ELTABBer of the Month: Jin Choi

Contact: jinchoi92@gmail.com


  • How long have you been teaching in Berlin and how does it differ from teaching in Korea and the USA?

I’ve been teaching in Berlin for almost two years now and this is the first time I came in contact with L1 interference. Korean is too different to really have one, and in the US I was teaching students from low-income families who didn’t have the language skills of their grade level, but they were still native speakers. 

  • Where did you do your CELTA and what was the most memorable thing you learned during it?

I got my certificate at the Berlin School of English. I think the most memorable thing was realizing that language teaching and learning can be fun and effective. I love learning new languages so I had my perspective as a language learner, and finding out that things could have been taught in so many different ways was really interesting.   

  • Do you have an overall theory of teaching?

If you’re asking methodology, I generally try to read the room and react accordingly. The most important thing for me is to observe how the students are doing and give appropriate feedback. If you’re asking theory like if you add students and books and divide that by square root of time equals B1, I have no clue. 

  • Do your teaching methods differ between teaching English and Korean?

I tend to teach Korean with a heavier focus on lexis and functional language in the beginning, and then go heavy with the grammar later on. Korean grammar is very different, so bombarding students with all the subject/topic/location/location with purpose/… markers will overwhelm them and also won’t even be decipherable too early in the game. English, on the other hand, is a more merciful language grammar-wise and allows me to take a more balanced approach. But I guess the balance is different for each language.

  • What does your ideal career look like?

Ideally, I’ll amass enough credibility and certificates that I’ll be able to do something that I really enjoy anywhere in the world for a long time. So if anyone has any advice on starting a DELTA, do hit me up.

  • As the Communications Coordinator for ELTABB, you’re in charge of the monthly newsletter. In your opinion, what makes a good newsletter?

I try not to bombard the members with too much information. When the pickings are slim, I have to add more events from different months, but we’re all busy people and who has time to look through ten different events? So simple and urgent is my general approach which I think is making a decent newsletter. 

  • Question from Vicky: If I remember correctly, you’d only been a member for a few weeks before being roped in to help out the board. How did you know you’d be sticking around for a while? What was it about ELTABB that inspired you to volunteer basically right away? 

I became a part of the board because Sherri was juggling quite a few different roles at the time; she needed help and she is a nice lady. I knew I was going to stick around Berlin for a while longer ever since I got here. I’ve lived in a handful of different countries and it was time to branch out to Europe.

  • Who would you like to nominate as Eltabber of the month and what question would you like to ask them?

Sherri Williams, if you’d do the honors. As a woman and a freelancer, I want to have a family one day but I’m afraid that having children will be detrimental to my career. Did you have any similar thoughts? What came into consideration? I hope this is not too personal but if you have any thoughts or advice, I’d love to hear.

Edited by Stephanie Anderson