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Seoul to let all native English speaking teachers go by 2014

YTN reports that Seoul plans to gradually sack all native English speaking instructors teaching English at elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city by 2014.

A Seoul Metropolitan Council official said according to a poll, students and parents preferred Korean instructors fluent in English over native speakers, and that the council plans to slash Seoul Office of Education’s budget for personnel costs for native speakers.

In the next fiscal year, the city plans to reduce the 30 billion won budget for native speakers by 4.9 billion won; it appears 707 native speakers—57% of the 1,245 total—will leave their schools.

UPDATE: From Ye Olde Chosun’s English-language site:

“A native speaker earns on average W42 million a year, and we concluded that they are not effective enough to justify the cost,” a spokesman for the city office of education said. “A survey conducted for us showed that Korean teachers with outstanding English and teaching skills are more effective in the long term.”
[...]
Students from low-income families will likely bear the brunt of the policy. “Students from well-to-do families may find lessons from native English-speakers dull because they’ve been attending private tutoring institutes since they were young,” an education official said. “But those from poor families should be given the opportunity to learn English with native speakers at school.” He added it is “too early to reduce the number of native speakers as long as Korean teachers aren’t good enough to replace them.”

I think I’ve made my skepticism about English education in Korea pretty clear, but still, I’d be keen to learn about the politics that went into this budgetary decision.

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  • Mryouknowwho

    Shana-na-na, shana-na-na, hey hey, goodbye!

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    Why not the whole kit and caboodle? Have only 57% of the Korean English instructors achieved the fluency for which the the Office of Education “planned”? Or will those foreign instructors with three years experience on the job go first?

  • Daddy Jack

    Might this be another pendulum swing? When I lived/worked in Seoul in 2009/2010 I was told the influx of native English speakers for teachers was due to the poor results of the Korean instructors trying to teach English with the unavoidable Koreanization of the English language. Like appending a vowel to a word ending in a consonant sound – “nice” = “nice-uh”.

    I’ve recently learned here that the testing of English skills consists of a very short multiple choice test. This, along with society’s low view of native English speakers, (often rightfully so as I was not proud of the many I met!), and the desire for the parents to interact (influence?) a Korean versus a foreigner, could explain this pendulum shift.

    Of course, I could be completely off base here…..

  • http://blog.oranckay.net oranckay

    Makes sense to me.

    Depending on what level you’re at while learning a language, sometimes a native speaker of the language you started with is more effective and efficient.

    All the more so when your language learning eventually needs to be assessed on a standardized test that will determine whether your life is considered a grand success or merely mediocre.

  • cm

    Having native speaking teachers did little to help improve English, and it’s about time to cut costs that came with little benefit. It’s the old cost to benefit analysis. The benefits weren’t worth the costs incurred, so it makes sense to cut the program. Whether having native speakers or not, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference unless schools change the way of education. Native speaking teachers have no control over this, so therefore it’s not their fault. Unfortunately, they’ll be the ones effected most by the job cuts.

  • Maximus2008

    So what will the people that are not capable of having better jobs back in their countries (thus the reason why they are teaching English in Korea, not for the passion of teaching but just to make some easy bucks) do if this really becomes effective?

  • Daddy Jack

    No doubt some of them will continue their import-export business!

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  • http://coryinkorea.wordpress.com/ 코리아

    As said many times by many others, it’s not ineffective teachers that is the problem but an ineffective system (or at least incompatible system). Well managed NSETs could be a good tool but they don’t really help the test scores. As for where these teachers will go? Easy, hagwons. The parents still want their kids to interact with foreigners so there will just be more pressure and more demand for private education (so much for the stated goals of diminishing dependence on hagwons

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    so much for the stated goals of diminishing dependence on hagwons

    I really have no opinion one way or the other about this, but it is slightly disappointing to see that the administration basically abdicating its initial promise of diminishing dependence on hagwons. After all, this whole NSET import began with a promise that even if you cannot afford an expensive hagwon, you would be able to interact with an NSET at your public school.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I’m not worried. Most Korean English teachers (KTs) will not effectively be able to teach to the upcoming NEAT. Any native English speaker can do a better job than 95% of KTs giving learners ideas for grammatical and idiomatic answers, but few are familiar with how the test works and how to draw on learners’ existing knowledge to get the best possible answers out of them – not the best possible answers a guidebook writer can make but the best possible answers a Korean teenager can up with. Hence native speakers who know how to teach to it are going to have a role either in the PS system or at private academies, at least when it comes to the brighter students.

    When it comes to the bottom half of secondary students, a good FT co-teaching with a good KT is better than a good KT teaching alone, which is far better than a good FT teaching alone, which is better than a bad KT teaching alone, which is of course better than a bad FT teaching alone. I think that much is obvious to everyone.

    When it comes to the top 25% of students a good KT is better than an FT if the goal is to prepare students for the next non-communicative government test. However, if the goal is to do well on a test like the NEAT, a good FT is far better than the vast majority of KTs when it comes to the top 25%. This isn’t yet obvious to everyone but it will be within several years of when the NEAT starts to count. If brighter students can’t get an effective FT at PS their parents will pay big money to get it at a private academy if they possibly can. This suggests a future in 5-10 years of many positions for FTs teaching small groups of the brightest (if most fatigued) secondary students at hagwons, with PS KTs becoming more irrelevant unless the quality of KTs improves dramatically in the near future.

  • StevieBee

    They prefer Korean instructors fluent in English? Well, the pair of them are going to be busy come 2014.

  • http://roboseyo.blogspot.com roboseyo

    Because a survey of the populace, rather than a consultation with language acquisition experts, is a good way to construct policy for ensuring Korea’s youth become good at “the global language.”

    Enter the hogwan. Same shit, different bull.

  • JG29A

    As said many times by many others, it’s not ineffective teachers that is the problem but an ineffective system (or at least incompatible system).

    It is both.

    Very many FTs who haven’t taken a single course in linguistics or education, and have no personal experience as serious learners of a foreign language.

    KTs who have never, at any point in their lives, had to use English for communication in any but the most basic ways.

    Let’s not fall into the teacher-saint trope, please. Almost everybody I meet is underqualified, a large number massively so. In any other profession or quasi-profession in today’s Korea, a comparable situation would be absurd.

  • shabbynumber

    I sense a great deal of bitterness from the “Native” speakers. Good riddance is what I say. Good riddance. I have taught English in Korea but I am not what you would call a “Native” speaker. However, I have studied in English my entire life and have an enormous amount of experience teaching ESL in universities. While in Korea, I was shocked to witness the influx of American and European English teachers with ZERO experience. Having a Western passport does not mean you can teach ESL. These white kids come to Korea with no experience or talent in the field, dick around, get paid lots of amount and indulge in belligerent lifestyles.

    It’s about time Korean smelt the roses and realized they are being scammed. Kick those suckers out, save your money and invest in qualifications not skin colour. As I said, good riddance and bravo Korea.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Not that I necessarily disagree, but just out of curiosity, how would you define a “belligerent lifestyle”?

  • shabbynumber

    Belligerent lifestyle means exactly what the word implies. I love alcohol and other social “festivities” just as much as the next guy (or even a little more) but there is such a thing as professionalism in the work place. Most of these “Native” speakers drink almost daily, show up hung-over in class and shabbily navigate an ill-prepared curriculum. The lack of competent supervisors also encourages this behaviour. I mean, these “teachers” are literally kings. They do whatever they want, with very little consequences, and reap fat paychecks.

    The losers in this are the Korean students and their families. The schools and “Native” speakers harvest the financial profit while the English skills of these students stay stagnant or even diminish in some extreme cases. I once worked with this “Native” speaker who taught a University-level conversational class. For an entire term, he did nothing but show videos of the American TV show Heroes. I kid you not, an entire term.

    Asia seriously needs to wake up.

  • StevieBee

    @14

    Yes, poor innocent Korea getting ruthlessly hoodwinked and seduced by these scoundrel foreigners! Korea, in her first blush of womanhood, has had her maidenhead rent in twain by these dashing defilers, who belligerently responded to job advertisements and traveled halfway around the world with the sole intention of sullying the virtue of the delicate ingenue Korea. Now, their filthy urges sated, they’ll no doubt leave Korea sobbing and confused upon the bloodstained bedclothes on which she has been so roughly hefted, and pausing only to question the true claim-holders to the sceptr’d Dokdo Islets, will be on their scoundrel way to their next quarry.

  • wiessej

    Factors I believe were involved directly or indirectly in this eventual decision:

    1. Foreign teachers are from cultures where teachers are much less likely to cower to the pressure of a parent who believes their precious child deserves more than the “B” he received (and which is exactly what he learned). Parents don’t like that. Of course they would prefer the more easily influenced native Korean teacher.

    2. Korean parents are less likely to be able to communicate effectively with foreign teachers, to express the sentiments described in “1″ above.

    3. Korean schools are not likely to spend the funds necessary to procure quality foreign teachers. Isn’t it pretty standard for them to hire “teachers” whose degrees have nothing to do with teaching or education, but who nevertheless happen to have a degree and native English-speaking abilities? Basically, if you wanna just pay a couple/few million won per month, you’re gonna get what you pay for. In many cases this means a “teacher” without teaching skills.

    4. Students as a whole aren’t inherently disposed to actually wanting to learn. Learning English is not easy, and when the foreign teacher is not fluent in Korean, this frustrates the Korean student. With a native Korean speaking teacher, this frustration is not as present, even if the quality of English instruction is lacking. But apparently the students’ opinion about how best to teach them English is a factor Seoul seems worth considering.

    5. Dare I say this? Prejudice/racism. Korea is a homogenous society for the most part. It is a sore spot among many parents that their children are even being taught by non-Koreans. My Korean wife worked in a school where there were some foreign English teachers, and there were more complaints about them, despite the fact that they were good people and conscientious instructors. She has told me herself she felt it was because they were foreigners.

    Finally, here’s an aside. Often my wife (not a native English speaker – but with a very high TOEIC score and what I consider very good English skills) – who used to teach English, would occasionally call me or discuss with me at home a particular grammar or vocabulary issue, oftentimes showing me the actual English instruction material. All too often, in multiple choice situations especially, where there were perhaps four total choices, two of them may have been perfectly correct grammatically and contextually – although one might have simply been a slightly better choice according to the situation. Elementary school students often had to choose a correct answer from between two correct answers. There were even times when I, as a native English speaker, was able to show that the teacher’s edition “correct” answer was actually completely incorrect! Not only that, but oftentimes, there were spelling errors, grammar errors, or factual errors in short story reading comprehension questions.

    These errors were not things that Korean English teachers were likely to sense, and this incorrect instruction would therefore simply be passed on to the students. Luckily for my wife, I was able to help her instruct her students properly on the use of things like colon vs. semicolon, idiomatic phrases, etc., and to help provide her with explanations as to why a particular response was better than another, for whatever reason. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes I had to look it up on the Internet to get the textbook answer. We as native English speakers know something is right, but we often forget why.

    It is certainly Seoul’s decision, but in my opinion, it is not a correct decision. I believe that assessing a broken situation is not a good way of measuring whether or not native English speaking teachers should or should not be retained. In the long run, the quality of English instruction will almost certainly not improve, even if parent-influenced grades do.

  • shabbynumber

    StevieBee
    You sound perturbed. I must have struck a nerve. Cheers mate.

  • http://coryinkorea.wordpress.com/ 코리아

    @shabby
    Nope not all NSETs are saints and some are simply taking advantage of a system for a free ride in a foreign country. The majority, however, fall somewhere in the middle. Inexperienced but willing to try and do want to be good at their jobs. Toss these people in a system with little control, direction and expectations however, you wind up with ineffective teachers

  • StevieBee

    @19

    Not at all, Shabba. I’m not an English teacher, so frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s toss about the quantity and quality of foreigners teaching English in Korean schools. What gets on my tits is the whole ‘poor, innocent Korea’ narrative, in which Korea has somehow been scammed and robbed by foreign invaders (again!), when it was in fact the Korean government themselves that created the EPIK / GEPIK scheme, invited the foreigners over, paid them, housed them and flew them home again, entirely for the Korean government’s betterment.

  • wiessej

    To shabbynumber –

    It’s not the fault of the foreign English teachers. It is the fault of the system that looks at a resume and chooses a foreigner they KNOW has no experience, no particular knowledge of teaching in general, but whom they can lure here to Korea with a couple/few million easy won per month. You want good English instruction??? Here’s how:

    1. Open your wallet and offer a fair salary for a good teacher.

    2. Tell parents that grades are fairly given and tell them to push their kids to study, and not push the teachers to accommodate the parents’ fantasies concerning their children’s academic abilities.

    3. Yes, hire based on qualification and not based on skin color – like what is now going to now happen when Seoul decides only Korean teachers of English will be allowed in the classroom.

    Do that, and the actual English instruction will improve.

    But, to use an analogy, if you buy a piece of shit car and try to race it in the Indianapolis 500, and it doesn’t perform well, don’t blame the damn car. Blame yourself for you penny-pinching mentality in the first place.

  • JG29A

    Thanks, shabbynumber.

    There’s one more point. Not learning any Korean beyond a few greetings, and not having put in the effort to learn another language in the past, makes you a terrible role model as a foreign language teacher. Your subject is not American literature or debate or media studies, it’s how to learn a foreign language. Let’s imagine a history teacher saying, “nah, history is hard to remember, and I get along okay without it, so I never really read that stuff.” A science teacher, “you kids are so much better than me at experiments. Every time I think of doing an experiment, it’s hard so I give up.” Absurd? Of course, but this is basically the state of foreign language education.

  • PineForest

    I predict that hagwons will experience a period of rapid growth if the gov’t goes through with this, which I doubt they will. If I’m wrong, then English abilities in Korea will simply drop over time. Korean parents may or may not realize this and perhaps the foreign population will really drop as so many Koreans want it to. But OH yeah, what about the greying of Korea? Lots of other foreigners will be moving in to take whitey’s place. Homogeneity’s days are number, methinks.

  • http://coryinkorea.wordpress.com/ 코리아

    By the way as a former NSET Myself I do fully believe that the system, as it stands now, is fairly useless and a waste of money. Seoul is taking the easy fix of just ending it. It just goes to show that no matter the intention, the powers were never willing to make the real commitments necessary to creating conversationally adept students.

  • shabbynumber

    StevieBee

    “The losers in this are the Korean students and their families. The schools and “Native” speakers harvest the financial profit while the English skills of these students stay stagnant or even diminish in some extreme cases. I once worked with this “Native” speaker who taught a University-level conversational class. For an entire term, he did nothing but show videos of the American TV show Heroes. I kid you not, an entire term. ”

    I’m quoting myself since you lack the ability to comprehend basic sentences. Not once did I say the Korean government was innocent. The corrupt school administrations and the Native speakers are the winners in this messy situation. The people who suffer, as I previously established, are the students and their families who write hefty checks for ineffective English courses.

    If you don’t give a monkey’s toss about the quality of English teachers in Korean schools why are you commenting on this thread? seems a bit ironic that someone with no vested interest in this matter is getting all riled up don’t cha think?

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    fair salary? these monkeys can bank almost 1500 in savings a month. few american teachers could do the same. fair salary my ass. the et is paid well yet they’re still scum.

  • shabbynumber

    pawikirogii 石鵝

    Very well said. To make matters worse, they won’t even get decent teaching jobs in America because they ARE NOT QUALIFIED. Time to start packing your bags kids, that extended vacation has ran its course.

  • Wedge

    #16: Shabby says, “…these ‘teachers’ are literally kings.”

    Yes, they sit on thrones, wear crowns, touch swords to the shoulders of newly minted knights and are called “Your Grace” all day. We know that. What else is new?

  • english_fish

    I don’t understand why people have this constantly negative attitude towards people who are here with no teaching qualifications. It is just people in my opinion, with a brain, who have spotted an opportunity. For sure, most people in the situation you are envisioning will openly admit this is a 2 or 3 year plan, but under the current circumstances and demands of EPIK, they do not require to be more. If anything, the finger should be pointed at the government for not utilising the teachers they employ (which I think is the primary problem why this has occured). I agree, there are some people who view this as a party period – and what? If you are thrown in a situation with absolutley no monitoring of your performance, (true in many cases), with the opportunity of a salary far higher (in relative terms) than that of home, and the chance to say pay off debts etc whilst you have a good time, then it would not be human to refuse this opportunity, if presented. Fair, you may say they have a guilty mind as some do not give their full responsibility to the job – but I assure you, they would, with guidance. The current EPIK system offers far too little to teachers, too many people can do whatever they want, and they just think people with a simple 8 day training course will be suited for the job. Elementary teachers take a 4 year universirty course to teach elementary kids – here, get off a plane, you’re good to go. There is no point, waving the finger at the people who take this opportunity. This is a chance for people to enhance their CV, working abroad at a young age, experiencing new culture, which is natural at a young age to want to try.
    For many people just finishing university, there are NO jobs at home (I know some people will reply there are jobs, its a stereotypical view to take, but really, it is far worse than I ever imagined.) If someone presents you a simple opportunity, in the current world, you’ve got to take it, and currently Korea are doing this to individuals. You can not say it is people just wanting an alcohol orientated lifestyle – this is not the reason they come here, its because they can not find work at home, and/or want to experience new culture. It’s a mixed bag, like all walks of life. You will find lawyers and doctors who enjoy drinking and partying also, so what?
    As for the job aspect, I work in Korea, and I am amazed that the government plough so much money into what is effectivley and irrelevant program. The kids do not get tested on speaking English, and the rest of their time is drilled constantly all hours in studying for the likes of SAT, which matters. They can not see current benefits of learning English, which in many instances is maybe just random topics, which have no benefit in a exam practice. When I was in school if someone told me I could come to this class that was related to a topic I did, but it did not help towards my final exam – I would not have cared – and nore do this kids. This is where, in my opinion they are going wrong – they could be utilising the teachers to benefit in a context for final exams etc, but the schools do not know how, and seem reluctant to involve NETs in the curriculum in many situations. The people here could be contributing far more and could easily do so, but are not being given the opportunity.

  • misterA

    If they do this to improve the pay of KETs, to attract better English speaking Koreans, then good on them. Most corporations will pay English-speaking Koreans far more than what schools pay, so the better English speakers go there.

    I have many Korean friends who speak exceptional English, far better than the majority of KETs at my school, but wouldn’t work in public because the pay is shit.

    If they do this to save a buck (or won), then the quality of teaching will drop precipitously.

  • Seth Gecko

    #29
    lol, that’s also a pet peeve of mine (when people use “literally” where it shouldn’t be used).

  • iMe

    i am personally shocked that a system set up by a bunch of gubmint bureaucrats is failing. who could’ve seen this coming?

  • thedsr

    I think it’s funny on here Koreans saying that foreigners are the one’s with a drinking problem! HA! HAHAHA! We are being dragged by our “alcoholic” teachers, to dinners we are almost forced to attend. While we are at these dinners we are FORCED alcohol with our vice principal, principal, head teachers, co-teachers and janitors, who all think we are a toy to play with. Then we are dropped off at home by 1 or 2 am. This is on a Monday or Wednesday. If we aren’t being forced to drink by Koreans we are being kept up all night by drunk old men yelling, whiny Korean women crying and yelling, or over the top intoxicated high school student’s/business men/any Korean vomiting all over the sidewalks and streets. While they are vomiting at midnight, next to them is their toddler or infant they are toting around with them while they get $hit faced! So please don’t sit here accusing foreigners of having a belligerent lifestyle. The reason I have “alcoholic” in quotations is because it is a word no one here seems to be familiar with. In the Western world, people who are drinking every night at every dinner and vomiting and can’t control themselves are called alcoholics and should get some help. Don’t blame us, when the schools are run by drunks who have no responsibility to monitor anything in the whole school.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    shabbynumber, nice try at a wind-up. Assuming you are who you say and not a resentful gyopo or white guy taking the piss, first let me compliment you on your superb grasp of English. As for your comment: “sense a great deal of bitterness from the “Native” speakers. Good riddance is what I say. Good riddance” – dream on. Why aren’t you teaching English here? Because, again if you are who you say, you can probably get a higher-paying job with your perfect bilingualism. At a starting wage of about 2.0 / month (or 1.5 at hagwons) and incredible competition to get a tenured job, why is teaching an attractive option for the best and brightest? Hence it will not attract the best and brightest and the ones who take it won’t be able to do as much with the better students as FTs.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    ‘Assuming you are who you say and not a resentful kyopo…’

    just in case you are new here but thats the answer the et always has when any korean guy says anything they dont like. you see, they take our women and thats why you wrote what you wrote above. its their
    defense mechanism so they dont have to face the truth.

  • http://scroozle.blogspot.com Scroozle

    I’ll wait to what happens when the 이명박 administration is out of power. I was here before 2008. Different times were they.

  • anna.nimh

    I see many people involved in this debate who are not, and never have been, teachers in Korean public schools. I am currently teaching at a middle school, in my second year, and I’ve renewed my contract for a third.

    Some are failing to see the actual goals of the EPIK program. Guest English Teachers are not here to bolster written test scores, or grade anything. We don’t do that, and we are not meant to. We are here to give Korean students access to native pronunciation, encourage enthusiasm about English, and most of all, provide exposure to different cultures and values. And we do that very well.

    Whether or not you agree that these are useful goals is another issue, but the Korean government seems to think this will lead to a more international Korea. I tend to agree with that. They also feel that someone without a formal teaching background is competent to achieve these goals. I also agree with that, especially since all GETs work within a co-teaching system. There is always a fully licensed teacher in the room.

    We, as GETs, are essentially smiling, energetic conversation facilitators. We see students once a week or twice a month, because we are not the main source of English education but a fun diversion to keep students engaged in learning. We come up with activities so exhilarating that students forget they are practicing English, bringing them towards greater comfort and fluency. We find creative ways to have students engage in language and cultures. Many of us also teach our Korean colleagues pronunciation and the finer points of grammar. Overall, it’s a fantastic job.

    I’ve read a lot about this wildly debauched collection of foreigners. I wish I knew them; they sound like an interesting and mythic lot from where I am standing. The large foreigner community I belong too is full of young, bright professionals. Some of them are deciding whether or not to become teachers at home, others are here to work and experience a new culture. I do not know a single person who has come here to drink and take advantage of Korean hospitality. Many of my fellow foreigners and friends go out on the weekend to socialize and be a part of a community. Others are less social. I know of very few party animals, in the way “foreigners” are being described in this thread.

    The teachers in my foreigner community also participate in trainings and exchange successful lessons and materials openly. We talk to one another about our classes and offer advice and encouragement to one another. I don’t know where some of you drew your ‘knowledge’ about foreigners in Korea, or what our jobs are, but it’s completely mistaken.

  • wiessej

    pawikirogii wrote: “fair salary? these monkeys can bank almost 1500 in savings a month. few american teachers could do the same. fair salary my ass. the et is paid well yet they’re still scum.”

    I think you are operating on the assumption that the average foreign English teacher has no financial obligations when they set foot on Korean soil. Many American English teachers are here right out of college and count on the salaries they receive here to help to a large degree in re-paying US federal student loans. Many do come here – not just because they are unqualified elsewhere, but because even for college graduates in the US, unemployment is above 9%. Here there has been a demand, and a low-paying job (which they are here – but maybe not by Korean standards) is better than no job.

    But what the Korean system seems unable to grasp is that the quality people are not going to come to Korea desperate for a job that would provide them with a bare minimum standard of living. Let’s not forget that the standard of living, once debt is paid, can also be a slave to the exchange rate.

    Let’s also not forget that as long as the foreign English teacher cannot be assured what most of the free world considers due process for grievances associated with wrongful termination or inadequate compensation, the cream of the crop just ain’t getting on the plane.

    Like I said above – if you want quality teachers who can impart some seriously beneficial English language knowledge to Korean students, open your wallet. Short of that, you will get what you pay for – and in Korea, it is too often unqualified teachers.

    Apparently the lame ass alternative is to please parents and students – and in doing so, Korean nationals whose second language is English will be providing the instruction – and even THEY won’t be the cream of the crop. Because the best native Korean English scholars will likely be working at the corporations and government agencies that are willing to pay good salaries.

    Meanwhile, the public schools will have their complete stock of under-compensated compliant bowing teachers who will accommodate their students in deference to the parents’ wishes – ultimately providing possibly worse English language instruction that even some of the worst of the unqualified foreign teachers. That is how it WILL be.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    i aint operating on assumptions. thats what ive seen on blogs maintained by ets.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    I say all foreigners – leave Korea. (including the USA military).

    Korea has determined that employing foreign teachers is a waste of money, and I am sure many Americans would agree that having their military forces sitting in Korea is also a waste of money.

    All foreigners leave, and let Japan, NK and China do what they want with Korea.

    I guess most foreign teachers will be heading to China or Japan from now anyway, so China and Japan will get all the support they need from the foreigners.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    ” its their defense mechanism so they dont have to face the truth.”

    You’ll note that I added ‘or white guy taking the piss’. I should know, as I’ve been the ‘white guy taking the piss’ (and not the only one) on a certain sentry’s website.

  • melsteyn@gmail.com

    The divide will grow. Families who can afford it will send their kids abroad, and the others will remain in a poor system that will intensify their Konglish and develop accents that native speakers cannot hear.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    anna, I completely see your point, but I have to add that every teacher’s job is different. You wrote:

    “Guest English Teachers are not here to bolster written test scores, or grade anything. We don’t do that, and we are not meant to. We are here to give Korean students access to native pronunciation, encourage enthusiasm about English, and most of all, provide exposure to different cultures and values. And we do that very well.”

    In many cases you’re right, but in many cases not. I’m also here (at least my co-workers think so) to bolster EBS listening test results, to teach extra intensive classes, to teach writing – at least to the brighter ones, and all sorts of extra-curricular things which in my case have included everything from taking students to speech contests to taking students to Canada. We’re also here to do the things KTs can’t. I just spent an hour with a student bound for a FLHS explaining quotation and citation, because I’m the only person in the school who knows the MLA method.

    “There is always a fully licensed teacher in the room.”

    This is sometimes not the case for regular lessons and usually not the case for after-school, CA, or evening lessons. However, when a BEd in English education doesn’t necessarily mean that one can come up with a grammatical sentence to save one’s life I’m not sure if it matters that much with higher-level students.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Meanwhile –

    parents and pupils were more satisfied with the lessons of native speakers than with Korean English teachers’. Some 54.2 percent of parents said native speakers are more helpful in improving their children’s English skills, as against 39 percent who were happy with the lessons of Korean English teachers.

    Likewise, 60 percent of students were happy with native speakers’ lessons, compared to 55.3 percent said for Korean English teachers.

    http://dok.do/scAHcq

    and

    The number of Korean students at Ivy League universities is on the rise, but little more than half complete their courses. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, around 110,000 Korean students were studying in the U.S. as of this year, the largest group of foreign nationals for the fourth year running.

    Korean-American academic Samuel Kim, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College, reviewed data of 1,400 Korean students at 14 top universities such as Harvard, Yale and Cornell between 1985 and 2007 for his doctoral dissertation and found that only 784 or 56 percent graduated while the rest dropped out.

    the main reasons for the high dropout rate were lack of preparation and proficiency in English, and wrong choice of major and university. By lack of preparation, Kim means inability to cope with independence after the coddled upbringing and constant parental supervision typical of Korea’s affluent children.

    http://dok.do/HOH7kJ

  • hoomster

    I taught in Korea in the boom during the mid-nineties and I was there in a consultant capacity in 2002. The ebb and flow of popular interest in English teachers is not new to this era. In fact, during the 97 crisis English teachers were seen as leeches on the economy, responsible for contributing to the flow of hard currency out of the country. Many, who were tutoring privately were arrested and deported, and many were denied visas. Nonetheless, as the economy recovered, so did the market for foreign English teachers.
    Nevertheless, as English content on the Internet and Satellite becomes more prevalent, and more and more Koreans are educated abroad, Korean English teachers have become much more capable and effective. The KT’s of today are not the KT’s of yesteryear. Secondly, as the economies of the Anglo-American nations continue to shrink, more and more recent graduates are drawn to East Asia to teach. Rigorous screening can eliminate the non-performer foreign teachers, while competent Korean teachers can fill the gap. As a teacher in Vancouver looking at students coming out of Korea in comparison to Japan and China, it is clear that Korean English education (private or public) is leaps and bounds ahead of its neighbors. To sum up, I am glad to see the market is gradually rejecting the opportunist “conversation teacher”, and the trade is entering a new era of professionalism.

  • wiessej

    pawikirogii wrote – “i aint operating on assumptions. thats what ive seen on blogs maintained by ets.”

    Wellllllll…..now I understand the baseline of his understanding. OK….go on, pawi…continue to glean the knowledge of the world from blogs.

  • wiessej

    To Apodyopsis Gymnophoria –

    Thanks for the post at #45. No doubt an actual peer-reviewed study and doctoral dissertation will be totally ignored in lieu of political expediency.

  • wiessej

    hoomster – you wrote: “To sum up, I am glad to see the market is gradually rejecting the opportunist “conversation teacher”, and the trade is entering a new era of professionalism.”

    If that was the issue, there wouldn’t be a problem. But that is not what is happening. They are intending to throw all ETs out. Period. They are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That is inherently NOT a lean toward professionalism. It is a lean toward political correctness by a progressive (HA) Seoul City government.

  • marieyeonhee

    I just got my TESOL certificate and I will obtain my university degree in April 2013. I then plan on joining my boyfriend in Seoul to teach English there. Teaching has always been a career I considered and I want to spend a year or two in Korea, just like my boyfriend is spending a year in Canada.

    This news is a little short of devastating for us. But is it certain that they plan on getting rid of ALL native teachers? And does anyone know if there are other jobs in Seoul for non-Koreans with a bachelor degree?

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Wellllllll…..now I understand the baseline of his understanding. OK….go on, pawi…continue to glean the knowledge of the world from blogs.”

    And keep your BS detector on high when interacting with Koreans who have strong opinions on FTs. The majority of real Koreans are ambivalient, if they even care at all.

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    Pawikirogii wrote (#36):

    ‘Assuming you are who you say and not a resentful kyopo…’

    just in case you are new here but thats the answer the et always has when any korean guy says anything they dont like. you see, they take our women and thats why you wrote what you wrote above. its their
    defense mechanism so they dont have to face the truth.

    I suspect that Pawikirogi is resentful because he would like to teach English in Korea, but is not qualified for some reason or the other. In fact, even though he is a Korean-American, he cannot speak Korean very well, which means even if he were to go to Korea, he would most likely be snubbed, even if he had enough education to teach.

    Pawikirogi reminds me of a Korean-American guy I knew in college who was majoring in Japanese. Even though he was Korean-American, he hardly spoke any Korean, and his English was still broken. I could never figure out how that happened. Also, his Japanese was still at the elementary level, which means the guy could not communicate well in any language and would have been seen as a foreigner in Korea, Japan, and the United States. He was a misfit, even though he was a nice guy.

    I think Pawakirogi is angry and resentful because he feels somewhat like a misfit.

  • Pingback: Seoul to Sack All Native English Teachers from Public Schools | 맙소사!

  • wiessej

    To Gerry –

    I know a guy like you described. Self-admittedly, he was not very proficient in either English OR Korean. He was born in Korea, but moved to Hawaii, I think when he was about 12. So, before he had established a real command of Korean (in the proper academic sense), he had to learn English. His formal Korean language instruction ended and he was thrust into a new culture and a new language, never having had the benefit of full immersion in either. He is successful to this day, but he couldn’t compose a well written document to save his life – in EITHER language.

  • http://roboseyo.blogspot.com roboseyo

    a big part of the reason the program is useless as it stands is the ridiculous turnover: I’m No Picasso just wrote a piece on another topic, but starting in the eighth paragraph, this post is germane to the discussion and well worth reading.

    http://imnopicasso.blogspot.com/2011/12/on-being-foreign-teacher.html

    If Korean schools were better at retaining good teachers, people wouldn’t see the program as being quite so useless.

  • wiessej

    To Yu Bum Suk –

    I could sense his BS already. When a person overgeneralizes or uses stereotypes, or tends to offer grandiose broad sweeping solutions to complex issues that they seem to consider are simple one-dimensional issues….and THEN they say their sources are blogs…well…that’s when I know I am dealing with something a bit less than, shall I say…an objective, unbiased individual.

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    Wiessej (#52):

    The Korean-American I knew was also raised in Hawaii, where many people survived on something close to pidgin English, probably because there were so many different nationalities living there. I went to the Univ. of Hawaii.

  • 애나벨

    I agree that a lot of Native speakers, I hesitate to say English teachers, come here and take the piss but I think that it’s impossible to blame them 100%. Some of the blame must fall on hagwons who let them get away with this bullshit. If hagwons demanded higher standards from these teachers then people turning up drunk to work wouldn’t happen. Yes, a lot of these native speakers are irresponsible but I put this down to a lot of them being under 25. Hagwon owners, please, for the love of god, start firing teachers who don’t come up to scratch and the rest will pretty soon pull their socks up.

  • hoomster

    Public schools do not need human tape recorders. There will always be elite private schools catering to those in the market for accelerated learning by providing intensive lessons by experienced teachers. KT’s are more and more able to perform their job adequately, and those less fortunate kids who do not have the economic means to attend advance private schools have access to the Internet to supplement school instruction. Those who have a passion for learning English will find a way, and in Korea, like many other countries in the world, this is becoming more and more common. Hate to break it you, but the gravy train has stopped and it is time for those seeking easy money to move on. Japan’s JET program is a nightmare, NOVA has gone bankrupt, and the market has long dried up there. You either play human tape recorder/ western novelty once a week on subsistence wages or again you have professional position with outfits like Mitsubishi education or University jobs. More and more universities in both
    Japan and Korea are hiring English speaking professors for courses where English instruction would be more appropriate.
    Germany, France, Canada, Brasil, and many other countries have a thriving ESL industry; however, those who get into it for easy money are having a hard time surviving. Korea is simply maturing as a market for a well established trade. Now, you can complain about how the issue has been politicized, or if you have a passion for the trade, start working on honing in your skills so that you can survive in a competitive market.

  • wiessej

    To gbevers –

    Then there are the Korean-Americans (more accurately native born Americans of Korean ancestry), whose parents were 100% Korean born and bred, and who spoke Korean in the home on a bare bones conversational level.

    But so many of these people received ZERO formal Korean language education and would be considered illiterate in Korean. They are pretty good at listening, but because they never pushed themselves, they don’t speak it very well – like a 3-year old might (level of proficiency, I mean), and forget about them writing anything legibly. Yes, they are 100% fluent in English, but nowhere near the assumed level of proficiency in Korean or Hangul.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    53, I think she makes some very valid points but it all hinges on how this works:

    ” the foreign English teacher evaluations should be strengthened. And it would be so amazing if Korea could afford to just kick out every inefficient foreign teacher in the mix, and carry on with some kind of imaginary abundance of grade A educators.”

    If that means competent English-speakers who know about teaching come in and evaluate, and their evaluations carry all the weight, and they evaluate enough lessons to discard any obvious anomalies, then sure, I’d agree with her. My evaluations have consisted of ‘yes, we like Yu Bum Suk – renew’ for six renewals in a row and the people making the decisions can’t speak English.

    On the other hand, the opposite could happen, as recently happened to my friend who didn’t get renewed for being ‘old, bald and serious’ – their words.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “If hagwons demanded higher standards from these teachers”

    Well I hope that works better than teachers demanding higher standards from hagwons. My attempt ended with a resignation letter.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “KT’s are more and more able to perform their job adequately”

    hoomster, have you ever seen an NEAT guide or practice test? Have you ever compared it to the CSAT? You have no idea what you’re talking about. KTs’ jobs are about to get much more difficult.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    yeah quite a few ets have written about how much they can save. gerry is one of them. truth be told i think a good many ets are trailer park trash who like to drink and do drugs. they go to korea to get what they cant get here. gerry, how long were you in korea and do you like my movie posters of you?

  • hoomster

    Hate to generalize, but I’ve never known a Korean to lack perseverance or shy away from a challenge. In the long run, it’ll do students good. I don’t see how having a distraction in the form of a so-called native speaker is going to improve the situation any more. A more competitive private market will weed out the freeloaders. Why should the Korean tax payer be burdened by “life experience” costs of a person who doesn’t know an adjective from an adverb? very few of these so called “teachers” have the passion and/or the wherewithal to learn the skill necessary to compliment the classroom. KT’s have come a long way, and I am sure, have a long way to go. The market is tightening up, so suck it up and get with the program.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    The Seoul City Council budgeted 500 million won for online English lessons in elementary and middle schools.

    Most Seoul Public school teachers contracts end during August each year, and ALL the teachers whose contract end in August 2012 will not be resigned.

    Many teachers will go back to their homecountries, China, some other Asian country or if they wish to stay in Seoul – apply to a Hagwon.

    Hagwons are going to be happy, with more teachers applying for a job, Hagwon salaries are going to drop (competition amongst foreign teachers).

    Kids who can afford a good Hawgon will be much better off in English than kids from families who can’t afford a good hagwon.

    Online English courses are trash.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Hate to generalize, but I’ve never known a Korean to lack perseverance or shy away from a challenge. ”

    Well then you haven’t spent much time with vocational HS students.

    “A more competitive private market will weed out the freeloaders.”

    And provide a great, high-paying job for me if the NEAT replaces the English CSAT and FTs get dumped from PSs.

    “The market is tightening up, so suck it up and get with the program.”

    The market’s going to opening up a lot if the only places students can get useful small-class instruction for the NEAT are hagwons.

  • hoomster

    I know you are going to miss your blue eyed native speaker assistance, but you can’t let your emotions blind your reason. More teachers in the market means less jobs. Hogwans that don’t perform don’t survive. These tests are clear bench marks and even if there is a flash of new hagwons at first, those who have not done their due diligence and hired just any one, will not survive. France, Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong have already gone through this process. it is simple economics; a new market opens; it is lucrative and accessible at first; market matures, competition grows, and the non-performers are discarded. BTW, I hope you’ve read my first post as well.

  • hoomster

    blue-eyed-native-speaker assistant

  • iwshim

    NETs were a waste of taxpayer’s money.
    Speaking of a waste of money, anybody here anything about what will happen to the English Villages?

    PS > roboseyo – Do you mean to imply that ‘language acquisition experts” know better than the public?

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    “A Seoul Metropolitan Council official said according to a poll, students and parents preferred Korean instructors fluent in English over native speakers[.]“

    The same poll also found this:
    “62.4% of parents answered that there should be native speaking English assistant teachers, and responded negatively to the suggestion that English assistant teachers be reduced.”

    Not that anyone is surprised by such selective quoting from statistics. While it makes sense to remove low income children’s only exposure to native speakers in order to pay for free lunches for middle and upper class students, (sarcasm off) I imagine some parents might not agree, and SMOE is saying that no final decision has been made (ie. that supplemental budgets might be used):
    http://www.dealiciouskorea.com/index.php/en/forum/36-serious-stuff/57-mbn-tv-news-laying-off-native-english-teachers-not-decided-yet

    SMOE had already decided to cut high school NETs, but if they’re perturbed by this cut of twice as many middle and elementary school NETs by the Seoul metropolitan council, they haven’t said much yet. Gyeonggi office of education complained quite a bit when the Gyeonggi provincial council cut their budget for NETs (and Korean English instructors as well).

  • Yu Bum Suk

    hoomster, I am well aware of how the market will work and am confident I can get results with the better students, so I feel neither emotional not perturbed. I do like my PS job a lot, but if it’s time to go there will be still be lots of options (one of my best friends owns two hagwons – the owners aren’t all scum, lol).

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I’d be keen to learn about the politics that went into this budgetary decision.

    Free school lunches.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    bulgasari,

    Another thing to consider is the prestigue factor. Parents in Seoul won’t like the fact that students in Hicksville are getting special attention from me at PS when their kids’ schools don’t have waegs.

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    The budget won’t be officially be announced until this weekend or next week, so I imagine if parents react negatively to this news over the next few days, there might be changes made.

  • konvoking

    shabby, your numbers and info are exactly that. You obviously hold some ill will towards “white” foreigners.
    Let me tell you of my experience here as an inexperienced teacher. I’ve been here 6 years and i’ve seen everything. You may be correct that most native teachers that are here aren’t qualified to teach, but you assume that qualified teachers in their countries would want to leave all they’ve known to live in a completely different culture with a completely unfamiliar language. Not gonna happen. Should they be qualified to teach esl? Yes. Why not offer incoming teachers access to taking courses, or require them to finish a course in their first 6 months? I believe most would agree to that and could then be “qualified” as you say.
    You think that we live as kings. Yet over the last 6 years I’ve earned 1.9, 2.1, 2.4, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 million/ month. that’s less than 30mill/ year. With the exchange rate it’s not much at all. especially if you’re from europe.
    You say “most” teachers live belligerently, drinking “almost every night” and going to work drunk/hungover. Although I would agree that this can and probably does happen more than it should. It’s KOREA that increases that. Drinking belligerently IS korean culture! Is it ok to sit down at a kalbi place and drink 8 bottles of soju, then go to a chicken hof and drink 3 pitchers of beer, and top it off at noraebang with someck? all on a tuesday night! Yes, in korea that is acceptable and actually encouraged! But if foreigners go out together, have a few drinks on a tuesday at 1 bar, play some darts and stay up a little later than they should it’s being belligerent?
    How many foreigners do you see passed out in Korea or vomiting in the street? I would guess very very few

    Should teachers of all colors and races be allowed to teach if having the same credentials? Yes. And should curvy girls be on the cover of vogue and cosmo representing what real women look like? Yes! But it’s not the fault of the skinny girl who is just trying to make a living and do the best she can. It’s the fault of the people who purchase said products. Don’t blame foreigners or whites for these problems. it is strictly the problem of the consumers. Gov’t and parents.
    I have not come here to rape and pillage korea. Never had a korean girlfriend. I’ve learned quite a lot about korea. and i’ve become a pretty decent teacher, qualified or not. I wanted to live in a place where i was always challenged, learning new things, and making a SIMPLE living. Korea has provided that, and i am grateful.
    English teachers should be more qualified, but athletes should be role models, and world leaders should be more compassionate. But it won’t happen. LEt it go and try and be more positive!

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    #72 free school lunches started it, but now the free childcare for kids aged 0~5 y.o. means the teachers must go.

    The new government wants to give the money to the younger generation with young kids who want free childcare, as its the younger generation who vote for the progressive parties.

  • konvoking

    it’s my true belief that it’s all political. it has very little to do with “qualified teachers”. It’ll all pass once elections are over next year

  • YangachiBastardo

    We are here to give Korean students access to native pronunciation, encourage enthusiasm about English, and most of all, provide exposure to different cultures and values

    Listen i’m not trying to be a dick or anything but that sounds kinda like cramming the words Brock Lesnar and Nobel laureate into the same sentence

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    Interesting that the English language reports are not describing cuts for Elementary schools and middle schools, even though last night’s SBS report (and the YTN report Robert described above) clearly describe them.

    If it passes the plenary session of the city council next week, the number of foreign high school teachers will start decreasing from next year in about 300 high schools in Seoul. Only a few will be left at some high schools designated to focus on English study by the government and Seoul Global High School, a special high school focusing on international studies in the end, according to officials.[...]

    There will be no change in the number of foreign teachers at elementary and middle schools for now.[...]

    “Foreign teachers’ effect on English education is higher in elementary schools than in middle and high schools and we plan to use them at where it needs them the most,” said the official.

  • person

    hey, shabbynumber. it’s lovely that you’ve got so much experience, but it doesn’t seem to shine through in your writing. your grammar, like your name, is shabby. i was often told by my students that their parents believed korean hogwon teachers spoke better english than their foreign counterparts. the truth was that only one or two of them would even have been able to get by in an english speaking country. if korea wants to shoot itself in the foot for spite, ok, but i hope korean people can see that there isn’t any more to it than that.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    earning 2000 dollars per month in korea is like earning 5000 a month here in the states. remember that 2k in korea is almost tax free. AND they get free housing and a free food. and free medical care.

  • konvoking

    i do not get free housing, free food, nor free healthcare. And no one i know does. KOrea is one of the most expensive cities to live in. 1000/month for a half decent apartment, eating anything other than korean food is expenive, especially if you want to shop and cook your own, and though more reasonable healthcare is definietly not free. i pay every month from my paycheck. income tax is cheaper but still there. you have no idea what youre talking about. it is nowhere near 5k a month in the states!

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    all one needs to do is go to youtube. just look at all those english teachers showing off their free apartments. easy to find. you guys got it made in korea and you still complain! of course, the answer for koreans is to rid themselves of their obssession with the english language because most of them will never need it.

  • konvoking

    so you’re not here? again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. and using youtube as your reference for making a broad generalization is laughable.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Hahahahaha

    newly arrive to Korean salary (1,800,000won) = $1, 590. (+ free apartment) – deduct tax, health care, etc

    NO FREE FOOD
    NO FREE Utilities
    NO FREE healthcare

    re# 50 No need to be devastated, there are still Uni Professor positions for those with a Masters + experience, or for those without – there are still shitty Hagwon jobs and afternooon-classes at Public schools (no housing).

  • konvoking

    and most will. if not now, their children will. Look up lingua franca. or youtube it

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    I never realized why Pawi was so angry at “whities” until somebody posted it above, maybe he is angry because he can’t teach and live in Korea…

    I think the person who said it, may have been spot on.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    You don’t know how lucky you are Pawi – for NOT being able to teach in Korea!

  • YangachiBastardo

    1000/month for a half decent apartment

    That has to be compared with twice that money in any major American city, or you’re trying to tell me S. Diego, NYC, LA, Chicago et all offer decent lodging for say 800 bucks a month ?

    eating anything other than korean food is expenive,

    Again not that different in America. I remember shopping at Whole Foods, where i could get normal, decent brands i was accustomed to in my homeland (and passed for luxury there…Orangina and S.Pellegrino soda premium products ? PLUUUUUEEEESSSSSEEEEE) and paying shit boats of dough.

    Newsflash for you: everywhere you go if you don’t buy local you spend more

  • konvoking

    korea is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world. look it up. especially housing. 800 here is a one bedroom apartment in most locations. I don’t go to the store to by western food. I’m talking about veggies/fruits/breads/rice/etc. baaaaaasics! It’s less expensive to eat out at a korean restaurant than shop and cook at your own place.
    I like korean food, but it takes awhile for someone to even know how to order it and it should be considered when asking a stranger to come to your country.

  • konvoking

    oh, and i forgot about the 10,000 dollar deposit one must come up with in order to get an 800/month apartment. how many people you know, especially teachers straight outta uni that got that? NONE

  • jd

    Is that a typo in the update section? Do English teachers really average 42 million won a year? 3.5 million won a month? That can’t be right, can it?

    I started in Korea in January of 1999 for 1.1 million a month, before taxes.

    Those were the days. A pack of This cigarettes were 900 won.

  • McGenghis

    I imagine that the original impulse to bring ESL types to Korea had less to do with how Minju’s English would improve and more about how Johnny Stateside would gush to his (functionally employed) family back home about the amazing leaps and bounds that Korea has made and how we should all eat bibimbap and buy Kias.

    And like most endeavors spearheaded by Korea.INC, this one leaves a bad taste in my mouth. That you can’t sell koolaid at 2 million won a month must have stymied many a bureaucrat.

  • konvoking

    and you are not allowed to have any part time jobs if your employer doesnt want you to, and most don’t. So you are stuck with the basic pay and long hours, sometimes 9-9pm depending on if your unlucky enough to get split shifted. but atleast 9-4 or 5, or 12-8pm.
    people who have no idea need to shuuuuuuuuuuuut up! this should be a convo between people who have actually experienced it.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Apo overall honestly you don’t seem like a bad guy but comments like # 88 make you come across as a bit of a whiner.

    You mentioned you have a son, who enjoy playing with his iPad. Now your teacher salary allow you to have a decent lifestyle and provide your son with a decent lifestyle too.

    You know maybe not in Australia, but in America 1 out of 7 survive on food stamps. For millions of families this x-mas will mean penury and fear of the future.

    In my broke-ass country, supposedly a G-8 nation, the situation is the same with catholic charities full of regular, working people.

    In Germany, often called the healthiest Western economy, 16% of kids live below poverty line and i assure you poverty in Europe is way poorer than poverty in Australia.

    Should we mention all the families getting by on 800-1000 euros a month government handouts in Dublin, Ireland, still one of the most expensive cities in the world ?

    Notice i didn’t mention the child soldiers of Congo or the meninos de rua in some Rio de Janeiro slum but only people living in what are considered rich, first-world countries, whatever that means.

    Do’nt complain too much, you have it good

  • YangachiBastardo

    800 here is a one bedroom apartment in most locations

    800 $$ translates right now into less than 600 euros at the current exchange rate. In any 500k+ pop. euro town you spend way more than that. I doubt it’s cheaper in a safe neighbourhood in LA or Chicago, let alone NYC.

    es eating outside is cheaper than cooking at home in Korea, as a single dad i don’t mind that at all…i like the lifestyle of big Asian cities, where basically you spend lots of time out in the open.

    (Hong-Kong, a place i otherwise don’t enjoy that much, is great for that)

  • konvoking

    moto of the korean work force “be grateful, don’t complain, and do what you’re told.” unfortunately, most western developed countries have moved beyond this 19th century southern american thinking.
    I don’t complain, i am very grateful, and therefore do the best job i can, but to compare this conversation with other ills of the world is stupid.
    of couse i am thankful I have both hands to work with, but when someone discusses tying one behind my back, i sure as heck will say something about the logic, but then again I could just be thankful i’m not one of those who has no hands. Silly logic!

  • konvoking

    you get paid more in most major european countries in relation to net income, therefore it’s not the same. You have to look at percent of income. if you take home 2000/month in pay (before transpertation, food, utilities, etc) 800 is nearly 50% of your income. that’s quite a lot.

    and have you ever spent time in korea in winter-dec-april? quite different than hong kong. it’s freezing!

  • YangachiBastardo

    moto of the korean work force “be grateful, don’t complain, and do what you’re told.” unfortunately, most western developed countries have moved beyond this 19th century southern american thinking.

    Nope that’s where you go wrong, most Western nations are regressing exactly to that logic, judging from the enormous number of illegals they employ to be exploited for sub-minimum wage salaries and the widespread use of unpaid internships and such.

    Just a practical example; my first ex wife new husband work as a plant supervisor in some food factory. He is college educated, has years of experience on the job (5+) and well he was given 2 choices: either being an indipendent contractor for 14 $ an hour BEFORE TAXES, or settle for a salary of 50k a year (again gross not net).

    In exchange of this money during peak season he has to work up to 80 hrs. a week, no overtime paid, nothing.

    Insuring him, his wife and their kid through the company would be up to over 900 $ per month in deductions.

    Oh the live in a medium sized city on the West Coast renting some shit 2 bedroom place for circa 1300 a month.

    Yep developed world workforce rights, sure buddy

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    #95 Who said I was a teacher? and who said I was from Australia?

    Did you know 100 years ago, Italian parents SOLD their children to mines to work until they died (or turned 19y.o.)

    Talking about Germany, Ireland, USA and Congo doesn’t change the situation in Korea.

    as most people have said, it’s a political thing.

    and I am actually happy that the foreigners will be leaving Korea, I think they are better of, in their own home-country. Korea does things to peoples minds.

    I simply wrote #88, because pawi had his facts wrong (again).

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    From what I have heard about Australia, rent is about $1,300 per month their for an apartment.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    (there) – see I am not a teacher!

  • YangachiBastardo

    you get paid more in most major european countries in relation to net income, therefore it’s not the same

    HUH ?? NO THEY DON’T:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,720063,00.html

    “Building cleaners, hair dressers, security guards — the list of those who have a gross income of just over €1,000 per month is long. That is hardly enough for a single person. For a family, it is paltry, even if both parents have such a job”

    Source: Financial Times Deutschland

  • konvoking

    law of supply and demand = if there isn’t enough to go around his pay would go up. Apparently, his job is sufficiently paid for. Otherwise he would get more. So either people don’t need him as much as he would hope or he’s not wise enough to get a job that pays more.

    He also is supporting a wife and child. That is pure choice. WHy doesn’t she work. That would double or at least alleviate some strain.

    I do not blame others for my choices. I do not make a lot of money, nor do i plan on having babies and then complaining that i don’t get paid enough.

    In America, you can move to another company or job as easy as you want. if you are an esl teacher in korea you can not. the employer oooowwwns you.

    I have chosen my work and will deal with it as it comes. i do have a stable life as a single, but I am no where near what some here are saying is a lavish lifestyle.

  • konvoking

    those are building cleaners, and hair dressers. same here as well. That’ a terrible analogy I am a college graduate and therefore deserve to be paid more than 1000/month. and that’s about 600 euros.

  • YangachiBastardo

    and have you ever spent time in korea in winter-dec-april? quite different than hong kong. it’s freezing!

    Actually i froze my ass more in Hong-Kong where often even modern condos are not heated and, thanks to the building materials they adopt, much colder than outside

    who said I was from Australia?

    I don’t know Apo i remember you mentioned you were a white Australian with a bit of native blood once, let’s ask the others here if i have hallucinations (too lazy to link, sorry)

    Did you know 100 years ago, Italian parents SOLD their children to mines to work until they died (or turned 19y.o.)

    YES and 2000 years ago your fur-covered, horns-donning ancestors called mine Caesar and back in the Cretaceous the T Rex was the biggest, swinging dick in town…your point ?

  • konvoking

    haaaaaaave youuuuuuuu eeeeeeevvvvvvvvvveeeeeeerrrrrr beeeeeeeeen in koooooooooooooooorrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaa iiiiiiiinnnnnnnn tthhhhhheeeeeee wwwwwwwwwiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnntttttteeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr?

    obviously not. hong kong cold has nothing on korea. not close, not even in the same universe. it’s like comparing a chilly night in northern florida and spending a winter in main. again, terrrrrible analogy.

    I wish people would stop talking about things they don’t know about. but opinions are like azzholes. everybody’s got one and they alllllll stink!

  • YangachiBastardo

    konvo: you kinda contradict yourself with these 2 statements:

    law of supply and demand = if there isn’t enough to go around his pay would go up. Apparently, his job is sufficiently paid for. Otherwise he would get more. So either people don’t need him as much as he would hope or he’s not wise enough to get a job that pays more.

    Which is fair enough.

    And this:

    I am a college graduate and therefore deserve to be paid more than 1000/month. and that’s about 600 euros.

    Sorry Jimbo but you DO NOT “deserve” jack shit, you are paid what your market skills command, apparently your job is sufficiently paid for.

    I wasn’t btw comparin’ your value with the average eurotrash, i was just refutin your assertions of higher net salaries in Europe: median wage in Germany is approx. 10 euros an hour before (hefty) taxes.

    By the way everybody who breathe has a college degree, i have one (got one recently), what was Grouch Marx saying ? I wouldn’t join any club who take me as a member or something like that

  • konvoking

    the demand for college graduates dictates my income and therefore deserve to get paid more than someone who isn’t a graduate. no contradiction there. you misread my post. i was comparing your 1000 euro/month income for hairdressers et al. I get paid sufficiently enough for my job, about 2200us/month before extras. I ammmmm not complaining, but am pissed at those who believe that native english instructors are scamming the korean people. I make an average, if not below avaerage salary for someone with my credentials and the market reflects that.

    anyways, I think the point of the whole convo has gotten lost. as usual!

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    no point, I simply thought you said once that you were Italian.

  • konvoking

    nope. I am a white american male who has lived in korea for 6-7 years. i have worked at hagwons, elementary schools, universities, and with businesses. I know what it’s like here and what has been going on.

    again, i really like korea. even for all its issues. I stay because I get paid well enough for my job, love what i do, and until that changes, have no plan to leave.

    But these threads get high jacked by racist, knowledgeable people who have noooooooooooo idea what they are talking about.

  • konvoking

    unknowledgeable ;)

  • fanwarrior

    According to that, a native teacher is worth 3.5 million a month to Seoul public schools. Pay is only around 2.4 isn’t it? housing probably isn’t costing 1.1. There are a few incidentals, but the figure seems slightly high.

    However, a real Korean teacher ends up costing much more. ESL teachers salaries barely move. Real Korean teachers who teach for a few years can get significant raises. I’ve seen numbers thrown around here, saying that after about 8 years, Korean teachers can be making upwards of 5 million a month.

    It seems they really only looked at a first year salary. That said, there will still be job opportunities for foreigners in a Korean public school if they want it. Married a Korean? Take citizenship, study your ass off, and get a job as an actual teacher, If you got in while you were young, you could be getting 5 million or so by your early 30s. Not a bad salary.

  • YangachiBastardo

    am pissed at those who believe that native english instructors are scamming the korean people

    Fair point, lots of local scammers in the hagwon/education complex overthere , i won’t disagree with that

    Your salary, including the extras, is btw comparable with a similar position in Northern Europe and 30%-35% higher than in the broke-ass rim of Southern nations

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    sorry #111
    I was talking to #106

    (

    Did you know 100 years ago, Italian parents SOLD their children to mines to work until they died (or turned 19y.o.)

    YES and 2000 years ago your fur-covered, horns-donning ancestors called mine Caesar and back in the Cretaceous the T Rex was the biggest, swinging dick in town…your point ?

    )

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    The 3.5 million isn’t 3.5 million.

    They are looking at a “new” teacher, flown over from the USA, put into a “weeks orientation” – which the resort etc takes a lot of the money, the medical fees – as SMOE does it at the orientation, ongoing training (if any) the apartment and furniture etc etc etc

    The foreign teacher DOES NOT get 3.5 million. – lucky if they get 2.5 million (after so many years of experience + education degree + masters) etc

  • konvoking

    korea is the 13th largest economy in the world, so pay for english is sufficient, not overly.

  • YangachiBastardo

    However, a real Korean teacher ends up costing much more. ESL teachers salaries barely move. Real Korean teachers who teach for a few years can get significant raises. I’ve seen numbers thrown around here, saying that after about 8 years, Korean teachers can be making upwards of 5 million a month.

    It seems they really only looked at a first year salary

    Many posters may be right when they mention this was a politics-related decision more than an economics one.

    Fellas it’s Korean jobs for Korean people, same as American jobs for American people, British jobs for British people etc. it is a scarey, new world of everyone fend for themselves outthere.

    It’s not exactly politically wise to protect foreign employment over local in such a dire backdrop, c’mon you guys know that

  • SomeguyinKorea

    42 million won per year? Sure. The story stinks of BS. It’s not the first time I’ve seen Seoul talk about firing all of its foreign teachers. They always manage to rehire more, eventually.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Probably 3.5 millions is the overall cost of labour for the employer, net salary is obviously much lower

  • SomeguyinKorea

    You need to form a union, as far as I’m concerned. After all, the labor standards act is clear about how 2 years of experience at a job makes one a permanent employee.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #120,

    Don’t forget the money they give to the shady recruiters.

  • dww

    They might be including housing for that 3.5 figure….and that still seems way high to me.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    The figure is about 42 million (which is salary + airfare + orientation + training + apartment + furniture + recruiter fee)

    However, the orientation + training + apartment + furniture + recruiter fee is all going back into Koreans pockets – helping the economy.

  • Nikki

    As a qualified teacher who taught at both a hagwon and a public school for a year in Korea. Yes, some of the people they hire are just out to make a buck, and are not qualified or experienced or good teachers at all (“qualifications don’t a good teacher make,” as they say! Most of the people I knew working at public schools were good teachers even though they weren’t qualified, and and I know some who are qualified, but are not in the right profession!)
    Having said that, they would stand a better chance of getting a good teacher if they did hire qualified teachers)
    However, hiring qualified teachers isn’t going to do a thing if they don\t fix their system.
    At the Hagwon that I taught at, sometimes I felt like a monkey could do just as good a job. I mean, all I did was put the tape or CD in, push the button, listen to the tape, pause and have the kids repeat.
    Unfortunately, that’s basically the same thing I did in the public school, but using a DVD/CD ROM instead! I now teach at Canadian Curriculm school in Saudi Arabia, and I finally feel like I am really teaching, and seeing the result of that real teaching. It is basically a normal school, except most of our kids are ESL students. I teach grade 2 girls, and almost all of them can speak, read and write at or near a grade 2 level in English.
    The best way to learn a second language is through immersion and being taught by qualified teachers who speak that language as their native tongue.
    The second best way would be to hire a qualified English teacher, and have them teach English in the same manner that Core French is taught in Canada.
    However, once the test scores come back in a few years showing the decline in the Korean students English levels, I’m sure they will start to hire English teachers, and then the cycle will begin again.

  • resident kyopo

    I don’t know Apo i remember you mentioned you were a white Australian with a bit of native blood once, let’s ask the others here if i have hallucinations (too lazy to link, sorry)

    If I recall correctly, before that he also claimed that he was of south Asian ancestry. Either way it’s clear as daylight that he’s not a native English speaker. (Either that or he never matriculated from secondary school.)

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    Remember on the open thread somebody said that some people always distort their personal facts for security reasons?

    Just because I said I had a son, do you really think I have one?

    Pawi once thought I was Chinese.

    Probably time to change my name and avatar again. (For security reasons)

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “However, the orientation + training + apartment + furniture + recruiter fee is all going back into Koreans pockets – helping the economy.”

    Makes me wonder if someone crunched numbers through a computer and found that firing the now slightly older and wiser public school teachers in order to replace them with a fresh batch of kids who are more likely to spend their pay and less likely to save it, they could increase the amount of money that would stay in the local economy by 1%. ;)

  • SomeguyinKorea

    “Pawi once thought I was Chinese.”

    Imposible! I can prove it…

    Has Pawi ever thought? I rest my case.

  • Granfalloon

    Well, I’ve complained loudly and frequently that Koreans’ whining about “unqualified” NESTs is their own damn fault, so I’m happy to see them doing something about it. Unfortunately, I think Roboseyo nailed it: all those unqualified NESTs will go back to the hagwons, where they were working five years ago. Trust the free market to keep Korea awash in unqualified teachers. Oh, and I’m guessing we’ll see an increase in “my director screwed me out of two months pay” stories. Hagwon owners are mostly horrible, horrible people.

  • iwshim

    Why not employ intern teachers from North America?
    Students in the fourth year of education school in North American universities have to do a one year internship in a school. In interns employed in Korea would be a lot cheaper (food, housing, airplane ticket, and a stipend) and in addition to completing their internship they would also receive a global perspective on education.
    – Korean teachers would act as mentors and that would cut down on some of the cultural\work place problems.
    – the intern teachers from North America would have professional training and a background in education that would make them fully prepared to enter the school system in Korea
    – an internship in a Korean school provides North American intern teachers a new and international perspective on education (Korean schools do not have the same problems with guns, drugs, and violence that they do in North America)
    – intern teachers would be a lot easier to manage. There would be minimal problems with substandard behavior. After all, an internship is part of their educational coursework and they would be graded on their professional approach to their job in Korea
    - the intern teachers, aside from receiving global experience in education, would also have professional contacts in Korea that they could use to forge lifelong partnerships and sister school relationships after they enter the North American education system.

    We are talking about improving the education system in Korea and not of maintaining artificial barriers to the trade in goods and services, correct?

  • schmuckers

    I taught English literature and composition at an American university and I get paid more at my hagwon now than I ever did there. Are we really complaining about Korean wages? If you are then get a teaching job back home. Oh. You can’t?

    To the gripers, I ask: “How much were you paid in your home country? What did you do there?” I’ll bet you’ve either never held down a full-time job, or your previous one was worse. If not, go home.

    The bottom line is: if you’re qualified, you’ll survive. If you’re not, so long. It’s not like you belonged here in the first place. I don’t see what the furor is about. Is it bad if the underqualified recent college grads have to wrap up their extended Spring Breaks?

    They’ll probably end up in the hagwons. Horse pucks.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    #131, you gave me a good chuckle. The systems are so different that even ESL teachers would learn very little of value interning in Korea.

    I also smiled thinking how funny it is that so many non-Korean citizens are so concerned about how much money the Korean government pays people like me.

  • dinkus maximus

    I worked at three elementaries, and filled in for a month for an EPIK teacher who did a runner. Of the four scenarios, only one school was able to host a foreign teacher properly. For that, you need at least a handful of Koreans who can speak English, and at least someone to babysit the waygook who can’t order a pizza let alone pay an electric bill. Most schools in Korea are populated by dinosaurs who can’t speak a lick of English or even look a foreigner in the eye. The school I filled in at was an antisocial bomb shelter, and I can’t blame anyone for doing a runner or not working effectively.

    In a hakwon, money talks and so do results. You can’t slack off or ignore a manager looking over your shoulder like you can in an EPIK scenario. In most EPIK schools, I dare assume, the foreigner is just sort of “there” like a panda floating down the hallway so kids can say “Hellooo!” A novelty that is tolerated and hardly embraced. A fellow foreigner I worked with did absolutely nothing in his classes, and when I did it really made him uncomfortable – along with his assistant who broke down one day and went psychotic on him. All in all, EPIK is mostly an unfavorable work envrionment where you are often stuck in a small corner office with one other waygook who may or may not be into the job. On top of that, kids have to interact one on one with a foreign teacher daily over the course of years to really gain anything from it. Twice a week for an hour in a class of 20 or 40? Not worth it. Waste of money. A Korean teacher fluent in English WILL do a better job, I hate to admit.

    So yes indeed – bring back the hakwon goldrush. The only thing that might change is that even the hakwons might be seeking quality teachers. If you’re over 30, balding, and not willing to do the dog and pony show…you’d best find a job in the backwoods of China.

  • wiessej

    Pawi wrote above:

    “earning 2000 dollars per month in korea is like earning 5000 a month here in the states. remember that 2k in korea is almost tax free. AND they get free housing and a free food. and free medical care.”

    I guess he assumes that American ESL teachers in Korea don’t pay US federal taxes. Do they? Do they not?

  • iwshim

    #133
    “The systems are so different that even ESL teachers would learn very little of value interning in Korea. ”

    Isn’t this contradictory? If the systems are the same then what is there to learn?

    Please explain what you mean better. I am not trying to start an argument. I am just looking for reasons why my idea would not work. (I know of only one so far) but if there are others I gladly welcome the input.

  • http://ulsanonline.com martypants

    Americans in Korea DO NOT pay taxes on any income under US$83000. And if I do make more than that, please prove it, Mr. IRS Agent.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “If you’re over 30, balding, and not willing to do the dog and pony show…you’d best find a job in the backwoods of China.”

    LOL, that’s exactly what my friend who didn’t get renewed for being ‘old, bald and serious’ is trying to do. Thank Christ I lucked out and got my hair from my maternal grandfather’s side.

  • milton

    42 Million a year? Why not give that money to Koreans who study at universities in English-speaking countries on condition that they return to the country to spend two years teaching English in the public schools (in lieu of military service). Win-win for Korea. 

  • iwshim

    Yu Bum Suk
    ???

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “42 Million a year? Why not give that money to Koreans who study at universities in English-speaking countries on condition that they return to the country to spend two years teaching English in the public schools (in lieu of military service). Win-win for Korea. ”

    Novel ideas like that don’t sit well with those who’ve passed through the grinder to get their PS job the ‘hard way’. I do think that giving the best English education applicants a scholarship to study overseas (at a real college and not four lessons a day at a Vancouver hagwon next to a Korean PC-bang) when they’re still very young in exchange for a promised five-year minimum teaching stint at a Korean PS might work wonders. However this would also produce two tiers of teachers and much resentment.

  • milton

    Yu Bum Suk,

    I was thinking more along the lines of AmeriCorps or similar programs in which the government agrees to finance university or grad school educations (not necessarily in education or English) in exchange for a few years of service upon return. The graduates wouldn’t be full-fledged teachers, but would rather take over the roll currently played by NESTs/NETs/NSETs/GETs/FCIs/FTs/ETs (or whatever it is we’re calling them these days) and would then move on to careers in other fields.  By doing so, you get the benefit of having a highly competent near-native-level teachers in the classroom (hopefully), and there’s the added benefit of generating intellectual capital for Korean society as a whole. 

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    # 132 Shmuckers

    You lost the bet – you owe me!!

    To the gripers, I ask: “How much were you paid in your home country? What did you do there?” I’ll bet you’ve either never held down a full-time job, or your previous one was worse. If not, go home.

    In my homecountry, prior to 2000 when I came to Korea, I was a full-time Federal officer working in a nice comfy Federal gov’t office – earning twice as much as what I make here now.

    I will go home in one more year (after 12 years completed here) – but only because all my nephews and nieces are growing up and I want to see them, and because I can forecast Korea becoming worse and worse.

    anyhow – you lost the bet! pay up!

  • Yu Bum Suk

    milton, I could see how that may work, but I’d have to wonder, given the level of 80+% of classes, whether they’d be English-only teachers or not. My students speak to me in Korean all the time if they think I’ll understand them or even hope I’ll understand them. It’s a constant effort to make them repeat something in English.

    It’s also worth noting that not all Koreans who study abroad learn English. My school had a math teacher who did his MA in California (he was an anchor baby) and there was no way he could lead an elementary English class, much less a secondary one.

  • Granfalloon

    I’d be curious to know how that 42 million breaks down per class/hour, and how that compares to the per class/hour cost of a licensed Korean teacher (factoring in professional development and other benefits for the latter, of course).

  • schmuckers

    #143 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    You win my best wishes as you return to your comfy life. Your job back home sounds better. Why come here in the first place? This isn’t addressed to you necessarily, but: Why do underqualified teachers feel entitled to more?

  • Yu Bum Suk

    schmuckers, your question is nearly impossible to answer because it all comes down to the tiresome question of what makes one qualified to teach English. I would suggest that being capable of writing one page of grammatical English prose would be one requirement, and being able to communicate accurately with students in a language they understand would be another. Having a certain level of knownledge about TEFL – say a level 3 on the TKT – would be yet one more. Using just these three requirements, I’d guess that around 1-2% of the people who teach English in Korea are qualified to teach it.

  • http://www.bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Americans in Korea DO NOT pay taxes on any income under US$83000. And if I do make more than that, please prove it, Mr. IRS Agent.

    It’s higher than that, martypants. For 2011 the foreign income exclusion is US$92,900 (for 2012 it will be US$95,100). So anyone earning less than W100,000,000 or so is exempt from US taxation — but boy, do they stick it to those of us who make more.

    The Republic of Korea’s National Tax Service has an information-sharing agreement with the US Internal Revenue Service. Your tax filings here in Korea will be available to the IRS for their use in examining your US tax compliance. Still, given the fact that most of the non-corporate employers in Korea tend to underreport the income of their foreign hires, the information the IRS has may not accurately represent all your wage income.

  • Nikki

    “Why not employ intern teachers from North America?
    Students in the fourth year of education school in North American universities have to do a one year internship in a school. In interns employed in Korea would be a lot cheaper (food, housing, airplane ticket, and a stipend) and in addition to completing their internship they would also receive a global perspective on education.”

    First of all, iwishim, I’m not sure where you are getting your information about North American students. No one I know has ever had to do a whole year’s internship to become a teacher, and I know many people who have gone to different universities both in Canada and the U.S.
    Most students do a couple of weeks at a school in their third year but that’s usually one day a week (if they are in the concurrent ed program) and then they do 2 or 3 ‘blocks’ at a couple of schools teaching different grades. I did 2 six-week blocks, one Nov-Dec and one March-April. During these blocks they are expected to observe the classroom teacher for a while, and then work with the classroom teacher and create and deliver lesson plans on all subjects.
    Depending on the University policy, it’s either the classroom teacher that evaluates their performance (believe it was twice for me, but it’s been a few years.) Or the professor come in and observes for a morning or afternoon and does the evaluation (not as good a system in my opinion, because they don’t see the whole process, and only get a glimpse of the student’s abilities.)
    A Korean teacher who is not qualified to teach in the state or province that the student’s university is in would not be able to properly evaluate the student, and the University isn’t going to pay to fly their profs over there. The students are not going to learn to teach all subjects, only English, and they are not going to learn good classroom management techniques or how to effectively teach to a class that has both high and low students. To be honest, having taught in a Korean Public School, the students really wouldn’t learn a lot that would benefit them in their future teaching in North America. Depending on the school they may or may not have to create lesson plans, but the lesson plans are all based on the curriculum anyways, and the curriculum is laid out so that if you are alive and can read English, you can deliver it.
    The Korean government would be better off hiring teachers who are qualified teachers with some ESL experience or accreditation, and have them develop and implement their own programs to teach English. Of course, the students wouldn’t be ‘taught to the test’ so they may not do so well on the tests, but they would probably learn more than they do now.

  • iwshim

    Nikki

    Yep – valid criticism. Much of what i heard when I had talk about it while ago with some “school authorities” a while ago.

    Doesn’t mean the idea is unavailable, ill-conceived, or wishful thinking. Ideas are thrown out for modification and adaptation, but you throw out ideas cause things have to evolve. That said I will keep throwing out ideas.

    I think you summed up much of the problem.

    “Of course, the students wouldn’t be ‘taught to the test’ so they may not do so well on the tests, but they would probably learn more than they do now.”

    You might be interested in this video> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U&feature=player_embedded

  • Charles Tilly

    Students from low-income families will likely bear the brunt of the policy. “Students from well-to-do families may find lessons from native English-speakers dull because they’ve been attending private tutoring institutes since they were young,” an education official said. “But those from poor families should be given the opportunity to learn English with native speakers at school.”

    I’ve seen analysis that indicates that even before the latest decision, significant disparities existed in the public school arena regarding English education opportunities.

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  • schmuckers

    #149

    “…they are not going to learn good classroom management techniques or how to effectively teach to a class that has both high and low students.”

    They wouldn’t learn either thing? Why not?

  • schmuckers

    #147

    Looks like you’ve cleared up your own roadblock. Sure. 1-2%. And yet I personally know only 5 foreign teachers who are happy with their compensation. There must be more out there, of course, but the numbers so far seem backwards.

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  • http://www.asiapundits.com asiapundits
  • Cathy

    Quite frankly, there are so many things wrong with this system, I’m surprised it’s alive now.

    As a Korean Teacher who is the middle of getting a bachelors in High School Teaching focusing on English, I’d like to throw my 2 cents in.

    1. The teaching system needs an overhaul. And I mean on more than one level. The higher ups think the students as idiots when I can clearly see they’re not. It’s not fair on the students and it’s not fair to me when the level I am required to teach them at is a level or 2 lower than where they are at. Or, on the other hand, extremely hard and expect everyone to be there.
    Similarly, the schools need to take the blame for not setting a basis of where each student is with their skills. It took me a good 2 months testing them before levelling each students and coming to a middle. I basically had to cut myself off from the rest of the school to achieve it.

    2. Schools and the education departments need to sit down and talk to one another and not use/abuse the teacher for a failing that was not their fault. Somehow, the blame of not being able to have the teaching skills to teach my students after barely a month of training (I am not moaning about my 1 month of training. I found it useful…to a point), which in no way consisted of actually teaching students, falls on me rather than on the ones who failed to realise that you need to actually teach on a small scale before thrown into the huge ocean.

    3. It’s hard for me as a Foreign Korean, or Kyopo as they call us, to sit down and take the crap thrown at us. And not just at school. We’re forced to do things ordinary Koreans are supposed to but without the benefit of actually living here. We have no concept of education law and no mercy is spared upon us when something happens. Even in the wider world, Kyopo is merely another word used but when it comes to actually understanding what the word means, Koreans shut us down. How am I supposed to take the harsh words ‘Why can’t you do that?’ with the clear implication of ‘You’re supposed to know! You’re Korean! Pathetic.’ when I’ve spent 19 of my 21 years outside Korea. And that comment came from my students as well as people I met.

    4. Adding on to the point above, Korea needs to shed (or at least weaken) it’s stance on the ‘Us vs Them’ in order to get somewhere. It’s incredibly frustrating beyond words for those caught in the middle as it doesn’t allow for change or anyone to move. The amount of times I have been thrown dirty looks because I am speaking English with my foreign friends can no longer be counted. It is restricting and adds to my intense dislike for a country that is supposed to be my heritage.

    I do love the program (TaLK) that I’m in but something needs to give and throwing Korean Teachers in and throwing Native Teachers out isn’t going to solve anything in my honest opinion.

  • http://eslinsider.com ESLinsider

    Ahhhha, the robots are coming.

  • Hourglass

    Koreans are pretty bad in English…Doesnt matter anyways. Seoul has always been ravaged by war and most likely will soon be ravished again.

  • ge6257st

     …

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  • ricciaustralia

    Its about time NNESTs run the classes. Most NESTs abused their stay and spent their free time drinking instead of learning the host’s culture. Imagine if the tables was turned around. Im a NEST, and tired of finding excuses to justify the westerners’ behave

  • aKOREANinKOREA

    To shabbynumber:

    Hmm I sense some bitterness from you too. Ummm…what does “skin color” have to do with anything? If I recall, a good portion of “Westerners” are black, brown, mocha, whatever you like to call it, as well. And Westerners with education, English literature, etc. backgrounds can very well do a good job too, so I don’t get where you’re getting all this hatred from for “Westerners?” Just because someone is not “white” doesn’t mean they all do a shit job. It’s (G)EPIK and school recruiters fault they pick people with no relevant education or background. Like you, you’re perfect for the job due to your relevant education and experience. Good for you. But don’t do some reverse-racist thing where you’re discriminate upon because the general white man has the Western passport thus they should all get the boot. I’m Korean American with an MA in education and English and speak both English and Korean languages fluently. Does that make me better qualified than you? No. Sit back down.

  • aKOREANinKOREA

    Pardon some mistakes: Just because someone IS “white”, where you’re discriminateD upon.

  • Romebigred

    I can see why, I guess. A native Korean speaker fluent in English will be more sensitive to the more common struggles of a native Korean speaker learning English. However, being “just as effective,” what are their criteria? Correctly understanding Korean spoken with a Korean accent, or an English, Australian American accent? Correctly reading words? Correctly being understood by another Korean who understands English, or by a native English speaker? In making this choice, I’m sure there will be change. Some change will probably be positive, but can they confidently claim that there will be no downside?
    I’m not saying their decision is wrong, just that there is not enough information.

  • Moonboyroberts2

    You made a mistake with the use of the word ‘belligerent’. That is why native English speakers are valued over very good English speakers from elsewhere like yourself. We would not have used the word incorrectly – AND IT IS TOTALLY INCORRECT.

  • steve chang

    If you think the American military is here because of Korean interests, you need to read some books.

  • steve chang

    Here’s the problem with native speakers: they think the English they know ‘automatically’ is correct, and don’t bother to look shit up. In this particular case, you probably think ‘belligerent’ applies only to people, since every time you heard it, it was used to describe people who were belligerent and drunk. Now please explain why you think this guy is ‘TOTALLY INCORRECT’,

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    steve chang — I have no dog in this fight. I despise native-speaker english teachers, kyopo teachers, and Korean teachers of English equally, albeit usually for different reasons. Mostly, though, because I’m so much smarter than all of them and considerably more sensitive to abuse of the English language, as I’m a superior writer and enthusiastic reader. “Belligerent” is the wrong word in the context of the sentence cited. “Dissolute” is the correct choice of word; it describes the expat much more precisely. You, sir, are welcome. And thanks for resuscitating this pointless thread from way back!

  • steve chang

    You made an argument for a subjective ‘precision’. Thus, your use of the word ‘wrong’ is now in question. Shame.

  • wangkon936

    English teachers should be more grateful.  It seems that most are not and that does kind of ruin it for the better teachers.  That, in itself, invites a HUGE magnifying glass from Korean society, for which I believe they should.  A sense of responsibility and accountability is declining among young people in Western countries, especially in the Anglosphere.  It’s a shame that Korea get’s more than its fair of such people from their English teaching cohort.

    … and that’s all I got to say about that.

  • http://www.expatseek.com/ expatseek

    We highly recommend teaching in Korea. It’s a great experience; it’s an opportunity to earn extra income and it’s a wonderful adventure. Plenty of hagwon jobs still around.

  • Joel

    This was widely expected after the FBI criminal background checks and apostilles on those checks and the diplomas. It really doesn’t matter whether native speakers are effective or not, as the Korean government has made it very clear that it hates having Westerners in their country.

  • Sadek Rahman

    This is more about politics and appeasement, to those folks who hate the native teachers and thier role in education in Korea.
    There have been few group like the English Spectrum, and other groups, who fear foreigners,and others looking to create a pure blood Korean nation.

  • Smarol

    I am currently studying to teach English in Korea. I am seriously worried this might affect my future negatively. So uncool mang!

  • http://wrighteducationcentre.com/ Mikal

    best option its guieddience for native english teacher.

  • http://wrighteducationcentre.com/ Mikal

    i like this sites marmot’s hole in depands english speaking teacher.