Know What You’re Good At, and What You’re Not

The other day while wasting time perusing Facebook, I ran across this article:

35 things to do for your career by the time you’re 35

It has plenty of good stuff but I particularly liked #2: Know your Superpower and #3: Know Your Weakness. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately as I consider options for what to do with my life post-Korea (it’s not 100% certain that it will involve teaching, but it’s likely). And, I also get requests almost weekly from people here in Korea asking if I will teach this or that. Here’s what I know about my strengths and weakness as they relate to teaching.

My weaknesses:

I’m terrible at teaching children. I get offers to teach private classes quite often and no amount of money will convince me that this is a good thing to do (besides the fact that it is illegal). It’s tempting to consider jobs post-Korea that involve teaching children simply because there are so many of them, but I know that I wouldn’t be happy and it’d be a long, long year.

Although I think I’m quite good at 1-1 teaching, it’s just too exhausting for me and I feel like it sucks all the energy out of me such that I find it hard to recover. “Conversation” really isn’t my forte and I usually just find it quite boring talking about hobbies, movies, weather or other similar topics, especially with someone who doesn’t speak English well. Almost no amount of money would convince me to do this.

My strengths:

I can manage big classes extremely well because I’m very organized. Like 40 or 50 students doesn’t stress me out and I actually prefer that to 1-1. I can do all the admin tasks involved with large numbers of students really quickly and efficiently. I have strong work-outside life boundaries and my job rarely takes over my down-time.

I can teach things that many native English speaking teachers can’t such as advanced academic writing, test preparation (TOIEC/TOEFL, etc), public speaking, interview skills or serious grammar.

The take-away:

So, as I begin to figure out what will happen, post-Korea I’ll definitely be keeping these things in mind. That’s the good thing about having a bit of money in the bank I guess-desperation or the highest salary will never be factors in making my decision. I can wait it out a while for the job I want to come along. Although, hopefully it comes around sooner rather than later!

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