Teaching English in South Korea brought Jayson Goodman back home to IU Northwest

Teaching English in South Korea brought Jayson Goodman back home to IU Northwest

Jayson Goodman feels homesick for a country that isn’t his birthplace—a place where he learned patience, flexibility, and empathy. In 2014, Goodman received his undergraduate degree from IU Northwest and then moved to South Korea to teach English.

“There’s always room for growth,” Goodman expressed. “Working in South Korea was an amazing experience. I went there planning to stay one year but ended up staying for five and a half.”

As an undergraduate at IU Northwest studying English, Goodman took an anthropology class that opened his eyes to the world. He decided to double major and began working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader through the Academic Success and Achievement Programs (ASAP) office, where his love for teaching was born.

“The experience of working with students, seeing those ‘aha’ moments, made me think that maybe teaching would be the path for me,” Goodman explained. “A friend of mine had gone overseas to teach, and I thought, what a great idea. I’d get to use my English and anthropology education, while also exploring the world.”

After graduating from IU Northwest with his bachelor’s degree, then being accepted into EPIK (English Program in Korea), Goodman took the leap and moved across the globe to begin his teaching journey.

From English major to English language teacher

Upon arriving in South Korea, Goodman was given his first assignment: Gangwon International Language Institute (GILI) located in Yang-yang, a small town on the eastern coast of the country. For two and a half years, he would travel to rural areas across the country not only teaching but also getting children excited to learn English.

From there, Goodman was transferred to the Teacher Training Center, where he taught Korean English teachers. For his final two years in South Korea, Goodman lived in Busan, where he taught in two underserved public middle schools.

“These were not the affluent kids whose parents could afford to pay for private tutoring or learning centers,” Goodman discovered. “We worked to develop extra language learning and experience programs, many of which took place after school, to support the students who didn’t always have opportunities.”

Never stop learning

But, inspired and eager to advance his own education, Goodman decided to come home and expand his knowledge base of working with underserved populations through IU Northwest’s Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP).

Upon arriving back home, Goodman enrolled in the master’s level program, and also returned to the ASAP office where he worked as a 21st Century Scholars Support Specialist before moving on to work as an Academic Success Coach.

“In my role here at IU Northwest I get to work with students while being a student myself,” Goodman remarked. “A lot of the students that I work with very much matched the students that I worked with in South Korea. They are often first-generation college and low-income students.”

Goodman’s success story continues. This December he will be graduating from IU Northwest earning his master’s degree in secondary education through the school’s UTEP program.

Goodman believes that students should step out of their comfort zone and explore life beyond their job, town, state, or country.

“The benefits of stepping outside one’s comfort zone are so important,” Goodman encourages. “It’s something more students should have the opportunity to experience. It will help them grow.”

Although he could have never imagined teaching English in another country, Goodman cannot wait to return to his second home. As a result of IU Northwest’s valuable UTEP program, and his experience as an Academic Success Coach and working with 21st Century Scholars, he is prepared and excited for his next teaching adventure.

Goodman moves to South Korea in February 2023, where he will be teaching English in South Korea’s capital, Seoul.