This is a response to recent comments on my post "Up Against The Competition." I think, although heated, most of the comments were on point and did a good job of correcting my thoughts.
But still I feel the old debate of what makes a "qualified" teacher is worth some harder thinking. However, I am not really interested in analyzing this aspect right now but rather want to focus on what it is like for those who are, academically speaking, "qualified" to teach in the Korean public school.
It is my assumption that this person would find themselves working with people who have little to no understanding of the tools they have brought with them. Korean public schools, especially Elementary, are still breaking out of the rote-memorization process of teaching. The "English Zone" in the school is likely to be the only place where they experience Western based methods of teaching. Meaning putting the students first and letting them explore in order to find the answer.
That is why I feel it is great for people with experience teaching to come here, because they can pass on what they have learned to their coteachers but also give Korean students a chance to experience learning on different levels. Despite the fact that I have no teaching credentials I have always naturally taught my classes based upon my experience as a student back home.
Of course these are all assumptions and I can only write from my own experience. I just really want to know what our Korean coteachers expect of us in the classroom. Until now all I have been told is that they want us to be "fun and active" like those guys on the "EBS English" channel. In other words, they want us to be clowns. In some aspects, for instance teaching kindy - 3rd grade, I can agree that a lively attitude is all but necessary. But asking us to just be "fun and active" means that anyone could do that. Are they going to hire someone with a Masters in Education and years of experience in the classroom to be just "fun and active." If I came here and heard that, with those qualifications behind me, I would feel insulted.
Again, though I could be wrong and just spitting out a bunch of bias, and that is why I want to be proven wrong. I want to know that Korean coteachers and Principals want their Native Teachers to come up with enriching lesson plans that involve kids using all their skills and learning on all levels. I want to know that they aren't just interested in pleasing the parent's and having someone at their school with "Ooo-ahhh" credentials.
Wherever I will be next year I will be sure not to act all high and mighty just because I have two years experience. Instead, I plan on focusing on my students and designing lessons and materials that will truly engage them. In my execution, I plan to be a lively and active person but within the limits of my own body's ability.
The fact remains that so many of us teachers in the classrooms across this nation have little-to-no qualifications teacher wise. Yes it would be our responsibility to get more credentials, but I also feel it is the Korean government's responsibility to give better and more proper training to us. If you are going to hire "unqualified" folks and not give them enough training then don't act astonished when they quit or don't live up to your expectations.
Finally, no matter what kind of person a school hires, whether it be a "qualified" vs. a "recent-grad-off-the-plane", for goodness sake Korea give these people more training in how to work with a Korean coteacher and in the Korean school environment. Hey, I know! Why not have the Korean coteachers and the native teachers go to training together? Oh that's right...you would rather put your money elsewhere.
All right...your thoughts.