Tristan Hogge on what it’s like teaching in South Korea

Meet Tristan Hogge, a young former Dalian who, after qualifying as a teacher at Rhodes University in 2014, is now teaching in South Korea.

Tristan, whose parents are both educators, decided on South Korea after family and friends had spoken highly of the country.

Based in the capital Seoul, Tristan teaches English at an after-school academy with an average of 11 pupils, both boys and girls, per class.

“It’s a long day as in the mornings I teach three- to seven-year-olds until 2.30pm, then after a one-hour break, I teach eight to 14 year olds until 7.30pm,” he said.

He said added that the Koreans regarded maths, English and Chinese caligraphy as important subjects.

Asked to describe the behaviour of the pupils he taught, Tristan, who has been in Korea for three years now, said: “They have a sense of entitlement as the kids all come from wealthy families but they are well- disciplined.
“Their culture is one of complete politeness and is altogether different compared to Western culture, so it took a while to get used to it.

“I have tried hard to fit into the Korean culture and to learn more about their ways.
“So much so that I have joined a Korean gymnasium rather than a Western one and prefer to eat at Korean food outlets.”

He said according to his contract, he had to work four weekends a year and was allocated just 10 days annual leave.

Asked about his future, Tristan said: “I would like to stay in Korea and teach for another 10 years at least.”

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