As North America continues to bleed jobs, more English teachers are arriving in Korea and choosing to extend their stay in the country despite its weaker currency and perceived threats from its communist neighbor, market and official figures show.
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Indeed, for teachers looking to return home, especially those hoping to stay in education, there are few prospects.
School districts in the U.S. from Seattle to New York City have either made staff cuts or placed hiring freezes on out-of-district applicants, shutting doors on new grads and experienced educators alike. While few if any public school teachers are likely to lose their jobs in Canada, new hiring will probably remain slow until government revenues improve, according to Penny Milton, CEO of the Canadian Education Association.
For the time being this could mean an increase of, if not "qualified" teachers---whatever that means---at least of teachers who are actually interested in teaching and in gaining teaching experience. There was talk last year of allowing licensed non-native-speaking English teachers to get an E-2 visa in Korea to fill the perceived lack of "qualified" instructors, though it bears repeating that even a licensed, experienced teacher back home may not be prepared for all the challenges they'll face teaching EFL in Korea.
Anyway, a teacher from Jinju summed up her decision to stay in Korea a little while longer:
“I’m getting further away from pursuing my higher education goals,” she says, “but at the same time, [I am] getting more work experience and living rent-free in a beautiful country.”