Are you certified?

Finding your way through the TEFL course maze

Teaching was no longer challenging. I was stagnating. Sure, I could always shake my life up with a weekend of debauchery, an occasional fling with a sexy female expatriate, or by traveling to a different city – and, truth be told, I often tried combining all three. But, at my core, I knew that I wasn’t growing productively. As a teacher I wasn’t developing. My methodologies had become stale. I needed a new bag of tricks. I needed rejuvenation.


Expatriate waves

Socializing with Mr Expatriate

When in a foreign country, expatriates have a way of forming unlikely bonds. Mutual disagreements can melt away when you discover the common denominator of living in a foreign county. People who wouldn’t give you the time of day in your homeland can strike up friendships with you abroad.


Anti-American protests in Korea

How the ugly american ate the ugly duckling

There is a time tested strategy that nearly all nations use to deflect criticism about their poor economies and failing domestic policies. Put simply, the technique goes like this: blame it on the foreigners and the minorities. In the United States economic hardships have triggered the lynching of Blacks and Hispanics. In the United Kingdom migrants from Pakistan and Africa have been the targets of animosity. Therefore, it is not surprising to witness this strategy placed into action within Asia.


The staff room

Inside a Korean hogwan

A total of seven teachers work at my school. All of them are Korean except for myself. Three of these teachers can speak English with me, but the others are too shy to do so. Staff meetings are held in the Korean language. I seldom understand what is discussed, but that is my fault for not learning to speak Korean fluently. If I want to learn about the meetings I will talk to the director afterward.


Dong chims and dried squid

Changes in Korean education

Education in Korea has rapidly changed in recent years. Up until the end of the Yi dynasty (1392-1910) Korean education was heavily influenced by Chinese practice. Only a few privileged children were allowed to enter elementary school to study Confucianism, Chinese language, and literature. At age 15-16 elitist students attended secondary school. Graduation entitled them to sit for a crucial lower level civil service examination.


First impressions

Korea's EFL roots

If you scratch the surface of many English teachers in Thailand, underneath all that fine polish of discount dress shirts and shiny veneer of silk ties, you can often glimpse a trace of Korea. English teachers have either sacrificed their prized cherry of lecturing in a dusty classroom floor of a Korean hogwan, or they are fleeing to the country from Thailand to refill depleted bank accounts with a 2.1 million Won monthly salary.


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