You may think your kids love you because they give you ridiculous nicknames and climb all over you and are ‘cool’, but what they actually think is that you’re an ineffectual joke and that it’s fun to ridicule you.
And he closes with a top ten list of rules foreign teachers should follow in order to retain some self-respect and do their job to the fullest:
1. Don’t say “Assa!” anymore, because you sound like an idiot when you do.
2. Don’t take a ddongchim (finger playfully thrust up your ass) lying down.
3. Don’t let your kids give you dumb nicknames.
4. Don’t let anybody call you crazy in Korea.
5. Don’t call kids crazy and try to stand on some lame principle that “They should know how English is really spoken.” It only makes you sound like a pompous idiot.
6. If you’re bald, don’t let your kids touch your head.
7. If you’re fat, don’t let your kids touch your belly.
8. If you’re hairy, don’t let your kids rub your forearms.
9. Don’t tell your kids stupid lies about your home country. Don’t tell them that you’re an alien, even though it may be hilarious to them.
10. Never, ever hand over the power to punish your students to a Korean, whether it be your co-teacher or the owner of the school. You will soon find yourself completely powerless.
Check out the whole entry for some context and for a hypothetical situation that, sadly, probably happens way too much when you mix inexperienced teachers and bratty kids.
A huge part of teaching English, in my opinion, involves teaching students how to comport themselves when around foreigners. As I said in reaction to a video posted on ROK Drop of swarming middle students, Korean children---and sometimes adults---completely lose any sense of composure around a foreigner. The sight of a white person triggers a mocking "HELLO!" as a Pavlovian response, and if you ignore their call (as you should) you'll soon hear taunts that move closer toward their real opinion of you. They exhibit behavior they would never, ever imagine directing toward a Korean adult, let alone a Korean teacher. In my town last year students of all ages would follow me home, would try to open the windows of my apartment, would stand outside and shout my name, and would bang on the door. If any student would even think of doing this to a Korean teacher, the kid'd get beat like he owes somebody money. However, my colleagues allowed this to go on all year, and when I complained they told me that I ought to be friendly and open to my students. This school year, on a regular basis, students will yell at me from down the hall, will shout my name from upper-story windows, and will bang on the windows and doors just so I can see them wave at me. My coworkers were surprised when I taught my students not to do this, and protested that students were just being friendly. It's not uncommon for students to shout at me from passing vehicles, from windows, or from down the block, and when I ride the bus I've had students tap my shoulder and poke me after I ignored their first few dozen catcalls. Students have mocked me in restaurants and adults have followed me down the street. Again, no Korean in their right mind would treat another Korean adult this way, let alone encourage their children to do it. Extreme cases of disrespect don't happen all the time, but taunts, catcalls, and other impolite English does occur with enough frequency that I can safely attribute them to deeply ingrained attitudes toward foreigners and foreign teachers.
I've been sitting on an entry about this broad topic for a while, and I'll probably write it up sooner rather than later. Too many foreign teachers allow the zoo animal treatment, under the mistaken belief that it shows friendliness, or curiosity, or an eagerness to interact with foreigners. Too many foreign teachers permit their students to call them fat, or grab their arm hair, or point at their nose. I had a student once try to 똥침 me . . . with the end of a broom, and while I'm not going to write down how I punished him, suffice it to say there were witnesses, and such extremely inappropriate behavior toward me never happened again. Too many foreign teachers believe that, to effectively teach English, you need to be their friend and endure jokes, ribbing, and attitudes that would never fly with a Korean adult.
The problem is, too many Korean teachers think this "special" treatment is okay. Too many Korean teachers operate under the assumption that a foreigner needs to be a clown in the classroom, and that English class needs to be a riot in order to be effective. Oh, the Korean teachers' classes aren't fun, mind you, but because "students are so shy" foreigners are expected to act like overactive, overgrown children. I wonder where Koreans get such a warped view of foreign teachers?