- Teaching online since: 2013
- Category taught: Korean
- Dahee speaks: Korean and Japanese
- Total number of lessons taught on Cafetalk: 4799
Hi Dahee! Thank you so much for agreeing to work on this testimonial with us. First of all, I would like to talk a bit about how you started out on Cafetalk. Can you tell us how you found out about us?
I found out about Cafetalk through a student that I used to teach.
What made you decide to apply with us?
I was already teaching online, but after hearing about Cafetalk I took a look at the site and the design was so pretty (laughs) and everything looked so well developed that I thought "I want to try this!" and that's what got me started.
You mentioned that you had experience at another site before joining Cafetalk, but if you were to compare the two, how were they different?
First of all at that other site we had to run each class the exact same way and the class material was decided for us. Somehow I felt that the system created for the students and tutors at Cafetalk was a little more well developed.
How did you feel about teaching as a Cafetalk tutor?
I've had a lot of fun teaching as a Cafetalk tutor. If you teach offline, there's definitely a limit to who you can teach -- only those you can meet in person. But since it's online, I can meet people living all over the world, so I think it's been really interesting.
What do you think are some advantages of teaching online?
As I mentioned earlier, online lessons are great because you can connect to Korean learners living all over the world. And as I mentioned earlier, it can also a bit of a disadvantage, but I think it's great that the student and tutor can study on their own time with the freedom to choose their own material.
Can you tell us a little bit about what your first month with us was like?
Well, since I had been teaching somewhere else and had just moved over to Cafetalk, I felt really nervous about having to find new students all over again. I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of lessons to offer and then waited for the students to come.
Did you ever ask the Cafetalk staff for help?
Yes, quite a bit. As soon as I had a question or an idea, I would ask right away...either using the tutor facebook or the online chat on the right side of the site's homepage (I think that chatbox is really great)
Looking back, which experiences made you decide to stay and stick to tutoring online?
Well...being able to meet people from all over the world, or from all over Japan. It's really fun talking about our cultures, and also, seeing the students improve is really rewarding and makes me feel accomplished.
You have also created and written your very own textbook for Japanese students learning Korean! Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to do that and how you implement these original materials into your classes?
As I mentioned, at the site I used to teach at the material was decided for us. The "one size fits all" approach didn't seem right to me since every student is different. That's why I wanted to try making material on my own that included simple sentences that anyone can understand.
How do these materials resonate with your students?
Their reaction was....well, the women who saw it all said it was cute (laughs). I played around with fonts and stuff....when you look at a textbook, the first thought that comes to mind is "boring...," right? So I made sure to do things like make the font a little bigger and pay attention to the design.
Did you ever have any rewarding experiences while teaching on Cafetalk?
Yes, many...when my students tell me they passed their Korean exams or when they come to Korea to study abroad, it's really rewarding to see how much of a good time they're having. Also, a while back I had a student who was a manga artist and she drew my face...that's a really rare gift to receive, right? I was so happy when she gave that to me. Also, I had an American student...she knew some Japanese, but my English isn't good enough to give lessons in English, so it was a little hard for both of us, but she would always laugh and smile during class. She no longer takes lessons with me because she got busy with work, but when we parted ways she gave me a picture that said, "Thank you Dahee Sonsaengnim"....she drew such a cute picture for me...I think receiving that rare gift was one of my happiest moments.
Can you give a word of advice to people thinking about applying as a tutor?
Yes, well I'm not really in a position to give advice but....even though I have been teaching for about 4 years I feel that things haven't changed much since 4 years ago. I think it's still hard for students to find chances to expose themselves to Korean. That's why I think Koreans should also try to approach them themselves. A lot of people think you can only learn at school or a tutoring center, or in Korea's case, that you absolutely must have a teaching certificate in order to teach. Because of that a lot of people might think it's too much of a challenge. But for online tutoring, you can be a specialist or someone who just does it as a hobby. You can teach what's within the scope of your abilities while making friends from other countries along the way. I really want to recommend it to people who want to do it like that.
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