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State of the ESL economy: Is the party over?
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it hard to argue with Thiuda about taking charge of your life and improving yourself. Who doesn't want to do that?

I just think the problem is that it ranges from not necessarily to rarely works that way in Korea. Yes, some people do find a good, rewarding, secure job but from my experience these are definately the exceptions not the rules of the game. Many more people find salary ceilings, term limits and limited areas to grow in in terms of the ESL/EFL field in Korea.

Then, there is the whole edutainment remark. I have met a few natural edutainers but most people I've seen who edutain do so as a way of adapting and surviving. Few think how great it is to edutain. Such people would like to do more but there certainly are not enough Korean employers that would like NESTs to do more. This is part of the problem in my humble opinion.

I think there are a lot of disincentives to improving your credentials in the ESL field though there is no doubt in my mind that there must be thousands of people in Korea taking on-line courses. They do so dreaming of a better job and interestingly enough something called "respect." It will be interesting to see what the effect of all these on-line degrees will be. Will it improve Koreans English skills? Will it increase wages in Korea? Will people find the job of their dreams? We will have to wait and see... But, I do believe that there are far too many people doing it (working on online degrees) for it not to change the environment of ESL/EFL in Korea.

But, I am just not sure that such qualifications alone will make much difference but the idealist want to be says it must but the cynic inside me says the more things change the more things stay the same. And, as PRagic mentioned earlier, Korea is not an easy place to work. And, that (and some of this may be my opinion and not his) is what drives wages up. And, if it were to become more regulated and more desireable wages are quite likely to go down.
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said before, you should be in Korea more for the experience than the money.

And after a few years of being in Korea, well there just aren't that many new things to experience anymore. You have pretty much seen it all by then.

If you want to continue in ESL, I think it would be more rewarding and fulfilling to "country-hop" every few years rather than trying to advance in Korea. At least you will get the chance to see many countries. In Korea, it just seems you are banging your head against the wall after a while.
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cashpiles



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
Location: Busan, South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't a a masters degree taken in person be better (more reputable) than an online masters?
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Demophobe



Joined: 17 May 2004

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English Matt wrote:
I'm not trying to big up my life, rather I get fed up of people on this website who try to convince everybody on here that we all live in Shangri-la and that anybody who wants to leave and do something else is a naive, recent-grad who is making a dumb choice. Paticularly someone younger than me, who has spent less time in Korea than I have, doesn't yet have the 'real world' experience he touts, and plans to come back to Korea in the future. In every way he was mistaking me for him.

I don't want people who are not happy here to be scared into re-signing again and again and giving up on any dreams they once had, by being scared into believing that this is the best they can hope to achieve. People talk about people back home 'settling', well that is too often what I have observed in the long-termers I have met here - they have settled for a life in Korea, a life that to many people is simply dreary in comparison to the multitude of others they could lead.

It simply isn't the truth that this is the better place to be, and TEFL the best 'career' one could hope to achieve in their life, for many people and I would prefer that those of you who have chosen to stay here would stop beating the same old tired drum, "You'll be back." Ask yourself why it is being repeated ad hominem on this site: for the benefit of those who read such advice, or to make the person typing it feel better about the choices they have made in their own life?

For most, as youtuber pointed out, Korea should be a place that one comes to for a year or two for the money and / or the experience. After that they should, if at all possible, get out and pursue the life they have always wanted to live.


While you concern for those 'so deluded' is touching, there is a point - and that may have arrived when you allied yourself with youtuber - where you are in danger of coming across as an oafish, spoiled prat.

There is some truth in what you say, but there is no need to beat others over the head with your convictions. I can assure you of one thing; age changes our priorities and values, just a certainly as it will change our bodies.

Many here, myself included, were once brash and convinced that there was a better life out there in some exotic country. For a time, when I was out hunting it down, I thought I had found it on numerous occasions. When I finally killed the beast and stretched out on the bloody hide in front of the fire, I became bored, no matter where I lay. Repeat to bewilderment and then to realization: routine in an inevitability that is to varying degrees, accepted as we ferment.

Some defend this place to ridiculous measures while other feel compelled to ridicule what some accept as their measure. As I said, you may be right regarding some, but not for all. This 'better life' you speak of may have been found by many here in Korea; we are not all the same and nor is our vision of nirvana. I am certain that you celebrate diversity of thought as much as you do diversity of culture, so put your feet up and let it go.

What I mean is: for one so bothered by those who believe Korea to be all that, you sure choose strange places to spend your time. Bugger off to your 'better world' and leave us to our delusions!

Wink
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English Matt



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Demophobe wrote:
English Matt wrote:
I'm not trying to big up my life, rather I get fed up of people on this website who try to convince everybody on here that we all live in Shangri-la and that anybody who wants to leave and do something else is a naive, recent-grad who is making a dumb choice. Paticularly someone younger than me, who has spent less time in Korea than I have, doesn't yet have the 'real world' experience he touts, and plans to come back to Korea in the future. In every way he was mistaking me for him.

I don't want people who are not happy here to be scared into re-signing again and again and giving up on any dreams they once had, by being scared into believing that this is the best they can hope to achieve. People talk about people back home 'settling', well that is too often what I have observed in the long-termers I have met here - they have settled for a life in Korea, a life that to many people is simply dreary in comparison to the multitude of others they could lead.

It simply isn't the truth that this is the better place to be, and TEFL the best 'career' one could hope to achieve in their life, for many people and I would prefer that those of you who have chosen to stay here would stop beating the same old tired drum, "You'll be back." Ask yourself why it is being repeated ad hominem on this site: for the benefit of those who read such advice, or to make the person typing it feel better about the choices they have made in their own life?

For most, as youtuber pointed out, Korea should be a place that one comes to for a year or two for the money and / or the experience. After that they should, if at all possible, get out and pursue the life they have always wanted to live.


While you concern for those 'so deluded' is touching, there is a point - and that may have arrived when you allied yourself with youtuber - where you are in danger of coming across as an oafish, spoiled prat.

There is some truth in what you say, but there is no need to beat others over the head with your convictions. I can assure you of one thing; age changes our priorities and values, just a certainly as it will change our bodies.

Many here, myself included, were once brash and convinced that there was a better life out there in some exotic country. For a time, when I was out hunting it down, I thought I had found it on numerous occasions. When I finally killed the beast and stretched out on the bloody hide in front of the fire, I became bored, no matter where I lay. Repeat to bewilderment and then to realization: routine in an inevitability that is to varying degrees, accepted as we ferment.

Some defend this place to ridiculous measures while other feel compelled to ridicule what some accept as their measure. As I said, you may be right regarding some, but not for all. This 'better life' you speak of may have been found by many here in Korea; we are not all the same and nor is our vision of nirvana. I am certain that you celebrate diversity of thought as much as you do diversity of culture, so put your feet up and let it go.

What I mean is: for one so bothered by those who believe Korea to be all that, you sure choose strange places to spend your time. Bugger off to your 'better world' and leave us to our delusions!

Wink


If you'd read my posts properly you would have seen I never said that we are all the same. If people like it here in Korea....good for them. My issue is with those in Korea (or planning to return) who harp on about those back home as being sorry sad-cases. I'm bored of seeing these sorts of posts. People who are happy with the choices they have made in life usually don't have to disparage the choices made by others....that is my main point.

As regards why I spend my time on this site....well I currently live in Korea and there is precious little to do during the week when stuck in Suwon (and I am also currently sick and stuck in my apartment), hence this is a distraction for me.
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Demophobe



Joined: 17 May 2004

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English Matt wrote:


If you'd read my posts properly...


You may need to offer a course.

Razz

Hope you feel better soon. The world misses you trying to conquer it.

Wink
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English Matt



Joined: 12 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Demophobe wrote:
English Matt wrote:


If you'd read my posts properly...


You may need to offer a course.

Razz


Hope you feel better soon. The world misses you trying to conquer it.

Wink


Sorry, it's illegal for me to offer private English lessons to you on my visa Wink
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asylum seeker



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
Location: On your computer screen.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I find it hard to argue with Thiuda about taking charge of your life and improving yourself. Who doesn't want to do that?

I just think the problem is that it ranges from not necessarily to rarely works that way in Korea. Yes, some people do find a good, rewarding, secure job but from my experience these are definately the exceptions not the rules of the game. Many more people find salary ceilings, term limits and limited areas to grow in in terms of the ESL/EFL field in Korea.



This is exactly the point I was trying to make but Thiuda keeps trying to misrepresent me. I never once said that it was impossible to be successful here and of course your personal work ethic is the main arbiter of your success. However the reality is the vast majority of jobs here are not secure and do not have guaranteed pay raises plus almost all of the hagwon jobs are lacking in holidays.

If you have a fantastic, tenured university job then kudos to you, seriously, I'm not trying to denigrate you and attack your life choice in anyway so there's no need to be so defensive. What youtuber and I are talking about is the general trends in the 'entry-level' hagwon and PS jobs which make up probably about 98% of the job market here.

The free trade deal with India, the jobless 'recovery' in western countries, the increasing amount of Koreans with long-term overseas experience and high-level English skills, the increasing disillusionment with NETs in public schools- in my opinion all of these factors are going to create a glut of supply here which will force down wages and conditions for the kind of jobs which constitute most of the job market. At best I think wages will remain stagnant.

I would be willing to bet money that the average wage here will not have increased from today's levels in ten years time (obviously this prediction does not apply to people like Pragic in tenured positions I'm talking about the plebeian jobs). Of course ten years is a long time so I'm not really expecting anyone to take me up on it. Wink
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Thiuda



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Location: Religion ist für Sklaven geschaffen, für Wesen ohne Geist.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
I just think the problem is that it ranges from not necessarily to rarely works that way in Korea. Yes, some people do find a good, rewarding, secure job but from my experience these are definately the exceptions not the rules of the game. Many more people find salary ceilings, term limits and limited areas to grow in in terms of the ESL/EFL field in Korea.


The title of this thread reads, "State of the ESL economy: Is the party over?" My answer: No, there are plenty of opportunities out there, if you have the qualifications and if you know where to look. I think that my opinion is supported by posts in another thread: Do you qualify for a university job? Take a look at what Demophobe and PatrickGHBusan are saying on page 3.

Maybe the problem lies in our definition of high-paying, secure and rewarding . For me, a high-paying job in EFL pays 4 million a month or more. Secure doesn't mean that I earn my salary at one place, it means that I consistently earn the same amount. What people consider rewarding is subjective, but I'll define it as feeling valued for the work one does, as well as a sense of achievement when the day is over.

In my opinion, there are plenty of opportunities out there that will allow individuals to consistently earn more than 4 mill a month, while being at the same time rewarding.

Unposter wrote:
Then, there is the whole edutainment remark. I have met a few natural edutainers but most people I've seen who edutain do so as a way of adapting and surviving. Few think how great it is to edutain. Such people would like to do more but there certainly are not enough Korean employers that would like NESTs to do more. This is part of the problem in my humble opinion.


I have no problem at all with edutainment. If you read my previous post again, you'll find that I criticized English language entertainment, not entertaining English education. If students are being educated as well as entertained, so much the better.


Unposter wrote:
I think there are a lot of disincentives to improving your credentials in the ESL field though there is no doubt in my mind that there must be thousands of people in Korea taking on-line courses. They do so dreaming of a better job and interestingly enough something called "respect." It will be interesting to see what the effect of all these on-line degrees will be. Will it improve Koreans English skills? Will it increase wages in Korea? Will people find the job of their dreams? We will have to wait and see... But, I do believe that there are far too many people doing it (working on online degrees) for it not to change the environment of ESL/EFL in Korea.


Furthering one's education, for whatever reasons, can only bring rewards. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any disincentives to improving one's credentials!

Unposter wrote:
But, I am just not sure that such qualifications alone will make much difference but the idealist want to be says it must but the cynic inside me says the more things change the more things stay the same.


I have an online degree. My online MA has made all the difference: I get more interviews when I apply for jobs, I get more money when I do work somewhere, I get more respect from students and employers. An online qualification is better than no qualification and completing one says a lot about the person who has one (from an accredited university).
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Thiuda



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Location: Religion ist für Sklaven geschaffen, für Wesen ohne Geist.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

asylum seeker wrote:
I would be willing to bet money that the average wage here will not have increased from today's levels in ten years time (obviously this prediction does not apply to people like Pragic in tenured positions I'm talking about the plebeian jobs). Of course ten years is a long time so I'm not really expecting anyone to take me up on it. Wink


Let us for a moment assume that you're correct and that the average wage for plebwork does not increase over the next ten years. Is this observation meaningful in any way? No, because the individuals who today are working in entry level positions will, by-and-large, no longer be working in these positions - they'll have moved on to bigger and better things. My point is that a) these bigger and better things are proportionally related to the amount of effort individuals put into professional development, networking and gaining relevant experience, and b) that worthwhile opportunities are available to individuals willing to work for them.
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xingyiman



Joined: 12 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

English Matt wrote:
Demophobe wrote:
English Matt wrote:
^

Mate, don't mistake me for you. I'm 27 and graduated when I was 20. I've lived in 4 countries on 3 continents since then and have in excess of $50000 in the bank. I've experienced reality before.

People who head home with no real idea of what they want to do with their lives, with no real plan and only a few thousand dollars in the bank are the ones who fall foul of their own poor foresight and end up coming back....and I would venture to say not knowing what to do with one's life is what keeps a fair few people here also.

I already speak 2 languages and am working on a third. I will be moving to Germany in the summer where I will be brushing up my German and attempting to land an internship with a charity through the European Commission. Afterwards I will be going back to University to get my Masters....perhaps in Berlin, perhaps in Amsterdam....after which I will look for any and all job openings in the public and NGO sectors.

I have experience of the 'real world', knowledge of what I want to do with my life, the money to get me there and the willingness to bet on my own future.....if you choose to settle in Korea teaching English don't try to make yourself feel better by berating those who have goals and are willing to do what they need to get there.

In addition I never said you or anybody else has 'settled' for something less than you want in life, but it sure smells that way when you use the tired old response of "You'll be back" to attack those who choose to leave Korea and pursue a future outside of this country and outside of TEFL.



Bravo your life. Take a rest, handsome Matt teacher.


I'm not trying to big up my life, rather I get fed up of people on this website who try to convince everybody on here that we all live in Shangri-la and that anybody who wants to leave and do something else is a naive, recent-grad who is making a dumb choice. Paticularly someone younger than me, who has spent less time in Korea than I have, doesn't yet have the 'real world' experience he touts, and plans to come back to Korea in the future. In every way he was mistaking me for him.

I don't want people who are not happy here to be scared into re-signing again and again and giving up on any dreams they once had, by being scared into believing that this is the best they can hope to achieve. People talk about people back home 'settling', well that is too often what I have observed in the long-termers I have met here - they have settled for a life in Korea, a life that to many people is simply dreary in comparison to the multitude of others they could lead.

It simply isn't the truth that this is the better place to be, and TEFL the best 'career' one could hope to achieve in their life, for many people and I would prefer that those of you who have chosen to stay here would stop beating the same old tired drum, "You'll be back." Ask yourself why it is being repeated ad hominem on this site: for the benefit of those who read such advice, or to make the person typing it feel better about the choices they have made in their own life?

For most, as youtuber pointed out, Korea should be a place that one comes to for a year or two for the mod / or the experience. After that they should, if at all possible, get out and pursue the life they have always wanted to live.

Matt, the only time I've seen the "you'll be back" is when some smartass is leaving Korea and calling all the people who are staying losers. If a person has some really good gig lined up back home I say great, an excellent opportunity. One that most people here probably don't have. If a person wishes to stay and make ESL a career then thats ok too. You'll find the disparaging comments flung on both sides of the debate for sure. I was merely using the "settling" observation to describe the way I saw my situation in comparison to others I've known who stayed back home in the day to day routine. For any number of reasons they coulldn't survive in my place anymore than I would wish to do so in theirs.
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Demophobe



Joined: 17 May 2004

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, as said above, the whole "you'll be back" thing is either a joke or projection. Some people are in here deep; in matters of new beginnings, there is no recourse at all and they feel the need to install that feeling into others. Otherwise, it is said in jest; Korea does have a way of getting into your bones, after all!
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asylum seeker



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
Location: On your computer screen.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thiuda wrote:
asylum seeker wrote:
I would be willing to bet money that the average wage here will not have increased from today's levels in ten years time (obviously this prediction does not apply to people like Pragic in tenured positions I'm talking about the plebeian jobs). Of course ten years is a long time so I'm not really expecting anyone to take me up on it. Wink


Let us for a moment assume that you're correct and that the average wage for plebwork does not increase over the next ten years. Is this observation meaningful in any way? No, because the individuals who today are working in entry level positions will, by-and-large, no longer be working in these positions - they'll have moved on to bigger and better things.


It's pretty damn meaningful for those who will be starting in those positions and the fact is there are not enough good uni jobs for everybody who wants them. Some people will end up stuck at hagwons, public school or low-paying non-tenure uni jobs if they choose to stay here. Again, if you have a good job then no need to get defensive, this does not apply to you.
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Moldy Rutabaga



Joined: 01 Jul 2003
Location: Ansan, Korea

PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The free trade deal with India, the jobless 'recovery' in western countries, the increasing amount of Koreans with long-term overseas experience and high-level English skills, the increasing disillusionment with NETs in public schools- in my opinion all of these factors are going to create a glut of supply here which will force down wages and conditions for the kind of jobs which constitute most of the job market. At best I think wages will remain stagnant.

I think this is exactly so. Looking at what I was paid in my first hogwan job in 2003, I do not see that wages for entry-level hogwan jobs have risen at all while costs of living have increased. While it is true that teachers in those positions will hopefully have moved on -- to home or to universities, what I am concerned about is the jobs themselves and the quality of the people filling them.

I am sounding a little like Asmith with my gloomy predictions. It is not all bad as, I will say once again, other countries such as China and SE Asia are going to easily take up the glut of western teachers with their rapidly growing ESL industries. As for Korean ESL, recessions are a temporary way to force people to work for you cheap, but in the long run schools will get poorer teachers to match the poorer pay.
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creeper1



Joined: 30 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: Beautiful Picture Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:


Not a one of these friends has ever had a problem getting better and better paying jobs. Some have property (1 or more) in one or two other countries, all of them vacation their arses off, and all are pretty happy. By and large, most have a sizable nest egg on the make.



Nice! That's the way to be! Certainly better than busting our asses looking for a job at home.
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