Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new kind of English teacher

Teaching English in Korea has traditionally been reserved for those from the big 6 countries: Canada/USA/the UK/South Africa/NZ/Australia. This is simply due to visa restrictions on those from other countries.

However, there is news coming down that next year, Korea will allow 100 teachers from India to teach in public schools. Probably in the most rural of schools where they have a hard time attracting/keeping a foreigner there due to the isolation factor.

As Stafford points out, he think it will be a 2 or 3 year experiment and then it will revert back to the system as it is now. I would point out that, even black or Asian teachers from one of those big 6 countries have a hard time finding a job here. Even when their accent is pure American all the way. And even if they were born in America and grew up there their entire lives. Even Gyopos, ethnic Koreans who grew up outside Korea have a hard time finding a teaching job here, even if they are fluent in Korean. This actually sometimes works against them. On some of the job ads, it will specifically request a white teacher. Recruiters will tell you that certain school districts will not hire non-white people for public schools jobs. Often times, there is an unspoken rule and after sending in a picture, the applicant will simply not get an interview.

So....what I'm saying is this. If these black and Asian people from the big 6 countries have a hard enough time getting a job teaching English in Korea, I wonder how long parents are going to put up with Indians teaching their kid English. The accent that is hard, even for me to understand sometimes. And in the hierarchy of race (ism) here in Korea, SouthEast Asians/Africans/Indians rank somewhere above pond scum, far below the whities. I sincerely hope Korea is changing their extremely racist ways but my gut feeling is that it's not time yet and this experiment will be tossed out and forgotten after the first year is over.

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