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Teacher competency and mental illness
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denisehoja



Joined: 25 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

Hey guys,
I recently found out that Korea is not hiring teachers with 'mental illness' and you even go through a health check. Here, we are not talking about schizophrenia or being suicidal. Couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I'm on medication and in a very healthy and stable position. I have been working as an ESL/English teacher for the past 5 years and spent the past year working at a government school which is know as an 'extremely tough' one. I learnt to teach George Orwell to 15 year olds who cannot read or write. I stopped students from beating each other up with chairs in my class. I dealt with students calling me all kind of names in the schoolyard. I have dealt with extremely troubled students that would eat you alive. I don't have problem with culture shock as I have lots of experience living in different countries and being isolated -love it or leave it!-. While I am not ethnically Korean, I was raised in the Korean part of the town, been to Korea once and I am pretty familiar with the culture. It's obvious that If I don't crack under such pressure, I won't crack in Korea. I could easily lie in my application and tick 'no' for mental illness but I know that my drug test will have 'false-positive- result and I will be sent back home right away. Apologize for whingeing but I feel that the whole hiring procedure is extremely unfair for some teachers..... Ooooorrrrr am I being wrong??
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Allthechildrenareinsane



Joined: 23 Jun 2011
Location: Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

denisehoja wrote:
Hey guys,
I recently found out that Korea is not hiring teachers with 'mental illness' and you even go through a health check. Here, we are not talking about schizophrenia or being suicidal. Couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I'm on medication and in a very healthy and stable position. I have been working as an ESL/English teacher for the past 5 years and spent the past year working at a government school which is know as an 'extremely tough' one. I learnt to teach George Orwell to 15 year olds who cannot read or write. I stopped students from beating each other up with chairs in my class. I dealt with students calling me all kind of names in the schoolyard. I have dealt with extremely troubled students that would eat you alive. I don't have problem with culture shock as I have lots of experience living in different countries and being isolated -love it or leave it!-. While I am not ethnically Korean, I was raised in the Korean part of the town, been to Korea once and I am pretty familiar with the culture. It's obvious that If I don't crack under such pressure, I won't crack in Korea. I could easily lie in my application and tick 'no' for mental illness but I know that my drug test will have 'false-positive- result and I will be sent back home right away. Apologize for whingeing but I feel that the whole hiring procedure is extremely unfair for some teachers..... Ooooorrrrr am I being wrong??


The drug test given in-country is for illegal drugs, not prescription medications. There's no interview or psychological screening required as part of the health check. If you want to work in Korea, then you should just answer "no" on the health form where it asks about mental illness.

Plenty of folks teach in Korea who have issues w/ mild anxiety and/or depression. Anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants are widely available, so you shouldn't have any problems obtaining them if you decide to go.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

how do you define mental illness?

Others will have noticed this too maybe, but there isn't necessarily anything specific about teaching that will be a problem - not if you're organised and have some experience or are confident and know what you want. In most cases, a jobs a job and you'll need a month to settle in regardless.

Most people start to see the cracks when they realise they're isolated here. It'll start with maybe selfish or controlling behaviour and then other mental health problems will then be exacerbated.

The culture itself should be more of a novelty at the beginning, so shouldn't be a problem - you'll more than likely feel like you're on holiday.

When that wears off, thats when you see the change.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

denisehoja wrote:
It's obvious that If I don't crack under such pressure, I won't crack in Korea.


I'm not sure that's necessarily obvious at all. I'm not saying you're wrong, of course, but when people "crack" here, it seems to be less about the students than about their co-workers and the society around them. The students are the least of your potential worries. Maybe you'll have a really great supporting staff and people around you who are understanding and reasonably compassionate (I do), but that's far from universal, and when things go bad, they often seem to go very bad.

You say it's not fair, and it's understandable why you feel that way, but conversely, is it fair to expect Koreans to take the risk in employing someone with anxiety and depression in a nation that seems to be pretty good at making foreigners -- people in general, really -- feel anxious and depressed? Domestically it's reasonable to put into place legal safeguards to ensure people with mental illness are employable, but internationally? I'm not sure why nations should be pushed to import the mentally ill.

I won't say Korea isn't for you, but think it over carefully before setting your heart on it.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

denisehoja wrote:
Hey guys,
I recently found out that Korea is not hiring teachers with 'mental illness' and you even go through a health check. Here, we are not talking about schizophrenia or being suicidal. Couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I'm on medication and in a very healthy and stable position. I have been working as an ESL/English teacher for the past 5 years and spent the past year working at a government school which is know as an 'extremely tough' one. I learnt to teach George Orwell to 15 year olds who cannot read or write. I stopped students from beating each other up with chairs in my class. I dealt with students calling me all kind of names in the schoolyard. I have dealt with extremely troubled students that would eat you alive. I don't have problem with culture shock as I have lots of experience living in different countries and being isolated -love it or leave it!-. While I am not ethnically Korean, I was raised in the Korean part of the town, been to Korea once and I am pretty familiar with the culture. It's obvious that If I don't crack under such pressure, I won't crack in Korea. I could easily lie in my application and tick 'no' for mental illness but I know that my drug test will have 'false-positive- result and I will be sent back home right away. Apologize for whingeing but I feel that the whole hiring procedure is extremely unfair for some teachers..... Ooooorrrrr am I being wrong??


And how is that any different than the policies that apply to someone applying for a visa to work in the States (the country that Korea modeled its policies on), Canada, the UK or Aus?

.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All you have to do is just tick no on the application and go off of your meds for a month to pass the test then go right back on them. If your meds aren't benzodiazepines (Xanax etc.) then you don't even have to worry about going off of the meds. Another poster has recently indicated they don't even check for benzodiazapenes, see if you can confirm that. It doesn't sound to me like you have a serious enough illness where you can't temporarily go off of the drugs for a month or so and keep low. Once youre back in Korea go to one of the clinics that don't contact employers for your meds. Actually just bring a prescription with you to hold you over for a while.
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denisehoja



Joined: 25 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:51 am    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

And how is that any different than the policies that apply to someone applying for a visa to work in the States (the country that Korea modeled its policies on), Canada, the UK or Aus?

.[/quote]


I don't remember Australian government being so uptight about depression and anxiety? People on working visa here are mostly from west and people pop anti-depressants like candy. During application, they question your physical health, not mental problems.

Also, thank you everyone for your replies. I guess the main issue teachers face in Korea is the' culture shock'. I moved to Australia at the age of 12 as a refugee. I know what that isolation feels like and sometimes it goes on and on.
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Harpeau



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: In Hannam-dong, Seoul.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

young_clinton wrote:
All you have to do is just tick no on the application and go off of your meds for a month to pass the test then go right back on them. If your meds aren't benzodiazepines (Xanax etc.) then you don't even have to worry about going off of the meds.


Be very careful when going off of medication. It's advisable to do it with the help of a doctor and/or psychiatrist. One should go off very slowly and should be carefully monitored through the process. It is not something to be taken upon lightly.

In regard to coming to Korea, the question that I would pose to the OP is, have you found strategies in helping to manage your anxiety and depression? Korea can be very difficult for many. Just something to consider. Self-care is most important.

I wish you the best in your decision.
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Hokie21



Joined: 01 Mar 2011

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I definitely wouldn't recommend going off your meds for a month without talking to your doctor first. Big no no.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harpeau wrote:

Be very careful when going off of medication. It's advisable to do it with the help of a doctor and/or psychiatrist. One should go off very slowly and should be carefully monitored through the process. It is not something to be taken upon lightly.



OK yes I agree whole heartedly. However if he/she is on Xanax or another Benzodiazepine it will have to be out of the system before the drug test. I think it is worthwhile for the OP to come to Korea and it is possible for the OP to manage that with a doctor's supervision.
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bobranger



Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Location: masan

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I learnt to teach George Orwell to 15 year olds who cannot read or write.


Why?

Quote:
I dealt with students calling me all kind of names in the schoolyard.


Maybe teaching isn't your thing.
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ironclad80



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

young_clinton wrote:
All you have to do is just tick no on the application and go off of your meds for a month to pass the test then go right back on them. If your meds aren't benzodiazepines (Xanax etc.) then you don't even have to worry about going off of the meds. Another poster has recently indicated they don't even check for benzodiazapenes, see if you can confirm that. It doesn't sound to me like you have a serious enough illness where you can't temporarily go off of the drugs for a month or so and keep low. Once youre back in Korea go to one of the clinics that don't contact employers for your meds. Actually just bring a prescription with you to hold you over for a while.


They don't check for benzodiazapenes, that would be too expensive and a waste of time since it's a common prescription medication and not a street drug. It also has many non-psychiatric uses. I picked up the test results 3 times already and saw what's checked for, it's for 5 drugs thc, pcp, cocaine, amphetamines and opiates.

I wouldn't recommend telling anyone to go off any meds without a doctor's approval, there could be severe withdrawal and even life-threatening effects.

Bottom line is, the only person who knows if you're fit to work overseas is YOU. Plenty of people NOT on meds and freak out after a month. It's all relative.
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drcrazy



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Location: Pusan. Yes, that's right. Pusan NOT Busan. I ain't never been to no place called Busan

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that having mental illness should be a requirement
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ironclad80 wrote:


They don't check for benzodiazapenes, that would be too expensive and a waste of time since it's a common prescription medication and not a street drug. It also has many non-psychiatric uses. I picked up the test results 3 times already and saw what's checked for, it's for 5 drugs thc, pcp, cocaine, amphetamines and opiates.



Thanks a lot for the info, a lot of people on Xanax or other types Bennies for mental issues can come over and not worry about the drug test.
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joelove



Joined: 12 May 2011

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harpeau wrote:


Be very careful when going off of medication. It's advisable to do it with the help of a doctor and/or psychiatrist. One should go off very slowly and should be carefully monitored through the process. It is not something to be taken upon lightly.

In regard to coming to Korea, the question that I would pose to the OP is, have you found strategies in helping to manage your anxiety and depression? Korea can be very difficult for many. Just something to consider. Self-care is most important.

I wish you the best in your decision.



This is intelligent advice. And do not tell anybody anything unless you really have to do so.
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