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A Doomed Future?
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misher



Joined: 14 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Forget China - you can barely breathe here.

There are small particles, smaller than 2.5 microns that penetrate deep into your lungs in Chinese cities and cause a variety of pulmanary diseases.

At times the pollution is literally "beyond index"

China will never, ever, ever beat Korea as a place to live.

There is plenty of money to be made in Korea. And yes the party goes on and on and on.


Some people dig china. I personally found it to be hell on earth. And there will always be money to be made in EFL, particularly in S Korea. The caveat is that you have to remain super flexible. That is be able to pick up AND MOVE and MOVE FAST when one of your bread and butter gigs goes belly up or the government makes a change in policy etc. Not a great situation when you're supporting a family.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a troll wrote:
the party goes on

Teaching students who have little to no interest in learning how to speak English is no party. (That's the situation most Western English teachers in Korea are in.)

earthquakez wrote:
I consider Korean children and teenagers to be the rudest and most disrespectful students I have taught

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sVCTAFhMck
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atwood



Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Traveler wrote:
TheMeerkatLover wrote:
earned our place

There are people working in top ten universities in Seoul with only an unrelated BA. Why? They got in back when hiring standards were low. It is much easier to keep (stay at) a good university job (in fact you will, unless you are a total screw up) than get in in the first place (especially nowadays). You and others are benefitting from a rule that has universities asking for prior university experience: 2 years for an MA holder and 4 years for a BA holder. How does a person without the prior requisite university experience get in? He can't. You think that is fair? I doubt you are as good at teaching as you think you are. (And that goes for a lot of the other old men posting on Dave's as well.)

Not many. The government now requires master's degrees. Even tiny private universities in the hinterlands were letting instructors with just BA's go.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh man. That must be a recent development then. It must just now be starting to happen all over Korea. There are some posters in this thread who both don't have a masters yet are working in a university. For example, Unposter has an unrelated BA (in history) yet works in a university in Seoul. Will he and others like him be booted out? Only time will tell.
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I'm With You



Joined: 01 Sep 2011

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

misher wrote:
Like I said, I know 2 individuals with maxed out qualifications. One I met while I was in my MA program and he was doing an EdD. He started out in Korea, did an MA, met his wife, networked his way into better jobs and found himself at a uni in Seoul teaching conversation uni EFL and some content in the unis MA Tesol young learners program. He also did contract work for the British Council. Needless to say he did everything right. When I mentioned that I got 2 offers from decent Korean unis through some of my profs he told me if he were me he wouldn't do it. He was returning to his uni basically to teach the same content but a bit of a bump in pay but he would never be tenured because TESOL is too soft and unis now are trimming fat. However his wife wanted to go back to Korea to help take car of her parents. He said if he were young and single he would get out of ESL/EFL altogether. If teaching is your thing, teach content and get a job at an international school. If it is uni then pursue academia in a subject where tenure is maybe possible like some on here (PRagic comes to mind). Employment for all is getting tougher with more risks. The least a person can do is try to mitigate those risks. Pursuing an EFL career is not mitigating those risks unless you just want to be a single floater and not set roots down anywhere, get married or have children.


A few good points here. I think the days of expecting to TEFL in one spot and expect to have long-term positions with security, a wife and kids, etc. are over. And I'm really mainly only speaking about university teaching positions, since conversation schools and security don't really belong in the same sentence.

People will need to go where the work is, and that's China. The TEFL scene in Korea seems to be followiing the situation in Japan which is circling the drain, especially for for ALT and university teaching positions.

I've had friends who've left Korea to teach in China and are now back teaching at universities in Korea and one of them is now wanting to go back to China, or was talking about that earlier this year.

That guy with the doctorate is still on 3 year contracts, nice. And Pragic is still on contract, too. Does anyone here even know a foreign instructor who has a permanent university teaching position?

Didn't that guy of the JoeSeoul EFL blog eventually get a permanent position at Sookmyung, or wherever he works? That's the only guy I know of who isn't on a contract.

Know several on tenure-track, but a few have been dicked around by their admin with the school not recognizing their publications or messing with submission deadlines, etc. It's almost like the admin want them to fail.
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atwood



Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Traveler wrote:
Oh man. That must be a recent development then. It must just now be starting to happen all over Korea. There are some posters in this thread who both don't have a masters yet are working in a university. For example, Unposter has an unrelated BA (in history) yet works in a university in Seoul. Will he and others like him be booted out? Only time will tell.

I'd say the odds are against them, but then in Korea who really ever knows?

The universities are being forced to close their institutes by the government, or so I've been told, so that means a bunch less jobs for those who aren't quite qualified for a regular instructor's post. And some universities are asking instructors to publish if they want to keep their jobs.

I agree that things are far from rosey in Korea for foreign instructors.
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IamBabo



Joined: 16 Jun 2005

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject: Nobel Laureate Reply with quote

Seems even Nobel Laureates have a hard time here..

http://www.rjkoehler.com/2013/12/26/so-why-are-foreign-academics-running-away/
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TheUrbanMyth



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: It's not a superiority complex when you really are superior

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Traveler wrote:
Show proof you tested at TOPIK level 3 (did you or didn't you?- you didn't) and I will leave Dave's forever. .



Yeah I know just how that would go down.

TheUrbanMyth (posts copy of TOPIK test)

World Traveler "That's a fake/photoshop!"

Since you are absolutely convinced that I didn't pass TOPIK level 3 there is no proof I could give (at least none that I would feel comfortable passing out) that would convince you.

I think this disagreement has run its course.

But just one more thing to add. If I were lying about my Korean ability...why the heck would I lie in order to make myself look WORSE?
Why would I say I consider myself a beginner? And why would I say I can only hold simple conversations in Korean (like paying the bills for example).

Heck if I was going to lie...I'd claim I was TOPIK level 4 or 5. And was semi-fluent in Korean. But what's the point in lying and making yourself out to be WORSE than one really is?

As I said I studied Korean for a long time and got to the point where I can (for the most part) handle everyday business...I didn't (and still don't) see the point in getting any better unless one of the above conditions I listed above come into play.



And why would I want the F-visa? I'm not planning on staying here forever.


Now let's drop this and get the thread back on track.
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atwood



Joined: 26 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Nobel Laureate Reply with quote

IamBabo wrote:
Seems even Nobel Laureates have a hard time here..

http://www.rjkoehler.com/2013/12/26/so-why-are-foreign-academics-running-away/

University students, even at the SKYs, are looking for easy A+s. They were afraid Sargent's course would be demanding.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At first I thought my eyes were seeing things...but I guess not. World Traveler, you either need to wash your mouth out with soap or you need to admit that you got me confused with someone else because you got my situation completely wrong.

Personally, I don't care about such things but I do feel compelled to say that I neither have only a BA nor do I work in a uni in Seoul. That ain't me.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll reiterate my take on the topic. The market is not doomed. It may have shrunk but it is not doomed. Just my two cents.

Do I think it will be harder for new people to break into? Yes.

Do I think that it will be impossible for new people to break into? No. I am sure there are people that are finding work and having a fabulous time.

Do I think it is worth it to pursue advanced qualifications just to work in Korea?

Well, I guess it depends on the individual's goals, but in general, I would say no - it is a waste of money if you are doing it just to stay in Korea.

But, if it is part of some larger goal, then, by all means follow your dream(s). Don't let others tell you what to think. It is your life to live.

Now, get out there and live it and stop complaining on Dave's (unless you really need to get something out of your system, in which case, we all love listening to train wreck stories).

Happy Holidays everyone!
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

misher wrote:
Patrick,

What do you mean by "making it work" ? A permanent faculty EFL position with proper compensation grid for years of service, in house pension plan plus benefits? If this is what you mean then prove it. Where are these individuals with such positions? I know of doctorate EdD holders in South Korea that have been teaching at the same uni for over a decade. They only do so because they have a K spouse. Even they admit that while their jobs are in the upper echelon, at that end of the day their jobs have little security even IF they've cultivated important relationships. No pension plan, their payis capped at just over 4 million and they have to renew every 3 years. Yeah they are "making it work" I guess. These aren't the BA hogwon backpacker types either that you like to lecture about networking etc.




There are a few tenure track professors (westerners) working in Korean universities who post here. I know a few more myself.


My point in more general terms is that you can do well in Korea and gain relative employment security (this does not require a permanent position by the way, such positions are becoming rarer in most countries anyway) through experience, upgraded qualifications (that are relevant to your job and not necessarily a PhD and post Doc) and most importantly professional networking and an active professional life (conferences, projects, publications if that is your thing..). Learning Korean will be an asset in many cases.


On pension, well some places offer that but seriously pension these days is left up to people as opposed to employers except for rare cases. That means YOU need to take care of YOUR retirement and working in Korea can mean disposable income / savings potential you can use to invest in your own retirement. Not doing so and relying on others will likely not end well!

Pay capping is an interesting topic when discussed here because all too often the comparison is Korean ESL has low capped pay while "jobs" back home offer nearly endless upward mobility and a capless salary progression. Now you did not make this point but the pay and benefits cap remains one of your points. You quoted a 4M a month figure. This can be taken as the cap you identified and by the way that can be considered pretty decent pay when factoring low income taxes in Korea. How many teachers in Canada make more than 4M per month and/or how long do you think it takes them to reach that level of pay in their respective pay scales? As a former teacher I can tell you it can take a while in many provinces and it contingent on accumulated years as a PERMANENT TENURED teacher, something that does not happen overnight!


On to networking, I do not lecture anyone about it, I just say it is important if you wish to progress and have a healthy career. If you find that to be a "lecture" I have no idea what to say to that.

All of the above is my take on things as someone who did succeed in Korea for a reasonably long period. You do not need to agree or accept it and I respect your position on this matter. If you do not see an end result that meets your needs in Korea, no worries! I am sure you can move on and find it elsewhere as many others have done. Korea can be a great place for some but sure is not a good fit for everyone. All I am saying is it can be a great place to work if you play your cards right.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unposter wrote:
At first I thought my eyes were seeing things...but I guess not. World Traveler, you either need to wash your mouth out with soap or you need to admit that you got me confused with someone else because you got my situation completely wrong.

Personally, I don't care about such things but I do feel compelled to say that I neither have only a BA nor do I work in a uni in Seoul. That ain't me.

From looking at your posts, one would get the impression you teach at a university in Seoul...

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013
Unposter wrote:
As an American from a small town who lives in Seoul...

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2881663&highlight=#2881663

Unposter wrote:
I teach at a university

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2724982&highlight=#2724982

…but maybe you live in Seoul but commute to a nearby Gyeonggi-do university right outside of city limits (which still is a great place to work; you said your uni received hundreds of applicants for a single position)? (Or you moved to a university outside of Seoul just this semester, (which I think is highly unlikely).)

What I said is not "completely wrong". "You are slightly off the mark" would be a better response.

I remember reading some stuff recently that gave the impression you didn't have an MA (so I am guessing you just finished one up recently?). For the majority of your time teaching in a university in Korea, you only had an unrelated BA, correct? You said to I'm With You in a thread about universities increasingly wanting masters that you go to the annual TEFL conference in Seoul and read articles, which makes you a better teacher. (Sorry, I don't have the time to find it exactly right now.) But I guess since then you completed an online masters. More and more universities want a masters these days, even from lifers. They demand it, and they get it.

Your past feeling was...
Unposter wrote:
Teaching English is not rocket science. You are right that it does take some knowledge of what you are doing. And, there are scholars whose research is making our understanding of the teaching of language more clear. But, it does not take a piece of paper to be able to understand what they are doing.

…but maybe you've changed your mind.

The part we agree on is this:

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013
Unposter wrote:
The reality is it is harder for many NETs in Korea to make a living.
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's face it, Korea is now only a half decent gig for entry level younger people who don't have teaching qualifications from home or for those who did manage to get a foothold in universities and colleges when the supply of waygugs was much lower - before 2005 I'd say.

I agree with those who say a fair few of the people teaching at university got lucky at some stage with their BAs and lack of diverse employment experience in the language and related employment fields. Fair play to those who used their luck and lack of competition to do further study and enhance their skills.

However, those (not speaking only about uni teachers) who are undertaking MA/Phd courses etc in the hopes of advancing in Korean English teaching as some kind of real career with opportunities have wasted their money more or less, in my op. Why spend all that money on what is increasingly becoming more of a blockaded field whereby there are just too many hoops, too many demands and not enough pay or security?

I do understand that those with families in Korea need to be more employable but I honestly think a reasonable proportion of efforts made by native English speakers are due for disappointment sooner or later. Structurally Korea does its best to discourage dedicated native speaking English teachers on E-2s and I think it will become harder for those who have made Korea their 'future' by staying here on E-2s or marriage visas. There is no way the employment situation will become better here - in keeping what has and is happening in Asian ESL/EFL.

China is not for everyone but your cv does count for more there than in Korea or Japan where highly intelligent people I know are reduced to teaching at horrible schools run by nutty and or abusive Japanese employers. Japan's heyday for genuinely good English teachers finished more than 14 yrs ago.

And I find it weird that some waygugs justify holding out in Korea instead seeking elsewhere or going home by saying how bad mannered the natives of their own countries are. I can't believe the blogger who has the name Bathhouse in the title of his blog. He is a fellow Brit and his praise of Korean students' 'manners' has me scratching my head.

Korean children and teenagers certainly aint engaging in some of the things young Brits are such as drugs and are certainly more naive in some respects. But being kept immature instead of innocent is not praiseworthy. I witnessed too much rudeness and sheer insolence from Korean children and teenagers as did my friends and acquaintances to want to favourably contrast Korean students with others.

Interesting how he mentions Brit students exposing themselves in class (certainly not the norm) but ignores the fact that male Korean students often engage in inappropriate touching of each other's private parts at school including in class - no, it's not just a different culture, it's the same kind of sexually based activity that he complains about in the UK but just excused under the headline of Korean culture.

The examples I could give of Korean students' disrespect for and towards native English speaking teachers as well as other foreigners are endless but one always sticks in my mind - that of the nice woman teacher who had to endure male students from local middle and high schools calling out to her everyday as she walked to school 'You f.... your mother' and the like.

Of course when she asked her school to make a complaint to the schools concerned to try and get some action, she was met with the usual Korean excuses of how it is 'hiphop'. This was a woman in her 40s who behaved with dignity and stayed at the same school for 4 yrs.

The delusions of those who hang around in Korea because they are too insecure to move on are sad.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

earthquakez wrote:
Let's face it, Korea is now only a half decent gig for entry level younger people who don't have teaching qualifications from home or for those who did manage to get a foothold in universities and colleges when the supply of waygugs was much lower - before 2005 I'd say.

I agree with those who say a fair few of the people teaching at university got lucky at some stage with their BAs and lack of diverse employment experience in the language and related employment fields. Fair play to those who used their luck and lack of competition to do further study and enhance their skills.

However, those (not speaking only about uni teachers) who are undertaking MA/Phd courses etc in the hopes of advancing in Korean English teaching as some kind of real career with opportunities have wasted their money more or less, in my op. Why spend all that money on what is increasingly becoming more of a blockaded field whereby there are just too many hoops, too many demands and not enough pay or security?

I do understand that those with families in Korea need to be more employable but I honestly think a reasonable proportion of efforts made by native English speakers are due for disappointment sooner or later. Structurally Korea does its best to discourage dedicated native speaking English teachers on E-2s and I think it will become harder for those who have made Korea their 'future' by staying here on E-2s or marriage visas. There is no way the employment situation will become better here - in keeping what has and is happening in Asian ESL/EFL.

China is not for everyone but your cv does count for more there than in Korea or Japan where highly intelligent people I know are reduced to teaching at horrible schools run by nutty and or abusive Japanese employers. Japan's heyday for genuinely good English teachers finished more than 14 yrs ago.

And I find it weird that some waygugs justify holding out in Korea instead seeking elsewhere or going home by saying how bad mannered the natives of their own countries are. I can't believe the blogger who has the name Bathhouse in the title of his blog. He is a fellow Brit and his praise of Korean students' 'manners' has me scratching my head.

Korean children and teenagers certainly aint engaging in some of the things young Brits are such as drugs and are certainly more naive in some respects. But being kept immature instead of innocent is not praiseworthy. I witnessed too much rudeness and sheer insolence from Korean children and teenagers as did my friends and acquaintances to want to favourably contrast Korean students with others.

Interesting how he mentions Brit students exposing themselves in class (certainly not the norm) but ignores the fact that male Korean students often engage in inappropriate touching of each other's private parts at school including in class - no, it's not just a different culture, it's the same kind of sexually based activity that he complains about in the UK but just excused under the headline of Korean culture.

The examples I could give of Korean students' disrespect for and towards native English speaking teachers as well as other foreigners are endless but one always sticks in my mind - that of the nice woman teacher who had to endure male students from local middle and high schools calling out to her everyday as she walked to school 'You f.... your mother' and the like.

Of course when she asked her school to make a complaint to the schools concerned to try and get some action, she was met with the usual Korean excuses of how it is 'hiphop'. This was a woman in her 40s who behaved with dignity and stayed at the same school for 4 yrs.


The delusions of those who hang around in Korea because they are too insecure to move on are sad.


What was wrong with her middle finger? I did that to a bunch of kids not my student. Put those little effers in theri place. (That and I talked to them in a funny voice mimmicking their actions. I can give as good as I get. If the Korean powers that be won't help me, then, I help myself.)
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