Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another national assembly representative calls for stricter standards for foreign English teachers

Yesterday, Medical Today published the following article:
"Native speaking teacher who tested positive for drugs hired"
Rep. Park Young-a: "Strict recruitment standards must be applied."

It has come to light that a native speaking teacher was hired who tested positive for drugs.

National Assembly Education, Science and Technology Committee member Park Young-a stated that, according to material submitted to the National Assembly by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), it has been confirmed that, although a native speaking instructor working at a middle school in Busan submitted a medical examination which tested positive for drugs through the TPBE test, he was re-hired by the school.

Before the native speaking instructor was arrested for a drug crime on June 24, 2010, he had worked at the school for one year and eight months, Rep. Park explained.

The native speaking instructor was first hired on September 28, 2008, and one year later when he filed a medical examination to renew his contract the drug test came back positive.

However, on September 8, 2009, a doctor gave the opinion that it could be an ingredient of a sleeping pill [that caused the reaction], and 18 days later on September 26 the teacher was re-tested and came up positive, and was re-hired on September 28.

Rep. Park said that, according to inquiries to agencies such as the police, the general opinion is that the narcotic components of the drug JWH-018 (spice), which the native speaking teacher in question had taken, cannot be detected in urine after 3-5 days.

As parents and students' satisfaction with native speaking assistant teachers who have been placed in schools to strengthen public English education rises, the number of native speaking assistant teachers continues to grow, but problems such as poor lesson preparation, insincerity and unauthorized absences are constantly being raised in some quarters.

In addition, in the last three years 21 native speaking instructors have been involved in various crimes such as sex crimes, drugs, and assault.

Rep. Park said, "There is a possibility that lax management in regard to drugs could lead to terrible incidents at school." "In the future, stricter hiring standards and supervision are needed for native speaking teachers."
The teacher in question was arrested on July 20 last year and a school official said there were "no problems" with his classes, and the judge who gave him a suspended sentence spoke of how he taught his students "sincerely." He had apparently ordered a small amount of JWH-018 over the internet in May last year to try it out and then bought a larger amount (for a total of 29 grams) in June before he was arrested.

I find it hard to understand how, if he was taking JWH-018 and it disappears from your system in 3-5 days [if this is true], he would not 'dry out' a few weeks before the drug test. To be sure, some people are that stupid, but considering how many over the counter and prescription drugs can give false positives on TPBE drug tests, it is entirely possible that a sleeping pill might have been the cause. It's understandable, of course, how in retrospect that positive test result is suspicious.

Apparently, Rep. Park Young-a thinks allowing a re-test is a bad idea. I should note that this is the same Rep. Park Young-a who last September erroneously stated that most of the native speaking English teachers teaching in Korea break their contracts after six months, causing the disruption of school conversation classes - an assertion made because she or her aides were unable to do basic math and misused the statistics.

As for the "problems such as poor lesson preparation, insincerity and unauthorized absences [...] constantly being raised in some quarters," those quarters would seem to be (at least most recently) the offices of New Daily and NoCut News (and let's not forget Yonhap!), with "poor lesson preparation" being a direct reference to the NoCut News article - an article Anti English Spectrum has taken partial credit for (first result).

As for the 21 native speaking instructors have been involved in various crimes over the past three years, I have no idea where that statistic has come from.

Oh, and speaking of New Daily, an opinion column there today by - apparently - a former principal of a 'Hanguk school' in Chicago also railed against foreign English teachers, saying in the first sentence that in countries like America and England that use English, criminals like thieves and robbers also use English, and dusts off 27-year-old chestnuts like 'not everyone who speaks a language can be a teacher,' saying that she couldn't tell if foreign teachers working at an English village were speaking English or Russian, bringing up the bus incident (by a guy who went crazy 'without cause') and the former gangster hagwon owner, and finishing off - like the article above - by saying that there need to be stricter regulations in regard to foreign teachers.


monty_internetty said...

What a good idea. Lets have more regulations to bog down the tedious visa/recruitment process some more. After all, its the dirty criminal foreigners taking advantage of Korea and not the corrupt and lazy civil servants to blame for this.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

It has come to light that a native speaking teacher was hired who tested positive for drugs.

A ha, I see the problem here. It is not a problem of LACK of regulations, but instead it is, once again, a lack of ENFORECEMENT of the regulations already in place.

Quel suprise!

And just by coincidence... looking at the Times today and how all the drugs crimes are increasing... but no mention of a single foreigner much less a foreign teacher. Funny that.


Anonymous said...

They better hurry up with those robo-teachers based in the Philippines.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

The robo-teachers have already been deemed a failure and are all now collecting dust in their respective closets at their schools.

Anonymous said...

Pedagogically they were failures.

Politically, since they hold out the promise of English education without the supposed threat of dirty Westerners, we haven't heard the last from them.