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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #89)

October 7, 2010

Our leading story this week looks at the high cost of most English kindergartens.  It’s not really a big surprise to us, as Korea is well known for their excessive spending on education.  What is jaw dropping is that more than half of the private English kindergartens in Gangnam charge over 1 million won a month per child – that’s half my paycheck!  This is a problem, but who is to blame? the hagwon or the parents that pay it?Gate Negative

On another issue close to our heart, there’s a research study you may be interested in being involved in.  Sung-Yeon Kim, a professor of English Education at Hanyang University, is wanting to interview English teachers on the effectiveness of native and non-native English co-teaching in Korea. You can find out more details on the ETIS (SMOE) website under the section ‘Announcements’.

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.




Lawmaker slams cost of ‘English kindergartens’

More than half of the private English institutes for young children in Gangnam, a posh district in southern Seoul, charge more than 1 million won ($880) a month per child.

Of the 23 institutes in the area, 14 charge more than 1 million won a month, with the most expensive charging a monthly tuition of 1.68 million won, seven times higher than the average monthly tuition of ordinary kindergartens, according to the data submitted by the Education Ministry to Rep. Cho Jeon-hyeok of the ruling Grand National Party.

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

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ETIS Press Release: Official notice on Federal CRC and health check

Hello Teachers,

We have made a decision on the new Federal Nationwide Criminal Record Check. Immigration will only take CRC from state/local area only still Dec 31st, 2010.

Starting Jan. 1st 2011 – Teachers will have to submit a Federal Level Criminal Record checks with an Apostilled. You will also have to submit a new apostilled copy of your Diploma to Immigration. Even if you have turn in your old Federal CRC apostilled to SMOE in the past you will have to turn them again to Immigration if you plan on renewing your Visa.

This will include all teachers from USA, CANADA, UK, Australia, SOUTH AFRICA, NEW ZEALAND. You will have to submit all new “updated” Federal CRC with Apostilled and Copy of the Diploma with Apostilled.

Please get started on collecting your documents for renewal. This will apply to all teacher with E2, F4, and F2. No exceptions.

**SMOE will not release old Federal CRC or Apostilled Diplomas.


Update to Federal CRC

Hello SMOE teachers,

For those of you who plan on renewing with SMOE you will need to turn a copy of the apostilled degree and apostilled CRC in to us before the end of next semester and you will need to give the original to immigration upon renewing.

For most of you this will take a few months so please start as soon as possible. Official notices of this were sent to your schools last month. Let us have a copy before you turn it in just in case immigration looses yours and we can confirm who has completed it.

Best wishes,



Health Check

Hello SMOE Teachers,

For those of you who just arrived in Korea we will need a copy of your health check before you bring it in to immigration.

Also there are a few of those who renewed last August and still need to turn in a copy to us. Please fax a copy to 02-3999-003 or send it to our main office. This health check must include an TBPE (drug) and HIV test.

Everyone must complete it regardless of visa status. Let me know if you will have any trouble turning one in soon. If you have already turned yours in to immigration you can get a copy at the hospital where you completed it.



Coordinator, ETIS Program

2-77, Sinmunro 2-ga, Jongro-gu, Seoul, Korea 110-781, Room 1007

Click Here for the website (Source: ETIS/SMOE)

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Incorrect statistics depict foreign English teachers as “part time workers” harming regional English education

On September 30, the Korea Times posted an article titled “More native English teachers quit”: More native English teachers are breaching agreed working terms in contracts made with public schools and are leaving Korea.

According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the number of foreign teachers who failed to complete their working contracts last year rose to 425 from 283 a year ago. This year as well, 252 native English speakers have already left schools as of July, according to Rep. Kim Se-yeon of the governing Grand National Party (GNP) who asked the ministry to submit the statistics to the National Assembly.[…]

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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ATEK Statement on English Teachers Breaking Contract

ATEK Official Statement:

ATEK Invites Discussion To Help Native English Teachers Stay Longer in Public Schools

In the last week, a number of articles have been published, in the Hankyoreh, Yonhap News, The Korea Herald,  The Korea Times, and other places, about Native English public school teachers leaving their jobs before their contracts end.  Korea’s news outlets are concerned, and so is ATEK.  If there is high turnover in Native English teachers, that certainly damages English education in Korea.

Unfortunately, these articles gave conflicting statistics: one article showed that fewer than 5% of native teachers leave early, while another said 66% leave early. Many articles presented statistics without much context, so readers would have trouble understanding the statistics correctly.  ATEK is investigating these statistics.

Because ATEK is committed to improving Education in Korea, we reach out to the politicians, journalists, and education officials concerned about native English teachers in Korea’s public schools.

Finding the causes for high turnover will help Korean education officials to improve the situation, but none of the articles asked why they left early in detail. If nobody is asking teachers why they leave, we are losing our chance to learn how to improve our system, so that teachers stay longer. If teachers stay longer, their expertise stays in Korea, and Korean students will benefit more than if new, less-experienced recruits must constantly come in to replace more experienced teachers who are leaving.

ATEK has over 1100 members, including hundreds of public school teachers, in our organization, and we invite education officials to open a dialogue about ways that we can change the conditions for native English teachers in Korea’s public schools.  ATEK would love to work together with Korean education institutions, to understand, and solve the problems connected with high teacher turnover.  By working together, we can improve the professionalism, and the effectiveness, of Native Teachers in Korea’s public schools.

Media inquiries can be directed to, and official communications can go to ATEK’s president, Ms. JaeHee Oh,

More information:

For a more detailed explanation of the statistics, and a comparison of the articles:

This article gives the number of teachers who quit, compared to the total number of teachers.  According to those numbers, the percentage of teachers quitting is less than 5%.

Most of these articles use this article, from Yonhap news, as their source.  This article does not compare the total number of teachers with the number who quit:

For more examples of articles giving different statistics about teachers leaving:

Rob Ouwehand

National Communications Officer

Association for Teachers of English in Korea

Click Here for the website (Source: ATEK)

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First student rights ordinance proclaimed in Gyeonggi Province

SUWON, South Korea, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) — The Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education on Tuesday proclaimed an ordinance on the protection of students’ human rights, banning corporal punishment and enforcing respect toward pupils’ individuality in clothing, hairstyle and religion.

The so-called student rights ordinance is unprecedented in South Korea, and education offices in other provinces are expected to take similar moves in the coming months, education officials said.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Yonhap News)

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The Seoul International Firework Festival

For one night every year, the night skies above the Hangang River Park are ablaze with color as the spectacular Seoul International Fireworks Festival gets under way. This year, it will take place from 19:30 to 20:45.

Spectators eagerly await the fireworks displays, put on by Korean experts as well as international teams. Expect to see not only fireworks but a total visual extravaganza, as the pyrotechnics will be accompanied by music, lights, and a laser show. Bring your loved ones to enjoy breathtaking fireworks displays against the backdrop of the Seoul skyline and the Hangang River.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea Tourism Organization)

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Don’t blame the foreigners – an interesting look into Japan’s English educational system

From the Japan Times comes an article on the JET program. The entire article is worth reading, but I’ve copied and pasted a few juicier parts.

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, touted as the world’s largest cultural exchange scheme, has brought thousands of non-Japanese into the country to teach at local boards of education. These days, with many government programs being told to justify their existence, a debate is raging over whether JET should be left as is, cut or abolished entirely.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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High-rise apartments defenceless against fire

The blaze in the 38-story apartment complex in Haeundae, Busan last Friday set off multiple alarm bells that high-rise buildings are essentially defenceless against fires, experts said Sunday.

Fortunately, no casualties were reported as most residents were evacuated soon after the fire broke out at 11:30 a.m. in a cleaners’ room on the fourth floor of the Wooshin Golden Suites. However, if the fire had broken out at night while residents were asleep, it could have claimed a lot of lives, they said.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Korea Times)

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Young defectors struggle to learn in South Korea

Children of North Korean defectors were found to lag behind their counterparts academically in South Korea, especially in reading and writing, according to researchers at Ewha Womans University.

Also, these students, already at a disadvantage, had trouble catching up, the study found. Shin Dong-hee, an education professor at the university, said Tuesday he studied 1,400 North and South Korean students attending elementary, middle and high schools in South Korea over the past four years.

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

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24% of Kids Have Tough Time Adjusting to School

A study shows that 24 percent of Korean schoolchildren cannot adjust to life in the classroom. According to the study, which was conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology by Cha Myung-ho, a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Pyeongtaek University, the total number of troublesome students was 1.77 million, 23.9 percent of all students in the country.

Around 330,000 or 4.5 percent were considered “high-risk” and unable to achieve their educational goals without academic or psychological intervention. The study was conducted among 7,262 students at 81 elementary, middle and high schools between October and November last year.

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

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This week’s Joke: Why Teachers Go Crazy??

TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America?
CLASS: George

TEACHER: Willy, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: Are you chewing gum?
BILLY: No, I’m Billy Anderson.

TEACHER: Didn’t you promise to behave?
STUDENT: Yes, Sir.
TEACHER: And didn’t I promise to punish you if you didn’t?
STUDENT: Yes, Sir, but since I broke my promise, I don’t expect you
to keep yours.

TEACHER: Tommy, why do you always get so dirty?
TOMMY: Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.

HAROLD:Teacher, would you punish me for something I didn’t do?
TEACHER: Of course not.
HAROLD: Good, because I didn’t do my homework.

TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign?
WEBSTER: The one that says, “School Ahead, Go Slow.”

TEACHER: I hope I didn’t see you looking at Don’s paper.
JOHN: I hope you didn’t either.

MOTHER: Why did you get such a low mark on that test?
JUNIOR: Because of absence.
MOTHER: You mean you were absent on the day of the test?
JUNIOR: No, but the kid who sits next to me was.

SILVIA: Dad, can you write in the dark?
FATHER: I think so. What do you want me to write?
SYLVIA: Your name on this report card.

TEACHER: Well, at least there’s one thing I can say about your son.
FATHER: What’s that?
TEACHER: With grades like these, he couldn’t be cheating.

TEACHER: In this box, I have a 10-foot snake.
SAMMY: You can’t fool me, Teacher… snakes don’t have feet.

TEACHER: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects?
JOSE: Don’t bite any.

TEACHER: Ellen, give me a sentence starting with “I”.
ELLEN: I is…
TEACHER: No, Ellen. Always say, “I am.”
ELLEN: All right… “I am the ninth letter of the

TEACHER:Max, use “defeat,” “defense,” and “detail” in
a sentence.
MAX: The rabbit cut across the field, and defeat went over defense
before detail.

TEACHER: If you received $10 from 10 people,what would you get?
SASHA: A new bike.

TEACHER: If you had one dollar and you asked your father for
another, how many dollars would you have?
VINCENT: One dollar.
TEACHER(sadly): You don’t know your arithmetic.
VINCENT(sadly): You don’t know my father.

TEACHER: If I had seven oranges in one hand and eight oranges in
the other, what would I have?

BOY: Isn’t the principal a dummy!
GIRL: Say, do you know who I am?
BOY: No.
GIRL: I’m the principal’s daughter.
BOY: And do you know who I am?
BOY: Thank goodness!

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