EFL in Korea
The blog’s main area has a lot on teaching in Korea and other Asian countries. As I review my writings about Korea, I have to say I really pushed my luck to return in 2010 and feel it was an immense waste of time and a terrible decision financially.
There are just too many bad jobs there. It’s hard to find the good ones since many times the interviewer will lie to impress the applicant.
In the past, one could make ok money in Korea, but now the cost of living has risen and the exchange rate of the won is terrible.
Too often the apartments foreigners are expected to live in are an insult. My apartment at KNUE didn’t have one comfortable chair. The apartment was terribly dirty and the phone line had been cut, the washing machine didn’t work and to get a decent hot shower, I had to go to the dorms across the courtyard. Not much fun in winter.
On the other hand, my apartments in China and Japan were spacious, clean, well furnished and comfortable. There was enough kitchenware and appliances so that I didn’t have to sink a lot of money into making these apartments livable. The nice apartment made me think that I was a respected human, not a slave.
Here’s a few incidents that exemplify the incompetence and poor quality of my job at KNUE:
Guess what didn’t happen. Right, there was no deposit to my account.
Okay, I get the message. KNUE is not the place for me.
Supposedly, payroll got confused. Again, I get so angry when people can’t do the jobs they’re paid for.
As bad as Makassar and at times Sogang were I always got paid on time. Mind you because I’m new I had to wait a couple weeks for this paycheck anyway.
They did get it together and deposit the money. Unlike in the US, one thing they can’t/won’t manage is getting you your last paycheck on your last day on a job. You have to wait around, sometimes months for that.
So I’ve gotten sick of Dr. Lee’s remarks in meetings about my appearance. At first it didn’t seem like a big deal. “We’re so glad to have a beautiful woman on our staff now” was easy to brush off and just attribute it to ignorance, but the remarks have continued. He makes a lot of inappropriate remarks to the trainees and many may think it’s funny.
However, this is a country where sexual harassment is rampant and I think part of that is because women brush off the casual remark, which could be complimentary. But that’s how they get painted into a corner. I thought it was particularly weird, when our director at KNUE urged some younger trainees to try to be more attractive for one of the trainers. This trainer caused a scandal some time ago when he started a romance with one of his students and then dumped her. She was devastated and there was a big brouhaha when her brother came to school to call the trainer out.
With that in mind, I wrote and sent the following:
Dear Dr. L,
Although you may think you’re just being grandfatherly when you comment on my appearance or that of the trainees, in most professional organizations, remarks on women’s appearance or any jokes like “This is my love letter to you,” are considered extremely unprofessional.
This may just be your humor and style. I do want you to know that remarks of this nature should stop as far as I’m concerned. They’re just unprofessional.
I hope that’s all I need to say.
Next I have to see if he’s going to sit in on class today. That’s got to stop too. He can come back when he’s seen 5 hours of all the other teacher’s classes.
From the archive, October 2010.
N.B. He stopped for about 2 days and started up again.
A good article for Expats who want a Korean credit card.
More information about non-Koreans getting credit cards in Korea.
Now this really irks me. I’ve just learned that the banks that tell expat customers that foreigners can’t get International ATM cards are lying. There is no such law! Read this website for more information.