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Korean Perception of Foreign English Teachers
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shostahoosier



Joined: 14 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aq8knyus wrote:

Well maybe but you did call english teachers nothing, insignificant, whiny, self-entitled weirdos. It weren't far off the mark.

1. Spot on.

2. I remember apparently we are looked down upon by the legions of successful business owners and highly paid professionals that make up the vast majority of Korea.

Ok I get what you are saying but if that were generally true then a) most Koreans are failures and b) Koreans are not particularly nice people. That was why I took what you were saying as a basher comment


Paddycakes isn't bashing Korea or foreigners. I'm not sure why so many people are taking the posts so personally. I'm an English teacher and I get exactly what he is saying.

Most Koreans don't think about foreigners. It doesn't mean you are less of a person, it just means you don't really factor into their daily lives.

Foreigners aren't bad people for having little influence on Korea.
Koreans aren't bad people for not putting you on a pedestal.
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ghostrider



Joined: 27 Jun 2011

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea has a reputation for hiring English teachers based on superficial characteristics. So if they complain about the quality of English teachers in their country they have only themselves to blame. You get what you pay for.
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aq8knyus



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

shostahoosier wrote:
aq8knyus wrote:

Well maybe but you did call english teachers nothing, insignificant, whiny, self-entitled weirdos. It weren't far off the mark.

1. Spot on.

2. I remember apparently we are looked down upon by the legions of successful business owners and highly paid professionals that make up the vast majority of Korea.

Ok I get what you are saying but if that were generally true then a) most Koreans are failures and b) Koreans are not particularly nice people. That was why I took what you were saying as a basher comment


Paddycakes isn't bashing Korea or foreigners. I'm not sure why so many people are taking the posts so personally. I'm an English teacher and I get exactly what he is saying.

Most Koreans don't think about foreigners. It doesn't mean you are less of a person, it just means you don't really factor into their daily lives.

Foreigners aren't bad people for having little influence on Korea.
Koreans aren't bad people for not putting you on a pedestal.


I suggest you go back and read his comments again, if he was only saying that foreigners are an irrevelancy to Koreans I would agree entirely.

The disagreement seems to stem from why a minority of Koreans do indeed have very negative opinions of english teachers. He says that this is because we are socially awkward weirdos who cant hold down a job. I say that it is because there is an element of anti-foreigner feeling, evidenced by the strength of the hate and the fact that the same thing happens in all countries.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korean perception of NETs?

Probably some of the best customers at the bar they own.

During my introduction for the year I got some whoops and cheers. My Co-teacher was surprised and attributed it to my teaching ability. Inside, they're probably cheering about me dropping 1/4 of my paycheck every month at their watering hole/meat joint.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peace Train wrote:
As someone working outside the education sphere, let me tell you, this sentiment is pretty universal.

Since i'm considered to be a "professional" in this country, my colleagues have no filter when discussing this subject. I've yet to talk to one who has a positive thing to say about english teachers. The multitude of articles and exposť's over the years have made a serious dent in public consciousness contrary to the "tempest in a teapot" defense most here like to wrap themselves in to stay warm.


Some of the older Koreans do have these views. But, I think they also judge a lot on looks here too. If you're a decent looking, fit, energetic English teacher and the kids love you, people and chicks will like you just fine, even if you are just a "scummy" English teacher. Younger Koreans will like you fine if you're cool. The older ones are just jealous of us and it comes down to masked resentment. Whatever, they can piss off. Keep doing you're thing.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wishfullthinkng wrote:
i once had a korean ask me, strangely enough, what americans thought about canadians.

i told them that americans think canadians spend all day sitting around their homes getting drunk off maple moonshine and trying to figure out how best to ride the abundance of wildlife in their backyard forests.

the korean was astounded.


...damn straight we do! ...and our beer is better than yours too! .....
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paddycakes wrote:
Most Koreans don't think about ESL teachers... they don't care...

Or they care about as much as as the average middle aged white guy back home cares about Vietnamese cooks. This means - not much.

However, some do care, and it's usually those from my experience who have worked or dealt with foreigners usually in educational settings.

Much of the negative perception of ESL teachers stems from some basic things:

1. Korea is a very image centered society, and while it may not apply to everyone in ESL, most ESL teachers look like slobs.

A lot are obese to morbidly obese.

In a society where people are generally thin and care about their appearance and make an effort to dress up, this is an issue.

2. A lot of ESL teachers make no effort to respect or fit in with the culture, but you could probably make that argument among the expats in professional occupations... in fact, they're probably worse since they have the money to not live like average locals.

3. ESL is generally a low paid, non-professional job, and we all know how obsessed Koreans are with income and status (ie., being a Doctor and a graduate of SNU... blah blah blah...).

I know some ESL teachers, especially those who work in universities, genuinely believe in their own minds that they are "professionals", but the reality is you're only a professional if you're a member of a self-regulating body and you're legally responsible for your work. Also, 'professional' jobs are generally high income (plus $100,000 per year).

I know everyone like to think they are "professionals", but those who hark on it usually come across looking insecure and trying to compensate for a reality they don't like.

4. A lot of ESL'ers would be loathe to admit it, but the reality is most are here because they can't get a job back home, or they just don't function socially very well back in their home countries. Or they're here for a fun working holiday... a gap year.

Some generally care about teaching ESL, but most don't.


So, yes, there is a stigma against English Instructors.

But who cares.

You're only here as a transient guest. Make some money. Pay off some student loan debt. Date some cute K-girls.

Have a good time.

Don't fret over how other people perceive you... you can't change their opinions.


Pre- 2009 recession, the whole fat slob, socially inept thing might have been true. Nowadays, with all the competition, a much higher number of more pretty and handsome teachers are coming into ESL over here.

As for perceptions, it's just the older Koreans who feel that way. But, if you're friendly and take some pride in your appearance, a lot will want to hang with you, even some Korean doctors or others with money. You might even get soem free lunches out of it. heh heh.

The younger Koreans don't think that way the same because many of them grew up middle class like many westerners. The older ones or those who grew up really poor in the countryside crave status and the appearance of money. But how many Koreans are in debt to their eyeballs trying to keep up appearances?

Be cool and people will like you. The ones who don't can go blow chunks. This anti foriegn 1980's generation will soon pass out of power. (They're the 50's and 60's years olds now.)
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JustinC



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Location: We Are The World!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weigookin74 wrote:
Nowadays, with all the competition, a much higher number of more pretty and handsome teachers are coming into ESL over here.


I agree with this statement 110%. Good to see that people are finally wakening to it.
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fermentation



Joined: 22 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="JustinC"]
Weigookin74 wrote:
Nowadays, with all the competition, a much higher number of more pretty and handsome teachers are coming into ESL over here.


I'm noticing the change and welcoming it. The white people I meet these days are more normal and better looking than I remember a few years ago.
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JustinC



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Location: We Are The World!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="fermentation"]
JustinC wrote:
Weigookin74 wrote:
Nowadays, with all the competition, a much higher number of more pretty and handsome teachers are coming into ESL over here.


I'm noticing the change and welcoming it. The white people I meet these days are more normal and better looking than I remember a few years ago.


But also slightly less entertaining Laughing

Anyone got a link to a thread about crazy EFL teachers in a less-regulated country? They're always good for a giggle.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, so Koreans are superficial, but you pat yourselves on the back because the NETs you meet nowadays are supposedly better, even better looking? Laughing

How would you know? Where you around in the '90s and early 2000s?
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Peace Train



Joined: 01 Nov 2012

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paddycakes wrote:
Most Korean don't care about foreigners. We're off their radars, in just the same way as Korean immigrants back home are generally off people's radars.


Bullshit.

This parallels my original point -- how English Teacher's here treat every NET related "scandal"; where the media openly slanders you people, as a tempest in a teapot.

It's flat out untrue. Any Korean adult with a kid is dedicating a decent chunk of their paycheck to English schooling -- via hogwans, private tutoring or overseas acclimation. As such they are either directly or indirectly hearing and sharing opinions re: foreign english teachers. And those opinions, by and large, are less than exemplary as a result of a 10 year smear campaign by the media.

I'm not going to repeat myself but go back and read my original post on page 1. I have been dealing with hundreds if not thousands of Koreans in a professional working environment for the past decade. They do indeed "care" about you people. And by care I mean want you dead.
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hiamnotcool



Joined: 06 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An NET is going to know about as much about what the local Korean population thinks of him/her as a Japanese tourist in Myeongdong is going to know what the local Korean population thinks about him/her.

When we leave here our legacy is going to be that of the belligerent, drunken foreigner that did nothing but get drunk, start fights, and violate innocent Korean women that just wanted to learn English. The Korean students will be praised for learning English in spite of our ignorance and incompetence in the field of teaching. It will be a dark period in the history of Korean education that was only endured because it was necessary for Korea to progress.

As for the other foreigners that hate on the ESL teachers here, you won't be viewed anymore positively. Most foreign pockets here love the shift the blame on the other foreign pockets. The NETs blame the Army, the Army blames the NETs the other foreigners blame the ESL guys or the Army depending on what the incident is. And why do you even come to an ESL cafe if you don't teach ESL and hate ESL teachers? That has always puzzled me. In the end we are just as guilty as the local Koreans for the stigma we have. Most foreigners here just blush and get an ego boost from being told they are one of the "special" foreigners without realizing how pathetic that makes them look.

I like Korea but the majority of the local people here don't seem to want to see any foreign influence as a positive thing. This has benefited the country in some ways, in other ways it has held it back. I guess the exception would be it's past relationship with China and that Dutch Soccer coach.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Any Korean adult with a kid is dedicating a decent chunk of their paycheck to English schooling -- via hogwans, private tutoring or overseas acclimation. As such they are either directly or indirectly hearing and sharing opinions re: foreign english teachers. And those opinions, by and large, are less than exemplary as a result of a 10 year smear campaign by the media.


So...when parents are comparing Hagwons, the opinion they are sharing is "The Korea Times says all foreign teachers are pedophiles, therefore I recommend you go to ABC Foreign Teacher Hagwon"

That doesn't make any sense.

If they really believed we were all pedophiles, they wouldn't be sending their kids into our presence.

Most Koreans I know do something like this- "You should try XYZ Hagwon, my kid's English has gone up and they really enjoy the classes. Oh did you watch last night's drama episode, blah blah blah."

Either that or its a friend or relative who runs the hagwon they recommend. Some NETs they don't care for, others the recommend.
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Paddycakes



Joined: 05 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peace Train wrote:
Paddycakes wrote:
Most Korean don't care about foreigners. We're off their radars, in just the same way as Korean immigrants back home are generally off people's radars.


Bullshit.

This parallels my original point -- how English Teacher's here treat every NET related "scandal"; where the media openly slanders you people, as a tempest in a teapot.

It's flat out untrue. Any Korean adult with a kid is dedicating a decent chunk of their paycheck to English schooling -- via hogwans, private tutoring or overseas acclimation. As such they are either directly or indirectly hearing and sharing opinions re: foreign english teachers. And those opinions, by and large, are less than exemplary as a result of a 10 year smear campaign by the media.

I'm not going to repeat myself but go back and read my original post on page 1. I have been dealing with hundreds if not thousands of Koreans in a professional working environment for the past decade. They do indeed "care" about you people. And by care I mean want you dead.



Thanks for referring to us as "You People" Rolling Eyes

Out of curiosity, what kind of "professional" job do you have? And please don't say "Editor" or "Visiting Professor"...

And why are you posting on an ESL board?

Koreans want ESL teachers "dead"?... Seriously?

Sorry, but your arguments lose all credibility with that statement.


I've been in Korea and around Asia for a long time.

Most ESL teachers and instructors are just ordinary people, especially now with the economy back in the US being so bad.

You get a lot of odd balls... but there are lot of odd balls back home, too.

They just tend to stand out more here.

I will freely admit, though, that a lot, but not all, of the older "lifers" can be bat sh*t strange. Admittedly, a lot of the lifers are running from issues back home.

But at the same time a lot of lifers are really nice, down to earth people who have done very well in ESL, especially if they own their own schools.


I'll say it again... and this is not a slap in the face against Koreans or English teachers.

As a foreigner in Korea (or any foreigner country), you're not significant. You are an Outsider. You may have certain legal protections like a tourist does, but you're not really a full member of society.

Just as any Korean guy in the US on a temp work visa who can't speak English is an Outsider.

Again, that's not a slap in face to any one.


There are only a few instances I could think of when Koreans would generally "hate" westerners...

1. You have a huge influx of foreigners who collect welfare and are a burden on the Korean social system.

-Never going to happen.

2. Foreigners start committing more serious crimes in larger numbers.

-Not really an issue.

3. You have a large group of westerners who immigrate to Korea and who control a large amount of the wealth, but who live separately from the Koreans (almost a colonial situation).

-Never going to happen because large numbers of westerners will never immigrate and settle here permanently.
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