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The only good foreigner....is a 'new' foreigner?
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
Best quote in a while: "I think that people with "some experience" have enjoyed the "easy life" on the ESL gravy train and failed to improve their skill sets to the point where they can move onward or upward." Thanks, ttompatz.

X10000

This point has been made before, but it's amazing that it doesn't settle in. Many on this board know some very successful ESL teachers, and the reason they're successful is that they've consistently upgraded their qualifications and skill sets.


1. Spending several years working in a public school classroom is no "gravy train". Believe you me. If you think it is, you must have pretty odd idea as to what a gravy train is. Either that or you mustn't have spent much time in said institution.

2. People upgrade their skills on a daily basis as they are working. Learning what works and does not work in the classroom, and incorporating that acquired knowledge into your lessons, is the best known way of improving your skills.

3. People are not necessarily talking about moving 'onward and upward'. They want to continue exactly where they are, doing what they enjoy and are good at. They simply want to continue working at the same school for another year. Being replaced by young university graduate, with zero experience, makes a nonsense of the suggestion that some aren't renewed because they didn't 'improve their skills'. The school hasn't replace teacher 'x' with someone the same age who has 'improved their skills'. They've replaced her with a newb.

This has been stated before. It is amazing how it doesn't sink in. Confused
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1. Spending several years working in a public school classroom is no "gravy train". Believe you me. If you think it is, you must have pretty odd idea as to what a gravy train is. Either that or you mustn't have spent much time in said institution.

2. People upgrade their skills on a daily basis as they are working. Learning what works and does not work in the classroom, and incorporating that acquired knowledge into your lessons, is the best known way of improving your skills.

3. People are not necessarily talking about moving 'onward and upward'. They want to continue exactly where they are, doing what they enjoy and are good at. They simply want to continue working at the same school for another year. Being replaced by young university graduate, with zero experience, makes a nonsense of the suggestion that some aren't renewed because they didn't 'improve their skills'. The school hasn't replace teacher 'x' with someone the same age who has 'improved their skills'. They've replaced her with a newb.

This has been stated before. It is amazing how it doesn't sink in.


You make some good points but at the end of the day you knew (or should have known) going in that the public school job was a class room assistant type job which required no experience at the outset. It's unfortunate if people want to do the job long time but they can't really be surprised if their employers don't see it the same way.
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:
1. Spending several years working in a public school classroom is no "gravy train". Believe you me. If you think it is, you must have pretty odd idea as to what a gravy train is. Either that or you mustn't have spent much time in said institution.

2. People upgrade their skills on a daily basis as they are working. Learning what works and does not work in the classroom, and incorporating that acquired knowledge into your lessons, is the best known way of improving your skills.

3. People are not necessarily talking about moving 'onward and upward'. They want to continue exactly where they are, doing what they enjoy and are good at. They simply want to continue working at the same school for another year. Being replaced by young university graduate, with zero experience, makes a nonsense of the suggestion that some aren't renewed because they didn't 'improve their skills'. The school hasn't replace teacher 'x' with someone the same age who has 'improved their skills'. They've replaced her with a newb.

This has been stated before. It is amazing how it doesn't sink in.


You make some good points but at the end of the day you knew (or should have known) going in that the public school job was a class room assistant type job which required no experience at the outset. It's unfortunate if people want to do the job long time but they can't really be surprised if their employers don't see it the same way.

It's unfortunate if anyone takes this job seriously or considers themselves valuable to any team within the schools at all.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smithington wrote:

1. Spending several years working in a public school classroom is no "gravy train". Believe you me. If you think it is, you must have pretty odd idea as to what a gravy train is. Either that or you mustn't have spent much time in said institution.

2. People upgrade their skills on a daily basis as they are working. Learning what works and does not work in the classroom, and incorporating that acquired knowledge into your lessons, is the best known way of improving your skills.

3. People are not necessarily talking about moving 'onward and upward'. They want to continue exactly where they are, doing what they enjoy and are good at. They simply want to continue working at the same school for another year. Being replaced by young university graduate, with zero experience, makes a nonsense of the suggestion that some aren't renewed because they didn't 'improve their skills'. The school hasn't replace teacher 'x' with someone the same age who has 'improved their skills'. They've replaced her with a newb.

This has been stated before. It is amazing how it doesn't sink in. Confused


1) having spent far more years in Korean classrooms (hagwons and public schools) than I really want to admit, as the original author of that quote, I strongly believe it is little more than a "gravy train" where newbies will few skills learn little more than classroom appeasement as they collect their salaries.

That is not to say that they don't do the best that they can but that unless they partake in further professional development they never progress beyond that point. Classroom appeasement would not, in my mind, qualify as "best practices".

2) See #1.

3) The problem lies in the simple fact that far too many who stay at the entry level think they are somehow worth more than the newbie who is coming in. The truth is that, to the employer, they are not. They perform the same job, generate the same revenue (in the case of a hagwon) or use up the same resources (PS) while delivering the same content.

Newbie level job = newbie level remuneration. They simply price themselves out of the newbie market or as is sometimes the case, bring too much baggage with them to an entry level job.

Contrary to the popular opinion in this thread there IS upward mobility for those who started out in ESL beyond a simple "guest lecturer" job at a uni.

Teacher trainer, publisher's workshop presenter, DOS are simple steps up from ESL and take only a 3-month course like a DipT or DELTA to get there.

Editing, publishing and related fields are options for those with the wherewithal to put in the work.

Actual teacher certification and going mainstream are options.

Getting more academic credentials/certification and moving into administration (public for those on an F-visa ), private schools (not hagwons) or getting into the "international school" circuit are big steps up but not unrealistic.

If you want to hang out at the bottom of the ladder then pay the price. It is a short lived career with a clearly visible glass ceiling.

Professional development is the key in this industry as it is in any other industry.

Move on, move up or move out.

.
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silkhighway



Joined: 24 Oct 2010
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Professional development is a continuous process. Taking time off work and paying out of pocket for a course is disruptive and that goes beyond professional development, it's pursuing a new career. You could argue that if you are enjoying your taste of the EFL game in your hagwon or public school, you should pursue a career in...EFL.

Personally I find qualifications in TESOL or even the Education field in general are a poor way of managing the workforce. Malcolm Gladwell agrees with me: Predicting success in teaching and football.

Other than that, "Entry-level" is just another way of saying a transient workforce with no collective bargaining power and low expectations from their employers. Not surprisingly, results likely match that, but by now, in 2013, everyone should know what the game is.
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nautilus



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Location: Je jump, Tu jump, oui jump!

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dodge7 wrote:

It's unfortunate if anyone takes this job seriously or considers themselves valuable to any team within the schools at all.


If you have such a terrible attitude it will probably show in your work too.

If you think that what you are doing has no value, why do you bother to teach esl at all? Go and do something else.

The fact is that this industry suffers badly from having too many clueless people who do not value it or take it seriously.

Language teaching is in fact a skill and it should be nurtured by teachers and management alike. It is a shame that Korea views it as so lowly, but their anti-foreignerism is a big part of why that is.


Tompatz wrote:
The problem lies in the simple fact that far too many who stay at the entry level think they are somehow worth more than the newbie who is coming in. The truth is that, to the employer, they are not. They perform the same job, generate the same revenue (in the case of a hagwon) or use up the same resources (PS) while delivering the same content.


Thats not exactly True Tompatz.

Many employers stipulate that a teacher must have at least 2 years experience.

Because they realise that actually someone who has spent time in the classroom picking up skills on a daily basis is far more valuable than a complete newb.

Of course experienced teachers are better than those with no experience. Thats just logical.

Picking up higher qualifications may be useful if you want to teach in other countries which take English language-learning seriously.

But don't pretend they are of any use whatsoever in Korea. There is no career ladder here, nor is there any incentive for anyone staying in Korea long term to upgrade their credentials.


Last edited by nautilus on Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:23 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Seoul_newbie



Joined: 29 Nov 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even universities care more about their bottom line than the students who pay to keep them afloat, as seen in their recent stance in forcing students to pay their tuition in cash to avoid credit card fees.

I would expect public high schools to be as sensitive about their bottom line. It doesn't help that Korean society perceives these ESL jobs to be ridiculously easy to perform.
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nautilus wrote:
Picking up higher qualifications may be useful if you want to teach in other countries which take English language-learning seriously.

But don't pretend they are of any use whatsoever in Korea. There is no career ladder here, nor is there any incentive for anyone staying in Korea long term to upgrade their credentials.
What is the difference between me and my friend who works at a university making twice what I do, doing half the work per week and taking half the year off? Is it that he's better-looking?
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nautilus



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Location: Je jump, Tu jump, oui jump!

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheolsu wrote:
What is the difference between me and my friend who works at a university making twice what I do, doing half the work per week and taking half the year off? Is it that he's better-looking?


That type of job is for people teaching a subject other than english language acquisition.

Sure, if you have a PhD you can teach medieval basketry or whatever.


But we're talking about ESL here. Experience and qualifications will only send you to the bottom of the pile. Korean employers are intimidated by actual expertise.
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrong, he's an visiting professor in the English department. I have many friends who teach English or in education departments teaching others how to teach English. They all make at least 3 million won per month, if not significantly more, with far better work conditions, longer vacations and better benefits than what I get at a typical middle school. Even the university job that I got, while near the bottom of the ladder, pays significantly better than what I get now. I know that they wouldn't have hired a skinny blonde with no experience and no qualifications beyond a BA.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheolsu wrote:
nautilus wrote:
Picking up higher qualifications may be useful if you want to teach in other countries which take English language-learning seriously.

But don't pretend they are of any use whatsoever in Korea. There is no career ladder here, nor is there any incentive for anyone staying in Korea long term to upgrade their credentials.
What is the difference between me and my friend who works at a university making twice what I do, doing half the work per week and taking half the year off? Is it that he's better-looking?

Maybe. Or maybe he happened to be in Korea when hiring standards were extremely low and university jobs were easy to get. What are his quals? There are a ton of BA holders working in good unis. What those people have in common is they got their foot in the door earlier. Standards for new hires have been raised, and yes, females are strongly preferred over males.
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe I'm debating the point that people making in the neighbourhood of 3-4 million (or more) with less than 10 teaching hours and months-long vacations didn't get there by coming here with BAs ten years ago, but here we are. The qualifications of some of my friends who teach at universities here:

1. MA in English literature from a good public university in the United States, less than three years of experience at Korean universities, along with a year teaching at the same school in the States

2. B. Ed, M. Ed, about two decades of teaching experience in Canada and Korea, got his most recent job two years ago

3. MA TESOL, CELTA, DELTA, Ph. D in education at a well-respected public university in the United States, got his tenure-track job just a few years ago

4. B. Ed, MA in English, taught at a hagwon for a year, followed by three years at smaller Korean universities before getting a job at one of the best universities to work as an EFL instructor in Seoul

5. B. Ed, M. Ed, certified teacher back home, teach at a university in Seoul

6. MA TESOL from a good public school in the US, teaches at one of the best-known universities in Seoul, with conditions to match (ie not like SNU, where the name translates to lousy conditions)

I'll toss in my own name for how my qualifications will look when I finish my next contract and my MA:

7. MA TESOL from a good public school in the US (when I say this, I mean that it's ranked among the top 100 or 200 universities in the world, some of my friends have in-person qualifications from schools I've never heard of), five years of teaching experience, one year of experience at a university

It's simply ludicrous to say that qualifications count for nothing in Korea. Yes, there are people who make a lot of money with just a BA, but there is no shortage of people who don't spend all their time complaining about their jobs because they have great jobs with great pay, conditions and benefits that they got by investing in themselves. Every single one of these people have gotten new jobs in the last three years. Every single one, with the exception of myself, makes at least 3 million (plus housing), with a tiny workload, low work hours and long vacations.

Oh, and to play the game of superficiality, 1-6 are white, while I'm not. All of them are men, though #4 is female and #5 has a wife who has identical qualifications. Ages range from 26 (me) to over 50.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: Victoria, Canada.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most successful teacher I know has been in Korea 10 years. He hasn't upgraded his skills or studied Korean. Within 2 months of working here he was making 5 Mil a month, and has been doing that for 10 years. The guy is loaded. He makes the money because he works like a dog.

90% of the jobs are teaching kids.
90% are entry level.
90% pay 2.2 plus housing.

You make more money by teaching more.

==
2nd story. Experienced teacher in my town. Taught 5 years same school district, with glowing reviews. He did open classes for Korean teachers and foreign teacher training. This year he turned 59, and was told he's a terrible teacher and wasn't renewed.

To me, success here is saving up as much money as quickly as you can and leaving.

Shㅣt, I walk down the street and get heckled by middle schoolers and I'm 40 years old. Do you really want to live here your entire life? Really, maybe you save more money here (like I do), but how can you compare the lifestyle? Do you want to raise children here? Do you want to get old and be treated in a hospital here? Do you want to eat Tuna Kimbap forever?

You get what you pay for. It costs little to live here, and it costs a lot to live back home. The quality of life in Korea vs. Canada. It's like comparing a Kia and a BMW. Public places, clean streets, good medical, social services, this list goes on forever. Korea; low taxes, little crime, bells on tables - those are the good things, everything else is subpar.
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Seoul_newbie



Joined: 29 Nov 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, those teaching at university get paid more than ESL hagwon / public school teachers. Why is that surprising?

Compare the salaries of foreigners teaching in a university at the entry-level vs. foreigners who have taught there for years and let me know if there is a tendency to replace old timers with shiny new faces and whether the salary stays the same / there really is a pay bump with experience.

Also, their salaries are no where near equal to their Korean counterparts (average 60 -100,000). What does that tell you?

Reading other threads on this forum, it seems that universities, like hagwons and public schools, prefer to hire on a contractual basis, its hard to renew a contract, and its nearly impossible to actually get tenure there.
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seoul_newbie wrote:
Also, their salaries are no where near equal to their Korean counterparts (average 60 -100,000). What does that tell you?
It tells me that someone with a PhD makes more than someone with an MA.

Quote:
Reading other threads on this forum, it seems that universities, like hagwons and public schools, prefer to hire on a contractual basis, its hard to renew a contract, and its nearly impossible to actually get tenure there.
It's hard to get tenure anywhere. No one is going to get tenure without a PhD, and most EFL instructors don't have one. There are posters here who are on the tenure track, and they will tell you that when a foreigner actually deserves to be hired for a tenure-track position, they will be hired for one. Otherwise, why would someone with an MA be given tenure when Koreans with an MA would never be given tenure? I've assumed that Koreans without a PhD don't get tenure, but if it's common for tenure-track positions at Korean universities to be filled by those with MAs, please let me know.
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