Read 4367 times

Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« on: April 09, 2020, 08:58:24 am »
I'm going to be starting at a new school this summer and have been checking their website to see what their response is to "the situation." (Looks like they're still open but banning parents from entering. Yay! haha) Anyway, I noticed on the "Meet the Teachers" page that quite a few of the NETs I first saw on the site have been replaced by brand new faces. At least 5 that I can tell. Is this a bad sign or totally normal? Or possibly C19-related? Or... maybe they're just now getting around to updating the website? The person I'm replacing was pretty vague on why they were leaving and I'm not sure it's worth asking the school or recruiter about directly. :-[ Halp.


Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2020, 09:19:26 am »
I'm going to be starting at a new school this summer and have been checking their website to see what their response is to "the situation." (Looks like they're still open but banning parents from entering. Yay! haha) Anyway, I noticed on the "Meet the Teachers" page that quite a few of the NETs I first saw on the site have been replaced by brand new faces. At least 5 that I can tell. Is this a bad sign or totally normal? Or possibly C19-related? Or... maybe they're just now getting around to updating the website? The person I'm replacing was pretty vague on why they were leaving and I'm not sure it's worth asking the school or recruiter about directly. :-[ Halp.

I wouldn't worry

At my local MOE, the Korean CTs complained to the MOE that many of the new NETs were inexperienced (well, no sh*t, a teaching license isn't required). Either way, more experienced NETs are preferred in my MOE. 


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1787

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2020, 09:26:53 am »
If you are a talking about a hagwon... Well, chances are it will be a bad sign, cause statistically, you're more likely to end up at a bad one to work for haha.
(made up statistics based on word of mouth and personal experience.) :P


  • plan b
  • Super Waygook

    • 313

    • March 22, 2013, 11:53:06 am
    • Korea
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2020, 09:38:39 am »
I'd say about a half of English Teachers in Korea leave after a year. Maybe between 50 and 60%. There's a lot of turnover. There's no real way of knowing what really happened, and recruiters are not apt to share any information that could cost them business.


Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2020, 10:10:36 am »
Thanks guys, that puts it into perspective!


Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2020, 11:52:26 am »
You might as well consider it to be.

I spent 3 years teaching in Yongin, and 4 years teaching in Gyeongsangnam.
Most of the teachers like me who are experienced and licensed usually stay
for more than 1 year. But I worked in the public school system, not in a
hagwon.

Plus the experienced teachers have to be paid more than the inexperienced
teachers because the inexperienced teachers are found to be cheaper.


  • alexisalex
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1065

    • March 02, 2014, 05:10:24 pm
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2020, 12:39:05 pm »
The two previous NETS at my school stayed for one year each and I just started my seventh year haha.  One man's trash is another man's treasure  :laugh:


  • L I
  • The Legend

    • 4890

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2020, 12:44:25 pm »
Here’s to seven more great years in Korea.


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1706

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2020, 10:03:48 am »
A lot of teachers cycle in and out after a year or two.  Don't worry about it. 


  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1284

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2020, 11:08:29 am »
OP, this may be something to be concerned about  Schools generally don't want folks finishing their year all at once.

If the person you spoke with, regarding this situation, was vague (which, there really is no need for..unless, there is a need), I'd ask more questions. 


Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2020, 01:20:29 pm »
You must be a new teacher.

This is the norm for this job.  NETs are guest teachers.  We are not real teachers.  We are considered expendable
which is why contracts only last 1 year at a time. 

Most NETs do treat this as a temporary career, something to do while they figure out what they really want to do with
their lives, a chance to leave their home country and visit Asia or Korea, travel, kill two birds with one stone, maybe
a Koreaphile, too.  Lots of people want to just come to Korea, and english teaching job was the best way to do it.  Another
reason is because they couldn't find any decent work back home.  Yeah, believe it or not, you'd think life is supposed to
be better in Europe or North America, but many of them can't find jobs and decide to teach English abroad.  It used to be
almost anyone could just land a job....but those days are long gone now and it's good they have more stringent criteria
you have to meet (not sure about Hagwons though).

There is a small percentage of those who have decided they want to do this for the rest of their life or as long as they can
and even try to naturalize as Korean citizen (many ways).   You'll find these people quite easily as they are long-time users of this forum or other sites and it may just seem like there are a lot, but there aren't in comparison.  It's because the temporary english teachers who stay for 1 or 2 years come and go on this forum, too.   The ones that use this often are the ones who have been here a long time and have created a sort of "fraternity" community amongst the senior/veteran NETs of Korea.

This same pattern exists in almost any other country where expats work and live in.  Same thing.

I mentioned a while back somewhere in one of these threads, that NETs and Korean teachers have in large part
two very different perspectives.  Korean teachers are in this for life.   They have studied and prepared for this career
for years before getting in and it's very difficult for them to get in because of how many people want this government job
with all the benefits and perks it comes with for Korean teachers.

As for NETs, we don't get the same benefits and perks over the long haul.  You could have worked for 10 years but the next year, you could easily find yourself back to square one back in line with the 1st year applicants.  There is no seniority system or benefits package for us.  We get the same treatment as a 1st year applicant.  Only difference is maybe your pay is higher if you stayed long enough in the same place.    The longer a Korean teacher stays in their career as a teacher, the better everything gets for them...pay, benefits, certain privileges and promotions...huge incentives.  For NETs, no incentives other than a slight pay bump but there is a ceiling.  There is no special package for seniority or promotion.  You're just  a guest english teacher of 1 year or 15th year, you are the same.   Easily replaceable.  Expendable.

Of course, you could always branch out and do your own thing and try to use your experience and vast knowledge to your own advantage and to your own leverage.  But this isn't easy and it's not for everyone.  Those who have done it have found great success and started their own businesses and more.  But again, it's not easy and not for everyone.

I really think the English program should create a 2 tiered system.  1 tier should be for those English teachers who are real temporary teachers, they openly say they only want to do this for 1 or 2 years maybe 3 tops and leave.  It seems that there is a general mutual understanding that Korea can "use" these NETs and the NETs can "use" Korea.  They both get what they want in the short-term, and wipe their hands clean and off they go their own ways.  It's like using each other for your own personal gain (Korea's need for english and your need for a job/money/adventure/new experience).

But tier 2 are the ones who really want to invest and commit to the english program in Korea and have plans to stay long-term.  These are the people I feel get short-changed somewhat because we are all in tier 1 despite having given a decade or more to the system.  It's a simple, if your employers see you as more than just temporary workers, they might invest more in you, and in return, the worker would want to invest more back.  It's another mutual understanding but on another level....the long-term investment level.   

Anyways, just my two cents.



  • LIC
  • Expert Waygook

    • 842

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2020, 10:13:20 am »
Back around 2011-2012 when I was finally forced into taking that utterly useless EPIC circus nutshow in Seoul, a Korean from the Ministry of Education got up on stage to give his welcome speech.

He was as ignorant as it gets and made everyone there feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I wasn't surprised as I had been in Korea for a while by then and knew what a significant percentage of Koreans can be like with regards to foreigners in general.

Anyway, Mr. Kimgeniality told the huddled mass that 80% of newcomers to Korea stay 1 year and about 80% of the rest leave after 2 years. Then he went off on a vicious tirade about his feelings of those who do runners. In short, there is never a reason to do one and it is never a Koreans fault.

From my experience those numbers were close enough for horseshoes.

The foreign teachers I knew who stayed longer than 2 years fell into 3 general groups:

1) Those who had a longterm plan to make enough money to enable them to go where they wanted to go and settle in comfortably - like me

2) Those who fell in love with a Korean and got married

3) Losers and apologists with nothing else going on in their pathetic existences

It's no coincidence at all that if you go there and buckle down and work without spending a lot of money that most can pay off a student loan in 2 years.

To answer your question, no it isn't a bad sign. It's typical.
 
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 10:19:26 am by LIC »


Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2020, 10:05:51 am »

Quote

The foreign teachers I knew who stayed longer than 2 years fell into 3 general groups:

1) Those who had a longterm plan to make enough money to enable them to go where they wanted to go and settle in comfortably - like me

2) Those who fell in love with a Korean and got married

3) Losers and apologists with nothing else going on in their pathetic existences

It's no coincidence at all that if you go there and buckle down and work without spending a lot of money that most can pay off a student loan in 2 years.

To answer your question, no it isn't a bad sign. It's typical.

I'd have to put a 4th reason in that list and that is some people really do have a passion for teaching and wanted this as a career.  There are a lot of amazing teachers I've come across or met at orientations and other stuff and so that category is just as real also.

#3 haha, I wouldn't put it so bluntly like that, but yes there is some truth to that.  Teaching English overseas really started off like a gimmick....a cheap and easy way to make some money while enjoying travelling or a new experience in another country.  It wasn't taken so seriously and I'm sure many Koreans who had to be exposed to this early mentality and culture of NETs like that Mr. Kim guy, has his reasons to think and say the things he did.

If you've had a dozen english teachers over the last 20 years come and go, do midnight runs, come to school late, be unprofessional, not even do a good job in lesson planning or teaching, and whining complaining about money or more vacation time and other cultural things ....you can get an idea of how some people could formulate this negative image of us.

But times have changed and things are improving with the qualifications and criteria to meet, most applicants now are not just your typical high school / college drop out with nothing to do so come to Asia and teach english kind of person.  Most of them have now put in quite a substantial amount of time, effort, and money to get here.   So there's definitely an improvement in quality of NETs.

I think it would be really helpful for both NETs and the Korean English education system if they were able to identify and separate the "temporary" ones and the ones with "long-term investment" potential.   

While overall, this job (in the public school) provides a very professional and reasonable compensation with short-term security, I think if anyone wants or expects more out of their employees, you have to show that you are willing to invest in them, care about them, and treat them as if you think they are long-term key players for you.

If you treat them like they are expendable, then employees knows this as well and therefore won't invest much back into you.  Why should they when they know they're only going to be here for a year or two?

As a person with the experience of 10 years in Korea, I can attest to what it feels like.  You'd think that having 10 years of experience and loyalty to the system, you'd be in some sort of elevated or senior status / benefits but you aren't.  You are just as vulnerable and at the edge of elimination as a first year applicant.   You are somewhat unknown, unrecognized, all you did or put in is just seemingly gone and isn't building towards anything (in their eyes, but maybe in your own life you are building towards something sure). 

So this feeling makes you really hold back and become more selfish to take care of yourself because you realize how fragile your status is and in one moment, all of it could be gone and you're on your own.   

Korean teachers I bet don't feel this same way. They feel a sense of security, recognition, identity, long-term investment etc....so there's a lot more for them to invest in and have good reason to.  For us, NETs, we're just a guest teacher even if you've been here for 10 or 20 years, you're always just 1 step away from being out the door, no questions asked....nobody knew you even existed or did what you did for a decade or two.   That's the part I wish would change.  You want your employees to be invested, then you need to show them you are investing in them (the long-term ones who wanted to be here and be part of it).

The short-term ones openly admit they only want to be here short-term and move on, so that's a different tier group or understanding and nobody's feelings gets hurt lol.   It's like the feeling of getting dumped.  I think both sides feel that way a lot.  NETs feel like they got dumped and Korean education side feels like NETs who leave dumped them.  That's probably the feeling Mr Kim was expressing over his long tenure and years dealing with NETs.





  • alexisalex
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1065

    • March 02, 2014, 05:10:24 pm
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2020, 10:31:18 am »
It would be nice to see long term teachers rewarded somehow or at least be given any kind of motivation.  Maybe they could be given more responsibility in terms of mentoring new teachers, running training sessions, opening up their classes throughout the year for people to observe etc.  Personally I'd love the chance to observe other teachers to get more ideas for my classes.

One thing that has always bothered me about this job is the lack of feedback.  I've been here six years and still don't know where I stand in terms of where the bar is set.  Am I well below it?  Am I just doing what is expected of me?  Maybe I'm the best teacher Korea has ever seen and my material blows everyone else out of the water but the point is I have absolutely no idea.  No idea at all.  I don't really enjoy teaching because I don't know if I'm good at it or not.  So why carry on, you know?


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1387

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2020, 11:37:20 am »
It would be nice to see long term teachers rewarded somehow or at least be given any kind of motivation.  Maybe they could be given more responsibility in terms of mentoring new teachers, running training sessions, opening up their classes throughout the year for people to observe etc.  Personally I'd love the chance to observe other teachers to get more ideas for my classes.

One thing that has always bothered me about this job is the lack of feedback.  I've been here six years and still don't know where I stand in terms of where the bar is set.  Am I well below it?  Am I just doing what is expected of me?  Maybe I'm the best teacher Korea has ever seen and my material blows everyone else out of the water but the point is I have absolutely no idea.  No idea at all.  I don't really enjoy teaching because I don't know if I'm good at it or not.  So why carry on, you know?

Yes, you've put your finger on something that's missing from a lot of teachers' experiences. Observing other teachers and more pertinently being observed (and given proper feedback) are probably the best ways to improve as a teacher, though probably the majority of teachers working here have never done either. 


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3819

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2020, 02:40:42 pm »
I miss getting feedback like that. In fact, I've never gotten it in Korea, only elsewhere

The only feedback I get here is from patents who come to my class - the vast majority who have no experience teaching and can't speak English anyway


  • alexisalex
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1065

    • March 02, 2014, 05:10:24 pm
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2020, 03:15:14 pm »
I really like that EPIK has its mentor/mentee program but it's nowhere near where it should be. 

- First year teachers should have access to mentors' classes througout the year, not just one time.  Deskwarming?  Why not be able to pop out for the afternoon to see a class?

- Second year teachers should not automatically become mentors.  My classes were still probably terrible at that point.

- There could be a small team of long term teachers (+ five years?) who have themselves been evaluated, doing the mentoring and doing it regularly throughout the year.  One week per semester where they see two mentee classes per day?  Something like that.

I feel like the mentor/mentee meetings in my experience have been the usual "tick the box, it's done" paperwork for schools when it could be a lot more than that.


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1387

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2020, 03:33:22 pm »
NETs in the public school system are supposed to be classroom assistants so they'd have to be observed with their co-teachers wouldn't they? This wouldn't go down well with the Korean teachers I assume, who would feel they'd have to make a special effort on top of their open class dog and pony show.


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3819

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2020, 04:26:18 pm »
korean public schools really just need an outside body to come in once or twice a year and evaluate the teachers, like OFSTED would in the UK. it feels like public school teachers here really don't have anyone to impress (apart from the fake open classes), as they change schools every four years anyway, are never evaluated and know they've pretty much got a job for life.

not to mention that the subject teachers seem to get swapped around seemingly at will- teachers getting put on english teaching duty for the year, despite never having taught ESL before (and often not even being able to speak english very well, either)


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1821

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Is it a bad sign when most of the NETs are new?
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2020, 04:45:52 pm »
not to mention that the subject teachers seem to get swapped around seemingly at will- teachers getting put on english teaching duty for the year, despite never having taught ESL before (and often not even being able to speak english very well, either)
That's only in elementary. In middle, and high, schools they have actual English teachers. However, often their actual speaking English may be lacking. But they do know their technical grammar.