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Teacher competency and mental illness
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earthquakez



Joined: 10 Nov 2010

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:27 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??


Denise, don't overthink Korea, honestly! I am a Brit who has lived and worked in Australia before and knowing Koreans in Australia and living near Koreatown really has little relevance to life as an English teacher in Korea.

No, you're not familiar with the culture. Even gypos (kids who are Australian or American or Canadian or English etc with Korean parents or grandparents) often find when they go to Korea that they are not familiar with a lot of Korean culture.

Don't worry about that! Koreans are like other East Asians - they don't want foreigners to know too much about them and their culture as they delude themselves that they are unique despite the realities of their mixed genes and customs derived from other countries. The Koreans and Japanese both are in denial of their lack of uniqueness, don't worry about it.

You sound as if you taught some rotten kids in Australia, bad luck. You seem well equipped to handle the rottenness of Korean kids as it's expressed differently. It can be in your face but a lot of the time it's insolent nonsense spouted or very childish behaviour indulged by Korean parents and society.

I think the most difficult part about Korea for many foreigners is dealing with the various walls the adult co workers and society will put up to you as they do to non Koreans. There's a lot of passive-aggressive behaviour and forms of communication designed to show the non Korean that Koreans are the important ones and non Koreans are mostly irrelevant in the Korean scheme of things.

Being aware of THIS is going to help you. Don't let it faze you, just be aware of it. Sounds to me like you can work in Korea with few problems as you have teaching experience. Just don't mention any ethnic background or depression or whatever and play up your Australian citizenship.

Best of Luck Denise!
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joelove



Joined: 12 May 2011

PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post there by earthquakez:

I might contend this point if any: " The Koreans and Japanese both are in denial of their lack of uniqueness."

I don't argue it really, I just believe most people believe they are special and unique somehow, and in a way we all are I suppose, and perhaps we are told that as kids. But earthquakez has a point; spend some time in Korea and you will see it, many Korean really do believe they are special and great. It's ugly. Not sure about Japan. Many Chinese too, I guess. And Thais, and... does the list end?
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Stan Rogers



Joined: 20 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't help but laugh at how many people say "they only test for *****" or "they don't test for *******." Unless you are in the hospital lab, you have no idea what they are testing for or even if they are testing it at all.

All you really know is what they tell you they are testing for.
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Milwaukiedave



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Location: Bucheon

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joelove wrote:
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.


I'll second this one. I've seen instances where schools find out their teacher has found out a teacher is on antidepressants or something related and will fire the teacher. I wouldn't even tell your coworkers.

The testing won't be a problem unless you are using an illegal substance.

The main problem is once you get settled you will need to make sure you have an health insurance card and go to a doctor. Bring 30-60 days worth of medication with you (however much you can). You probably would be better off in one of the larger cities as finding a doctor will be easier. Make a friend outside of work who can help you.

Good luck!

Ps-I can vouch for Harpeau's advice as I know him personally.
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Sector7G



Joined: 24 May 2008

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:56 am    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
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.


Hey Fox I say with all sincerity that I think you are one of the most intelligent posters on Dave's. You may find this article too PC, but then again, you may find it interesting.

"A Phrase To Renounce For 2014: ‘The Mentally Ill’"
http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2014/01/renounce-term-the-mentally-ill?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

What’s so bad about “the mentally ill”? Isn’t it reasonable shorthand in the usual headline space crunch?

In a word, no, says Dr. Summergrad, psychiatrist-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center and chair of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. He sees two main problems with it. First, the definite article, “the.”

“Imagine if I said that about any other group. It suggests that people who suffer with these conditions are somehow other than us, and can be put in a discrete and often stigmatized category. It creates a sense of otherness that is not the reality, statistically, of these illnesses.”

Any other group? I try a thought experiment, the headline “Equal coverage for the women.” Weird. “New era for the gays.” Offensive. “Crime and the blacks.” I get the point.
.......................
Second......... the term “the mentally ill” creates not just a notion of separateness and otherness, Dr. Summergrad said, but also “a notion that it’s a uni-modal type of thing. And I think we need a more inclusive and more granular language.”
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Allthechildrenareinsane



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

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stan Rogers wrote:
I can't help but laugh at how many people say "they only test for *****" or "they don't test for *******." Unless you are in the hospital lab, you have no idea what they are testing for or even if they are testing it at all.

All you really know is what they tell you they are testing for.



Really? Rolling Eyes

It's probably safe to assume that a.) they are, in fact, doing drug testing and b.) it's probably only for drugs classified as illicit/illegal in South Korea. The government approved hospitals most likely have neither the time nor the inclination to test for every drug under the sun, only those that are prohibited under Korean law.

So when someone goes for their drug test and they happen to be taking a prescription medication that isn't prohibited in Korea like, for example, Xanax (as one of my recent coworkers was), then it's safe to say they won't be denied an ARC and have their visa revoked (neither of which happened to my coworker) for taking it, since the test isn't aimed at detecting those substances to begin w/.
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jazzmaster



Joined: 30 Sep 2013

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting thread for me because I take amitriptyline 10mg for my IBS (among other drugs). I had a health check and stopped taking the amitriptyline for 3 days. I will get the results back on Monday so I'm hopeful nothing shows up on the drug test.
Here's a link to how the drug is used for IBS:
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Irritable-bowel-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

"Antidepressants

Two types of antidepressants are used to treat IBS – tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Amitriptyline is the most widely used TCA."

I'm also on the FODMAP diet, which has helped a lot. Anyway, sorry for derailing the thread.
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Stan Rogers



Joined: 20 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a point of view check here. Do you really think parents want a person who pops multiple (mental) pills teaching their kids?
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jazzmaster



Joined: 30 Sep 2013

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stan Rogers wrote:
Just a point of view check here. Do you really think parents want a person who pops multiple (mental) pills teaching their kids?


So long as the person is a good teacher, then I wouldn't mind. I'd be more worried about them being taught by an intolerant person who would judge another person for seeking medical help for a problem.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Teacher competency and mental illness Reply with quote

Sector7G wrote:


In a word, no, says Dr. Summergrad, psychiatrist-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center and chair of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. He sees two main problems with it. First, the definite article, “the.”

“Imagine if I said that about any other group. It suggests that people who suffer with these conditions are somehow other than us, and can be put in a discrete and often stigmatized category. It creates a sense of otherness that is not the reality, statistically, of these illnesses.”



Dr. Tufts like all psychiatrists is in denial, funny for a group that uses that term all the time, The only group that the term mental illness doesn't stigmatize is actors and musicians. Anybody else is stigmatized. Psychiatrists continue to hash out their diagnoses in spite of the fact that they are, and have been criticized as such by many other doctors, as being poorly defined. A person who has mental issues and sees a psychiatrist may or may not get a little help from the medications, psychotherapy and counseling. However the stigma that these doctors help propogate continues to cause damage to patients. In essence a patient can throw out a lot of money, find out that the help is non-existent or minimal and deal with the nice label that he has been given. Maybe they should have to put signs on the doors of psychiatrists stating enter at your own risk. Last but not least look at how members of the esteemed psychiatric community "who only want to help", helped out the Nazi's with their doctrine of elimination of the "unfit". What would make anybody think that kind of mentality still isn't a threat today.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jazzmaster wrote:


So long as the person is a good teacher, then I wouldn't mind. I'd be more worried about them being taught by an intolerant person who would judge another person for seeking medical help for a problem.


Imagine being a student having to put up with a spelling Nazi, or a native English speaker who thinks he is among the best just because of where he comes from. This kind of person would look down on anybody for any reason including the students. Another thing imagine being a Korean child being taught by an instructor who insists that Oxford English is the true English just because it's spoken in England; Probably an instructor having no awareness of the evolution of English , even in his own country. These kind of undesirables look upon themselves as superior. Laughing
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ironclad80



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stan Rogers wrote:
Just a point of view check here. Do you really think parents want a person who pops multiple (mental) pills teaching their kids?


A better question would be "Do you really think parents want a person who carelessly ignores a serious health condition to teach their kids?"

If Koreans weren't as in the dark about mental health as yourself, people in need of help wouldn't be afraid to see a doctor instead of resorting to suicide which is so common here.
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Stan Rogers



Joined: 20 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ironclad80 wrote:
Stan Rogers wrote:
Just a point of view check here. Do you really think parents want a person who pops multiple (mental) pills teaching their kids?


A better question would be "Do you really think parents want a person who carelessly ignores a serious health condition to teach their kids?"



Parents would prefer to avoid taking a risk with a person like that.

Its not a tolerance vs intolerance issue. They just don't want to deal with it.
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denisehoja



Joined: 25 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this only the case with gepik/epik positions? Do hangwons or other adult institutes require medical check?
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Allthechildrenareinsane



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

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denisehoja wrote:
Is this only the case with gepik/epik positions? Do hangwons or other adult institutes require medical check?


It's a gov't. requirement for all those on E-2 visas regardless of where they teach.
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