I figured that there were some parts of Korean society that felt put upon by the government mandated influx of foreigners in their country. I also know that as a very recently industrialized nation they struggle with balancing their national pride (and traditional xenophobia) with moving forward into the world and maybe someday holding a place of power. What I was unaware of, however, is that there is an organization of people committed to evicting foreigners, willing to slander and harm them in order to do so.
While I don't feel vulnerable, personally, to the Anti-English Spectrum, I am fascinated by it and proud of those foreigners who have felt called to action by this rising negative sentiment. I'm also simultaneously intrigued and appalled by the sway this group has had over the government (especially when it comes to our E2 Visa requirements). I can't find much information on the web (granted, I've just begun my research), so my knowledge is very limited. But, a fellow teacher posted a podcast on his Facebook page today. It's a CBC (Canadian) broadcast and it's about twenty-five minutes long, but if you're at all interested it's worth a listen. I can't embed it, so click this link to hear it.
I also wasn't aware of the presence of an official organization of English teachers here in Korea. The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) is actively confronting the Anti-English Spectrum. This article talks a bit about it.
My day was a little chaotic because Julia, Gene and Terry were all there for most of the day. Gene told me that the principles want him fired because our classes haven't changed since he was hired. He is frustrated that they want things to be made perfect so quickly. I am frustrated because I feel like my classes have improved immensely in my three months of teaching; but, it doesn't seem to make any real difference. I told Gene that while Ian and I like Korea, we are frustrating by the business culture here and that we are tired of being treated like children. So, Gene told Julia that he would have the meeting she planned with Ian after classes today. So, she let him take Ian off her hands. Gene told Ian that on Monday he wants us to present our lesson plans and then ask for comments in stead of listening to Julia repeat her ideas four times over. He's hoping the meeting should last about one hour. We'll see. He intends the new format to give us some power in the relationship, but I'm not sure Julia will sit back and let us talk. We'll see. I'm grateful that Gene is looking out for our satisfaction.
Ian and I are going out with a few other teachers tonight. There are a few new people in town and we are interested in meeting them. Plus, we haven't seen the other Jecheon foreigners in a while. It should be good fun.
Stay warm over there! Good night!