[Letters] English teacher dropout rates raise alarm bells

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[Letters] English teacher dropout rates raise alarm bells

I just read your article “English teacher dropout rates raise alarm bells” posted on Oct. 1 2010. I think that people (the government or reporters) should take a look at the treatment of foreign instructors by the schools to see why they left in such alarming rates.

The article made it seem that it was just foreign instructors’ way of conducting themselves at a job and that they left for selfish reasons. This is an unjustified way of portraying foreign instructors. I know that there are uncertified teachers getting hired from native English-speaking countries, and that is a problem.

But if schools and the government really cared about that, they would only hire licensed instructors (like myself). I have been living and teaching in Korea for the past four years and have heard and seen many bad things happen to friends and acquaintances alike, like getting bullied or berated at work, not getting paid or getting treated like a slave all simply because they are “foreign.”

For these reasons, foreign instructors will leave their job. That kind of treatment is not tolerated in Western countries, so why would they tolerate it here? The problem of unqualified hagwons and schools gets worse the farther you get from Seoul. The Daegu and Ulsan numbers are proof.

So again, people need to look at the school and how these instructors are being treated before blaming the instructors, especially the ones who do “midnight runs.” They are usually treated very poorly and are at their wits end, so they flee the country because they don’t know what else to do. There is a reason for everything.


Laura Embree,

licensed instructor in Korea
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