Sunday, October 18, 2015

Serious English Teaching? Not in Korea

:::Comes in and kicks the tires:::: Yep, it's still working.

I saw this blog post pop up on my Facebook feed: Why South Korea isn’t the Place for Serious English Teachers.

I read it and then started writing a Facebook comment that kept growing and growing, so I realized it was probably better as a blog post.

With that said, if you've taught in Korea, I think it will hit a nerve.  He's in it now as he mentions he's planning to finally leave Korea. You can identify with his frustration, and he's hitting on some very real points. What's interesting is someone I know who still lives in Korea reached out recently. I'd not been in contact since before I left and this wasn't someone who was in my inner circle. I moved back in 2009, so it's been at least seven years since I've been in contact with this person. He and I were exchanging messages, and I had to excuse myself to get back to work as I was up late. He replied that he had a class coming up soon, and I realized he's been an ESL teacher in Korea for years upon years. Nothing wrong with that, but he's pretty much going to have that "best dead end job" that the author mentions for as long as he can pull it off. 
I had that job too. In terms of career prospects when you're in Korea, that's close to it. I know some people including non-Koreans and foreign born Koreans who've gotten into entertainment through radio and TV. I also met other foreigners there who were with the military or were there for business. But if you want to stay on the teaching track, that's pretty much it. The top of the ladder is teaching at a Korean university or college. Beyond that there is no career track or professional development because you're supposed to do the job for a handful of years and then move on.

Teaching English in Korea has always been set up as a temporary gig and was never meant to be anything more than that just by the way it's structured because of the required yearly visa updates/renewals along with mostly yearly contracts (some schools might do more, but most don't.) One of the many reasons I chose to move home was being over having to get sign off from immigration for any project that came up. At one point I had both a student via and a teaching visa simultaneously. If you didn't, you're in violation of your visa and, trust me, a lot of people take on other projects.
I have some friends who've made it work or have pushed themselves onto another track by getting a PhD. I have a couple of friends there now who are professors in other topics, but they've put the work in. They're basically experts in some aspect of Korean culture or history and, of course, are fluent in Korean.

I was there for my own set of reasons:
  • post law degree and trying to figure things out
  • getting time to travel and see a bit more of the world, which I did
  • healing and patching up my soul after losing my parents within 5 weeks of the other and reconciling that with being adopted, which also requires a certain level of healing and patching up
My almost eight and a half years there equipped me with experiences that to this day still benefit me, but that time took me off the grid in many ways. Repatriating is a hard process which took me almost five years to complete, and I've still got one or two more things to do to make it complete.


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Save Annie - help a sweet pit bull stay alive

I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner! Okay, I do, I almost never write posts on this blog anymore.

The story: my boyfriend and I recently moved to Oakland. Overall, it's been a bit of a bumpy adjustment. Monday was made even bumpier because someone decided to leave a dog in our yard. Because we can't have pets and because the other person in the duplex has a young son, there was no way we could keep her. I do wish we could foster her. Oakland Animal Services (OAS) picked her up on Tuesday afternoon, and, as it's a kill shelter, she's on borrowed time.

I named her Annie as in Orphan Annie.  She's a very sweet pitbull that's gotten a bad start.  Dealing with this shows me the massive bias that breed is up against. I'm trying to spread the word every way that I can.

This is an appeal for help. The benefit of her being at OAS is we have confirmation that she wasn't micro-chipped and that health-wise she's in good enough shape not to be put down immediately. Her number at OAS is ACR 17331.

She's anxious but she was very sweet with my boyfriend (he was the one who found her and took care of her the day she arrived.) has offered to provide free training, support and promotional assistance as appropriate to anyone who can foster her. Read more about their work at the link!

What I'm hoping for is for someone who is in the pet rescue community to get wind of what's going on. I figure they're best suited to help and would be more effective in finding someone that could foster her. The trick to to making that happen is getting it out to as many people as possible. Hence this blog post.

Please help spread the word via your social media accounts. Here is my write up about her on Google Plus and there are a few more pics of her there:

Here are links on other social sites:
Even if all you can do is share, that helps; and I appreciate it!

If you're interested in how it all turns out tune in to the FB thread I posted. I'm putting updates there as we go.

Thanks so very much. :) #SaveAnnie


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Playing around with Tint!

I found a new social application, Tint, that lets you integrate your various social streams into one layout. I think it's great. Here is how it looks with my Pinterest and Instagram streams. (I'm much more active on Pinterest these days, but came back to Instagram when they added video.)


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Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Surprise - HuffPost Live

Well, this is interesting. I was on HuffPost Live again this week.

This time we were talking about politics, which if you read my blog a bit you'll know I'm pretty passionate about and, at times, quite active.

The topic was about the "October Surprise" theory. I'm not exactly sure it's just a theory because there always seems to be something that comes up right before an election. However, is it intentional spin?
There is such big money in American politics now that I have to say I think the spin is intentional.

For what it's worth though, I also hope that voters are just as cynical as I am and take surprises with a grain of salt. It would have to be a pretty significant one for me to go, "okay, I'm switching my vote". I think that's the same on both ends of the spectrum. Of course, those in the middle and those who've not decided are the ones they're trying to reach.

You can watch the video below. You can also find it here on the HuffPost Live site.

BTW, I really like the HuffPost Live segments I've seen and have been on. They've managed to get some pretty good hosts.


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