Mark at the Jeonju Hub sent me a link to this article titled "The ‘Foreign English Teacher’ - A Necessary “Danger” in South Korea." There are some interesting points there, but the author seems to take the 'unqualified teacher' idea a bit far considering that during the fallout of the English Spectrum incident five years ago the main issue surrounding "unqualified" teachers was not their academic qualifications but their 'moral' qualifications (ie - teachers who had sex with Korean women and bragged about it were not 'qualified'). Some of the larger points about the disconnect between crime statistics and the media and government's description of foreign teacher crime, and the need to accept qualified teachers from countries other than the 7 E-2 native speaking countries I can agree with, though the change in mindset needed for such acceptance will likely not be happening any time soon. Also worth noting, as Brian has many times, is that even if teachers with the proper academic qualifications were brought in to teach English, it's quite likely they wouldn't be used properly anyway.
A few weeks ago the Korea Herald asked "Is volunteer work illegal for expats?". The answer seems to be 'perhaps not,' but also 'it depends on the whims of immigration.' A description of some of the organizations one can volunteer for is here. The Herald also has an article on ATEK's first year. Related to volunteering is this:
On that front, the group recently scored a major victory when its Seoul chapter announced a partnership with the hagwon chain ChungDahm Learning to provide more opportunities for teachers to volunteer.
In September, ChungDahm launched its Nanum ("Sharing") Campaign, a corporate responsibility program that gives its teachers the opportunity to volunteers as teachers and mentors for the Ten Children Centers, a home for underprivileged children.
Through the Nanum Campaign, the volunteers help at eight children's centers, committing one hour per week to providing English education and cultural exchange. Teachers are expected to make a three-month commitment to the volunteer activities
Bernstein, who was heading the Seoul PMA when the deal was announced, said the agreement allows members of the association that are not ChungDahm teachers to take part in the Nanum Campaign and help at Ten Children Centers.
It's nice to see progress like this being made.
Brian also looks at Kang Shin-who's latest broadside against foreign English speakers and their illegal tutoring, and proves that there is a problem by providing this statement: "No foreign tutors have been caught by the authorities for violation of the Private Education Law, the ministry said." It reminds me of a Saturday Night Live sketch years ago showing a news broadcast about a hurricane and an anchor standing next to a 'hurricane deaths' counter which reads zero, with the anchor assuring viewers that, "The number is about to shoot up any minute now!" While that may be the author's hope, a crackdown on foreign English tutors would be more likely to happen if the article were published in Korean.