The Orwellian world of Korean Hagwons

Who knows what the Hangul characters say

The Hangul characters probably talk about how I have a Phd in teaching English to Korean children

Here we have my section on my school’s newsletter. It seems they’ve taken it upon themselves to embellish a few things.

First of all, I’ve neither taught nor assisted someone who taught in public schools, kindergarten to grade 6 or any other year. It would be great if I had, I’d probably be far more prepared.

I did, in fact. work at a Canadian International Student Services camp- but as a CAMP COUNSELOR, not a teacher. It was a school for foreign students form Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Japan, Colombia, Brazil, Montreal and other countries to attend in the summer where they’d be in English classrooms in the morning and have regular camp activities in the afternoon. The teachers who worked there were paid a lot more than the counselors because they needed to have TESL certificates and prepare lesson plans, whereas the counselors just needed to wear sunscreen and know how to walk kids to the Eaton’s centre.

But there’s one aspect of this newsletter that I find particularly hilarious. Check out the head shot of me. Do you notice anything different?

James Elias Island

The original photo I sent themjames skinbeardHere’s the picture from the newsletter.

Looks like they’ve done two things: given my WILD and CRAZY hair a trim, and erased my beard. Seems my Korean bosses determined that the world wasn’t ready for a goateed teacher to the extent that they photoshopped my beard out of my head shot, completely guessing at the shape of my chin along the way.

During the job interview, they made it clear that I’d have to lose the beard to get the job, but apparently beard-having is a bigger deal in Korea than I thought.

To add insult to injury, they didn’t even bother photoshopping my moustache out. Apparently a blond moustache is as good as no moustache at all. It was something I was always sensitive about.

Anyway- I can’t look at that skin-beard photo anymore, it’s creeping me out.


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