On hagwons, students, and the disconnect between money and knowledge

This subject deserves a longer post, but I'm still catching up on winter vacation traveling posts... A hat tip to Doing It Korean Style for posting about the story first.

Should I stay or should I go? On making Korea a home or just staying for a year

While I have no hard facts or data, it would seem that I'm running into more and more expats / foreigners who have made Korea their home. Long after their first one-year contract has finished, they're still here making a life for themselves as a teacher, a college professor, a student, a writer / reporter / journalist, or the all-important-sounding title of businessperson. While few of us knowingly start our Korea journey thinking we'll stick around for a second (or third or fourth or ninth) year, here we are.

Teaching Salaries

 Please use this forum thread to post any comments about teacher salaries.  These can be general thoughts or refer to specific ads.  General posting polices (no insults, rudeness, etc.) still need to be maintained.  For general job advice, please post in the  Job Seeking Advice thread. 

Are foreign English teachers too expensive, or Korean English teachers too cheap?

I recently had to go to the doctor's office at a major hospital in Seoul. Basic / standard health checkup as required for getting an E-2 (English teacher) visa. Cost to me: 90,000 won, or about $77 USD. At first, I cringed at saying goodbye to essentially a day's pay, and was thankful that this is a once-a-year process. On the other hand, I forced myself to pause and count how many people I interacted with during my one visit alone. I wasn't simply served by one doctor; a nurse took some basic measurements and guided through the payment process; another doctor took a blood sample; another nurse presumably got to deal with the urine test, and another one got to answer the phone when I called for my results.

Original Mother-In-Law Diary

Sometimes I look at the other expats here, living the wild single-guy lifestyles we westerners imagine so unique, edgy, cool. Booze and broads and late-night drunken motor-scooter adventures in our Korean-Western micro-culture here in Busan. Then I wonder if my lot is rather dull. I am not one, as much as I have tried at times, to enjoy the Gonzo, too-cool lifestyle. I‘m married, with two kids, and live with my mother-in-law. I work a hellish schedule, hoping to one day afford economic opportunities for my wife and boys, and of course for me. It‘s dull. I get sick of the brats and mothers, and college class-skippers and crying babies, day in and day out, a seemingly never-ending cycle.

Korean Mother-In-Law Diaries Midwest America

Greetings Expats, Koreans, Korean-Americans, Korea-lovers, Linguistics Lovers, Mixed-Marriage couples and hapa 1.5ers from across the globe!

For those who’ve never read my Mother-In-Law Diaries, in former expat magazine The Beat, and also in Pusan’s www.koreabridges.com, welcome to the Diaries: The Rebirth!

However I am not in South Korea anymore. Hopefully soon. But not yet.

Right now I’m back in America.

And for those of you considering returning to America with your new Korean wife and kids, all I can advise is DON’T DO IT!

There is nothing here! No culture! No education! No Employment! No bilingual bliss! And no mother-in-law!

Question from a reader: Come to Korea to find a job?

Another reader writes in a question - I LOVE questions from readers! If you have one that's not already been answered in other posts (please search first!), e-mail me at chrisinsouthkorea AT gmail DOT com. The reader writes:

Hey, Chris,

First off, thanks! Thank you for sharing your experience and offering support via your website to people unknown to you. As Spike Lee said in one of his first movies, "That's mighty white of you" (She's Gotta Have It).

I am taking the Bridge online 120-hour course. I have the time now, and figured it couldn't hurt, although I have no idea if this will help me secure a better-conditions, higher-paying job.

Higher education opportunity

Craig White, the man behind Daegu Pockets (among other side projects like the Korea Beat and Galbijim) sent me some information about an opportunity to get a TESOL certification. From the Facebook event page:

The only TESOL Certificate program developed and disseminated from internationally renown university professors consisting of both academic instruction and the latest practical advice for classroom teaching. This course differs from standard TESOL (CELTA-UK) courses due to its researched and clear focus on classroom tasks that incorporate tasks aimed at quicker L2 acquisition Asian EFL Journal (AEJ) TESOL trainers have received extensive training in academic and practical contexts as well as many years of classroom and curriculum development experience.

ATEK Presidential Debate '09

54:26 minutes (24.92 MB)

 ATEK Presidential Debate '09

September 9, 2009

Jeff O'Connor moderates a debate between ATEK Presidental Candidates Gregory Dolezal & Stephanie White. 

More information at: http://atek.or.kr/

Teacher fired after getting the swine flu

Now here's a story that makes us scratch our heads. Brian in Jeollanam-do broke the story, and the Midnight Runner has done an excellent podcast with the teacher supposedly affected.

The Canadian teacher, only identified as 'Mark' had been on vacation in Thailand, then returned to Korea. He began feeling sick about 4-5 days after returning to Korea (though 'Mark' never mentions having a week of quarantine, which has quickly become standard procedure for most schools too worried about foreign teachers getting sick). From the podcast, his hagwon asked him to come into work even though they knew he was sick.

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