By: Cassandra Simons
Life before TEFL in South Korea
This time last year, I was just an average college graduate and teacher. I worked at a school that felt like a family: the teachers I worked with were incredibly close and I knew I had a good support system (both professionally and, in some cases, personally) away from home. While I will never try to say that I am a perfect or amazing teacher, I think I was pretty good at my job. I did what I needed to do, and then some. My students could expect to see me at their sporting events and at their concerts and performances; my Special Olympics athletes could expect to see me at almost every practice and escort them to every tournament. I attended faculty and department meetings as required and tried to help out in any way I could.
I lived in the same town I had gone to college in and had an amazing group of friends that stood by me through thick and thin. I knew the regulars at my favorite pubs and restaurants. I had worked at several businesses and knew many of the locals. Life was good.
Then the words every teacher dreads came along: Your position won’t be renewed due to district budget cuts. I was not a tenured teacher, nor did I have much seniority in a school where many people had taught for 10+ years. All of a sudden I was in a position I hadn’t anticipated: no guaranteed job prospects for the next year; my roommate was moving to the other side of the country and I couldn’t afford rent on my own; and bills to pay with no substantial source of income. I decided to move back home with my dad for a few months to figure my life out.