I'm sorry, what exactly are people thanking you for? Writing a Cliff Notes version of a 69 page report, or just posting the report? The report was posted up on Brian Deutsch's sites a few days ago and it has been extensively commented upon on a couple of sites. And why does a 69 page report need Cliff Notes? Cliff Notes usually run around 69 pages.John Galt, take a deep breath and relax. I'll do the same. Let's all relax. And let's remember that none of us are paid to blog (except for chinboistas) and sometimes the big picture requires a whole lot of people painting their own little sections of it. And to those people, I say thanks. And let's also not forget that not everyone who reads Roboseyo also reads Brian's, or Marmot's, or Hub or Sparkle, etc. This stuff gets treated in multiple places because it's important to many different people.
Finally, as I've mentioned on the Marmot's Hole, I really think you guys are deluding yourselves if you imagine anything is going to come of this report other than a sense of self satisfaction.Well, I've gone on record saying I think that ATEK human rights abuse campaign is ill-advised, based on questionable information, and goes in the opposite direction of what would be good for English teaching as a profession, but I don't think that people banding together is a bad thing in the long run: it helps build coalitions and community structure that can be useful in other situations down the road. That's why I keep making suggestions about what ATEK should be getting involved with, like working on plugging up insurance lapses for people who are changing jobs. Useful stuff like that.
You aren't living in America - no one is going to take this report seriously.Actually, I disagree. Despite expats in the K-blog commentariat being convinced that The K-Man™ is out to get them, courts, government agencies, and NGOs have often come down on the side of foreign nationals even in cases that looked like long shots, and the actual trend is for expansion of international residents' rights and resources to help them, not the other way around. Though I don't agree with much of the actual report, I believe it will be taken seriously (but if I'm right about it being on questionable grounds, it may yield bad results if it is taken seriously).
You are living in a country where the general population has been convinced that your services are needed, however they remain unwanted. The only skill you bring to the table is the language you are born with - for that you are paid and average salary and the opportunity to live abroad and work a job which, frankly, just isn't that difficult.Now, see, this is what really compelled me to respond. Why you gotta be a hatah, G... er, John G.? You could have simply made the point that their profession is one that is easily entered and that comes into play in salary and negotations, but what I think that secretly you wanted to just show your animosity and disdain toward English teachers as a group because it makes you feel somehow superior.
Why you gotta bash these folks? Most of the English teachers — whether E2, F4, F2, or F5 — are putting in the hours and effort. Sure, some people may be attracted to the job because it seems not to require a lot of experience in the first place (and when someone is fresh out of college, that can be quite appealing), but it is a tough job to do well. It takes energy and enthusiasm if you want to make your own materials, find things that keep students interested, learn the ropes well enough to be management and maybe create better working conditions and teaching conditions, etc., etc.
Moving up the ladder takes experience, education, and skill beyond merely being able to speak one's native tongue, and that makes the situation quite different from your pissy assessment.
Why do you have to bash and belittle the people doing that? Sure, there are some stonehenges and some lazy-asses among the tens of thousands of teachers, but that's not too terribly different from a lot of other professions. Why try to hurt the people who are in it for the long haul and trying to do good by mocking them based on your own stereotypes and insecurities?
Your gratuitous bashing reminds me of this statement by D-RAM in a Marmot's Hole post...
My favorite one was a Canadian English teacher saying they should make Mike Breen head. I grinned, bared it, and quick extracated myself from that shallow end of the gene pool.... written by someone with obvious contempt for English teachers but who can't spell extricated and doesn't seem to realize that the past tense of bear is bore. You and D-Ram's scorn is misplaced, unhelpful, and unfair. You, not English teachers, are the problem.
In return, you bitch and moan about racism - what exactly did you expect? You are living in one of the most homogeneous societies on the planet.Well, here you are part right (more on this below), but I don't know that Korea's legendary homogeneity is what's holding it back. First off, K-blog commentary notwithstanding, South Korea has made tremendous strides in this regard over the past two decades (though there is still a ways to go).
Second, when I see the ethnic and racial tension and ethnic animosity in heterogeneous places like California or even Hawaii, I don't think that Americans can exactly lay claim to being particularly racism-free. The commentary section and even some of the letters in my hometown newspaper, the Orange County Register, contain so many gratuitous digs at Hispanics — even in stories having nothing to do with Mexicans or any other Latin American group — that it seems almost normative.
The report is ridiculous and this mutual appreciation society you have established for 'suffering' English teachers is laughable.I do agree with you up to a point that the K-blog echo chamber tends to find evil xenophobic or racist intent even when there isn't any, and that can lead to a very detrimental knee-jerk attitude that The K-Man™ is trying to keep the E2 down, but I don't think it's laughable to try to better one's situation. I may not agree with the Wagner Report, but the effort is most certainly not laughable, particularly not for the reasons you state below.
You grew up white in a society where whites were the majority.This is true, and I think a lot of Whites in South Korea (and places like Japan or Taiwan) are experiencing what is essentially the problems of being a visible minority. Being part of the majority in the US, Canada, or wherever, they may not realize how often and how severely ethnic minorities are sometimes singled out. Thus, they come to Korea and imagine that back home Americans never stare at Asians, never get angry when someone doesn't speak English fluently, don't blame "foreigners" for crime or job losses, etc., etc.
Yes, that is an important message: Welcome to the world of being a minority. But that's not the only message there is in what you said. You are wrong if you think that being White (or any non-Korean) means that they cannot get anywhere in the Korean system; to suggest otherwise is not only insulting to Koreans and demoralizing to "foreigners," but it is also inaccurate. "Whitey" may not get everything that "Whitey" wants but "Whitey" gets a lot of stuff and there are a lot of Koreans helping "Whitey" to get it. (By the way, I'm using "Whitey" ironically, especially since I think it's very telling when White foreigners conflate being a oégugin with being a White person.)
If you want some respect, learn Korean if you haven't, and, in the mean time, learn from the experience of being the unwelcome minority.Like I said, I agree with you on the second part, but let's not kid ourselves about the first part. I admit I would not think too highly of someone who has made little or no effort to learn Korean even after a few months — especially those who blame their lack of Korean language skills on a lack of opportunities even though they live in the middle of the Korean-speaking fu¢king central — but I'm not going to get on the case of someone who hasn't yet mastered the language.
And let's also not kid ourselves that learning Korean well will immunize someone from all bad treatment. You might still get screwy people who assume, for example, that you're not allowed do this or that because you're a foreign national.
In conclusion: Korea has a long way to go, English teachers need to keep their attitude in check and recalibrate their Xenophobia Detector settings, English teachers who are working hard at their jobs deserve more respect and protection, being anyone other than a native Korean in Korea is a learning experience, and some other stuff I can't remember off the top of my head.
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