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Korea, South in Asia (School): Polana Academy - Private Schools - South Korea

Polana Academy has a few private schools located in South Korea.



4th fl. 71-25 Chungdahm-dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Bundang, South Korea.

Website: Polana Academy

5.0/5 from 1 ratings.
  • Experience
  • Professionalism
  • Work location
  • Living situation
  • Pay & benefits
  • Support & facilities
  • Health & safety
Summary rating
1 rating(s).
100% Gold.
2 years ago.
Work location
Living situation
Pay & benefits
Support & facilities
Health & safety
Institute Review
I've taught at Polana for almost 3 years and my experience has been monumental in every area.
The academy itself is beautiful and abundantly appointed with teaching aids. It's freshly cleaned daily and well-ventilated. Each classroom has individually adjustable heating and air. Classes are small, determined by both grade and proficiency and there's a range of levels.
We teach literature. Many students have the fluency to understand and analyze what is beyond the literal meaning of words on a page. When students understand that there is more to language than just grammar and memorizing, they are almost always driven to study the technicalities that help them unlock what is written between the lines. We cover all areas of basic ESL and on past them, into discussions on social issues and the human condition. We write about themes, dialogue on symbolism and discuss the warnings for the future presented in dystopian novels like "Hunger Games" and "Stung." We talk about character relationships, about who in our real lives they represent. We cover how characters reflect universal, deeply ingrained societal patterns that affect us all, like how the f*ther in "Dear Mr. Henshaw" drowned himself in work and avoided seeing his son who longed for him, not because he didn't love his son, but because patriarchy teaches men to act tough, be productive at all costs and hide when they feel inadequate.
I have experienced the difference between a classroom that is merely listening to me with their minds, and students who are uninhibitedly listening with their hearts. I have had students progress from resigned indifference to brimming with conviction and passion. My mind has been b*o*n by what students have taught me. A 5th grade student informed me that the true reason for haunted houses is to give people an outlet to express all the fear they feel they cannot express in their day-to-day lives or talk openly about the specific reasons for. "Instead of admitting the real reasons why we're scared, we can just say it was the haunted house." he explained. "All my friends would be totally okay with freaking out completely and being as emotional about it as we want to because we all understand how to use a haunted house to 'say' what we can't say."
I have had a student go from below average in grammar and spelling to writing poetically and metaphorically with nearly flawless fluency because he takes pride in what he wants to communicate to the world. I have gotten to See things in students that perhaps nobody has ever recognized in them before and to tell them that this aspect of them is special, worthy, amazing. And having been Seen in this way, they start to be able to recognize these attributes in others. They remember how it made them feel to hear it, and they in turn become unafraid to express what they See in those around them.
Among the most affirming aspects of teaching at Polana is how much the management has supported me and trusted me to make the best decisions I can for students. I have been given great freedom to focus on the parts of the provided curriculum that I feel are most beneficial to each unique class. I have also relished designing the curriculum for the books I teach to the upper grades. Academy-wide motivational incentives are abundant for the students and teachers receive consistent classroom management back-up. There is zero petty workplace drama. My days feature dependable inter staff follow-through, a peaceful, uninterrupted preparation period, clear, concise communication, invariably reasonable expectations and a unanimous respect for each individual's professionalism and humanity.
A few unforgettable parent-teacher conferences have come my way. Polana often attracts progressive families who are keenly aware of the imbalances prevalent in hagwon culture and the national education system. They are putting a lot of care and research into how much they are choosing to partake, weighing concerns of how much is too much or too little and what kind is best for their individual child, with utmost sensitivity. Their love for their children is palpable and it was difficult to keep the sessions to 30 minutes. The common theme was that these parents were conscious that they are going against the grain and eager to find reassurance somewhere that there is basis for their intuition.
There is an infinite energy reserve within each of us that can be tapped into after the mental mind has long been exhausted by hours of studying, and only the heart and dare I say, the soul, is available to receive and create. The Korean education system will come into balance, but slowly, and those who are part of it now will have to find a way to prevail, and dare I say, thrive. At least for the language aspect, I can say for sure that the way to prevail is by integrating the heart and soul conduits into the academic experience. It has been an honor to teach this ability. And it has been an equally great honor to have it recognized by the Polana circle for what it is.
Institution Location
4th fl. 71-25 Chungdahm-dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul
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