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University Professors: what did you do after leaving Korea?
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fishy



Joined: 24 Oct 2006

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Ph.D., and I don't call myself a professor at my university. My friends back home who have tenure-track jobs (or tenure itself) would kill themselves laughing. "Instructor" feels better.

For me, there is no going back until I have enough money to retire because coming to Korea was academic suicide. Plus, there are no jobs in my field of study anyway.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scorpion wrote:
actionjackson wrote:
Am I the only one who is reading this as the OP is looking for advice on how to spin their experience teaching at the university level in Korea into something else once returning home? Take it easy people, typing in 'professor' is quicker and conveys the exact same message as 'I currently teach at a university', regardless of qualifications to do so.


If he had written "professor" (in quotation marks) I would have let it pass. But he wrote professor twice without any indication that he understood that he's actually no such thing. If he really does think of himself as a professor, and is actually planning on putting that on his resume when he returns home tp the States, well that's just Eddie Murphy laughing out loud funny. And I'm not only singling out the OP here. There are plenty of other Westerners here (sporting BA degrees with a C+ average) suffering from the same silly delusion.

I have a graduate degree and umpteen years of teaching experience but I would never think of calling myself a professor. Not before I got my PHD anyway.


I agree with this. The fact that the OP believes they are a professor indicates to me that they are out to lunch when it comes to expectations.

I know a number of people who have taught at Universities here and Korea, and moved back to Canada to work/live. But I don't know any PROFESSORS who did so.
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sublunari



Joined: 11 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry guys, the contract says 조교수, which translates to Assistant Professor. That said, I'm aware of my ridiculous position as a monkey in a suit, and I thought I made that clear in my first post by saying that I only got hired because of my visa, but a number of the more subtle minds this forum possesses (Scorpion, for one, with his graduate degree in Applied Schmuckery and umpteen years' experience wasting everybody's time) were still not really able to pick up on that. Regardless, if you still think that the university is mistaken in referring to me as an Assistant Professor, I'd be happy to put you in touch with any one of several administrators, who are, I'm sure, eager to listen to your valued expertise.

To the more helpful posters (ttompatz, actionjackson, Alum, James89), thanks for your advice. I've been thinking that pursuing a degree related to East Asian languages or history would be the only way of not failing out of grad school due to sheer boredom, but one of my college professors told me awhile back that it was a bad idea to get into the humanities, as universities are hiring fewer of these sorts of professors every year and making them work more while paying them less. I've also suspected that Korean, Chinese, or Japanese companies have so many of their own nationals who are bilingual that they don't really have a need for Westerners who happen to have similar skills.
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Scorpion



Joined: 15 Apr 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sublunari wrote:
That said, I'm aware of my ridiculous position as a monkey in a suit.


Thank you. That was all that we were asking you to acknowledge. Your OP, however, gave the impression that you were suffering from the notion that you were now qualified to work as a professor back home. The fact that you weren't adressing all English teachers in your OP, but rather directed it to other 'professors', makes me still think that that was your original notion. If not, you need to work on your communication skills.

Good luck in your application to the Yale English Department. Very Happy
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Swampfox10mm



Joined: 24 Mar 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many Koreans who taught at universities after the Korean war did not have more than a BA. After the war, with the country smashed and not so many people left with a Ph.D., many people became "professors" just by being hired by the school. One such professor just retired from our school last year. She had been here darned near that long, too.
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12ax7



Joined: 07 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sublunari wrote:
Sorry guys, the contract says 조교수, which translates to Assistant Professor. That said, I'm aware of my ridiculous position as a monkey in a suit, and I thought I made that clear in my first post by saying that I only got hired because of my visa, but a number of the more subtle minds this forum possesses (Scorpion, for one, with his graduate degree in Applied Schmuckery and umpteen years' experience wasting everybody's time) were still not really able to pick up on that. Regardless, if you still think that the university is mistaken in referring to me as an Assistant Professor, I'd be happy to put you in touch with any one of several administrators, who are, I'm sure, eager to listen to your valued expertise.


Dude, you were only given the title of 조교수 because it helps your university's rankings. Universities started promoting ESL teachers with just a BA and little or no university experience to that title a couple of years ago when rankings became important to second and third tier schools. What you really are is a 전임강사 since you work full time but you don't have an MA.
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Hotpants



Joined: 27 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Answering the original question with another question: What do you want to do in the longer term? Start planning for it now.

It invariably means keeping your quals fresh, so study, study, study. It also means networking, having a sharp resume, not being deluded about the competition around you, and not giving up - getting my first job back home after teaching EFL for 10 years was the hardest.

There are actually lots of avenues out there for TEFLers in all sorts of fields - more teaching, consultancy, school admin/management, publishing, translator, travel specialists, team leaders, eternal backpacking... You just gotta work to make it happen for you.
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zappadelta



Joined: 31 Aug 2004

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe people went back to their country of origin to get qualified to be a professor. Many people I have known over the years did that.
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The Grumpy Senator



Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Location: Up and down the 6 line

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hereby request that all those working in a public school position, who are not certified to teach in their home country, cease in referring to themselves as "native English teacher" or "public school teacher." Since you are not qualified for that distinction, please use the proper title of "classroom assistant."
Those working in a hagwon, please use the title of.....just lie and say you work at a public school!!! Wink
Better yet, how about we all calm down on what title is on our contract and try to help each with useful information? I know, weird request. Sorry.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OP, I didn't catch what your undergrad was in, but I think you got good advice about not getting a grad degree in the humanities right around now. And definitely not an expensive humanities MA!

Ever think of an MBA in entrepreneurship ot technology management? Homeland defense? Forensic accounting? Development or labour economics? Educational administration focussing on alternative education systems like specialty or on-line Ed or charter schools? Off the top of my head, these degrees would give you a shot at gainful employment once finished.

One suggestion is to try and get your ducks in a row before you pack your bags and head on home. Keep those pay checks coming as long as possible, because once you leave, you'll be hemorrhaging coin.

The 'professor' slip is common enough here, but definitely avoid using that terminology if you interview at a company, and especially a grad school. You'll sound, well, funny at best and sorely uninformed. And by all means
do NOT use that term on your CV!

Best of luck to you. Let us know how things pan out.

And, Grumpy, as weird as it may sound, I think you're right for the most part. Those who teach at hagwons, though, would simply be called instructors. People don't realize what they're setting themselves up for when they over inflate their titles. Those teaching at public schools could say that they're co-teachers, particularly if they at least have a degree related to English. And let's not forget that there are mant 'real' teachers here, replete with certifications and all.
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sirius black



Joined: 04 Jun 2010

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I am hearing (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that you want to teach in a similar capacity in America.
That won't happen without a Masters at least and a PhD is the standard.
You may be able to get away with a Bachelors in a Junior college if you are well versed in that subject but a Master's is generally needed but you have college teaching experience so that goes a long way. There are private language schools like Berlitz or your city if its large enough or if you to one that is large enough, have companies or organizations that teach immigrants English.

Grad school is looking like a must unless you luck out. You can pursue a graduate degree in Korea online and therefore keep adding to the experience column of teaching in a university so you can go bact with a Masters and a few years of direct university teaching experience under your belt and have a leg up on others.
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Grumpy Senator wrote:
I hereby request that all those working in a public school position, who are not certified to teach in their home country, cease in referring to themselves as "native English teacher" or "public school teacher." Since you are not qualified for that distinction, please use the proper title of "classroom assistant."
Those working in a hagwon, please use the title of.....just lie and say you work at a public school!!! Wink
Better yet, how about we all calm down on what title is on our contract and try to help each with useful information? I know, weird request. Sorry.


1. We are giving him useful information. In particular we are telling him to come back down to reality. That he is not a professor, and that he'll humiliate himself if he tries to pass himself off as such back home. Noone likes to be laughed at, so we're just giving him a (much needed, it seems) dose of reality.

2. Most English teachers working at a public school don't describe themselves as a "public school teacher". We are aware that our role there is different from the regular teaching staff. I simply say "I teach at a public school." From my observations, most others say that too.

3. Even if the occasional individual describes themselves as a 'public school teacher', it doesn't have the same pretentious flight of fantasy as, say, a kid with a B.A. referring to himself as a 'professor'. The former deserves a roll of the eyes. The latter is worthy of a double face palm.

He admits he is young. My advice to him is not to put 'professor' on his CV when returning home. He will make a fool of himself. At the very least he must be prepared for this question during an interview: "I see that you are a professor. Where did you do your PHD, and why didn't you list it on your resume." Confused
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NYC_Gal 2.0



Joined: 10 Dec 2010

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again: just write instructor.
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Hank the Iconoclast



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Location: Busan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am moving back to the States after teaching in the uni racket over here for three years. I have a MA in TESOL. Still, I don't call myself a Professor on my CV. I would never presume to do that unless someone asks me what my job title was over here. Even then I would explain that it is pretty much a courtesy title. I call myself a teacher or instructor as I consider myself to be a 'real' teacher.

Anyway, to the matter at hand, I will be teaching ESL or Social Studies. I was able to get certified while teaching over here. I did my student teaching experience at an international school. Once I get to the States, I will add endorsements as needed by taking Praxis II.
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Utopian



Joined: 12 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:13 am    Post subject: I disagree with the first two respondants Reply with quote

Don’t let them be too hard on you. Technically, you are a professor--that’s your title. Trust me, there are plenty of people fulfilling the same job functions in Korea with just the title of an instructor. As far as having a B.A. goes, I wouldn’t sweat it. After all, there are plenty of professors in the U.S.A. with just a M.A., and not a Ph.D.

From my own perspective, if you use your title in a way that increases your dedication to your craft of teaching and research, then you should be able to use it in good faith to advance your career opportunities in Korea and back home.

I wouldn’t adopt the humble attitude others are suggesting of you. You’re fulfilling a serious job function, and when you eventually get your M.A. degree, you’ll be happy to have the title of “Professor” on your C.V., rather than just “Instructor,” no matter what career path you pursue (e.g., education, nonprofit, business sector, etc.). Good luck.


Last edited by Utopian on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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