Disabilities & Hogwons

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anom
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Joined: 01/12/2012 - 14:08
Disabilities & Hogwons

Hello. I made an anonymous account just so I can post this topic since it's a touchy subject. And  I don't want this to impede my future career in Korea or in Busan if my regular id is used;.

I have a mild disability. My hands are not really fully-functional, especially in cold weather. I've been in Korea for almost 3 years and I'm currently looking for a new contract. I just came back from a job interview, where my disability was really showing because of the below-freezing temperature. One of the fist things I was asked is about my hands. I explained my disability (very uncomfortably, I might add since this is the fist time I was asked during an interview) and I assured him that there was no way it will affect or impede my ability to teach English, . At that time,I referred to my 2 1/2 successful years teaching in Korea. Just at that time, my interview was stopped. He told me that he is looking for "normal" people for his hogwan because appearance and image in Korea is very important. . I told him that my experience would really be a benefit to his school. He then put the nail in the coffin by saying that there are several normal looking people with the same experience I have.

Now, my question is this: Is this commonplace for hogwans to discriminate because of certain disabilities or is this the exception? If so, I know alot of "normal"  people who teach at hogwans in Busan and other cities; one has post-traumatic stress syndrome, one has Ausburger's and another is just plain crazy. I've heard alot of others who were schizophrenic or manic depressant who have  had decent careers as ESL teachers in Korea as long as they stayed medicated. Since these disabilities can be hidden alot easier then physical, they can get jobs much easier.because they look the part, even though mental handicaps are looked down upon in most Asian countries..

mm9u
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Joined: 11/28/2009 - 19:39
Re: Disabilities & Hogwons

Yes, this is common.  It isn't entirely the hogwan director's fault.  After working in one place for four years, I spent a month with my arm in a sling: I lost 20% of my students.  Koreans are judgemental about disabilities, and they will judge first on your physical ability, and only secondly on your qualifications.

Even if the hogwan director wants to hire you, he has to consider that a percentage of the students will drop out immediately.  If he stands up for your rights, he's apt to lose his business.

Mental disabilities?  Such things do not exist in Korea.  Or, more honestly, in Korea you are either lock-them-up-crazy, or normal.  By those rules, I qualify as normal.  This is judgement by appearance: if you can pass for normal, you are.

My advice to you, as a hogwan owner, is to only interview in warm months.  In the US, that would cause you problems, but in Korea....if you can pass for normal, you are.

Best of luck looking for a job.

Mark

michaeldlee
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Joined: 02/24/2011 - 00:57
Re: Disabilities & Hogwons

mm9u:

Wow.  Mental disabilties don't exist in Korea?  

 

mm9u
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Joined: 11/28/2009 - 19:39
Re: Disabilities & Hogwons

Reality and what happens in Korea don't exactly align most days.  Behaviour that in the US would get you seriously looked at is considered, while not 'normal,' within social tolerances.  IF I use American standards, I think Korea has more mental problems.  If I use Korean standards, there is a very small problem.

The unwillingness to see a mental problem causes a lot pain and wasted opportunities.  I can hire someone who has serious social problems, and as long as the kids learn, no one complains.  I hire someone with a visible defect, and I don't have students.  I tell a parent that their kid has a problem, and I don't have a business.

The key words here are "as long as the kids learn," and "visible."  My advice remains: hide the 'disability,'  Not a solution I would advise in the US, but very effective in Korea.

Mark

kwaz666
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Joined: 10/21/2009 - 12:46
Re: Disabilities & Hogwons

ALl the other posters are just posting heresay with no substantiated facts.

 

I have a friend that has a disability and walks on crutches with minimal use of his legs.

He has been in Korea for over 4 years with large and small hagwons all over the place, he never had a problem getting a job. They may have noticed even more that he was disabled than you my friend but they still gave him a job.

Don't worry there are plenty of other hagwons out there, just keep trying we all get rejected sometime.

Good luck