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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #86)

September 18, 2010

I received some bad news from home earlier this week that my Mother’s house had burnt down.  Luckily everyone go out safely, however they lost everything – EVERYTHING.  You always think that something like this would never happen to you… until it does…Korean Apartment Fire (Credit:

This got me thinking. What I would lose if the same thing happened to my apartment.

Believe it or not, fires in Korean apartments ARE a regular occurrence.  If a fire happened in your apartment, what would you lose?  How are you protected?  How can you safeguard the things that matter most to you?

When thinking about this, the first thing that came to mind was my laptop – this includes all of my photos (many of which are irreplaceable) and my music.  The next thought was about my passport, E2 visa and other important documents.  While most things can be easily replaced, is there anything you could do NOW to reduce the risk of losing those things that mean the most to you?

The first thing I would recommend is for you to create digital photocopies of your passport, visa and other documents (like your degree, bank account details, etc).  You should be able to go to any stationary store to photocopy the items and put them onto a flash disk for you.   You can then upload the files to an online account (like gmail) or email them to your parents for safekeeping.  If you don’t want to be high-tech, you could just photocopy the documents and keep them in your desk at school.

To protect your irreplaceable photos, you can either sign up for an online service that does automatic computer backups (DropBox is great), or copy your photos onto DVDs and keep them in your desk at school.  Just a small note here – Putting your photos on Facebook is NOT a good way to ‘safeguard’ your photo collection.

On that note, have a great Chuseok!

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s jokes.




Press Release: Busan’s Jae-Hee Oh elected President of ATEK

(Seoul, Republic of Korea) – September 14, 2010 – At midnight on Friday, September 10, voting ended and The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) had a new president elect. As outgoing president Greg Dolezal’s term expired on September 12, Jae-Hee Oh, ATEK’s first Korean member, and first Korean officer, also became the second president of ATEK elected by its general members.

ATEK, an all-volunteer organization established to improve life for English teachers, and to improve English education in Korea, first formed in early 2009. Ms. Oh is the third president in the organization’s history, and its second elected by general members.

President elect Jae-hee Oh, an English tutor from Busan, has been teaching English in Korea for five years, after graduating from an American university and living in the United States for eight years. She joined ATEK this spring, and has worked as Busan’s Employment and Legal Issues Officer, helping teachers with work problems, since then. “I used to help my English teaching friends informally, but ATEK had a system, and more resources I could use to help teachers in need. It was natural for me to join.”

Along with her experience with teachers, Jae-hee Oh is a fully bilingual Korean citizen. Robert Ouwehand, ATEK’s National Communications Officer, sees this as a huge asset. “She can bring ATEK’s message into areas where non-Korean speakers never could; there’s so much potential for ATEK to increase its profile in Korea with Ms. Oh as president.”

Ms. Oh takes the helm of ATEK during a period of steady growth for the organization. After starting with only three members in early 2009, at latest count, the group has over 1100 members and upwards of 30 officers across Korea, in all levels of Korea’s education system. ATEK’s increase in membership gives Ms. Oh many options. “The more members we have, the more authority our voice has when ATEK speaks out on issues,” explains Darren Bean, ATEK’s vice president. National Communications Officer Robert Ouwehand is also excited about the growth. “As the organization grows, its capabilities grow: we can do some things now that were fantasies a year ago.”

Ms. Oh plans to recruit more Korean nationals into ATEK’s ranks. “So far, most ATEK members are expats. However, any legal English teacher in Korea is welcome to join, and I’m convinced that Korean citizens who teach English stand to benefit as well as expats do, from ATEK’s resources.” She says her first actions as president will be to provide opportunities for foreign and Korean teachers to get together.

Meanwhile, departing president Greg Dolezal considers his one-year tenure as president a strong success: his accomplishments as president include forming contacts between ATEK and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, and initiating contact with other English education-concerned groups, including KOTESOL (Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and the Korean Prime Minister’s Office, reorganizing ATEK to prepare it for long-term growth, working with Kangnam Labor Law Firm to provide legal advice to English teachers through the “Legal Assurance Program,” establishing an ethics committee to ensure the organization’s accountability and transparency, and the day-to-day work of providing help and information for hundreds of English teachers dealing with work or culture issues. However, “There’s always more to be done,” says Mr. Dolezal. Jae-Hee Oh also spoke well of her predecessor: “I want to thank Greg for the work he has done so far and all the work that he will do for ATEK in the future. He has always been a good friend and advisor.”

Mr. Dolezal’s parting advice for Ms. Oh is to maintain a collaborative approach. “Foreign and Korean English teachers, parents, students, policy makers and even school owners can agree that we want to provide Korean students with an improved educational atmosphere. As long as we emphasize that, we can see eye to eye, and work together.”

Anybody can become a member of ATEK, and ATEK welcomes members of any career or

nationality. Any person who legally teaches English in Korea, or who legally teaches other

subjects in English in Korea, can become a general member, eligible to vote in ATEK elections, or to hold an officer’s position in the organization.

The Association for Teachers of English in Korea (ATEK) is an all-volunteer national support and information-sharing network for professional English teachers. Its stated mission is to improve the lives of teachers through online and human resources by developing partnerships with government offices, recruiters, employers, and other organizations that aid teachers.

Click Here for the Press Release (Source: ATEK)

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Press Release: Attention prospective applicants in the United States (EPIK)

In accordance with new regulations of Korea Immigration Service, all EPIK applicants must now submit apostilled criminal record checks issued at the national level. This means that American applicants interested in applying for the Spring 2011 semester must obtain a criminal record check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and have the document apostilled by the appropriate government body. It may take as long as three months for the FBI to process your request for a criminal record check, so it is strongly recommended that your apply for it immediately.

The new application form will be available for download in the “Apply by Email” section of our website on September 27th, and we will begin accepting applications on October 1st Korean Standard Time.

(Source: EPIK)

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More taxes for native speaker English teachers coming

On several posters were recently informed by their Korean public schools that they will be taxed on housing allowances and reimbursed airfare. From pippo11:

I have just been informed that the tax office has recently told all schools to include bonus payments, settlement allowances and airplane fees in their tax calculations from now on.
This means that as well as paying tax on our earnings (no problem with that of course) we will also be paying tax on money we dont earn. eg. the round trip airplane tickets that we are reimbursed for at the start and end of our contracts.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-Do)

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A new criteria for college admission: initiative

‘Students who show leadership and study on their own are the most successful.’ As some recent high school graduates are discovering, the college application process is a bit more challenging this year.

In an attempt to level the playing field, select universities around the nation are implementing the admissions-officer system, which emphasizes extracurricular activities and student potential in addition to national exam scores. It was launched to reduce rising education costs and ensure that students develop a broad range of skills, in addition to academic study.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: JoongAng Daily)

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School curriculum

Competition is not goal of education policymakers. Education policy goes against the principle of fostering well-rounded students. Even in middle schools, English and mathematics get heavy weighting. Schools sideline subjects not vital for college-entrance examinations. Education policymakers should consider whether students should devote themselves only to the subjects of the entrance examinations.

A survey of 3,144 middle schools showed that 70 percent have increased hours for English classes.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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Tutor caught illegally earning hundreds of millions of won

A Korean private tutor was caught earning more than 150 million won ($130,000) a month, without paying tax, from illegally teaching students in an apartment in the affluent southern Seoul.

Under the law, adults who are engaged in private tutoring are obliged to report their monthly income to the education authorities, a measure to prevent tax evasion. But many tutors ignore the rule.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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Many normal children consider themselves too fat

Six in 10 children who consider themselves fat actually have normal weight, an extensive survey suggests. The Korea Food and Drug Administration surveyed about 6,600 children from age one to 19 across the country between late 2007 and late 2008.

This suggests that even children can suffer a false body image, a phenomenon that typically occurs among young women with eating disorders.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Chosun Ilbo)

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Teacher screening lax at foreign schools

Even if you did not major in math, you can teach the subject at an international school in Korea as long as your mother tongue is English. If you don’t have a teaching license and want a teaching job at foreign schools here, the only requirement set by Korean immigration rules is the experience of teaching for two years whether it be at a private cram school or public school.

The Korea Immigration Service issues the E-7 visa to foreign school teachers, without requesting a teaching license, just documents proving two years of teaching experience.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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HiSeoul Festival to be staged from Oct. 2 to 10

400 non-verbal performances, parades, fireworks

Seoul City announced Wednesday that it will hold HiSeoul Festival 2010 at riverside parks and in central Seoul, Oct. 2-10, under the slogan of “Gesture of Seoul and Gesture of the World.”

About 200 performances will be staged by some 70 groups and individuals from 13 countries, including France, Australia and Spain under the theme of “non-verbal performances” during the event, jointly hosted with the Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Times)

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This week’s joke: I’m a light bulb

One day a blond office worker comes out to the warehouse to walk around. As she is walking she looks up and sees a co-worker hanging upside down from an I-Beam in the ceiling.

She asks “What ARE you doing”?

The co-worker says “I need a few days off but the boss won’t let me have them so I’m hanging upside down from this I-Beam acting crazy.

The boss will see me, think I need rest and send me home for a few days”.

The blonde says “That won’t work…uh ohh…here comes the boss now, you’re in for it”.

The boss spots the blond looking up and sees the man hanging up there and asks him “Just WHAT do you think you are DOING?!!”

The man says (in a “crazy” voice) I’m a light bulb…I’m a light bulb”

The boss says “Buddy, you need some rest..take the rest of today and tomorrow off and get some sleep”.

As he is climbing down he winks at the blond showing her it worked.

The blond thinks about this for a moment and starts to follow the man out the door.

The boss asks her “WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?”

The blond says “I can’t work in the dark”.

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