EPIK Orientation Spring 2017
If you are like me when I was applying for EPIK you are probably searching online for everything you can find about EPIK. I am now in my second week of teaching at my school. This means EPIK is already searching for the next batch of teachers for the Fall semester. Therefore, I wanted to create this concise post about my EPIK orientation experience this Spring 2017 for those applying now.
EPIK orientation started on a Monday. I arrived to Korea the day before basically just to get a good night’s sleep. I wanted my brain to be working the first couple of days of orientation. EPIK did not cover the fees for this first night since it was not a part of orientation, but it was worth it to me to get some rest before beginning the EPIK journey. I stayed at a cheap hostel near the Incheon International Airport. It was only about 15 minutes away by taxi.
Monday: I returned to Incheon International Airport for the EPIK shuttle bus. Shuttle buses were running from 11am-8pm that day. I chose to get on an early shuttle. There was a huge group in the morning! We checked in with the EPIK coordinator who then directed us to the bus. It was about a 2-hour drive to Daejeon. Orientation took place at KT Human Resources Center. There was nothing on the schedule this day since everyone was arriving to Korea. We had dinner that night, but the rest of the day I spent socializing with other teachers and resting.
Every day a breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet was provided. You definitely do not go hungry during orientation! We stayed in a dormitory on campus. We each had a roommate, but the room was comfortable enough.
Tuesday: Breakfast. Then a campus tour. Eat again at lunch/meet more people. Opening ceremony was in the afternoon. The highlight was definitely the Taekwondo performance! After that we had a class meeting (they divided us into four separate classes since we were such a big group). The meeting basically just covered what would be happening during orientation, rules, administrative tasks, etc. Dinner.
Wednesday: Medical checkup in the morning. We had to fast the night before and that morning. Be prepared to go through an assembly line of checks – height, weight, eye test, hearing test, blood test, urine test, chest X-ray.
After that there was another short class meeting about tasks followed by lunch. After lunch was a lecture about English comprehension. Our speaker was really engaging so this one was fun! He talked about making your English understandable. As native speakers we often do not realize when we speak too quickly or unclear. He talked about the importance of using pauses, intonation, word stress, etc. for foreign learners to understand. After that was a less exciting lecture – “EPIK rules and regulations”, but you have to expect that. Finally, dinner again. Lastly, Korean Survival Lessons.
Thursday: Breakfast. Lectures began at 9am. In the morning we had two lectures. One was about co-teaching and the other about lesson planning. Lunch. Another round of lectures. The first one was “Education Magic”. This one focused on how to bring magic tricks into the classroom to make it interesting for students while they are still learning. The second lecture was about classroom management. Dinner. Survival Korean.
Friday: Korean Cultural Experience! We took a field trip to Jeonju Hanok Village. You can check that out here. We returned in the evening. Dinner. The rest of the evening was for ‘networking’. However, my partner and I (you are put into partners for your lesson plan presentation the final day) decided to work on our lesson plan this evening.
Back to Work.
Saturday: Breakfast. Lectures at 9am. The first one was “Elementary School Curriculum”. The second was “Storytelling”. Lunch. Lectures round 2. The first lecture was “Cooperative Learning” and then designated time to work on our lesson plans. Dinner. Survival Korean.
Sunday: Breakfast. Lectures at 9am. The first one was “Secondary School Curriculum”. The second one was “Hangul and Korea Today”. (I really enjoyed this one as well). Lunch. Lectures round 2. The first lecture was “Afterschool and Camps” and then designated time to work on our lesson plans. Dinner. The rest of the evening was spent with my partner working on our lesson plans.
Lesson Demonstrations and Preparing to Depart.
Monday: Breakfast. Lesson Demonstrations. Each group presented their 15-minute lesson to the class. The other groups submitted feedback papers to the group while a monitor (an experienced English teacher in Korea) verbally gave us feedback one-on-one. This took all morning and most of the afternoon. We did have a couple of breaks and lunch though.
That afternoon we met with our MOE/POE supervisors. There were over 40 people placed in Daejeon so we were one big group with our MOE supervisor. She spoke briefly to us then another employee of the Daejeon Office of Education handed out information packets. Then she gave us our contracts, we signed them and found out our school placements! It was an exciting moment. I was also glad our whole group was in one room together. It took a lot of pressure off. There was a short slide show by current EPIK teachers in Daejeon about their experiences and life in Daejeon.
Closing ceremony. The highlight here was the video the EPIK staff put together of our experience at EPIK orientation. Also, there was a volunteer k-pop performance which was actually really cool! Dinner. Then everyone went out to Dunsan-dong (the downtown) for some celebratory drinks.
Tuesday: Departed for MOE/POE to meet with our co-teachers in the morning.
Orientation was a busy and full week, but it wasn’t so bad. Some of the information and lectures we were given were a little repetitive. However, overall, EPIK orientation was helpful and helped ease the transition into life in Korea and as an English teacher. Especially for us new English teachers!