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  • CDW
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1782

    • June 15, 2011, 01:22:09 pm
    • Banned
Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« on: June 10, 2015, 10:31:27 am »
I think there is a perception among Koreans that foreigners who teach English here do it because they are unemployable in their home countries. Or maybe they couldn't find girlfriend in their home countries. Or they might even have history of drug use or criminal behavior.

I've noticed that Koreans often act very unimpressed when I tell them what I do here. I had one ajossi in a bar tell me, "I don't like male ESL teachers. I like female ESL teachers." A few years ago I joined a dating website. In one profile, a Korean girl said that ESL teachers should not even bother sending her a message because she wasn't interested in dating losers.

I've taught English in other countries, but Korea is the only place where I've felt that teaching English is something to be ashamed about.



Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 10:34:35 am »
It depends how low your self esteem is if you feel like a loser or not. If a girl say she doesn't date me cause I am a teacher, her loss. I wouldn't want a girl who want's me for my money. I have met women who are impressed with people who are in public school more than those in hagwons, though hagwons make more money. So it's all perception I say.


  • Space
  • The Legend

    • 2287

    • May 09, 2012, 10:11:12 pm
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 10:39:09 am »
It depends how low your self esteem is if you feel like a loser or not. If a girl say she doesn't date me cause I am a teacher, her loss. I wouldn't want a girl who want's me for my money. I have met women who are impressed with people who are in public school more than those in hagwons, though hagwons make more money. So it's all perception I say.

Hagwons make more money????
o_O
..........no... maybe for a small percentage, okay... but for most? No.

Yes, waygook ESL teachers aren't as respected here... but ultimately it doesn't matter.

What anybody thinks of me (and you too) is their business. I don't care (and neither should you).
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:43:41 am by Space »


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 10:39:59 am »
there is a bit of a stigma attached to it but a lot of it is unwarranted in my opinion. my salary is higher than both my co-teachers plus i get a free apartment and they don't. and they're both full-time teachers btw, not contract teachers. so, does that make them losers because i earn more money than them?

English is a big thing here, i see nothing wrong with teaching the language of the world to the future children of South Korea. if Koreans want to have a problem with it that's their deal, and their own insecurities and/or prejudices at play.

the behaviour of some NETs over the years certainly hasn't helped our image, but for every bad thing 1 NET has done there's probably at least 10 or more Koreans who have done the same, so it's just hypocritical for them to complain about it.

with regards to the dating thing, i've noticed a lot of women here are obsessed with status and money. but in my opinion girls like that are girls you want to stay away from, because they're usually not high-quality women anyway. if a girl doesn't want to date me because i'm an English teacher then that's actually great, at least she's showing her true colours right off the bat and not wasting my time.


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 10:41:21 am »
Quote
A few years ago I joined a dating website. In one profile, a Korean girl said that ESL teachers should not even bother sending her a message because she wasn't interested in dating losers.

If that was an English speaking dating website she's not going to get a lot of action if she rules out ESL teachers. What's left? The US military? I assume that kind of girl would also be against dating anyone from developing countries for the same reason so it doesn't leave much of an expat community in Korea to choose from. There are a few expats in Seoul working for big corporations but the ones I've met down the embassy bar were all miidle aged married types.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:43:05 am by eggieguffer »


  • cjszk
  • Expert Waygook

    • 894

    • August 23, 2013, 10:29:05 am
    • Seoul
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 10:43:44 am »
If you enjoy being an English teacher, that's one thing. If you are here for any other reason other than that you enjoy teaching English or want to learn the local language, you become vulnerable to criticism since there are may other foreigners here who aren't here for the brightest or most socially accepted reasons.

There are indeed men who come here thinking they can have an easier chance with women in Korea.
There are indeed people who come here because they couldn't get a job back home.
There are kpop and kdrama freaks... many Koreans tend to like these people though... but I kind of don't and most of my Korean friends agree with me that they are a bit inaccurately skewed in their views about Korean culture.

From my personal experience, I've met many of the wrong foreigners and it's these foreigners that give English teaching a bad name.

Other than that, consider that English teachers are a dime a dozen here, and you have people that don't seem all that interesting.


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 10:47:58 am »
Quote
with regards to the dating thing, i've noticed a lot of women here are obsessed with status and money. but in my opinion girls like that are girls you want to stay away from, because they're usually not high-quality women anyway. if a girl doesn't want to date me because i'm an English teacher then that's actually great, at least she's showing her true colours right off the bat and not wasting my time.

Good point. I remember overhearing some female Korean teachers once talking about who they wanted to marry in the future and one of them saying they wanted to marry a guy who would be at the office all the time so she wouldn't have to see that much of him but he'd be making more money for her to spend. None of the women she said it to seemed to think there was anything wrong with that attitude. It'd be good to be able to eliminate people like that from the chase ASAP when looking for a potential future wife.   


  • korr
  • Expert Waygook

    • 722

    • July 16, 2009, 12:35:46 pm
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 10:56:21 am »
If you enjoy being an English teacher, that's one thing. If you are here for any other reason other than that you enjoy teaching English or want to learn the local language, you become vulnerable to criticism since there are may other foreigners here who aren't here for the brightest or most socially accepted reasons.

Pretty much this. If you're interested in teaching and are trying to pick up the language, you're fine and get treated like any other public school teacher. If you're here to drink or because you want to pick up Korean girls (or guys) you get viewed a lot differently.

In my area the people who get the most flak are the old dudes who sit around the foreigner bar complaining about all things Korean. Generally they don't speak more than a couple words of the language, hate the place, and have been here for years jumping from hagwon to hagwon. They usually have some pretty skeevy views about Korean women, too. The other foreigners avoid them like the plague, or at least the foreign women do.


  • tamjen
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1180

    • June 19, 2013, 08:08:14 am
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 11:03:40 am »
Quote
with regards to the dating thing, i've noticed a lot of women here are obsessed with status and money. but in my opinion girls like that are girls you want to stay away from, because they're usually not high-quality women anyway. if a girl doesn't want to date me because i'm an English teacher then that's actually great, at least she's showing her true colours right off the bat and not wasting my time.

Good point. I remember overhearing some female Korean teachers once talking about who they wanted to marry in the future and one of them saying they wanted to marry a guy who would be at the office all the time so she wouldn't have to see that much of him but he'd be making more money for her to spend. None of the women she said it to seemed to think there was anything wrong with that attitude. It'd be good to be able to eliminate people like that from the chase ASAP when looking for a potential future wife.

From a man who has been married twice: once to a very nice but materialistic girl, and the 2nd time to a SE Asian girl who grew up dirt poor and wants nothing but a husband who loves her and everything else is gravy.

If you aren't married but plan to be some day, take the latter as your mate of choice.

In my opinion, anyone who would think a person who is trying to teach anything to anyone, is a loser, is not worth a second of my time.

The world can't do without teachers, it can do without many many other professions.
Hail Caesar


  • yfb
  • Expert Waygook

    • 864

    • July 05, 2010, 11:50:12 am
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2015, 11:05:12 am »
CDW was this on UBLove? I remember seeing something similar.

Honestly you all can lie to yourself all you want, teaching EFL is not a very high-status job.  Think about it: What is there to tell potential employers? "Yes I did the Hokey Pokey with kids at Ding Ding Dang Academy for four years. Hire me!" You can blather on about how "globalized" you are and how you can "adapt to new situtations" but the fact is employers back home want hard skills, not soft skills.

There is practically no career advancement: you are a migrant worker, nothing more. The lucky few might marry a spouse with rich parents and they can start a hagwon but it still takes a ton of work with no guarantees of success. For public schools, your pay is capped at 2.5 (down from 2.7) million. And Daegu MOE is starting new teachers at 1.8 million. That's less than ten dollars an hour!


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 11:25:54 am »
No, that's dumb, but it DOES make me feel grateful that I don't have to leave here forever!


  • cjszk
  • Expert Waygook

    • 894

    • August 23, 2013, 10:29:05 am
    • Seoul
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2015, 11:30:49 am »
No, that's dumb, but it DOES make me feel grateful that I don't have to leave here forever!
:huh:
I think you need to seek help.


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2015, 11:53:36 am »
No, that's dumb, but it DOES make me feel grateful that I don't have to leave here forever!
:huh:
I think you need to seek help.

omg :headdesk:   :cheesy: :cheesy: :cheesy: :huh: :huh: :cheesy: :huh: :huh: :cheesy:


  • jamonamagnet
  • Expert Waygook

    • 610

    • April 01, 2015, 10:09:26 am
    more
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 11:53:53 am »
No.


  • busandar
  • Super Waygook

    • 276

    • March 05, 2013, 11:41:05 am
    • Busan, South Korea
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2015, 12:08:47 pm »
I wouldn't say it makes you a loser, but a loser you just may be - who's to say? That's a judgement beyond our control.

I can't speak for how Koreans view us, but I will say that I was a bit surprised at the types of NETs I've met in Korea. I assumed there would be a lot of open minded people here who were looking to break out of the corporate box and throw fancy titles to the wind. Instead, I found a lot (not all, by any stretch) but a lot of people who I presume are doing this so that they can either:

a) have something "interesting" and "exotic" to define themselves with for the rest of their lives. These types tend to be the I'm the best at Korea folk, but it's more about forming a solid identity than it is about being right. They basically want to be this experience, which is, I assume, because they feel who they are at the core is simply not enough.

b) have someplace they feel they can "belong" to which they may not have felt in their home country. They have effectively relocated their need for acceptance. These types are the ones who will constantly talk about "the foreign community" and the importance of being known among those who are part of it. They essentially need you to "join" in order for them to feel the validation of truly belonging.

c) have a getaway from themselves and refuse to deal with their issues; on the fast track to bottoming out. The alcohol all day/all night crew are typically found here. They're kind of like type b) but they add in the "cool" factor of heavy drinking. If you refuse to drink with them they immediately make excuses as to why they drink or put you down for not partaking.

d) inflate their egos to the max by always being the "right" one. They're the ones who know best about everything in Korea, similar to type (a. You say "I did A, and it was great" and they say "No way, B is the way to go - WHO would come all the way to Korea to do A???" Essentially creating a non-conversation because everything you say ends with their final say which typically puts you down or shames your experience in some way.

e) (related to d but warrants it's own category) creates the illusion of having some sort of Discovery Channel'esque life with all the travel they do. They have a difficult time talking about anything other than travel. On top of that, they are the only ones who can travel the "right" way. Usually you will say something about a mutual country you have both visited and no matter where you say you saw/enjoyed they will casually come back with something along the lines of "I stayed away from the tourist traps. I just went, and didn't plan anything. It's the only way to travel." Or, they lambaste you for not travelling at every given occasion, whether it be a weekend/long weekend, because they would never waste a precious opportunity to see ALL they can see.

f) fail to learn anything about other cultures, both Korean or any of the other foreign cultures who are here. I can't tell you the amount of times people will spit off assumptions they have about Canada instead of asking a question or two to clarify if it's in fact true, or at least, true for me. I've seen this happen so many times to all sorts of different people/cultures/countries. These people don't have a conversation they just tell you how things are.

g) drown themselves with what isn't making them happy instead of being honest about how things in their life may not be exactly as they'd hoped for. These people are interesting because they'll go off on tangents but sooner than later they switch back into "everything is perfect" or, "it is what you make of it!" positive reinforcements. These people typically don't have a clue what they really want so they inflate their love for teaching ESL or crossfit or veganism or blogging etc. which only serves as a temporary distraction from their greatest fear which is not knowing what they really want.

It could go on but these are the most common types I've met in my 4+ years here. The actual job of teaching ESL doesn't make someone a loser, but acting like one does. Again, to repeat what I said off the top - who's to say what a definitive loser is?

One person's loser is another person's hero - or something like that.


  • ashe1590
  • Super Waygook

    • 428

    • August 27, 2013, 01:07:13 pm
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2015, 12:16:42 pm »
I can't say I really care if people don't think my job is good enough. I enjoy doing it, it is quite rewarding and that is enough for me to be secure in myself.

I think that there is a very narrow view of what jobs are demeaning in Korea and a very small set of jobs qualify for you not to be judged as a 'loser'. Jobs from home that people would be happy to have are considered second rate here. Nurses, professional chefs, small business owners, teachers, qualified trades jobs like being a builder, foundation layer, architect, etc... even being an engineer isn't considered a decent job here.

Basically, if you're not a graduate of Seoul University, working for Samsung or a Doctor, people in Korea don't care about you.


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2015, 12:17:55 pm »
Yeah I feel like a massive loser collecting pay cheque after pay cheque and going home to my free apartment and then boarding my free flight home for Christmas.  :rolleyes:


  • alexc2000
  • Veteran

    • 233

    • October 13, 2012, 10:20:21 pm
    • Gwangju, South Korea
    more
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2015, 12:21:45 pm »
I think part of the problem is that they accept any degree and that they don't care about work experience. Thus it creates the image that foreign ESL teachers can get a job without trying. Anyway, this is why I think it's good that the requirements for teaching English are becoming more strict.


  • 외계인
  • Expert Waygook

    • 599

    • August 27, 2013, 07:32:33 am
    • Seoul
    more
Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2015, 12:25:14 pm »
If you enjoy being an English teacher, that's one thing. If you are here for any other reason other than that you enjoy teaching English or want to learn the local language, you become vulnerable to criticism since there are may other foreigners here who aren't here for the brightest or most socially accepted reasons.

Pretty much this. If you're interested in teaching and are trying to pick up the language, you're fine and get treated like any other public school teacher. If you're here to drink or because you want to pick up Korean girls (or guys) you get viewed a lot differently.

In my area the people who get the most flak are the old dudes who sit around the foreigner bar complaining about all things Korean. Generally they don't speak more than a couple words of the language, hate the place, and have been here for years jumping from hagwon to hagwon. They usually have some pretty skeevy views about Korean women, too. The other foreigners avoid them like the plague, or at least the foreign women do.

That bold part is such a joke.

And to you and all the people saying learning the Korean language is part of this gig--it isn't. I came here to teach English, not Konglishee.


Re: Does teaching English in Korea make you feel like a loser?
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2015, 12:31:35 pm »
No. I am respected in my school by other teachers and loved by my students.
I don't feel like a loser at all. I feel amazing and fulfilled everyday.
Not to mention I am bombarded with, "OHHH HANDSOME TEACHER!!"
Having one of the best times of my life.
Carpe that f*cking Diem