BTS‘s Jin recently made headlines after it was reported that he will be serving in the military as a teaching assistant, a post that is held in high esteem.
Aside from Jin, a couple of other Korean celebrities have served or are currently serving in the same position in the military, including 2PM‘s Taecyeon, BIGBANG‘s Daesung, and EXO‘s Xiumin, and actor Kang Tae Oh.
But what exactly does this role entail? And how hard is it to actually be assigned as a teaching assistant?
Two Yonhap associates, Ho In Byeon and Yeon Joon Bae, answered these questions based on their experiences in the military.
According to the two, a teaching assistant’s role is to guide and teach new trainees while also helping them with any difficulties they might face in the new environment.
When it comes to being appointed as one, there are two procedures. One can either apply for the role or be recruited by higher authorities. The requirements, however, are pretty high for the job. It demands not only physical fitness but also a great deal of character and intelligence.
From what I remember, people who were tall and tough or those who seemed polite or well-mannered, were recruited.
—Ho In Byeon
I believe you need to have a good physique. Trainees who had sporting talents or studied in the field of education or those who were strong leaders were often recruited. People who had a loud voice or were sociable tended to be recruited as well.
—Yeon Joon Bae
After completing the five-week basic training like everyone else, the teaching assistant appointees need to go through additional special training to acquire the military skills required to serve the role properly. The weightage that the role carries was summed up by Ho In Byeon’ statement, when he said that to become a teaching assistant, “you need to be in the top 5% of the trainees.”