COVID-19: Contactless activities in Korean Elementary EFL classes.

COVID-19 in Korea

It is undeniable that COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives and the working order of even the smallest things. Schools, in particular are sensitive spaces given the high concentration of people within an isolated area for an extended period of time. Precautions and modifications to school function is particularly important and teachers are challenged in finding new ways to conduct their classes.

The start of the new school year in Korea has been delayed for several months and things will in some ways return to “normal” in the coming weeks as rolling resumption of classes begin nationwide.

Various changes in schools related to teaching.

  • Smaller class sizes (some schools)
  • Seats separated at a mandated distance from each other
  • English rooms: No longer being used for English instruction to limit the movement of students, and therefore, possible exposure/spread of infections.
  • Regulations on pair/group activities: limits communicative teaching approaches.
  • Individual materials: No longer able to share supplies; i.e. markers, scissors, pens.
  • Masks: Unable to see students speaking techniques.

-Moving forward

While there are many challenges still ahead as we navigate this new normal, take some comfort in knowing you are not alone. This list is not meant to be exhaustive and you may find that in your classroom they may work best as warm up/review activities rather than drill/hard production. Here are a few activities that you may use in your classrooms that make learning English fun (trust me, we all need some fun during these wild times). Continue reading

Changes to EPIK Program 2019 (Gwangju)

So over the years EPIK will make small changes to the contracts of foreign teachers. That being said, the changes are usually quite small.

For 2019, the changes seem to be much larger than in previous contracts. Here is a quick outline of what is changing in 2019 for the EPIK program in Gwangju


1. English Camps are now discretionary

Summer and Winter English camps will no longer be a hard requirement for schools with Guest English Teachers. Instead, schools designated as “in need” will be given priority to hold English Camps. Perhaps this means that if your school opts out, and an in need school requests a camp, GETs may be dispatched to teach the camp at different schools.

2. Housing matters handed to Office of Education

If you are living in school provided housing, the paperwork will no longer be handled by your school and instead will be organized by the office of education.

3. Increased paid vacation

Renewing teachers will be entitled to more paid vacation days, up from the 21 in previous contracts. (I will update with the exact number)

4. Drug test no longer required for renewing teachers

When you renew your contract, you will no longer be required to submit a drug test.

5. Increase in number of schools

More teachers will be teaching at 3 schools this coming school year. An increase from the typical 2.


What do you think of the changes? If you aren’t in Gwangju, what changes are coming to your office of education this year?

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EPIK Camp planning

Long time no blog.

While teaching under the EPIK program in Korea, one of your responsibilities will be to plan and carry out English Camps during the prolonged holiday breaks.

If you are a teacher with two schools, typically, for summer break, you will teach at one school, and consequently during the winter break you will do a camp at the other school. This is a great time for you to build upon textbook curriculum while bringing your own personal touch, and yes, make things more personal and interesting for students!


Themed camps –

  • PRO: I mean , it’s themed so you have a cohesive umbrella plan for what you will cover. You can build upon a certain set of expressions/vocabulary – Scaffolding.
  • CON: You have that umbrella. I’ve done themed camp only once and I found that it became a little….annoying to stick to the theme for so many days?

Non themed camps

  • PRO: Freedom. Whatever you choose, it goes.
  • CON: May appear a bit unorganized on paper.

Daily structure

This is my typical camp day outline. Not written in stone but generally speaking this is an approach you may find useful.

  1. Warm up/Intro – Key words / Expressions
  2. Project/Video/Game – Typically only paper based activities reinforcing new expressions/vocabulary. or something like musical chairs/duck duck goose with vocab words i.e. not “duck,duck goose!” but instead “apple, apple, orange!” 0.jpg
  3. Craft – Using more tactile materials i.e iClay0.jpg
  4. Snack – Kids get hungry. Simple snack activities i.e. dirt cups/canape are usually easily approved by your school (stay away from anything requiring flame or knives etc.)
  5. Closing – PPT based games

Each of these sections can fluctuate in their length of time. That is a great thing about camp! If something takes longer, that is okay! Continue reading

EPIK: Common questions -With answers from coordinators

Here I have compiled a list of some of the questions and answers from the official EPIK Fall 2016 Facebook page. I hope this is helpful, especially since the people asking the questions are real applicants in real situations and the answers are coming from real EPIK coordinators themselves.


Q: Not sure if this has been asked before, but if we don’t get our first choice for placement- how will EPIK place us? Is there a way to tell them about our second and third choices?

A: Epik Coordinator – We only provide one option for a preference location and do not give a secondary preference location. On rare occasions, some applicants may be asked to change their preference if there are some issues with their documents or they are not eligible for the location they have selected initially.


Q: Does anyone know when we’re allowed to take vacations? I imagine it depends on each school, but just for reference? My dad wants to get married in early June 2017 so I’m wondering if that would fall within a vacation period. Thanks!

A: Epik Coordinator – This depends on schools primarily, but for the most part the summer vacation period is in August and the winter vacation period in February. As noted above, most schools will have camps during this period, so your vacation days will usually be taken in these months and around your camp obligations.


Q: Since I only have my earlobes pierced do I still need the tattoo and piercing sworn declaration?

A: Epik Coordinator – In your situation, that document is not needed Continue reading