Look around on popular English teacher job Web sites like Dave's ESL Cafe or Craigslist, and you'll see that many Korean English teaching recruiters and institutes specifically advertise for "native speakers" or for foreign teachers with an E2 or F2 visa status, which are references to teachers who are of non-Korean ethnicity.
Some ads even directly state that their jobs are not for F4 visa holders or "not for gyopos," ethnic Koreans who hold overseas citizenship.
An informal poll on Waygook.org, an online English teacher forum, reveals that around 60 percent of the respondents agree that Korean schools prefer their English teachers to be Caucasian.
The poll is very informal, and was started by the writer herself in this thread asking posters "Do you think that schools want Caucasian English teachers more than other races?" While the article itself is interesting, it's hardly surprising that an online survey of anonymous English teachers would reveal that the majority of them consider Korean employers racist against non-whites, especially when many of them are new, inexperienced, and got much of their information about Korea from equally inexperienced blogs and members of Dave's ESL Cafe. Read the rest of the thread for more diverse commentary.
That's not to say there isn't an expressed preference for white teachers at public schools and hagwon, and that recruiters aren't shy about expressing their interest in white teachers, in young teachers, in blonde teachers, in ethnic Korean teachers, or in any other choice that is shaping the interpretation of "native speaker" in South Korea. Yeosu made the
If U R YOUNG & WHITE, U R ALRIGHT @ Bundang Kids Club!!!
Wonderful kids! Salary negotiable. Excellent housing in Ori-Station area. Paid vacation. Optional medical insurance. Lunch provided at school. Year-end bonus (if you complete one year). Round-trip airfare to overseas applicants (return ticket only after one-year of employment). Beautiful, modern area. No experience necessary. Come and join the fun!
Please read the following information. Then, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to call Gina Song any time, seven days a week, at 011-9334-4303. Otherwise, to apply, simply email resume with recent, full-body color photo (videos also welcome!) and introduction to email@example.com. We look forward to your response!
We are looking for young (20's), cheerful (smile!) teachers who fit our image of native English-speakers/Americans. By law, you must be a college graduate. Average-weight (or thin) people are preferred. Also, please, no Australians/New Zealanders/Irish/etc. Brits may be considered under special circumstances. (Of course no non-native English speakers or ethnic minorities.) Korean citizens/Kyopos with native-like English skills may be hired temporarily, and college degree is not required of them.
One-year contract required (by law). Please note, however, that cultural differences exist with respect to contracts. Here is a quote from http://www.aacircle.com.au/teach-in-korea.htm :
"English teachers in Korea occasionally have contract disputes with their employers. In the Korean context, a contract is simply a rough working agreement, subject to change depending upon the circumstances. Most Koreans do not view deviations from a contract as a breach of contract, and few Koreans would consider taking an employer to court over a contract dispute." We don't think you will take us to court, either!
On a lighter note, our current foreign teachers are great to work with. Just ask Gina for contact info to find out first-hand what the teachers think about working at Bundang Kids Club! ^^
(Not necessarily affiliated with other institutes that also use the name, "Kids Club".)
Waygook.org is a messageboard for English teachers founded in Jeollanam-do in 2006 as a way to share lesson plans and stay in touch with other expats throughout the province. It has grown to over 11,000 members, and was cited as a source in a Korea Herald article three weeks ago about negative reaction to the GEPIK hiring freeze.