teaching English

Korean Info-Share

2 Feb 2010, I read before coming to Korea that Koreans have a bad habit of not telling you anything until you need to know. Well, I certainly attest to that this past week...

Question from a reader: Filipino looking for work

A reader named G. writes in:

Dear Chris,
I would like to ask if there are jobs offerec to non-native English speakers. I'm a BSIT graduate and a Filipino. I'm currently in IT field and is planning to look for a job in South Korea. English teaching is one of my options but I'm worried I'm not qualified if I'm not a resident of the 7 countries.
Can you share with me some jobs that I can apply and some of the qualifications?
Can you share what type of visa can I have in order to work in South Korea?

Should I stay or should I go? On making Korea a home or just staying for a year

While I have no hard facts or data, it would seem that I'm running into more and more expats / foreigners who have made Korea their home. Long after their first one-year contract has finished, they're still here making a life for themselves as a teacher, a college professor, a student, a writer / reporter / journalist, or the all-important-sounding title of businessperson. While few of us knowingly start our Korea journey thinking we'll stick around for a second (or third or fourth or ninth) year, here we are.

Cultural Annoyances

7 Jan 2010, The cultural differences between Korea and America can be very frustrating and annoying at times...

Question from a reader: teaching in Korea vs. Japan

A reader named M.S. writes:


On incentives and education

One story from the Joongang Daily brought a laugh - and a tear. Hat tip to the idiots' collective for writing a good post as well:
The Education Ministry said yesterday that applicants to foreign language high schools who say they received private education or tutoring will be disadvantaged.
The move is the ministry’s latest effort to address concerns that changes in the foreign language high schools admission process will further overheat the private education market.Let's point out the obvious flaw of logic in the first paragraph: "applicants...who say they received private education or tutoring...".

Role Reversal

18 Dec 2009, One of my students is a first-grade girl. She loves to talk. Almost everyday when I come into the class she has to ask me "What's your name?" and "What's this?" as she holds or points to some random object. This week, she's been trying to get me to read her English books like she's the teacher. Oh, she's just so cute!

Are foreign English teachers too expensive, or Korean English teachers too cheap?

I recently had to go to the doctor's office at a major hospital in Seoul. Basic / standard health checkup as required for getting an E-2 (English teacher) visa. Cost to me: 90,000 won, or about $77 USD. At first, I cringed at saying goodbye to essentially a day's pay, and was thankful that this is a once-a-year process. On the other hand, I forced myself to pause and count how many people I interacted with during my one visit alone. I wasn't simply served by one doctor; a nurse took some basic measurements and guided through the payment process; another doctor took a blood sample; another nurse presumably got to deal with the urine test, and another one got to answer the phone when I called for my results.

Question from a reader: older and looking for work

A reader whom I'll keep anonymous writes the following:

There is no work here to speak of in [state redacted for privacy] with the recession / depression and I have made up my mind to work overseas. I did it once before from 1990-1993. I tutored mostly adults English in Taiwan, Austria, Greece, and Spain. Loved the experience and did OK moneywise. Now I don't have much money which is needed for things like airfares and settling in until getting paid.....Do Korean schools still pay for inbound airfares?

Although technically illegal, even the Korean tourist office in Los Angeles told me private students are the way to go. Does eveyone teach privates?

Learn English with an Indian accent?

I have nothing against the Indian people. Seriously - they work incredibly hard for a fraction of what the rest of the world gets paid. They study harder than virtually anyone on the planet (that includes the Koreans) and have a vibrant history I would love to learn more about. I have had few difficulties conversing with the far-too-few Indians I've had the pleasure of meeting.

But this is a flat world (see Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat for reference), and that means competition. A LOT more competition. That's great if you're a business or a customer - who doesn't like having many different stores to shop at and choices to choose from?

If you're an employee, though, that flat world is probably more threatening to your current job / lifestyle than almost anything out there. Think about it - why would an employer keep someone if they can get the same thing from someone else for cheaper?

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