I opted for GOE. One of the benefits/detriments of GOE is the one day orientation as opposed to the 8-10 EPIK orientation. Personally, I think it is probably a benefit. As multiple blogs have discussed, often what you learn in the EPIK orientation is not applicable to most of your time in Korea. Mainly it seems to be lesson planning you will never use, PSAs about what should be obvious, and some Korean lessons. I would have liked to have the Korean lessons, and potentially a glimpse at a new location, but otherwise? No thanks.
Anyways. The GOE Orientation Experience.
The GOE Orientation is generally held in Changwon every month or so. Because GOE takes applications almost every month, you are not as likely to have a very large group at orientation. My group was probably around 15 people. This was really nice as we all felt the pressure to get to know each other during breaks and exchange Kakao IDs.
As soon as we walked in we were given a sheet with the information about what/where our schools were. Mine said I had two elementary schools, both of them in Changwon. In a rather unusual turn of events, around half the room received middle schools. Middle schools, to my knowledge, do not often go to first-time teachers. I was very thankful to have received elementary schools.
The schedule was very quick with ample breaks.
- First we had a presenter talk about things we had to know such as tax information, pensions, and a small quick thing about using NEIS if you had more than one school. I still need to actually try to figure out NEIS because I haven’t yet (yikes!). But it seems important. The website won’t load so at least I have my excuse…
- Next, we had a teacher for GOE go over some good class ideas. She had been with the program for three years and gave some good ideas that I probably won’t be using. I find most of the games suggested online and by teachers to be super complicated. So far my kids have not required candy and Simon Says, Telephone, and Charades have worked well.
- We had another GOE teacher come in to give us some ideas of what the cultural shocks might be, and some advice. Most of us were pretty familiar with these so this went very quickly.
- Finally, we met our co-teachers. It almost instantly became clear that my co-teacher spoke next to zero English which could be considered concerning as he…well…teaches English. But he is very nice and I have enjoyed working with him so far! It is honestly a similar situation at my second school, however, one of the girls in the office speaks excellent English so at least I’m not completely in the dark.
And immediately after that we headed to get my ARC. This didn’t take too long and I even saw another teacher and co-teacher there. Next was the bank. I think originally the plan was to go from the bank to the hospital, but the bank took so ridiculously long we decided to do it the next day. The bank was awful. I’m sorry. Nothing should take an hour to open and I should never have to sign well over 20 different things. Not only that, but there was an issue with my online banking account and I wound up having to go back two days later because I had the audacity to possess a middle name. As the days continue I have difficulty opening my banking app to see how much money I’ve actually spent. Ugh.
Finally, he took me to my apartment. And good news! My apartment is awesome! It was absolutely filthy when I got it, and there was so much dust I assumed the previous teacher had left at least a month ago, if not more. I recently learned she left about three days before I arrived. Wow. But my apartment is really nicely laid out and I pretty much got everything I wanted. I’ll have an apartment tour soon.
But so ends my GOE orientation experience. I hope this has been helpful. Before I left I could find almost no information on the GOE orientation so I wanted to help people out. Good luck and let me know what your GOE orientation experience was!
If you are interested in more information on how I got the job teaching English in Korea, check out these posts!