Highly Unempirical and Propagandistic
Recently, I read an opinion article, a ``hit piece" by Steve Schertzer from Boulder, Colorado, an English teacher who formally taught in Thailand. He made many claims about English teachers that are unfair.
He seems to state that English teachers in Korea are universally young, inexperienced and unqualified to teach in Korea.
Several of my friends have teaching certificates or years of teaching experience in South Korea. Some have master's degrees as well. Many of us are in our 30s and beyond. One should also consider that Korea often prefers to have younger teachers, because ageism is prevalent in this society.
I recall trying to help a former boss find a teacher, and she turned down a teacher from Texas who was certified in English, because he was in his 40s, showing that inexperienced certified teachers in their 40s are not in high demand in Korea.
That is not our fault as foreigners. At any rate, the author ignores the many qualified and/or experienced teachers in order to make his case. That is highly unempirical and propagandistic.
Schertzer states that we came to Korea to indoctrinate the youth in Korea as if there is some kind of conspiracy hatched in Ottawa, Washington, D.C., and London to brainwash the youth rather than a desire for teachers to earn money in an honest fashion, and in many cases to experience another culture and travel abroad.
I do not even know one foreign teacher who has encouraged someone to leave their boyfriend or husband. Nor, do I know anyone who has been giving out revolutionary material or worksheets on feminism.
We do share our cultural ideas as foreigners, but that is quite normal, just as Indians and Germans would share their ideas with Americans and Canadians as immigrants to either America or Canada.
He seems to be romanticizing Asian culture while putting Western culture down. He seems to suggest that that Koreans enjoy a higher quality of life than Westerners.
He only mentions one positive attribute from the West and that is Western medicine. He does not mention the invention of the telephone, the airplane, the fast train from France, the light bulb, rock 'n roll, jazz, cars, and the computer. Where would Korean society be without these things?
Basil Keilani has a political science degree from Concordia University in Canada. He has taught English as a second language (ESL) in Korea for two years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.