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  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1257

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« on: November 11, 2019, 10:12:23 pm »
Where did this stereotype come from?

Iíve talked to a few people in Canada who believe that ESL teachers are losers. I was an ESL teacher but donít fall into the stereotypical ESL teacher type as well as numerous others Iíve met in Canada and the USA.

I currently am employed in a different field. My friend was a ESL teacher in Korea and is now a public school teacher in Canada. I would say he doesnít look like a loser either.

Is it jealousy? Racism?



  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1499

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 11:48:55 pm »
Do you own a home? (Paying a mortgage)
Are you married with children? (Building a family)
Do you have a good job? (Climbing the social status ladder)

Traveling overseas?
Taking more than 2-week vacations?
Shirking family/social expectations?

No. No. No.
Yes! Yes! Yes!

You bast***!



  • SPQR
  • Super Waygook

    • 265

    • March 08, 2018, 07:04:54 pm
    • Canada
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2019, 07:36:34 am »
Do you own a home? (Paying a mortgage)
Are you married with children? (Building a family)
Do you have a good job? (Climbing the social status ladder)

Traveling overseas?
Taking more than 2-week vacations?
Shirking family/social expectations?

No. No. No.
Yes! Yes! Yes!

You bast***!



Do you own a home? (Paying a mortgage)  Yes
Are you married with children? (Building a family) Yes
Do you have a good job? (Climbing the social status ladder) Yes

Traveling overseas? Yes
Taking more than 2-week vacations? No
Shirking family/social expectations? Yes

Most people I knew from where I am from are quite
interested that I live in Asia permanently.  They still
live where they have always done, have the same
friends and haven't seen a lot of the world.

On the other hand.  They have houses with yards,
boats, clean air, humidors full of weed.....

Depends on your perspective.


  • Aristocrat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1949

    • November 10, 2014, 01:04:27 pm
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2019, 08:26:31 am »
Where did it come from? Multiple reasons; some Asian workers are overworked and miserable so they take out their frustrations,  minimal qualifications required etc.

For the sake of brevity, I'm just going to explore one possible reason which I think perpetuates the stereotype and, since I'm Aristocrat, that's going to be appearance.

Seoul is one of the largest and, arguably, one of the trendiest cities in the world, particularly in Autumn, which is the season fashion and style. At the very least, nobody can argue that physical appearance matters in Korean culture... big time! One the Seoul subways and streets, you'll see plenty of Koreans sporting trim figures, designer wear and/or stylish clothes. You get the fashion slaves who look kind of ridiculous, but at least they're making an effort. Then you spot the foreigner, the guy is: overweight, baggy jeans, filthy sneakers, oversized varsity hoodie and has a film of sweat over his brow. The women: fat, skinny ripped jeans (with fat bulging out the rips), equally filthy sneakers, sweater covered in dog hair and her own looking like it hasn't been washed in weeks.

Yes, Koreans can dress pretty disheveled too, but since ESL teachers are in the minority, if even 10% of us resemble a frat boy from the 90s, it's going cause a stereotype. I could speak to foreigners who dress like this and discover that they're some of the most eloquent and intelligent people I've met (and I have), but in a society where you're not going to speak to 99.999% of the people you see, you're going to judge them by their appearance.

Take offense if you want, I'm just giving my humble opinion on what I think are the facts of life.


  • stoat
  • Super Waygook

    • 423

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2019, 08:48:13 am »
It's not clear whether he's talking about the Western perception or the Korean one. He says he heard it from people in Canada but then asks whether it's due to racism.  I assume he  was talking to Asians in Canada. In which case jealousy definitely.  Most young people want to travel the world and would love to have the chance to work in other countries with only a degree as a qualification.  If they tie this in with the idea of 'white privilege' there could be an element of racism as well.


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2019, 10:01:56 am »
The only losers are those who are insecure enough to actually take the term seriously. The rest of us simply acknowledge that there are literally hundreds of continuums in life (spiritual/professional/relational/recreational, etc. etc. etc.), and where we find ourselves on any of these is nobody's business really. Trying to categorise oneself (loser/not loser) is a futile and masturbatory exercise, no good to anyone. Must be an american thing.

Worst thread ever.


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2019, 10:09:10 am »
I assume he  was talking to Asians in Canada. In which case jealousy definitely.  Most young people want to travel the world and would love to have the chance to work in other countries with only a degree as a qualification.  If they tie this in with the idea of 'white privilege' there could be an element of racism as well.
You do realize that Asians in Canada who are Canadian citizens can teach ESL as well, right? Not all ESL teachers are white.

Also, how can someone who has lived among Asians for so long not understand them? The reason they might consider teaching English as a "loser" outcome is not because they are jealous it's because they are asking "Was teaching English your ambition? Was this the outcome you wanted? Was this what you were studying for?" If the answer is yes or at least close to yes, then they are fine with it. If you had some kind of deep concern or business plan, then they understand. If on the other hand you had a degree in something completely unrelated and wish you had a job doing something else, then well...

Traveling because you're a linguistics major? No problem. East Asian Studies major? No problem. Want to get some experience in Asia because you want to start a business? No problem. However if you're like Richard Gere in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' doing the whole "I've got nowhere else to go" or engaging in glandular thinking by "traveling the world" simply for sex, then they might perceive you differently.

Not saying I agree with this mentality, Just that it isn't just some dumb line of thinking. I think it might miss some things, but I also think that some people who reject it might be lying a bit to themselves and overlooking some of the uncomfortable truths about their own situation.


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1306

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2019, 10:13:24 am »
Given the lack of good jobs back home, you can hardly blame folks.  You use to just go to work, but now those middle class jobs are gone.  They were outsourced.  Folks didn't have to build a career and compete to an extreme to get a decent working wage.  Now they do.  It's great if you're from a big city and can live with the folks I guess while starting out with crap wages.  It's also great if you have rich parents who will move you to a big city or help pay your rent.  For everyone else, it takes too long to make any money.  But, if I were starting over, I'd go for a trade and find places that are booming with a lower cost of living.  Maybe someday when I'm 45 or 50, I'll do a trade even if I'm old or something.  Ha ha. 

As for loser, if you make decent money, I'd wager to differ there.  I think you have to make 3 million or more a month (including housing and any bonuses).  If you come here for 2 million (2.1  mil minus the cost of the flight home each month 100,000 won), you may be a loser because you could do better and have to be willing to either negoitate better or hop to other countries.  (China and Vietnam a similar wage, but a much cheaper cost of living.  More savings potential. )  If I weren't over 3 million plus, I'd be gone.  I wouldn't stay and take 2 million won.  I have more self respect than that and refuse to be a loser with no self esteem.  Not sure why some folks hop at it.  Truthfully, with inflation, and entry level salary here for a beginner was 2.9 to 3.0 million or so 11 or 12 years ago. 


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1306

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2019, 10:17:54 am »
It's not clear whether he's talking about the Western perception or the Korean one. He says he heard it from people in Canada but then asks whether it's due to racism.  I assume he  was talking to Asians in Canada. In which case jealousy definitely.  Most young people want to travel the world and would love to have the chance to work in other countries with only a degree as a qualification.  If they tie this in with the idea of 'white privilege' there could be an element of racism as well.

The majority of people in North America don't have university degrees.  It had traditionally only been about 20% or less of the population.  So, most people can't do esl unless they have a fake diploma.  Out of that number, only a tiny fraction of them do esl, though that number is larger than in the past.  I did hear up until 15 years ago or so, folks came here in droves with fake diplomas.  Still happens in China and even get Ukrainians and Russians to be passed off as westerners. 


  • OnNut81
  • Expert Waygook

    • 918

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2019, 10:36:28 am »
DeMartino: You do realize that Asians in Canada who are Canadian citizens can teach ESL as well, right?
 
Wow!  You do realise that Canadian citizens of Asian descent are Canadian, right?  Not Asians?

Can you imagine DMart's outrage if someone here posited that American citizens  whose ethnicity was Asian should be referred to as Asian rather than American?  But, when  you're looking to complain for the sake of complaining consistency falls by the wayside. 

There are the stereotypical western ESL bums here that somehow manage to stay employed and they draw the most attention I think.  Also, you have the people that crave attention and for the first time can get it over here. 

I can think of one person that rarely shaves, dressed as if they never did laundry and only owned one pair of ill-fitting jeans and two "funny" t-shirts, plays a lot of video games and is usually drunk out of school who has managed to stay employed (not well-employed) but employed nonetheless over here.  Most Koreans that know him are disgusted and all of our reputations suffer a bit. 

Another goof was the needy "Look at me, Look at me" type who once went to Dokdo dressed in Korean garb with a Korean flag cape.  He wasn't doing it as a joke.  Definitely was looking for people to come up and seek a selfie.  They may not look down with disdain on someone like this, but they definitely wouldn't want him dating their daughter. 

If you are going about your business normally and are currently not dressed as if you just hauled your winter coat out of the closet without bothering to wash it and are not wearing old running shoes everywhere Koreans often will not assume your job is an ESL teacher. 

But for most people out there, if you're happy with your life and job who cares? 


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1645

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2019, 10:44:31 am »
When you wash your winter coat it loses its waterproof protection.

Otherwise I agree mostly.


  • stoat
  • Super Waygook

    • 423

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2019, 10:45:04 am »
Quote
You do realize that Asians in Canada who are Canadian citizens can teach ESL as well, right? Not all ESL teachers are white.

I assumed they weren't Canadian citizens when he cited jealousy as a possible reason for them calling ESL teacher losers. if they were Canadian citizens they could become ESL teachers themselves so why would they be jealous?


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2019, 10:46:53 am »
From what you read on here/Reddit/Facebook about this subject, it seems like if you are a little bit fat, don't lift weights and happen to be an ESL teacher then you're a loser.  I really don't like that attitude.

Like OnNut81 says above, if you're happy with your life and your job then who cares?  You've won.  The people who sneer at you for the clothes you wear or your body shape are the "losers".


  • plan b
  • Super Waygook

    • 271

    • March 22, 2013, 11:53:06 am
    • Korea
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2019, 10:49:52 am »
Back home, perceptions vary widely. Some people are think teaching English abroad is a very cool thing to do, and they would love to live in another country like we do. However, we are indeed "losers" in the eyes of others for the following reasons.

1.  A lot of people are unhappy with their own lives and their own choices in life. Many work at dull, repetitive jobs that offer little more than a paycheck. At their stage of life, making wholesale changes is difficult. For those who are married with children, the most that can be expected in many cases is a weeks' vacation at a resort in Mexico. When people see the blogs and instagram sites from ESL teachers, they see dozens of pictures of the people enjoying themselves in their new country or a number of other countries they have visited as well. Their own lives are simply not validated by this. So in order to validate their own lives, they put down, slander, and demonize others who have made different life and career choices.

2. People have no idea about how hard it is to actually teach English effectively. Since they are fluent in the language, they can't put themselves in the place of an ESL learner, and many believe that a teacher "just talks" during their lesson. As if "just talking" would be an effective lesson. Thus the belief is out there that teaching ESL is an easy job.

3. Initially, years ago, the people who got into the industry were backpacker types. Nomadic types who were carefree, valued partying, and didn't see their jobs as serious. Many of these cowboys would pull all types of stunts from drug dealing to fighting with the locals. As the years have progressed, countries have made it difficult and time consuming to get visas for Teachers. This has weeded out many  of these types. However the perception is still there that ESL Teachers are these type of people.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 11:06:39 am by plan b »


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2019, 10:50:53 am »
Quote
You do realize that Asians in Canada who are Canadian citizens can teach ESL as well, right? Not all ESL teachers are white.

I assumed they weren't Canadian citizens when he cited jealousy as a possible reason for them calling ESL teacher losers. if they were Canadian citizens they could become ESL teachers themselves so why would they be jealous?
You didn't assume that maybe this guy's assumption of jealousy was a dumb conclusion? You didn't assume that there might be an alternative explanation?


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2019, 10:55:04 am »
1.  A lot of people are unhappy with their own lives and their own choices in life. Many work at dull, repetitive jobs that offer little more than a paycheck. At their stage of life, making wholesale changes is difficult. For those who are married with children, the most that can be expected in many cases is a weeks' vacation at a resort in Mexico. When people see the blogs and instagram sites from ESL teachers, they see dozens of pictures of the people enjoying themselves in their new country or a number of other countries they have visited as well. Their own lives are simply not validated by this. So in order to validate their own lives, they put down, slander, and demonize others who have made different life and career choices.
You sure this doesn't work both ways? Given some of the lives of quiet desperation I've encountered here, I think it's fair to say that there's some of that going both ways. People attached to the ol' ball and chain who wish they were living carefree halfway across the world. And people in Korea...perhaps attached to the ol' ball and chain, who wish they were back home working in some office job and then leaving work to be with the friends and family they grew up with.

The grass is always greener for some people.


Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2019, 11:00:08 am »
It's all true.  I'm such a loser that when I approach the automatic doors in Lotte Mart, they don't open.  I have to stand aside and wait for someone else to walk through first.  FML.


  • stoat
  • Super Waygook

    • 423

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2019, 11:02:55 am »
Quote
You do realize that Asians in Canada who are Canadian citizens can teach ESL as well, right? Not all ESL teachers are white.

I assumed they weren't Canadian citizens when he cited jealousy as a possible reason for them calling ESL teacher losers. if they were Canadian citizens they could become ESL teachers themselves so why would they be jealous?
You didn't assume that maybe this guy's assumption of jealousy was a dumb conclusion? You didn't assume that there might be an alternative explanation?

I think assuming I didn't realise there were non white ESL teachers was a pretty dumb conclusion


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 2606

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2019, 11:06:12 am »
where i'm from in england (99.9% white), there's also an assumption that people who marry someone non-white do so because they can't get a nice white girl


  • OnNut81
  • Expert Waygook

    • 918

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: Esl teachers are losers?!?!
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2019, 11:08:32 am »
It's all true.  I'm such a loser that when I approach the automatic doors in Lotte Mart, they don't open.  I have to stand aside and wait for someone else to walk through first.  FML.

Wasn't that in a season Fargo?  The doors wouldn't open for that cop and the sinks wouldn't turn on for her when she held her hands under them?  I know it's familiar.