[There's an update to this post here
Last night, MBC broadcast a report
about unqualified foreign instructors running amok. As to why this was, was it due to a drug bust? An arrest of someone with a fake diploma? A teacher who had consensual sex with a Korean woman? Since the answer involves none of the above, it appears MBC simply decided it was time to remind the public not to trust foreign English teachers.
Unqualified instructors abound... unbelievable English native speaking instructors
"Unqualified instructors abound"
Anchor: "How much can you trust the native speaking instructors who teach your children? You may have had suspicions like these one or two times. Things have improved a great deal, but there are still doubts about their qualities and not a few circumstances in which there are native speaking instructors lacking qualifications. Reporter Seo Yu-jeong reports on the problems with the hiring process for native speaking instructors."
"A native speaking instructor was caught for secretly smuggling drugs.
"There was also a case in which [an instructor] molested children and fled overseas but was caught after several years.
"One native speaking instructor hates teaching grade four and five students. It was posted on a blog that the children smell.
"We met a recruiter of foreign and native speaking instructors. They don't have a degree, just a few sheets of copied documents.
The recruiter basically says that they can get around the rules and the need to register the instructor with the office of education by keeping quiet, and so they can elude enforcement. He also says at hagwons there's little interest in qualifications, only in how much experience someone has.
There's then what appears to be hidden camera footage of an interview with a native speaker by a hagwon owner.
"How long can you work for?"
"I would like to work for at least 6 months."
"If you work here you can work here part time, three days a week. You will not have any trouble."
Because of salary, one third [of hagwons] quietly want unqualified instructors.
Interview: "It's hard for hagwons and many are closing their doors, so they put a lot of hope into unqualified instructors."
Reporter: Kindergartens, public schools and hagwons need 30,000 native speaking instructors. However, there are only 25,000 people with qualifications like the E-2 visa. There are around 5,000 spaces for instructors being filled by the unqualified.
A native speaker is then interviewed.
"Now I have a tourist visa. Yeah, there are a lot of people who want to become teachers, some of them work illegally."
A mom is then interviewed in Mok-dong:
"That really makes me angry. As a parent, it would be good if you went right now, grabbed them by the collar, stopped them, and threw them out."
With authorities unable to take action, classes by unqualified native speaking instructors continue even now.
For MBC News, this is Seo Yu-jeong.
Oh no! Authorities can't take action! Koreans are helpless against
hagwon owners who hire foreigners on tourist visas
untrustworthy, unqualified foreign teachers! I love the opening:
"How much can you trust the native speaking instructors who teach your children? You may have had suspicions like these one or two times.
Christ, MBC, in this case why do think that is? It was nice of them to bring up Christopher Paul Neil (at least visually - the "case in which [an instructor] molested children and fled overseas but was caught after several years" actually refers to this case
from 2010 - nice of MBC to conflate the two). I also enjoyed the reference to the teacher who "hates teaching grade four and five students" and who "posted on a blog
that the children smell." While there's lots worse they might have found in that post, it might be pointed out that the word "obnoxious" does not mean "to have a nasty smell," which is how MBC translated it below:
They did get 'dicks' right though, which I suppose is a good thing - it could have been a much worse translation, I guess. Still, looking up 'obnoxious' at Naver's dictionary doesn't offer that translation. I also enjoyed the "5,000" illegal teachers running amok statistics:
It says literally that there is demand for 30,000 native speakers, but only 25,000 legally registered. It also says these statistics were provided by the "hagwon industry." Would you really trust the "hagwon industry" (whatever that means) to be knowledgeable about the public school system? My guess would be that - since there's no real attribution for those statistics - that they're, shall we say, less than accurate. Especially since there were only 23,000 people on E-2 visas in 2011 (and no one really knows how many F-visa people work as teachers. Not only that, 30,000 is the number of teachers in demand - they may not be actually filled. As well, while there may be people on tourist visas working, it's more likely that you're dealing with E-2s or foreign students doing extra work on the side than people on tourist visas (it's been at least eight years since I've met anyone working on a tourist visa). And of course, we see little condemnation of the people who hire the teachers (and the online article's addition to the title - "unbelievable/untrustworthy native speaking English instructors" - makes clear who they're placing the blame on).
You also have to enjoy that edit in the interview with the native speaker, from, "Now I have a tourist visa." to, "Yeah, there are a lot of people who want to become teachers, some of them work illegally." I highly doubt he would be referring to himself with "some of them work illegally." More likely he is here on a tourist visa looking for a job before making a visa run (hence the sudden cut).
Lasty, you have to like the angry parent who says that "it would be good if you went right now, grabbed them by the collar, stopped them, and threw them out." Grab them by the collar! Kick them
! Grab them by the balls
Though the other thing that should be mentioned is that we didn't actually hear the question that set the parent off.
As for the title of the report -
"Unqualified teachers abound" (with the online article adding "unbelievable/untrustworthy native speaking English instructors") - the use of 핀친다 (abound, run amok, are taking over) in headlines regarding foreign teachers isn't exactly new:
영어학원 무자격 외국인강사 판친다
"Unqualified English hagwon foreign instructors abound" (Donga Ilbo 1996.10.15)
무자격 외국인 강사 판친다
"Unqualified foreign instructors abound" (Munhwa lbo 2002.11.23)
외국인 불법과외 판친다
"Illegal tutoring by foreigners abounds" (Chungcheong Today 2003.02.03)
원어민 강사 불법.짝퉁 판친다
"Illegal, fake native speaking instructors abound" (Hanguk Gyeongje 2004.11.11)
무자격 외국인 강사 판친다!
"Unqualified foreign instructors abound!" (YTN 2005.04.11) (This story was so important YTN ran it a half dozen times
무자격 외국인 강사 판친다
"Unqualified foreign instructors abound" (2006.09.11 - dead link)
'무자격ㆍ불량' 원어민 강사 판친다
"'Unqualified, poor' native speaking instructors abound" (Yonhap 2006.10.23)
자질 시비 원어민 교사 판친다
"Native Speaking teachers of Questionable Quality Abound" (Yonhap 2009.06.11) Translated here
, and commented on here
I guess MBC felt four years was long enough to go without a '핀친다' report. It has been a slow year for negative news reports about foreign teachers, but obviously MBC decided that though foreign teachers have apparently been behaving, this was no reason not to report the 'truth' as they see it.
Oh, and there's a petition against MBC here
. If they wanted MBC to pay any attention to it, perhaps writing it in Korean might help? Not that I think they would pay any attention, but still, much like the 'protests' against the infamous MBC hit piece last year
, carrying this out in English isn't going to be helpful.