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More Native English Teachers Quit

May 9, 2011

I found this article last year quite interesting, not just because I am a native English teacher, but because of the critical analysis and conclusion drawn by the writer.

Students: Read the article carefully and comment. Using the information given, is this a ‘serious’ problem that deserves space in a  newspaper, a writer trying to create news, or something in between?

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. Wow permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:49 pm

    Well, I don’t know exactly how this situation is going but as a Korean students, I hope to improve Korean English education environment. I think it is certainly good for native English teachers to teach English at school in Korea since it may be helpful for Korean students more encouraged to study Enlgish. In my case, I prefer learning English from native Enlgish teachers because it is more interesting and make me more active in class. I also think native English teachers have a correct understanding of students’ level of Enlgish ability and deal with them properly. So, education authority should treat native English teachers well not to quit before contract expires.

  2. Actor permalink
    May 11, 2011 10:09 pm

    I’m sorry about this situation. Although, the number of language assistant teachers is getting bigger, the number of their quiting job is increasing rapidly. This current is undesireble for native teachers and students in Korea also. Following quotion is the reason of quiting their job.

    nearly 30 percent of the foreign teachers who ended their contract worked for less than six months. Some 22 percent of them quit to study or transferred to other jobs, while about 15 percent left without prior notice and others for various reasons including difficulties in adapting to their schools, illness, and being involved in crimes.

    I think we should fix up the problem by reconstructing part of educational system. For instance, we can offer native teachers a better reward than before. In addition, we can give them more leisure time to manage themselves. Sort of these action will make a better effct to native teachers and Korea students.

  3. sososo permalink
    May 11, 2011 10:53 pm

    There are many foreign teachers in Korea right now and problems too.
    Because nowadays, English communication skills are emphasized and people can study without having to go study abroad.

    I have a teaching pracitice in my old school now. In our high shool, there is one native english teacher. She is alone all day and there is no one to talk with her except some Korean english teachers. I think she looks very lonely. In Korea, the national curriculum too often changes. When I studied in the same high school, There was no a native speaker teacher. So it difficult to adapt to the changed policy. Because of this, current working conditions are deteriorated for foreigners teachers.

    I think the government and schools do not rush to hire foreign teachers. And the government and schools should have a proper verification process and cultural education also should be provided to foreign teachers.

  4. May 11, 2011 11:42 pm

    I think the biggest cause is the difference of education system between Korean students and forein teachers. Most Korean students, especially middle school and high school students, are accustomed to cramming education, so they feel uncomfortable with very active class like presentation or discussion. However, most foreign teachers prefer active class participation to their students. Therefore, students and teachers cannot understand each other’s style and conflicts become serious.
    When I was a high school student, I thought the class with a foreign teacher was less important than other classes. Because it has not exam, so other students also didn’t concentrate the class. It can be another problem. Students don’t listen the class and teachers have difficulty to teach those students.
    Therefore, the goverment should organize suitable curriculum instead of just recruiting many foreign teachers. If they don’t fix these problems, lots of foreign teachers continuously leave Korean.

  5. Hyo Yeol Kim permalink
    May 12, 2011 7:35 pm

    I think that is big problem to Korean students. I have thought that english education of Korea failed before coming native speaker at school because before that, most korean english teachers taught their students just how to solve problems and read the english books to get high scores at exam.
    As a result, most korean students could read the english books, but could not speak in english with native foreigner.
    Althought students got high scores at english exam, in reality they could not use english.
    But after coming native teachers at school, most korean student have had a chance of learning practical english.
    So I think that for many native teachers to leave is big problems. After many native teachers leave, many korean students can lose chances that learn practical english.

  6. May 12, 2011 8:46 pm

    I know there are some native English speakers who think that it is not a big deal to earn money in Korea since they can work as a native English teacher in basically ‘everywhere’ – so it should be somehow dealt in a news paper. There is no such thing that can be earned without any effort. Of course the statistics in the article is showing variety of reasons for quitting job as an English teacher, but some who consider being English teacher in Korea as nothing more than their last bastion should keep this proverb in mind: Easy come, easy go.

  7. KSH permalink
    May 14, 2011 12:23 am

    The fact that more native English teachers are leaving Korea doesn’t appeal to me like a serious problem. If I open a newspaper and see that headline, I don’t think I’ll read it carefully. But, I did think about the problem mentioned later in the article, the qualification of native English teachers.

    As the article said, it takes a long and hard time to be a English teacher as a Korean. The chances are very low and there is a huge competition. Considering this fact, it feels like many native English speakers are getting a teaching job in Korea too easily.
    Of course they are expert on English but not on teaching. It is very important to make sure that they are capable of teaching properly even though they teach only middle, high school student.

    Once, I took an English conversation class in private institue and I was shocked at the unskillful teacher. The class often went very awkward cause the teacher wasn’t able to lead student’s conversation naturally. This experience made me think about the issue related to native English teachers’ qualification seriously.

  8. Book permalink
    May 14, 2011 12:42 am

    When I was a student, I had learned english speaking from native english teachers. At that time, a english class was very exited and interested to me more than a Korean english teacher’s class because native teacher taught more active things such as group studies, pop song, movies and so on. Nevertheless, I encountered difficulty that maintain good relation between me and native teachers because I felt that native teachers less carried out their mission than Korean teachers. ‘Sense of duty’ is most important thing to teachers. But, in case that native teachers teach in foreign country, I think that these teachers less have ‘sense of duty’. (Of course, this thinking is a wholly my personal opinion.) So, I think that many english native teachers quit their jobs.

  9. terry permalink
    May 14, 2011 10:44 pm

    I think most mothers crazily want their children to be taught by foreigner English teachers. That is why many public school and private English learning institution manage to find foreigner who is native in English. They should be charge to them highly cost. It is useless for nation to spend a lot of money for education of English. We can cope with this situation. We have a lot of English major students. We should find out the way that students who is major English and want to teach children as English teacher develop their teaching skills.

  10. Adam Lee permalink
    May 14, 2011 10:45 pm

    i think this article could be seen in a korean newpaper. i havent read quite much chinese or american newspapers, but i know koean news always reprot some social details – phonomina or problems.
    i also think many english native teachers quiting their jobs could be treated as a social problem. one of my ameircan friends is teaching english in a korean universtiy in the south part of the country. and she always complains that she has to stay away from korea for a few months one year, which means the stress makes her feel frustrated to keep working for a long time in this country.
    our shool sometimes surveys the foreign students about the classes or facilities, which makes us very pleased. so i think schools should also stand on the side of emplyers to survey their foreign emplyees if there are something unsatisfied to them.

  11. Sunny permalink
    May 15, 2011 2:35 pm

    I don’t know exatly what the writer wants to say. I think he didn’t seem to want why the foreign teachers leave Korean education. The problem is difficult to easily and simply say that the reason is because the native English teachers lacks of responsibility or teaching skills. Also, the writer didn’t write the foreigners or foreign teachers’ oppinion. It is a little biased to think about problems related to foreigners without sincerely considering their situations or stance in many ways. If the government needs the foreigners’ English skills to make Korean students learn the English skills well, it must try to live in concord with foreigners and the native teachers and come up with the plan or governmental program to do so. In fact, this is not just about the foreigner teachers, but also about biased thinking involved with the natives or foreigners of some Korean people.

  12. QIAO MI permalink
    May 15, 2011 4:42 pm

    I have a little surprised to see the reported, Social phenomenon like this in Korean. But from another side the caused because of the extreme importance of English. Also I agree with the above comments from the sunny. This news is very one-side. We do not know the idea of foreign teachers and why the foreign teachers leave Korean education. I think if we Want to solve this problem We must know the idea of foreign teachers and their reasons for leaving. It’s very important.

  13. S.A. Lee permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:29 pm

    Native teachers leaving for many reasons, reasons could be individual issuse or systemical issues, but i think both issues are reasons. In this article, the athority blame individual side only for quitting job. Therefore, there is no position of native teachers. This article quite one-sided. In my oppinion, however, I think unquilfied native teachers are many. And i think this is a systemical problem. The athority should strictly filter unqulified one out. Also proper rewards are needed, it could stimulate qulified native’s motivation. Then more quilfied teachers will enter to Korea. Quilfied teachers mean professional and responsible for their job. I think those people are good at holding up their’s end. Last, english academies are seriously need to filter unquified one out too. Also Korea people seem like possessed by English. Eventually, our demands create supplys with side effects.

  14. Chu permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:34 pm

    When I read this article at first, it was difficult for me to clarify any evidence of the writer’s manipulation of facts. However, after having read several times with a critical viewpoint, I realized that there must be something strange in the writer’s conclusion about the situation.
    First of all, I think the writer is using the statistics in a distorted way and does not give sufficient data. One of the strange ways of using the data is the fact that 252 native English speakers have already left schools as of July. In this data, the reason why they left school is not mentioned. Are they leaving Korea because of end of their working terms or just irresponsibility for their jobs? The intention of quitting their jobs is left behind being uncovered. In addition, the reporter says that the number of language assistant teachers has been increased from 2007, meaning a sharp surge in the number of foreign teachers than before. From this information, I can guess that the reason for the increased number of native speakers quitting their jobs may be because there is a sharp surge in many native English teachers. Naturally, I can think that if there are more native speakers, the number of failing to conduct their jobs can go up although the ratio remains the same or similar. On top of that, the writer just lists fragments of information. They do not show any relevance to main reasons for this situation, but simply make things to seem more undesirable and serious.
    Above all, the reporter concludes this article with emphasizing the necessity of systematic recruitment plans on native English teachers. However, I cannot help posing a question about this conclusion does have something to do with the main causes of the issue. I think that more systematic recruitment plans do not necessarily mean the decreased number for native speakers of failing to performing their roles to the end. It should contain more specific and concrete measures to deal with this situation.

  15. Gabriel permalink
    May 15, 2011 10:41 pm

    In my opinion, it is an adverse situation for the students who are willing to learn English by native teachers. I agree to the fact that learning English from a native teacher is much more effective than learning from a local teacher. In addition, to speak fluently in English,education by a native teacher is much more helpful on pro
    nounciation basic forms,structures and grammer of English. On the otherhand the education from local teacher is limited in comparison with native teachers. I hope the Ministery of education seek for a solution for this situation.

  16. whosthisgirl permalink
    May 15, 2011 11:12 pm

    What I have noticed is first of all, I think the statistic that given in this artivle can’t really prove the journalist conclusion. It says comparing with 2008, more and more native English teachers have quit the job, giving us the statistic that native English teachers who failed to complet their working contracts last year rose to 425 from 283 a year ago. However, wouldn’t it be measured by rate not just the numbers of native English teachers who quit their job? I meant, it should be proved with comparing by rate, the number of native English teachers who quit/ increase number of native Engish teachers. We can see the statistic of native English teacher who work at middle schools and elementary schools, 5115 teachers in 2008 and 7631 in 2009. Also it says the percent of schools who have native english teachers is sharply increased compared with 48% in 2007. Isn’t it obvious to tell that as the teachers who work have increased, the teachers who quit their job have increased? Also, to say more native english teachers quit in korea, the journalist should’ve gave us more details by not only comparing 2008 and 2009 but also at least statistics about the number of teachers who have working contracts and number of teachers who left in past 3 years.

    In addition, to be a ‘serious’ problem that deserves space in a newspaper, the journalist should’ve searched up why the teachers decided to break their contracts more specifically by interview with the native English teachers who still work or quit and school staffs or other teachers and students, not just blaming on teacher’s responsibilities.

    Plus, on the last few paragraphs, it says about the regional disparity of English education by rate of wired up the native English teachers in each places and the numbers of the teachers who have certificates. I think the native english teacher thing can’t be a main problem that cause the disparity. Also it better give us why it has happened and how should we solve this problem to sounds like a big issue.

  17. April. Park permalink
    May 16, 2011 4:24 am

    I just knew a fact that there are a lot of native teachers in public institutions before I read this article. I heard most of middle and high schools have at least a couple of native teachers for conversation classes. The reason why lots of young students have been trying to be good at English may be to get(probably to survive?) high-social position.
    For this reason, I think that this problem can be a controversial issue.

    The importance of being good at English, especially at speaking,
    has been more and more increasing currently.

    However, Korean English teachers are relatively week at speaking part compared with
    native teachers who can teach ‘phonix’ which is essential class for kids learning
    English.

    Most of Korean English teachers didn’t learn it so that they might not be able to
    teach student with it.

    In this situation, increasing native teachers quit the job without previous notice
    can be fatal for Korean English education.

  18. Sylpid permalink
    May 16, 2011 7:34 am

    When I was at school, there were no native teachers. But as english is getting more and more important due to the internationalization, it is no wander that schools are trying to invite native teachers. Though they are not recognizing that there are so much differences between Korea and other English-speaking countries.

    [Nearly 30 percent of the foreign teachers who ended their contract worked for less than six months. Some 22 percent of them quit to study or transferred to other jobs, while about 15 percent left without prior notice and others for various reasons including difficulties in adapting to their schools, illness, and being involved in crimes.]

    This research proves the fact that native teachers are dropping their jobs because of their maladjustment in the unfamiliar place. To solve this problem, korean schools should hire only native teachers who really want to teach in Korea not just gain the numbers of them.

  19. VVVVVV permalink
    May 16, 2011 12:08 pm

    As the incumbent government has strengthened English education in public school, we have come to see that 80 percent of elementary and secondary schools have a couple of native English speaking teachers. The article is addressing the problem of native teachers breaching the contracts in the middle of semester. I mostly agree with the writer’s point but there are some parts that do not make sense to me.

    The number of both working native teachers and their dropouts has been increasing. The reasons for quitting are studying, job offer, maladjustment, illness and so on. Particularly the writer said that the dropout of native teachers varies according to the regions. For example, Busan, Incheon, Seoul and Jeju Island are in the top of the list. Besides Jeju Island, the most representative international tourism attraction in Korea, the three are the big and well-to-do cities. However, the writer simply attributes the problem of quitting native teachers to their lacking teaching ability: legitimate teaching certificate. I expect the writer would pinpoint the different environment of the school in city and rural areas. In addition, lastly the writer mentions the student-teacher ratio shows wide gaps. The comparison between Daegu and Seoul does not make sense because mostly native teachers in the city like Seoul quit their teaching even if the student-teacher ratio is lower than Daegu with higher student-teacher raito. Why would city teachers quit knowing the fact that it is more easy for a teacher to deal with small amount of students? Therefore, recruiting more teachers in the relatively small cities such as Daegu or teachers who have teaching certificates does not solve the problem of quitting teachers in the relatively big cities such as Busan, Incheon, Seoul and so on. Overall, I could not find why the native teachers really quit teaching. If the government is really concerned about it, they should put it under a major overhaul with different approach rather than recruiting more teachers.

  20. MIN.Y.K permalink
    May 16, 2011 5:30 pm

    When I was highschooler, our school had two foreign teachers. Even though public school has a difficulty of having foreign teacher, most school try to reinforce to their English teaching. But, students didn’t like it. Because Korean schooling is related in test. Freedom did not necessary. Eventually, foreign teacher couldn’t stand and went away from school. I think having teacher in elementary school is good but, highschool is not.

  21. Yang woochan - critical reading and writing2 permalink
    May 16, 2011 6:16 pm

    This article is sad, but it is a fact of life.
    Education system in korea must improve native English teacher education environment.
    It will be of good quality native English teachers to teach English at school in Korea.
    Also, it will be helpful for Korean students more encouraged to study Enlgish.
    I think native English teachers have a proper students’ level of Enlgish ability and deal with them skillfully.
    Therefore, the Education Ministry should treat native English teachers well lest they don’t failed to complete their working contracts.

  22. Choi Hui Young permalink
    May 16, 2011 7:59 pm

    I don’t think all of the native english teacher aren’t like those who uttered in that article. But it is really serious problem if it were true. Of course, some of them could have a real serious problem that can’t avoid. But rest of the other probably aren’t like them and that is where this problem begins. Breaking the contract is related to one’s own responsibility as it said on the article. I think that people who have little responsibility is the person who lacks self-discipline. On that point of view people who break the contract have no right to teach the students. Because the students have the right and have to be educated morality. That’s why teachers have to be applied a rule rigorously.
    And the article said there is another problem that the majority of native english teachers lack teaching certificates. Someone can have a thought like this ‘They are a native speaker who use this language from their born! So thay don’t have to acquire some sort of certification to teach their language!’ Well, I don’t agree with this idea. For example, In this country, our school teacher especially teachers who teach Korean have to acquire the qualification that apply to teach Korean to school teacher. Our school teachers are native korean too but they have had study korean to teach their students. Put it in another way, It can apply to native english teacher. And this country have the right to be served high quality education.
    So, I think this article really good article in point of the view that pick a tiny piece of hole in english education. There is a saying ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.’ This tiny steps can bring our education system to more developed stage.

  23. May 17, 2011 5:12 am

    When I was in middle school, as soon as the Ministry of Education was interested in learning English communication skills and encouraging public schools to hire native teachers, private schools and academies started to employ lots of native speakers as English teachers whether they have a certain certificate or not. At that time, the significant problem of English education by native speakers was possibility of leaning to overuse slangs or insults because most native teachers was just native speakers who want to earn money. In my experience, one day a native teacher in academy used the word ‘green’ as an adjective in front of students’ name like ‘green Sally’. With laughing, he called students’ name with a green. Although I knew he was laughing because of another meaning of adjective green, dull or stupid, I didn’t know how to handle that situation. However, these days the major problem of native teacher is the difference of educational environment between Korea and their native countries. As our purpose of English education in public school is to get high grade in Korean SAT which focused on listening, reading and grammar abilities, many native teachers have difficulty in deciding the English educational direction. Many people just think the problems have been caused by native speakers, but the real cause is we do not consider native teachers’ culture, custom and educational background.

  24. anonymous permalink
    May 18, 2011 1:10 am

    In the last class, proftodd already showed his critical analysis about the article.
    I want to add some ideas on the topic.

    “Many Koreans have to get through very hard training if they want to be a teacher. It is a kind of privilege for native English speakers to be invited here as teachers. So I earnestly ask them to be more responsible in their jobs,”
    “Also, we will strengthen the screening process in recruiting native English teachers,”

    First of all, Korean teachers doesn’t get hard training for teaching, but just study very hard to pass some exam to get the teaching license. When they get the qualification, they become educational officers whose job security the government guarentees. This is one of many reasons that Korean teachers seem to be more responsible. On the contrary, native English teachers are just yearly contract laborers who are possblydissmissed when they fill the term. I think that what they think about a teacher may be different from what we think. While we often regard the job of teaching in school as a kind of holy job, they may consider that as a kind of job open to a possible change of occupation. The change of occupation frequently occurs in the job world. The issue does not deserve to be posted on the news.
    Their poor working condition may take a part of quitting job. They tend to take so many students a person. Without better condition for native English teachers, they attempt to heighten the wall of recruiting. It may bring the decreased number of applicants for the position.

  25. May 18, 2011 2:03 pm

    Todd, you should post the response to this article up here so people can really understand the facts and figures that the person was comparing.

    Also, it’s important to note that the teachers left before the end of their contract – every E2 contract has a stipulation that, if you give one months notice, you can be released legally from your contract. This is the same with every job in the world. There is also no information stating why the teachers left and what they did after they finished working.

  26. Olivia permalink
    May 21, 2011 8:11 pm

    I think that this article is not objective and analyze the statistical data in a wrong way. The article just focus on the number of native teachers who quit the job, but does not consider the increasing number of native teachers in korea. If they want to compare this data objectively, they should compare the percentage of the number of native teachers who quit according to the increasing number of native teachers.
    I don’t know the intention of article whether criticize the native teachers in korea or korean english education. But, press should give objective and correct information to people because it is their reasponsibility.

  27. PCE permalink
    May 22, 2011 11:46 am

    The statistics in article are seems to be wrongly analyzed. The writer of the article is caring about not the increasing number of native english teachers who are working in Korea but the increasing number of native english teachers who quit. To investigate whether they actually become faithless or not, we need to check up the rate of native teachers who quit.
    If you check the percentage of faithless native teachers, it shows approximately equal number. It seems that most native teachers are still teaching english in their workplace with sincerity.

  28. Dongki permalink
    May 22, 2011 9:48 pm

    I expect that this article provoked an argument because this consider only a Korea’s side which has looked at negative side about American’s teacher. So,korea has even experienced pattern of low efficiency and high expenditure during long time. Aggresive article is not a good alternative. it was governmen’s responsibility for many English teacher to quit a contact with out permission. I think it was government’s error. The cause is government had to make a hedge such as a strong penalty. However, They did not act anything. I have a question that why did not writer refer to erros of government. So this article became unfair.

  29. terry permalink
    May 23, 2011 2:31 am

    This is fun article!
    I defiantly hate someone who does not wash after using the restroom.
    When I go on a blind date I used to seriously observe man who I met for blinding dating.
    If he doesn’t wash his hands, I will never meet him again.

  30. soyoung shin permalink
    May 24, 2011 5:18 pm

    Maybe most of other jobs are in the same situation because many place don’t want a big burden for short period worker. So, many people are working as a temporary employee,nowadays. However, English education is most important thing in korea, our nation should make proper policy to make foreign native teachers stay for a long time, not a short period. Time passed, we might need the more foreing teachers on education. To estabilish our education system, we find the proper way and increase the number of native teachers. By doing so, korea not only develops education system but also make a good national image to foreigner.

  31. LJH permalink
    May 27, 2011 1:46 am

    Lately, I heard story of a native teacher from my friend. The teacher said his resentment to my friend. He had teached for 10years in the school. Someday, the school notice him to return to his nation. Because he had been for a long time. So he was absurd and got angry. Like this, we invite a native lecturer for our benefits but if we are contented with result, we do not mind them. so we should improve our attitude and find a way.

  32. lalala permalink
    May 29, 2011 4:44 pm

    It is really hard for me to read article and analyze it at the same time! Before the professor gave us the comments, I had had no idea where and how to focus. After reading the comments, I realized why the professor uploaded this article. Sometimes newmans write prejudiced articles and people affected by that so it is really important to media provide right and objective facts to the public.

  33. Kim Soo Min permalink
    May 29, 2011 8:31 pm

    After read this article, I thought of the reason why foreign teachers leave Korea again and again. And all of a sudden, I found a significant prediction about it.
    Many of foreign teachers are coming to Korea alone. Korean culture has very unique educational systems that are different from their native cultures like teaching students just for university enterance examination from morning to evening. So they feel weired and confused at first. But they don’t have any friend to advise about this situation. Resultingly, they cannot adapt themselves to new circumstances and return to their homeland.

  34. May 29, 2011 9:49 pm

    i think this arcticle tries to say our countries teaching system problem.
    it is about english. because Korea english boom is amazing.
    But, specific problem is why native english teacher left the school.
    coming to the country, they have to study Korean culture, language etc.
    so they have much pressure to teach english to korean students.
    and i think other problem is that students and korean school have.
    because of their less fever, between native teacher and student, communication is not well
    organized…

  35. Joo permalink
    May 29, 2011 10:15 pm

    I read this article and think again about the English education in Korea.
    I started with seven years old to study English. This shows growing interest in Korean
    English education. Many people think that it is important to learn a solid foundation from the beginning with native speakers in order to have a good command of English.
    Because there are many difference things between foreigner teachers and students, studying English with native speakers has his merits and faults.
    So, it is needed to any reoccurrences of this incident in order to remedy the problems.

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