Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughts on Teaching Requirements in Korea

One of our fellow teachers here in Korea posted something on Facebook today that got me thinking.  He got in trouble with his director for physically retaliating when a child threw a book at him.  Unfortunately, when he through the book back, it hit the child's lip and busted it.  I'm sure that he was pushed to the brink, as I've spent time with this particular teacher, I don't imagine him as the unnecessarily violent or even aggressive type.  But, I do agree with his director.  The retaliation was not only wrong, but pointless.  The kid learned nothing other than perpetuated violence from the episode.

But, what exactly do we expect from young teachers with no Education training, let alone psychological or developmental knowledge?  Degree specifics need not apply when teaching English in Korea and don't expect to get any training on working with kids when you get here.  It's all on the job with real kids and real problems, no theories and no hypotheticals.

Ian has some pretty difficult students, including some handicapped ones.  He is fantastic with kids and a far better teacher than I am, but without that training and applicable knowledge base, he is still left with a pretty small tool kit in the classroom.  I know that I've handled situations poorly at times, usually by simply not handling them.  If I punish a child, it usually gets me in the hot seat, so I choose to let chaos reign sometimes.

We are glorified camp counselors here.  Except that counselors receive training on not only entertaining children, but also keeping them safe and not scarring them mentally, intellectually or emotionally.  Counselors are also held accountable to someone, as well.  And while we are responsible to Julia, her main concern is whether we are affecting Yoon's bottom line in any way.

I'm trying to find out more about the Korean educational system as a whole.  I don't even know what the Education Programs are like at Korean universities.  I'll be doing more research and writing future posts for sure.  If you anything about this topic, please post it in the comments.  Or if you know a good source, please do the same.

Good night!

1 comment:

  1. This is a interesting subject. I will be looking forward to hearing more about the education system there as a whole, and on the University level.
    I agree with you, retaliating against a child is wrong on quite a few levels, and I pretty sure here in the states as a teacher that is one of the very few things that will get you fired.