I asked one of my friends the other day about what he thinks of his foreign English instructors currently teaching at his University. I was really surprised when he said they were ‘sucking on honey’ (꿀빨다). He meant that his English teachers makes so little effort in teaching yet get paid so much money at the same time. Hence the students are really 50:50 about it. Those who just want to make the grade don’t really care, but those who genuinely want to learn the language are hugely dissatisfied.

When I first applied to Korea I was very surprised how easy it was to land a teaching job in Korea. I mean, because of my British passport (is that racist?) and my bomb of an interview I was qualified to get my flight ticket out. Perhaps that contributed to the massive cut on foreign teachers this year. Not that I’m saying ALL foreign teachers are unskilled, but it is true that the negative reputation of crappy teachers still dominates those who are skilled and passionate.

Well have I got news for those teachers who are still sucking on their honey. Surprise! Your students aren’t stupid. They know you are shit.

Sort it out.



picture: Dango Jip in Hongdae


9 Comments on “Honey

  1. I’m currently teaching English in Korea and I think about this a lot. I’m constantly worrying that I’m not qualified or that I’m not doing a good enough job or that I’m the one doing the least amount of work in my office. Hopefully it’s not true…

    • As long as the students learn something from the class, it’s fine =) Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. There’s a difference between those who try their best for their students and those who doesn’t care about their students’ education and just in it for the gold, and from my experience the students can tell. They may not be able to say it, but they feel it.

  2. Haha, this post made me laugh a lot! Way to give foreign teachers a kick in the butt! But I also think it’s the fault of the system in Korea….if they don’t want crappy teachers, they should make the standard for hiring them higher 😀 And for those who are legitimately trying but just don’t have any teaching experience, they should keep trying and working hard! There’s a difference between those who just don’t care and those who are not sufficiently skilled yet.

  3. It kinda sucks because I am confident to say I am more than qualified because I hold a teaching degree from Singapore with several years of teaching English, but it’s just that I don’t hold a passport from the “desired countries”, hence they would never consider me good enough to teach in Korea.

  4. Conversely, there’s those of us that were dying to do a fantastic job and really cared about the students – to be “corrected” on our English as well as told to mind our place and be compliant white-faced marketing tools. Ouch.

  5. I’m teaching at a uni as well and worry about this as well. Thus, that makes me actually TRY to impress my students by changing things up and keeping the content fresh. Thanks for the honest post. Quite a few teachers need a kick up their ass, though I think the cuts will make that happen faster as well.

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