Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bizplace: "finding reputable native speaking teachers increasingly difficult"

Bizplace published an answer to a reader's question yesterday:
How does one recruit a reputable native speaking instructor?

With the strengthening of public English education and with conversation increasingly becoming more important than grammar, it's now true that the hiring of native speaking teachers by hagwons and schools has become a trend.

However, due to the problem of illegal native speaking teachers, finding reputable native speaking teachers is becoming increasingly difficult. If you want to hire reputable native speaking instructors, the best way is to do so through a recruiting company which complies with the Ministry of Justice's improved visa system.

Currently, the E-2 visa system has in-depth verification, which examines criminal records, health certificates, and includes consular interviews. Also, after entering the country, it is verified in a systematic and reliable way via a blood test whether drugs have been taken. Therefore, in order to hire a reputable native speaking instructor, it can be safest to hire one through a recruiting agency which has received permission from the government to be a legal, fee-charging employment service.

Lee Tae-u, head of the native speaking instructor recruiting company Job and Consulting (www.jobnco.com), advised, "Currently it's estimated that there are 25,000 native speaking instructors staying in Korea, and if you go through an agency which complies with legal employment procedures when it comes time to choose an native speaking instructor, you can thoroughly prevent the harm caused by illegal native speaking instructors.
So the "head of [a] native speaking instructor recruiting company" suggested using a recruiter (to "thoroughly prevent the harm caused by illegal native speaking instructors") - imagine that.

It's interesting that the discussion in this KBS piece about problematic language applied to foreigners certainly applies here. For example, what is an "illegal teacher?" Is it someone teaching on a tourist visa? Someone on an E-2 visa teaching privates? A teacher on an E-2 visa who has committed a crime? Someone on an F visa who teaches English who has committed a crime? It's a very vague term, one that is apparently useful for recruiters.

It's also fascinating that "finding reputable native speaking teachers is becoming increasingly difficult" despite the fact that immigration now has in place an "in-depth verification" system. If "the best way is to [go] through a recruiting company which complies with the Ministry of Justice's improved visa system," that suggests that there is a way to hire native speaking teachers which does not comply with Ministry of Justice regulations, which is simply not true - unless someone on an F visa is hired to work in a hagwon, in which case criminal record checks and drug and HIV tests are not required. Of course, as usual, that is not what is being talked about here - it's the E-2 visa, which, though it now features "in-depth verification" (as well as being the only visa officially subject to HIV tests), will certainly be the target of calls for "improvement" the next time the media focuses on a crime by an English teacher - whatever their visa might happen to be.

[Update]

I forgot to mention that the listing for this article on Naver had a picture of a white woman next to it (which is absent in the actual article). Is the insinuation that a 'reputable' teacher should be female?

4 comments:

Darth Babaganoosh said...

unless someone on an F visa is hired to work in a hagwon, in which case criminal record checks and drug and HIV tests are not required

Not for long.

A new bill (has it passed into law yet?) will require hagwons to perform their own checks, and if their employee (whether foreign or Korean) is found out later to have a criminal record for a sex crime**, the hagwon will be fined and possibly shut down if it happens more than once. I believe there are also provisions that will punish the hagwon for hiring someone who later commits such a crime as well.


**not sure if other crimes are covered under this threat for hagwons to clean up their act.

wetcasements said...

"the best way is to do so through a recruiting company which complies with the Ministry of Justice's improved visa system"

And this, friends, is the definition of the word "racket."

There's no reason a professional hagwon can't do their own recruiting other than the fact that these useless recruiting agencies will miss out on their cut of the sweet cash pie.

Also, "health certificate"? You mean the piece of paper that asks you to check or not check boxes marked "Are you addicted to drugs?" and "Are you mentally ill?"

Increased standards and hurdles don't bother me at all, but a basic level of consistency, clarity, and integrity would be nice.

milton said...

Is the insinuation that a 'reputable' teacher should be female?

I thought only blond-haired, blue-eyed, skinny, white, 20-something, Midwestern females with kinesiology degrees from well-known party school could be reputable English teachers.

Erik said...

These recruiters need better PR people to write their messaging. He should have said this:

"The government has put a good system in place for ensuring that native speaking teachers meet basic qualifications like holding a four-year degree and not having a drug habit. But these minimum requirements alone do not guarantee that the candidate will be a good teacher - only that she is legally allowed to teach. Working with a qualified recruiter will help you find someone who is truly qualified to teach, has a positive attitude and relevant experience or training. It also shifts the liability from the school to the recruiter if the teacher does not work out for some reason."