February 22, 2019, 11:46:28 AM


Author Topic: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?  (Read 4940 times)

Online thomwiley23

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 44
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2019, 05:14:07 AM »
Am I embarrassed to be an ESL teacher?
As far as being embarrassed its all about perception right?
..how we think people might view us... so let's break it down
1) What the people back home think of me who
doing 'regular' jobs
... some think I'm so brave for working abroad, but others
say come back to 'real life' and stop screwing around
as if life worked a certain way so...
Also, the people back home I know aren't particularly happy... pretty mixed bag
VERDICT: Minor embarrassment
2) What the Korean natives think of me...
There is an elevated  and unique concept of a teacher
in Korea thanks to Confucianism, although it is somewhat distorted,  also, a public elementary school teacher is ranked as the second-best job you can get as a Korean native.  Of course, there is a fair amount of racism, but once most Koreans find out I am a teacher, not a soldier (not that is should be that way) they give me some berth
VERDICT: minor embarrassment
3) what other ESL/EFL teachers think of me
Here is where things get tricky, because of the complexities of how the Koreans and the people back home might view us I think we can become quite self-conscious.  Also, there are teachers that are a 'joke' ... well, there aren't as many scripts and social normals for people to follow, so yeah, maybe a lot of people are doing whatever the heck they want to do.
VERDICT: a little embarrassment

Also, to the businessman part of the question. I'll be briefer. I branched off into that.. two things of note.
1) I think a lot of people love the lifestyle of life in Korea but come to deplore hakwon teacher... so yeah I think s a lot of people branch off
2) Almost anyone can do it here, so I don't take myself to seriously in that regard. I would have never accomplished it in the u.s. the red tape and working within the system kept me in line pretty well. I think a lot of people do get a conflated sense of themselves.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 02:12:57 PM by thomwiley23 »
Co-creator of HSIP adult academy and halandstevenglish @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/halandsteveenglish

Offline guppy1000

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2019, 02:36:50 PM »
It doesn't matter if you're a teacher or a lawyer here, in the eyes of the average Korean you're a total outsider, somewhere between ET the Extra Terrestrial and the last episode they watched of American's Funniest Home Videos.

You have the same social status as a Chinese immigrant laborer living in a rural area in the US who can't speak English.


Offline NorthStar

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 33
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2019, 03:15:17 PM »
It doesn't matter if you're a teacher or a lawyer here, in the eyes of the average Korean you're a total outsider, somewhere between ET the Extra Terrestrial and the last episode they watched of American's Funniest Home Videos.

You have the same social status as a Chinese immigrant laborer living in a rural area in the US who can't speak English.


But one does not see an American woman marrying a Chinese immigrant laborer. 

While there are some nuggets of truth to what you say, I don't think it is THAT polarized...could be wrong,though.

Offline guppy1000

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2019, 04:45:49 PM »
Korea is an extremely closed and insular society.  Which is fair enough.  Aside from some silly happy-happy slogans you hear every now and then, Korea doesn't really market itself an immigrant destination, unlike the western countries.

My own serious view is that Koreans basically see foreigners as "guests" -mostly transient labor who will always go home eventually.

So long as the foreigner remains in that little box, the Koreans are happy.

The problems start happening when the foreigner maybe marries a local, starts owning property, maybe has a semi serious job ("Professor" anyone) and starts to think that he or she is something more than a "guest worker".

That's when the conflicts start to arise.

And before we start bashing Koreans for this... it's not just Koreans.  It's all of Asia.  I've heard Japan is even worse.


Offline kangsheng

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 21
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2019, 12:02:16 AM »
Professor, married to local for 20 years, property owner here. No problems. One neighbor recently said that my mixed daughter is "the future".

Offline some waygug-in

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2019, 12:19:35 AM »
Actually, I noticed that people who managed to secure teaching jobs in or at the university level

got a lot more respect from Koreans in general.  (as compared to hagwon or even PS Nets)


As for other professions, I really can't say.   

There was a definite tendency to give respect towards people who looked successful as opposed to

those who looked like trailer trash.   Appearance is everything in Asia. 

Online SPQR

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 126
  • Gender: Female
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2019, 08:40:30 AM »
Professor, married to local for 20 years, property owner here. No problems. One neighbor recently said that my mixed daughter is "the future".

Yeah, basically this. We have property here and a business.  We're better off than most Koreans.
I can read, write and understand some Korean.  My grammar and verb conjugation sucks. I look
at CBC/BBC/PBS YouTube documentaries about the crap jobs people have now in western countries
and I am not ashamed at all.  Add to this that robots/AI will replace 70M+ US jobs in the next
30 years and and I am not ashamed, in fact, I'm relieved. Teaching may be one job unaffected
by cyborgs. Students just don't like them.

Offline guppy1000

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2019, 10:04:09 AM »
I agree, you won't have problems so long as you mentally remain in the "guest worker" box.

You can be in Korea for 20 years, wife kids and everything, and still keep the mentality of a 'guest worker'.

Koreans don't care about English teachers/professors, because you're not taking a job away from a local, and teaching jobs are generally low paid.

But try taking a job a away from a Korean, try being in a management position where the Korean (especially a Korean man) is subordinate to a foreigner...  try having a higher social status (if a foreigner can even have that), and then see how they react.

The Koreans have had a history of being colonized by foreigners... they're sensitive about this stuff.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 10:32:57 AM by guppy1000 »

Offline Allpointseast

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 51
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2019, 04:24:37 AM »
  I am not embarrassed to be an ESL teacher as such. There have been many moments in my teaching life when a class went really well, or a group of students made visible progress, and felt that I had made a positive difference to their lives, and where I was successful.
  The problem is sometimes the way that schools are run. Also, in Korea, language schools often hire or reject based on silly childish criteria. There's a crazy amount of paperwork to get a visa-especially as an EPIK teacher-and often the people pulling the strings don't treat it as a real job. This is a problem because there is a skill involved in teaching, and it's a responsible and often busy job.
   University teachers I met in Korea gave out mixed signals. One I met gave the impression he was able to earn lots of money on the side-an option which would attract me. Other university teachers would annoyingly brag about being a "professor," and boast about their job, giving people who taught in hagwons a hard time, calling them losers. A third group, including the pastor at my local church said their university jobs were busy, boring, and basically the same as a dodgy hagwon! However, that said, they did get respect from Koreans who did not know about this.
Quote
My own serious view is that Koreans basically see foreigners as "guests" -mostly transient labor who will always go home eventually.

So long as the foreigner remains in that little box, the Koreans are happy.
How very Japanese! This is so like Japan! Nihon-shiki! Japan has a low birthrate, believes in early retirement and wants to avoid immigration. The result==population loss, a declining economy, and recession. South Korea has an even lower birthrate. They will either have to welcome in more foreigners or have more babies, or stop firing older workers or all three. The low birth rate is a very serious problem that discrimination won't solve.

Offline guppy1000

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 20
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2019, 11:00:58 AM »
Other university teachers would annoyingly brag about being a "professor," and boast about their job, giving people who taught in hagwons a hard time, calling them losers.

I've seen this a few times.  Korea is a very hierarchical and status orientated society.  I think this thinking can spill over on to some foreigners, resulting in them trying to compensate for the "loser back home" stigma foreign teachers often attach to themselves.

And their Korean wives don't help either...

Offline hangook77

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 891
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #50 on: February 14, 2019, 02:48:47 PM »
Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?

In my 'conscious mind' I think its a noble profession to teach or be a professor. That being said when I was a teacher in Korea I felt a bit bad when people asked me what I did and I said I was a teacher. Its weird because being a teacher/professor is basically public service.

In a separate thread a user called ESLturtle said he is a teacher and a business man. Does anyone else in Korea have a hybrid career like him?

The only thing is perhaps the lack of respect when you see the pay.  It was well paid 11 years ago in relation to the cost of living and in relation to what others were making.  It is not so well paid now in relation to the cost of living and in relation to what others are now making.  A unionized bus driver was making 2 million won a month 11 or 12 years ago.  Now they are around 3 million.  Minimum wage 10 eyars ago was 880,000 won.  Now it is 1.7 million won.  So, the pay and compensation of 2.1 to 2.3 was decent in 2009.  In 2019, not so much.  I guess the respect level has gone down compared to what it use to be.  Expats who got married here in the mid 2000's decade had a sweet life.  They could make a lot of money on the F visa and have a cheap living cost.  Today, being a married expat to a Korean means struggling financially unless your wife has a really high paying job.  Korea is a bit old fashioned in the sense that the man must pay for everything and must work for Samsung to get a wife.  So, this pressure for foreign women marrying Korean guys is probably less if he has a good job already.  But foriegn guys in Korea will hit a glass ceiling.  So, it can be easier for Korean men married to foreign women compared to Korean women married to foreign men.  But, foreign men can go home, retrain for something, even do a trade, and make more money down the road and have an actual yard with grass. 
Living here long term is no longer the option it once was nor is it the high paying gig it once was.  Outside Seoul, in the countryside, a couple of Koreans told me that (2008) it was fine for a woman to marry a guy making 1.5 million won a month.  If you made in the low 2's, you were rich in comparison and some women's eyes lit up.  Trust me, I have experienced this.  In 2019, there are less gold diggers and more women who will actually be physically attracted to you.  So, if you have the right "look" or funny personaility, etc you can have an easier time getting agirl. They are less shallow and calculating than they once were.  The culture has changed.  But even if you marry a great girl, is it worth it to stay and struggle here?  You would be better off both working your tail off and getting ehr to agree to move back home in a few years.  But have savings and have a plan, retrain, and, possibly, move to where the jobs are (if there are not many in your own hometown). 

Offline hangook77

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 891
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #51 on: February 14, 2019, 02:50:51 PM »
I agree, you won't have problems so long as you mentally remain in the "guest worker" box.

You can be in Korea for 20 years, wife kids and everything, and still keep the mentality of a 'guest worker'.

Koreans don't care about English teachers/professors, because you're not taking a job away from a local, and teaching jobs are generally low paid.

But try taking a job a away from a Korean, try being in a management position where the Korean (especially a Korean man) is subordinate to a foreigner...  try having a higher social status (if a foreigner can even have that), and then see how they react.

The Koreans have had a history of being colonized by foreigners... they're sensitive about this stuff.

It didn't use to be this way.  It only became like this because the foreigners accept the job offers in recent years.

Offline Foreverparadise

  • Hero of Waygookistan
  • *****
  • Posts: 1661
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #52 on: February 15, 2019, 01:00:39 AM »
Why would anybody be embarrassed to be a teacher?

If that is your profession, you need to be happy and satisfied about it
and you need to love what you are doing. You are only embarrassed if
you don't love what you are doing.

It just seems to me as if people in a certain society want to make you
feel embarrassed because you are a teacher.

Online SanderB

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 81
  • Gender: Male
  • Korean CAE/CPE Teacher working at a Gymnasium
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #53 on: February 15, 2019, 03:35:53 AM »
It is a real thing in Korea. My girlfriend would always be nunchi poda about it and try not to mention in conversations that I worked as a teacher.
-Fiat voluntas tua-

Offline some waygug-in

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #54 on: February 15, 2019, 03:44:10 AM »
 :-[ :-[ :-[
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:48:42 PM by some waygug-in »

Online Mr.DeMartino

  • Waygook Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 6145
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #55 on: February 15, 2019, 06:30:59 AM »
But try taking a job a away from a Korean, try being in a management position where the Korean (especially a Korean man) is subordinate to a foreigner...  try having a higher social status (if a foreigner can even have that), and then see how they react.
Sure there are a bunch of Koreans that think that way. There are many more who don't care or enjoy the different working environment. Same as anywhere else in the world. Sometimes the imported manager is a breath of fresh air, other times s/he causes resentment.


Quote
My own serious view is that Koreans basically see foreigners as "guests" -mostly transient labor who will always go home eventually.

So long as the foreigner remains in that little box, the Koreans are happy.
How very Japanese! This is so like Japan! Nihon-shiki! Japan has a low birthrate, believes in early retirement and wants to avoid immigration. The result==population loss, a declining economy, and recession. South Korea has an even lower birthrate. They will either have to welcome in more foreigners or have more babies, or stop firing older workers or all three. The low birth rate is a very serious problem that discrimination won't solve.
Well most foreigners view themselves as transient labor, so it's not surprising Koreans see themselves that way as well. Blaming them for thinking the same way as most foreigner workers is...bizarre. Also, if you're talking people like us from developed countries, our birth rates are going to be similar to the locals, so no, we won't affect things there at all.

I think the mid-long term outlook (2-300 years) on somewhat lower birth rates and reduced population might be better than short-term growth rates.

not so much to be embarrassed to be a teacher per se as it is 
to be embarrassed to be an EFL/ESL teacher in Korea. 
This is largely due to the negative stereotypes with which the Korean media
like to portray weigukin teachers.    (drug dealers, drunks, womanizers and child molesters)
Thanks to the Korean media, I'm constantly bombarded by people looking for weed and I've been frisked everytime I've dealt with the cops, as I'm sure all of you have. And clearly the mothers who invite us out for coffee and the fathers that drink with me and you think we're child molesters.

I mean, that certainly sounds more logical than them being worried about a few bad apples coming in.

Offline some waygug-in

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #56 on: February 15, 2019, 09:29:32 PM »
 :-[ :-[ :-[
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:49:06 PM by some waygug-in »

Online eggieguffer

  • Waygook Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 5052
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #57 on: February 16, 2019, 08:58:15 AM »
Thanks to the Korean media, I'm constantly bombarded by people looking for weed and I've been frisked everytime I've dealt with the cops, as I'm sure all of you have. And clearly the mothers who invite us out for coffee and the fathers that drink with me and you think we're child molesters.

I mean, that certainly sounds more logical than them being worried about a few bad apples coming in.

 :azn:

Did you happen to read the post I was responding to?   It seems not.

I never said anything about "constantly bombarded", that is how you took it.  :-[

   Sorry if this offends you, but can you not see

how inappropriate something like this event is?

https://zenkimchi.com/commentary/korea-still-treating-foreigners-like-children/

The guy pays 3 mil in tax in a single month from his business but he has to work part time at a hagwan?

As I said last time this came up, these things run on exactly the same principle as a teach men not to rape/sexually harass women seminar, one of which I had to attend when I last worked for a UK company.  Any Western woman or male feminist ally who went to this one in Korea and complained about it should keep that in mind.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 10:31:10 AM by eggieguffer »

Offline some waygug-in

  • Super Waygook
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2019, 03:39:01 AM »

 :-[ :-[ :-[

« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 10:49:26 PM by some waygug-in »

Online eggieguffer

  • Waygook Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 5052
  • Gender: Male
Re: Are you embarrassed to be a ESL teacher/professor?
« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2019, 06:38:44 AM »
He said this later

Quote
What follows is for your entertainment. Itís an illustration of how out of touch a lot of people in charge in Korea are. Itís an example of a giant waste of taxpayersí money. I just coughed up W3 million in taxes this month, so Iím conscious of that.