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  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1346

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« on: December 21, 2019, 09:59:04 pm »
I have worked here a number of years and I can honestly say it has been rare.



My bosses have at times liked me because they found me attractive or funny, or because we had good chemistry. But never because of my hard work or teaching methodology.








« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 10:52:14 pm by Cyanea »
Catch my drift?


  • buckybee
  • Adventurer

    • 68

    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Gunsan
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2019, 03:12:38 pm »
I have lived here for awhile too. I have felt appreciated. My co-teachers often thank me and offer to help me. Two of them wanted their kids to be in my English camp because they thought my camps were really nice. I took that as a compliment considering parents can be very strict with their kids education.  So over all I think they appreciate me but I don't think they understand how much work I actually do. I also think those who don't work close with me still think native English teachers don't need to work a lot but we defiantly do.


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2019, 03:52:38 pm »
I feel like they appreciate me, but only to an extent. They appreciate seeing me work and creating my own materials. They appreciate seeing the students trying to legitimately engage with me during my classes. They appreciate how I monitor the kids and maintain their behavior in my classroom. They appreciate how the students like me and how the students complain about not being able to come to my classes whenever there's been a schedule change. Basically, they appreciate how I'm not the stereotypical lazy NET that they always hear about.

But they don't really appreciate the amount of work that goes into everything that I do. Even when they compliment me about the work I do and try to do little things to show me how much they appreciate my work, their expectations of me later, once they get comfortable enough with me, doesn't reflect a clear understanding of just how much work it is. They also never seem to understand how much harder classroom management is for the NET vs a KT whenever the NET has to work alone, especially during camp periods when the schools are almost empty. So many KTs are completely out of touch with what students are capable of (for good and for bad), and they underestimate the amount of planning I have to do in order to accommodate all of that.

So they're quick to try to dump extra work on me, and will sometimes get resentful whenever I push back and refuse to do it because, as far as they're concerned, I've got the time, and who am I to tell them no?

Every year it gets a little worse, and whatever appreciation I might have felt before I can't help but feel wasn't genuine. This is one of the reasons why I've decided my time in Korea is almost up. Either they don't really know how much work it is, or they don't care because they're not the ones who have to do it. This is true about anything, though. Once you stop feeling appreciated and respected, it's hard to want to stick around.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 04:39:01 pm by Chinguetti »


  • Cyanea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1346

    • September 04, 2016, 01:48:24 pm
    • Las Vegas
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2019, 04:33:41 pm »
They appreciate seeing the students trying to legitimately engage with me during my classes. They appreciate how I monitor the kids and maintain their behavior in my classroom. They appreciate how the students like me and how the students complain about not being able to come to my classes whenever there's been a schedule change. Basically, they appreciate how I'm not the stereotypical lazy NET that they always hear about.


So they're quick to try to dump extra work on me, and will sometimes get resentful whenever I push back and refuse to do it because, as far as they're concerned, I've got the time, and who am I to tell them no?

Seems to me the management is often overly-focused on paperwork. They value all kinds of unneccessary paperwork, meetings and other surface devices. So they will get annoyed if you don't follow these to the letter.

Meanwhile they will ignore and give you no credit for your success at the things that really matter- students learning and improving in your classes.
Catch my drift?


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2019, 05:01:35 pm »
Seems to me the management is often overly-focused on paperwork. They value all kinds of unneccessary paperwork, meetings and other surface devices. So they will get annoyed if you don't follow these to the letter.

Meanwhile they will ignore and give you no credit for your success at the things that really matter- students learning and improving in your classes.

I think it's a bit more complicated than that, and I don't want to give anyone the impression that I haven't appreciated a lot of the people that I've had the pleasure of working with. While I've become really disillusioned with some aspects of teaching in Korea, I don't feel like it's a lost cause or that everyone in the education industry here are a bunch of close-minded idiots out to take advantage of us.

There are lots of good people who mean well. But there's also a lot of old generational ideas and norms that haven't aged well with modern society but are still in full effect and which are completely incompatible when working with people from other cultures, so there are bound to be clashes, especially when the wrong personalities are involved. It's just that some of us experience more of that than others, due to certain factors and just blind shitty luck.



  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1287

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2019, 07:15:06 pm »
There have  been a couple of times....

But, in general...no. 

Then again, a Korean's opinion on quality teaching and effective preparation is rather, useless.  Their overwhelming insecurities about their own culture, people and nation as a whole, always block the things that could infuse improvement, even in the smallest way. 

Again, there have been a couple of times in which what I was doing and how I was doing it, was given notice and appreciation. 


  • lhelena
  • Veteran

    • 176

    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2019, 08:06:14 am »
By my students? Definitely. Their engagement alone is really encouraging; anytime I get questions about something instead of just blank stares I get really excited. I have students that want to stick around and tell me random stories or give me something they made for me. There is a good group of 4th and 5th graders that I get multiple times a week for after school and they are by far the only reason I stayed with this school a second year and I'll really miss them when I leave.

By the other teachers and staff? Not so much. Since I got to this school in spring 2018, I have been treated like a dumb baby by most of the other teachers and some of the admin staff. I think once they realized I was fluent in Korean like the teacher I replaced their collective attitude towards me changed (it changed again when I married my husband who is Korean). It was like all of a sudden I wasn't an adult who had successfully gotten a job abroad and traveled alone to another country on the other side of the world. I was and still am after 2 years treated like I am incapable of doing anything for myself and still get stupid questions of whether or not I can do some simple task. My favorite example is from a few months ago, my school went for a dinner at this seafood restaurant that is pretty close to where my apartment is. Our hwesik are never close enough to my apartment or even a familiar bus stop for me to get home on my own so I was really excited to be able to avoid the usual arguing over who has to drive the foreigner home. My co decided to drive me and another teacher who lives in the same area I do anyway. We get to the major intersection of the street I live on, have lived on for 2 years. Seeing there is an accident blocking traffic she turns and says "do you know where we are? can you find your apartment from here?" We were literally looking at the bus stop I get off at every day. I wanted to be like "yeah I can just ask my husband to send smoke signals if he's home". The patronizing tones I get and being treated like I'm stupid has gotten to me so much that I've stopped speaking unless I have to and even then I don't use as friendly of a tone as I used to. I will not miss anyone here except for the lunch ladies, they're just the sweetest and look out for me 100% of the time.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2019, 08:14:47 am by lhelena »


  • SamBunny
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 26, 2016, 11:37:11 pm
    • Chungbuk
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2019, 08:13:14 am »
I've been an elementary EPIK school teacher for 3 years now, I've been runner-up for teacher of the year the last 2 years, and I've always felt appreciated. Maybe not by every co-worker, but overall, my principals and main co-teachers have always commented when they notice me going above and beyond for my students. Sometimes they'll bring me a snack or drink in the morning that they brought from home, or some handmade soaps from a workshop they did over the weekend, things like that. My kids show it in the form of being excited to see me every day, trying to talk with me about everyday life stuff even though their classes haven't really prepared them for that kind of conversation, etc. Most importantly to me, though, is that they try to make me feel included. Like at hwesiks, usually someone will try to translate or explain situations that I'm obviously struggling to comprehend. It's really nice. This is the only job I've ever had where it's been obvious that I'm appreciated and I'm so grateful. it really keeps me at the top of my game.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5866

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2019, 08:16:53 am »
I had scissors explained to me once. I was 30.
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


  • Mr C
  • The Legend

    • 2034

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Mr. C is not a bad person, in fact is quite a good person here. One of the best people on this forum if you really look at it
-Mr.DeMartino


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2019, 12:10:24 pm »
No, not really. I've been made to feel like a baby, a stupid foreigner, invisible, and someone who took other Koreans' jobs.


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2019, 12:41:45 pm »
It was once suggested to me that I was extremely helpful for literally trying to make lessons based on the textbook the school was using.

I had asked for a copy of the teacher's guide. There was only one that the main teacher needed to keep at school for themselves. I understood; I only went there once a week. So, I asked if I could just get a copy of the books the kids themselves used.

CoT: Why do you want those?
Me: I need to see what you're teaching them, since my conversation lessons should probably be based on what they're learning/tested on.
CoT: Oh. Wow. That will help me out a lot.

It felt strange being appreciated for something so absolutely basic for a teacher.


  • lhelena
  • Veteran

    • 176

    • March 11, 2018, 01:57:14 pm
    • Anseong
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2019, 12:59:39 pm »
It was once suggested to me that I was extremely helpful for literally trying to make lessons based on the textbook the school was using.

I had asked for a copy of the teacher's guide. There was only one that the main teacher needed to keep at school for themselves. I understood; I only went there once a week. So, I asked if I could just get a copy of the books the kids themselves used.

CoT: Why do you want those?
Me: I need to see what you're teaching them, since my conversation lessons should probably be based on what they're learning/tested on.
CoT: Oh. Wow. That will help me out a lot.

It felt strange being appreciated for something so absolutely basic for a teacher.

That reminds me of last winter when I had 2 weeks of desk-warming before camp. I was using that time to make all the PPTs and printed materials I would use for winter camp and the head admin guy walked into my office and asked what I was doing. I told him I was working on materials for the camp that was in a week or two and he was genuinely surprised and said "oh that's so sad that you're working". I responded "what do you mean?" and he was like "just sad. good luck" and left. I wanted to be like "well I'm sorry I wasn't just watching Netflix. Should I be doing that next time instead?". The expectation that we don't work hard just because we're NETs really blows my mind.


  • L I
  • The Legend

    • 4895

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2019, 01:15:21 pm »
He meant it was sad you have to come in to prepare for then teach a camp while all (or nearly all) the Korean teachers are off on vacation.


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2019, 01:29:54 pm »
He meant it was sad you have to come in to prepare for then teach a camp while all (or nearly all) the Korean teachers are off on vacation.
+1


  • Colburnnn
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1078

    • August 10, 2015, 05:52:37 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2019, 01:40:58 pm »
He meant it was sad you have to come in to prepare for then teach a camp while all (or nearly all) the Korean teachers are off on vacation.
+1

+2
Haven't you got some pictures of birds to be jacking off to, son?

Colburnnn: Complains a lot, very sassy. Has a loudmouth.


  • dandred
  • Super Waygook

    • 254

    • March 28, 2012, 11:24:32 am
    • Bucheon
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2019, 03:04:59 pm »
After receiving countless thank you
 messages from my uni students this semester, yeah.   
20 years teaching experience. CELTA, DELTA, MA TESOL, PhD slave  / on hold. Thank you.


  • kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 6053

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2019, 08:36:42 am »
    Yep.
    I work at a few different schools, and most of my "coworkers" don't attend my classes. I know that partly this is out of laziness, sure, but I feel that part of it is also implicit trust in that I can handle their classes without issues. They've thanked me many times for not requiring them to be in the classroom all the time (honestly, except for the odd outlier class, it's just easier for me when I don't have to worry about coteachers etc. Things are easiest if we just outline who does which chapter at the beginning of the year and touch bases occasionally at lunch to make sure neither one of us is too far behind!).

     I give and get snacks and small gifts pretty frequently (anybody want a hand towel? I have a few drawers full...), and most of the faculty seems to enjoy chatting with me. Generally speaking, it's good vibes all around, which I'm pretty happy with.

   I don't really need explicit expressions of gratitude for doing something I'm being paid to do, but it definitely  is nice to get the occasional reaffirmation that I'm not a huge burden on everybody around me!
    Also, that so many of my kiddos like to visit with me during their free time to share stories and talk in English is a pretty big sign of appreciation, and one of the biggest reasons why I'm still here after so long!



     As for my coworker's assessment of my competence in doing basic things... well... over the years I've given them a few pretty interesting examples of why I might possibly need a permanent care-taker, so I do occasionally catch the odd worried expression when talking about plans to go out and get my driver's licence, or take somebody to the hospital, or visit the real-estate agent, or order take-out, or whatever, but I muddle through and usually show up the next day without too many bandages so...  :smiley:


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2019, 08:43:43 am »
No, not really. I've been made to feel like a baby, a stupid foreigner, invisible, and someone who took other Koreans' jobs.

this is exactly how i feel. it's ridiculous especially since i legit have a teaching degree and taught elementary school in the states


Re: Have you ever felt appreciated as a teacher in Korea?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2019, 02:00:09 pm »
Only by one. I'm leaving this year and he said he hope the next teacher will be as good as I was. Those words made me feel happy. The other teachers only care about my materials. I guess that's an indication that I make some nice stuff or they just wanna be lazy and not have to create anything of their own next year.