To be honest - this post has been sitting here for over a week. Cursor blinking absently, because how is one supposed to describe every experience of a complete 2-year metamorphosis succinctly and effectively?
As Stephen King says, "The most important things are the hardest to say...words diminish them", but I will try here to describe why my experience teaching at Twin.kle has been the most significant experience of my life.
Twin.kle was not my first experience teaching English in Korea - I had previously worked at a hagwon that was a great example of why hagwons get a bad name. It was a grueling and painful experience that left me battered and scarred; but by then, Korea had already become home.
When I started looking for jobs again, I told myself that I would only work for a place that I believed in - a school that would value the growth of its students and would be the spark of inspiration in their eyes. The next day, I stumbled upon a posting for a school that began "Tired of looking at the same old ads from McHagwons?". I thought 'yes, yes I am', and immediately applied.
From the very first interview with Andrew, I knew that this was really the place for me. I could hear, even just from over the phone from 5,000 miles away that this was a school that believed in everything I believed in, and I was excited to begin my work in a place that would allow me to be the best teacher I could be.
Over the two years I worked there, Twin.kle never disappointed in this regard. The level of integrity and zeal for the progress of English education in Korea was something I was always proud to be a part of; but the best part - Spoiler alert - was the students. Even now, looking back and telling stories about them, my heart lights up and I come alive.
The students are some of the most intelligent, dedicated, and profoundly creative people I have met. I built deep connections with all my students - relationships that will last a lifetime. My classroom was always a place of utmost trust, and the amount of freedom with which you are given in your teaching allowed my students and I to explore every corner of the imagination. Because of this freedom, my students were able to thrive.
I was able to teach them the things I care about most, in the way I thought best-suited each class; and I got to watch my students grow because of it. I got to watch them become deeper thinkers - to become better writers, and readers, and debaters; but in the end, I was the one who ended up learning from them the most. They taught me patience, and empathy. They taught me how to look at things outside the box, and they taught me how to live my life through the glasses of childhood wonder. The goal of Twin.kle is to inspire the students through education, but I was the one inspired by the students instead.
I'm not going to lie - there were times of frustration. There were times of exhaustion, and times of not knowing how to best help a student; but these are the kinds of times that help us grow. This is how we learn - and the reality of it is that when these times do present themselves, as they inevitably will, there is a team of highly professional and experienced teachers there to offer advice. The Twin.kle staff are a family, a cooperative, all working together. Never is there a time without complete and unconditional support.
At Twin.kle, every person's voice is heard. Regular staff meetings encourage open discussion, and new ideas are always welcomed and implemented. If you're looking for a place where you truly feel like you belong and are valued, Twin.kle is the place to be.
To summarize, Twin.kle truly became my home. It was where I taught, but most of all, it was where I became the person I am today - changed for the better. When people ask me what it's like to teach abroad, I always say the same thing - "You haven't truly lived until you've lived in another country". It's honestly an experience indescribable in its own right, but teaching at Twin.kle is essentially transformative; and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.