There is nothing more deceptively challenging as teaching English. I majored in Finance and Japanese and came to Corea to, among other things, discover the culture of a nation almost entirely unknown to nearly every American of Caucasian descent; to grow introspectively in patience and understanding in the scheme of the greater social structure of Corean society (primarily that which concerns life in Corean middle schools); to eat Corean food, and—most significantly—to spend time with my girlfriend of then one-and-a-half years and get to know her family, where she grew up, and (with a bit of luck) blossom together in a beautiful and meaningful relationship. What I discovered was that teaching English in Corea, though on many levels a rewarding and enlightening experience, is a land laced with mines of depression and setbacks, frustrations and stress. It is a process of self-discovery that needs the very best of one’s personal determination and a mind so free and empty so that all words and daily activities, all information of any kind, can simply pass through your consciousness without maiming it permanently.
When I was asked recently about motivation I realized that the topic and therefore problem of motivating students was one that actually dealt not with the students but with you, the teacher, and your own level of motivation. Continue reading