Note that the Korean word for 'fraud' in the title below, '엉터리,' also appeared back in 1984 in the first Joongang Ilbo article to tie together such ideas as 'any foreigner can get a teaching job,' 'unqualified,' 'irresponsible,' 'overpaid,' 'playboy,' 'Koreans are too kind to foreigners,' learning from foreigners hurts 'national pride,' etc into full-bodied, richly flavored hit-piece, perhaps the first of its kind. The name of that article was "In private foreign language classes, there are a lot of 'fraud teachers,'" and it's translated here. I've been told that '엉터리' might be better translated as 'quack,' but that word is usually only associated with doctors, and wouldn't work well with teachers. At any rate, I'm sure no similarity in the titles of these articles, published 26 years apart, will be seen.
In one year tens of millions of won are spent inviting… fraud native speaking teachers.
To familiarize elementary, middle and high schools students throughout the country with English and cut down on private education fees, a native speaking teacher system has been put in place, but many problems, such as weaknesses in the selection process, have been exposed. A staggering 7000 or more native speaking teachers have been put into elementary, middle and high schools this year, but a good many native speaking teachers make good money moving to a hagwon and taking unapproved absences. Many [Korean] English teachers pointed out that, "We should really reconsider the value of the tens of millions of won spent in one year on native teachers" and "It is too much to expect these people to carry out their jobs in Korea when they don't even have any experience teaching children."
Great demand for private lesson site 'snooping' = According to education officials and data, a considerable number of native speaking teachers snoop around to find other sources of income like hagwons, and devote more attention to this 'rice offered to Buddha.' This is because, compared to schools, it's easier to make a lot of money at hagwons. According to a high school teacher in northern Seoul, "Native speaking teachers can work at small hagwons without any particular documents when they want," and said, "Once they get a taste for money, they have no interest in their classes, and finally they don't renew their contracts and move into a hagwon."
Thus cases of native speaking teachers in Korea with at least one year of experience teaching in a school are rare. In 2008, of 5,805 native speaking teachers placed at schools across the country, 1,309 (23%) had at least one year of teaching experience and only 787 teachers had two to five years experience, while 3,709 native speaking teachers (64%) had less than one year's experience. Most native speaking teachers are only 'novices'.
◆ "I hate Korea" and also absent without leave = A certain middle school in southern Gyeonggi-do hurriedly received a new native speaking teacher just before summer vacation was to start. The native speaker who was to come notified them suddenly saying, "I hate (the idea) of going to South Korea." Eventually the school was forced to spend a lot on tidy housing, blankets and pillows and all kinds of appliances like a rice cooker and microwave. "Far from having a passion for teaching, the teacher was unsociable and classes did not proceed," and "It appeared he was only interested in dating a Korean girl he'd met in the via the internet in the United States," was extreme criticism coming from another teacher from the same school.
There are cases where they quit working because its too difficult and do a 'midnight run.' Last September at C high school in Seoul's Gangseo-gu, the native speaking teacher couldn't be contacted. The school asked around about his whereabouts and realized he'd already left Incheon International Airport for the U.S. the day before. The school tried several times to make contact with him before they finally heard his reason for leaving.
"With the won/dollar exchange rate dropping, the amount of money you can earn is decreasing. There is no other reason than that." At that school, another teacher said, "It's just some, but it's a direct example of how trivial and carelessly native speaking teachers here [consider] their work. To talk with some students and hear their stories the children are not familiar with English and he did not speak with them. He was not someone who continuously helped with their educational level."
◆ Selection and management of native speakers should be reexamined = Successive instances of many native speaking teachers leaving like this shows above all that the structure of demand for native speakers is wrong. The quality of native speaking teachers invited through EPIK is evaluated in schools, but the supply is insufficient and local school district offices are seeing directly an increase in adverse effects. Of 7,088 native speaking teachers brought into the country to work in schools throughout the country this year, 1,339 (19%) were invited through EPIK. In addition to these, companies contracted out to by school boards and local governments procured 3,779 teachers (53%), while 1,798 teachers (25%) were hired directly by schools.
Officials from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said, "Native speaking teachers are the business of city and provincial governments and not the central government, and loopholes are being shown with problems in their selection and management. The selection criteria and verification procedures for the employment of native speaking teachers will be strengthened and in order to ensure proper administration once hired the Ministry of Justice and Immigration are consulting with local governments and in the latter half of this year we aim to present [new] measures."