By Kristine “Aster” Medina, Editor-in-Chief

As collegiate sisters start classes for fall semester, we also have alumnae who go back to school at the head of their classes to educate a group of individuals. For this Sister Spotlight series, we feature sisters who teach as a profession.

In part 2 of the teacher appreciation series, we feature Unique “Heroic” Stanley, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte alumna. She currently lives and teaches English at a private school in South Korea.



Unique “Heroic” Stanley

What do you teach?

I actually teach English to Korean students here in South Korea. However, it is not the typical English lesson that you would expect. I teach various skills that students can use in order to help them take their English tests. We go over reading skills (how to find the main idea, the topic, definitions of words, pronouns, and so forth), listening skills (how to listen for the topic, the key details, how to take notes, how to answer inference, prediction, and purpose questions), and speaking/writing skills (how to come up with and tell a story based on images, express opinions on topics, or explain a specific topic, and even how to write professional emails). It’s a lot, and I teach three hour classes to a range of students.

What does a typical day look like during the school year?

I work at a private English academy (a Hagwon), and I begin work Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3 p.m.. Each hour, I teach the equivalent of pre-K and kindergarten students. Four classes. One hour each. I come in about two hours early since the lessons can only be prepared through the school’s network. For certain classes (because I teach different lessons), I prepare a reading lesson, where we critically think about what we have read, and in the last 20 minutes, we practice skills for acting out scripts (because Friday is recording day). For other classes, I go over speaking and writing. We analyze pictures, predict what the dialogue is about, and then, we find answers. We then create our own scripts and perform them. In one class, we draw connections between pictures, talk phonetics, and play games related to the lesson.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach two, three-hour classes per day. One class is elementary (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), and the next is middle school (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.). I am lucky this term because the classes and the lessons are on the same level. Once I prepare for the elementary class, I am well-prepped for the middle school class. Tuesday is C1 day. We go over reading, writing, and listening/speaking skills. C2 days (on odd weeks) are discussion based, where we talk about varying topics. So far, we’ve talked about “tiger moms,” and the students know all about them. On even weeks (on C2 day), we work on projects based upon the previous C2 lesson (next week, it will be a group project about “tiger moms” and comparing them to another type of parenting style).

It can all be fairly confusing, but once we get the hang of it, the lessons run smoothly.

Tell us a memorable story about working with your students.

There are quite a few, but one of my favorites occurred in my middle school class last term. We were about to end the second hour and slowly transition into the third hour (for projects). Somehow, I went on a minor spazzing/rant about Steven Yeun (from The Walking Dead) about how he is so handsome and amazing! I guess I must have spazzed about him too much because my students, a group of girls for their project, made a comic strip about me fawning over Steven Yeun.

In one scene, someone drew me at the front saying, “So, the lesson today is about the most handsome man ever, Steven YOON.” They spelled his last name wrong. The second picture had their reactions (“Nooo, teacher…”), the third picture, which let me know they had been listening to me, showed me pointing to the board and various points about why Steven Yeun was the best. The last picture had me asking them if he was handsome. They wrote out, “Okay, okay! He is handsome, Teacher!” It was so awesome!

What advice would you give sisters going into education?

I would say do it because you love it! Teaching is not easy. I have yet to see how teaching in America is, but I am sure it is no different. Some children may not be as motivated to be there, and you have to be prepared for it. They will mimic your energy. If you are positive and vibrant, they have no other choice but to be. Even if the lesson you are teaching is BLAH, you can make it the most interesting topic ever. Your students will pay attention. Just remain positive, and be prepared for anything to happen in the classroom.

I love teaching here in South Korea, but, of course, my passion is to come back home and be able to teach for low-income communities. I definitely have a passion for helping others and hope that I can eventually change the world one student and one classroom at a time!


Featured Image: Pixabay

Article Image: Special to The Jade Times