Monday, August 01, 2011

Unqualified, early-quitting frauds

[Update: I forgot to post another cartoon - I added it below.]

I was looking for more negative articles specifically about native speaking school teachers to update those few listed at the end of this post and found dozens of them. Here's an MBC news broadcast from September 29, 2008:

"Many are unqualified"
Can anyone be brought [over to be a] native speaking teacher?

Students are facing great harm because more than half of English native speaking teachers do not have teaching qualifications and some are insincere in class.
In May, an English native speaking teacher working at a middle school in Seongbuk-gu disappeared without saying a word.

School official: "We didn't get a reason or any notice."
(For two months you couldn't have [proper] English classes?)

Also, last year at a middle school in Guro-gu, a native speaking teacher couple suddenly left and went to a foreign country.

Student: "(The native speaking teacher) didn't prepare for class and the [Korean] English teacher was angry. They fought over why no preparation was done and [the teacher] took off.

The total [number of such cases] for each city and provincial office of education during the first semester of last year alone was 195 native speaking teachers leaving their schools in the middle of the semester.

(Out of 195 who quit early, 63 quit to study or work elsewhere,
and 16 went AWOL)

16 teachers were absent without permission, and there were not a few cases of [teachers] leaving to go to private hagwons to find better working conditions.

All the affected schools can do is wait for another teacher to arrive.

School Official: "We can't visit every house and now in reality it's something that occurs, but what can we do?"
(Though harm is done, you have no choice but to accept it?)
"That's right."

Currently each city and provincial office of education uses recruiters to select and place native speaking teachers [in schools], but they work at only recruiting and do not properly manage and supervise them.

[After such] loosely [managed] entry into the country, there is also a problem with their qualifications.

Currently, if they are from an English speaking country and have graduated from a 4 year university, anyone can become a native speaking teacher.

The way things are, among native speaking teachers not even half have teaching qualifications and fraudulent teachers keep popping up one after the other.

47.4% are in possession of qualifications

Student: "During the (native speaking teacher's) lesson, the children were sworn at in English, 'Son of a bitch, you don't understand this.'"
(Was this during class?)

Elementary School teacher: "If some people teach lessons like that, I'd rather they didn't at all. There are also many cases in which they do not come to class in the morning.

In addition, differences between regions are deepening according to finances, and there are regional disparities in public education as well.

Up to last September, out of 10,971 schools across the country, native speaking teachers had been placed in 4,314 schools, but in the case of Jeollabuk-do, not even 10% of schools had one.

(39% of Seoul schools have NSETs compared to 9.9% in Jeollabuk-do)

Meanwhile, in Seoul's Gangnam-gu it's unbelievable [how many] teachers have been selected by the office of education, as it has been independently hiring teachers for four years. [...]

Amidst this the government is pushing a plan to give native speaking teacher qualifications to those have attended two years of university in a country that uses English like India or the Philippines.

Rep. An Min-seok, member of the National Assembly Education, Science and Technology committee: "A system to strengthen selection and standards is needed at the government level."

With no clear selection criteria or management system, fraud native speaking teachers are mass produced, and this is more of a concern than our goal of strengthening public English education.
As can be seen, many of the themes common now were already in place three years ago. Being 'unqualified' was nothing new, of course. This Kyunghyang Sinmun opinion article from 1997 (complete with the phrase "Korea is a paradise for unqualified English teachers") mentions that 1/3 of native speaking teachers in Elementary schools are unqualified, for example (it comes complete with a cartoon).

(NSA: Native Speaking Assistant?)

Describing one or two examples of 'terrible teachers' (without getting their side of the story) is also nothing new; the same goes for talking about 'fraudulent teachers' (something that goes back 25 years). But we also have the 'so many teachers break their contracts' theme mixed with the 'many quit to go teach in better paying hagwons.' This theme reached full development with Yonhap's mistaken (and widely republished) article titled "Half of native speaking English teachers are '6 month part-time workers'" from last September (see here). That same Yonhap article also claimed (in its subtitle) that regional polarization is increasing due to foreign teachers, something touched on briefly in the above report. These themes play out in many articles over the past few years, which I'll take a brief look at later. For now, here's one of the fruits of my research - a new cartoon!


1 comment:

Turner said...

I hope the media has at least gotten over their ignorance of this one point. It doesn't ask WHY teachers would bail on their contracts, or bring up the obvious other side of the coin: employers making excuses to fire teachers at the 11-month mark to prevent them getting their bonuses.