ESL Jobs - ESL, EFL, TEFL, TESOL Teaching Jobs
  • FREE Weekly ESL Jobs
  • ESL, EFL, TESL, TEFL -- Get weekly updates of the Hottest New Jobs direct to your inbox as well as easily apply to new openings!
  • Enter your Email:

ESL Jobs Forum
"Where New and Seasoned ESL Professionals Come Together To Network . . . Share. Listen. Learn."

 FAQIndex    FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups      RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Body Image and Race in South Korea

Post new topic   Reply to topic    ESL Jobs Forum Forum Index -> Discrimination Issues in ESL...
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:31 pm    Post subject: Body Image and Race in South Korea Reply with quote

Is it common for overweight or women of a mixed background to be discriminated against when it comes to getting the job in SK? I saw a job listing online and it requested a recent photo along with the resume. Is that normal? I'm not perfect, certainly by Asian standards. It's teaching, not modeling, but I know in the reality that doesn't make much difference.

Also, has overseas teaching become a career for everyone, or have any of you known other teachers who got jobs at businesses after a few years? Just a matter of knowing the right people?

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 25 Sep 2006
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t think anyone will get their scales out before hiring a teacher but knowing what you look like as well as what you can offer in terms of qualification and/or experience is important to many employers and yes, unless you work in a “politically correct” country (UK, USA, etc.) a photo is a common requirement, not only in SK.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 20 Apr 2007
Posts: 1
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:12 am    Post subject: Hagwans Reply with quote

Hagwans' are very guilty of weight discrimination. I am working at one right now and when I first arrived the female director threw a fit because I was overweight, as they could not tell that by my passport picture, which they asked for when they first contacted me. They treated me badly. I was in accommodation with no phone, very little food and no idea where I was, since I arrived late at night. I blame a lot of this on my so-called placement agent, but that's another story. I was stuck in an apartment, that was suppose to be fully furnished, for 4 days. This was my first time as an ESL teacher and I am still in my first year.

When the other two English teachers returned from their vacation, the director reconsidered but that was only because they told her that they would quit if they didn't hire me. So yes, they base a lot on looks and not so much on qualifications. I was even inteviewed by another school while I was working for the first one and they decided they didn't want me either because of my weight. All "hogwans" are afraid of what the parents will say.

The only reason I am still at my first school, is that all the kids like me and they have seen that I am one of the best teachers they have right now. I will also get a bonus by remaining until the end of my contract. However, I am now applying to public schools and I suggest that may be your best bet. I will let you know how that goes.

One teacher described South Korea as 1950's America, if that helps.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 11 Apr 2005
Posts: 18
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can confirm what ICAL_Pete has said about it not only being SK or SE Asia where pics are required. It is not uncommon for employers in Spain and Italy to ask for recent photos and I've noticed that age restrictions are fairly common as well (no teachers over 35 - please, what is that about?). So, I don't even waste my time with schools like that. I'm a professional and expect to be treated like one. Do these people choose their dentists, doctors, accountants, car mechanics, electricians or whomever by asking for a photo first? I think not.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 5:52 am    Post subject: discrimination in Korea Reply with quote

Try being my age: My mid fifties friend and I applied for Winter Camp positions a couple of years ago. I never put my dob on my resume, and we were enthusiastically employed, contracts signed, visa applications in... then they discovered our age and changed their minds. But we didn't take no for an answer and insisted we had signed contracts and they had to let us come.

Out of the ten or so recruited from Korea, US, Canada and NZ and aged in their twenties, with varying experience, we were the only ones who didn't need supervising, who did our work confidently, efficiently and professionally. We even found ourselves roped into doing a Church Service on Sunday morning, (when we were under the impression that we would accompany the students to a local church). We did everything with the children, including playing sport, and both our classes won the prizes in the end of course concert.

I worked in Japan for a year too - managing to jump through the "age" hoop because the recruiter for the company was also my age. The problem in Japan lies in their respect for older people. She explained to me that the manager would feel almost obliged to defer to an older person. She found a branch with a vacany and had to ask the manager if he/she would accept me. He did, (he was 29)and we all went on to have a great year.

I've been teaching English in China, Japan, and most recenly for two months in Nepal, for seven years now. I keep an eye on various websites like this one, advertising the work, and I am noticing more and more age discrimination.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger

Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:56 pm    Post subject: Ageism - yes, it seems to be getting worse Reply with quote

Despite the huge shortage of qualified, experienced ESL teachers - especially in Asia - I find that it is more difficult to get a job. (Of course, I'm getting older every year, too! Maybe it isn't any worse now for a 58 year old woman than it would have been 6 years ago~when I was 52!)

Someone hit the nail on the head for Korea (as well as Japan): I find that in Korea (where I've taught since 2001), one huge problem is that Age Matters to the Koreans in ways that it doesn't matter to us. In the US I've had supervisors younger than myself with no problems... but in Korea, they are clearly nervous, especially because I'm an older woman. It's rare for women to work past marriage/childbirth, and older female professionals are basically non-existent.

Plus, I suspect we older western women simply terrify them - I just can't imagine why Laughing

If this were a perfect ESL world, all ESL employers would get some training on what to look for in a teacher. Unfortunately, now a huge number of the Korean employers are basically looking for "young and dumb"... preferably eye candy for the students, and inexperienced so they are easier to manipulate/control. (Such employers get rude shocks all the time of course - some young teachers who the students just hate because they waste their time, and plenty of young teachers who won't listen to any guidelines, show up drunk/hungover, call in sick regularly, refuse to develop curriculum, etc.)

At every job I've had, I get glowing reviews for hard work, dedication, and even fan mail from my students, but my betting money is that any time the vast majority of these schools have to choose between a sweet young thing (male or female) and an older woman, they'll go for youth, even if they have scads of documentation that the older teacher would be the better choice academically.

Well, I just joke that at the rate they're going, my grandchildren will be able to teach English in Korea... unless these guys wise up and start hiring more qualified teachers without respect to age, looks, weight, race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other factor other than teaching credentials.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 07 Jun 2008
Posts: 10
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Illuminating discussion Reply with quote

Thank you for sharing your experiences, insights, and different perspectives. This was an unusually illuminating discussion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    ESL Jobs Forum Forum Index -> Discrimination Issues in ESL... All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Protected by Anti-Spam ACP

Contact Us | About Us | ESL Jobs Newsletter | ESL Lesson Plan | ESL Online