Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Handle your New Native English Teacher

Happy first day of school! And welcome to the new spring Native English Teacher bunch.
I found this little article on and found it pretty amusing if you are an English teacher like myself.
If you are not, each native English teacher is given a Korean co-teacher to help them with any needs inside and outside of school. It is done to help the native teacher adjust to their surroundings and understand what is going on at school.... basically, I can't speak Korean and have no idea how Korea works so I need a Korean's help. Also, it helps to have someone at school who you (hopefully) trust and can talk to about anything going on.
Enjoy :)

Foreign Teacher Operating Instructions

These are my fantasy instructions for dealing with native English teachers like myself.  Tact is very important in Korea, so while I tried to bring these things up gently when necessary, I couldn't hand out a booklet of operating instructions.  It was so tempting though, that I'm posting them here for your enjoyment instead.  This is meant to be funny, and not an indictment of Korean teachers: most of the teachers I worked with were very accommodating.  For the few that need all of this advice, though:
Congratulations!  You are now the lucky handler of a genuine Native English Teacher, specially imported from one of the Six Major English Speaking Nations.  Please follow these instructions carefully in order to assure optimum performance.
   1. Remember that your foreign teacher is a human being, and not actually an English practice robot.  Generally, when you speak to her, she will assume that you are attempting to have a conversation, and as such, upon being asked for the fifteenth time whether she knows what kimchi is, will assume that you think she is stupid, and possibly give you a public telling-off.  If you feel you need practice with the phrase "Have you tried kimchi?," please attend her free conversation class.

   2. Similarly, please respect your native teacher's need for rest periods between classes.  Though you may wish to spend your ten-minute break learning English, she probably wants a cup of coffee.  Improper recharging of the product's caffeine cells will lead to substandard performance.  Again, should you desire English instruction, please attend the conversation class as above.
   3. Your foreign teacher likely speaks a strange dialect of English such as American or British, which is somewhat different from the standard Bizzaro Korean Practice English.  Please do not attempt to correct your teacher's English; these models cannot be serviced by consumers and this may void your warranty.  Additionally, repeatedly requesting and discarding proofreading advice will deplete your unit's job satisfaction quotient and lead to decreased performance.
   4. Be aware that the natural programming of your native teacher is fundamentally incompatible with the Born and Raised in Korea framework.  Your unit should be equipped with a Cultural Sensitivity extension which will replace some, but not all of this functionality.  Failure to act exactly like a native Korean in all situations should not be regarded as a defect.
   5. Native English Teachers are a natural product, and as such, each unit is subject to variations.  Thus, even though the other foreigner you know hates fish, it's not safe to assume that every white person ever is a staunch antipescatarian.
   6. Be aware the foreign teachers have a tendency to develop a social life outside of school.  This is an inherent quality of the product and is not modifiable.  Thus, your teacher is likely to decline invitations to staff dinners given five minutes before the actual event.  She's not trying to dis you; she's busy.
   7. Also be aware that Native English Teachers generally expect factual input over pleasant input.  If you do not know when she will be paid for extra classes, for example, say so.  Do not be tempted to input data estimated from out of your ass.  Serious errors will occur if your product can not depend on the factual accuracy of your input.
   8. Units not equipped with a Public Performances module do not want to sing karaoke on the bus.  Leave them alone.
Proper handling will help ensure top performance from your Native English Teacher.  Please keep these instructions in a safe place and refer to them as necessary.

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