Here’s a vlog post by the popular Canadian teacher couple who blogged about their experience teaching English in Korea at a website called, Eat your kimchi.
I may be the only foreigner in Korea that doesn’t gush about them – they’ve always rubbed me the wrong way and I’ve yet to figure out why. Is it because they’re so “on” all the time? Is it because I find it ridiculous to see a grown woman screaming with her students about teenie bopper K-pop idols? Is it because their dorky hip persona no longer works at their age? Is it because they’re so narcissistic they have to video themselves all the time? Is it because they sound like self-appointed experts on Korea?
Yes, but it’s more than that. It’s their whole attitude about Koreans that gets to me. Like in the video above, that students put their nose to the grindstone only to be thought of as better worker drones. I mean, that just smacks of condescension to me. And it’s not the only instance of this. Too often their portrayal sounds like, “oh look at the cute little Koreans! Aren’t they adorable!” which gives me PTSD flashbacks to being objectified as the little adopted Asian doll growing up.
Korean students are not better behaved, (the woman above taught at an all-girl’s private school) and the students I know in America aren’t violent because they have too much free-time, but for a whole host of socio-economic, dysfunctional family, racist and political reasons, and damn if I’m going to put my finger on ONE thing that makes a very few that way. And the students I know in Korea may not have a chance to be randomly violent, but you can bet they have violent thoughts – and they tend to take that violence out on themselves. And the Korean students I know DO have dreams, just not a lot of hope to attain them. And school for these kids is ALL about being social. They spend all their time in school trying to subvert the system and capitalize on socializing, and when they’re out of school they’re trying to subvert the system to see their friends and socialize. I could go on point by point, but that would mean having to watch their video again. Anyway, maybe I’m just biased. Watch and you decide. They seem to identify many of the same dilemmas as I do, as most foreigners do, but their analysis of the root causes just seems simple and colonial to me…