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English-speaking assistant teachers in lower grades

More than half of native English-speaking assistant teachers are in the three lowest grades of a nine-grade system determined by qualifications upon employment, according to the capital’s education office on Monday.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, of the 1,215 assistant teachers, some 36 percent are given the second-lowest grade of G, which states that the teacher has at least one year of teaching experience in Korea.

The system, used to determine their salary, ranks native English teachers based on nine letter grades, with S, A and B the highest and F, G and H being lowest.

Native English-speaking assistant teachers are always accompanied by a Korean teacher, who mainly leads the class, according to officials.

According to the report, there are 328 assistant teachers ranked under F, which means they either have some form of an English teaching certificate or license, or they have a master’s degree in an education field.

The report also showed that there were 18 teachers who were ranked in the lowest category, having no form of English-teaching experience or education.

There was only a single teacher given the highest grade of S, followed by 18 teachers given the grade of A, 20 who were Bs, and 71 Cs.

“The majority of people who wish to work in Korea (teaching English) are just out of college, and wish to experience life overseas,” said a Seoul education office official.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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