University of Southern California Law School - J.D / M.A
Current CHUNGDAHM Instructor
As a Gyopo lawyer who has worked at law firms in both Seoul and Los Angeles, people often ask why I now teach at CHUNGDAHM. Although there are many reasons that make the experience worthwhile, my rationale always begins and ends with the fact that few endeavors are as noble to me as teaching.
The Korean youngsters at CHUNGDAHM, who we share much in common with, make the experience particularly rewarding. They are extremely bright, genuinely eager to learn, and grateful.
Teaching them vital English skills, while at the same time serving as a positive role model with an appreciation for the culture, results in a feeling of great accomplishment and the knowledge that I am creating a better future by facilitating their understanding of the world. Moreover, nothing else provides as much immediate, heartwarming gratification as hearing a student thank me at the end of a good class or bow to me out of respect for my efforts. Thankfully, this happens often at CHUNGDAHM.
As a practical matter, CHUNGDAHM also offers many other advantages. In terms of pay, instructors at CHUNGDAHM are highly valued and well compensated with a pay scale that compares favorably to other similar institutes and which befits its reputation as the best English hakwon in Seoul. In addition, since CHUNGDAHM is growing rapidly there are still many opportunities for promotion and advancement offering commensurate increases in pay. Personally, one of my biggest considerations when electing to pursue teaching at CHUNGDAHM as a career was whether I would be able to approximate my previous income as an attorney. I am happy to note that my total CHUNGDAHM income, in combination with outside CHUNGDAHM projects and management responsibilities, is beginning to approach this goal even though I have been at CHUNGDAHM for less than a year.
One of several aspects of life as an attorney that I did not enjoy was the sheer number of hours required to be spent in the office - especially early in the morning. CHUNGDAHM classes, on the other hand, generally begin at four in the afternoon on weekdays allowing me the daily luxury of waking up just in time for lunch. As an avowed night owl, I relish this perk and enjoy having the opportunity to finally live in accordance with a schedule that fits my lifestyle.
The quality of the individuals working at CHUNGDAHM also contributes to the overall experience. The teachers, currently more than 100 strong, are dedicated professionals who sincerely care about their students. All have graduated from respected schools and lead well-rounded lives. By way of illustration, there are a handful of lawyers besides me who teach at CHUNGDAHM, and a significant number of teachers who have prior experience working in the business/finance sector. The presence of these individuals greatly enriches the experience for a Gyopo working in Korea since it creates a work environment that is dominated by English speakers and generally governed by more familiar cultural norms and values. As a veteran of life in a Korean law firm, I can safely say that the difference is real and important.
Finally, CHUNGDAHM’s facilities and location are hard to beat. The classrooms are extremely well maintained with most having a projection television and a new computer for the instructor’s use. With the opening of the new Raya Building just last month, the majority of the classrooms at CHUNGDAHM are completely new and in pristine condition. The neighborhood in which CHUNGDAHM is located, Chungdahm, is safe and considered the “Beverly Hills” of Seoul. It is immediately adjacent to Apkujong, which is the center of all of Seoul’s best shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. There is no better place for a Gyopo teacher who wishes to lead an active social life than Apkujong, and, in my opinion, no better company to work at than at CHUNGDAHM.