One native-English teacher wrote on the popular Koreabridge forum for foreigners "a few years ago most teeching jobs in korea payed 30 or 40 an hour but these days were working for chump change. schools are run like factorys and its to easy too replase you if you demand more money lets make english teachers count".
49-year-old Kim, who runs a small chain of hagwons in Seoul, says he wants English teachers to count too, but "it's very hard just getting them to teach English well, I have no hope for their mathematical abilities." Asked about whether he considered his school a factory he replied "Well, yes, it is a commercial business, not a charity." A spokesman for AEEK (the Association of English Edutainers in Korea) condemned his attitude as corporatist and uncharitable.
A professor of economics at Seoul International University agreed that this was a core issue. "Innumeracy is a big problem these days in Western countries, and that may be why many foreign teachers are unable to comprehend one of the most basic economic functions which is supply and demand. There is an oversupply of English teachers. If there is an oversupply of apples in a store and the price goes down, do these English teachers gladly pay the lower price or demand to pay the higher price at the checkout to be fair to the farmer?" But some say it isn't fair to compare English teachers to apples, when they are clearly lemons.
It's also generally agreed amongst the sociologists and sociopaths in Korea who study foreigners, that a lack of access to foreign broadcast media may have caused many longer-term foreigners to miss the fact that there is a global recession with high unemployment rates in their home countries, which is causing many people with poor qualifications, poor social skills and no career plan to seek overseas work rather than staying at home in their parents' house, wondering what to do for the next two years. While the Internet could in theory make foreigners in Korea realize the huge problems which exist in their own economies, data from Korea's Internet Service Providers which log foreigners browsing habits in explicit detail shows that they spend 90% of their time on Facebook and a site called '4chan'.
Other foreign teachers are angry that in the last few years the minimum wage in Korea has doubled while salaries for teachers have declined when adjusted for inflation and exchange rates. One said "yeah theyve know idea how far the ex-change rate is gone down its not fare". On another forum one English teacher wrote "minimum wage now is 4000 won but some jobs advertised just at 25000. my skills are worth more than 8 times what some Korean is getting we deserve to earn more working far away from our homes on the other side of the world" And more participants agreed "why dont they understand we are americans and they are koreans? if the exchange rate goes down they must increase our pay why shood we be payed like koreans just cos were in korea?"
Unfortunately this is a popular delusion according to one psychology professor, who earlier this year wrote in a Korea Times article that poor American education standards, where anyone with an IQ of above 90 can become a graduate, and a ingrained culture of entitlement based on a fading American empire and a blame culture where everyone else is to blame and there is no personal responsibility, is producing a generation of highly narcissistic individuals. A number of teachers subsequently threatened to sue the professor for slander, although a month later they said they were unable to find an English speaking lawyer.
However, at least some of the foreign teachers ire was aimed at other foreigners. "why cant we all just refuze these $20 an hour chump change jobs and then theyll have to pay us what were wirth for our english ability skills who are these peepul who take these chump change jobs anyway there are two many illegal teachers hear." wrote one foreigner who said he posts anonymously due to the number of out-of-contract private English classes he teaches.
It was agreed that something must be done, but at least one hagwon owner who spoke to us said he wasn't worried "If they were really capable of doing something constructive with their lives they'd be back home working in a proper job with career prospects." Meanwhile the angry foreigners have promised to keep posting messages until the Korean economy gives in to their demands.
Let's get teacher salaries back on track
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