On teacher numbers ...
Even if non-native speakers of English are relatively good at teaching conversational English, it’s very difficult to teach culture, slang, idioms, customs, etc. When I taught at a public middle school, the non-native conversation teacher taught mostly in Korean. The only difference was that she spent a few years in LA.
Melissa Shaffer, Wonju, via Facebook
We actually do not need this many native English teachers in Korea. Even though it is true that native English speakers can teach us something that other Korean teachers cannot, hiring English teachers usually creates bias. Sadly, we see a lot of Caucasian English teachers getting hired rather than teachers from other races. These Caucasian teachers are even treated better than the others.
While white teachers will receive respect from other teachers and students, teachers from different races are more likely to be a target of humiliation or discrimination from colleague teachers and even from the students. This crude trend ― hiring Caucasian teachers ― will only worsen the bias. The more native English teachers we have, the more Koreans will face Caucasian teachers which will lead to more students forming biases without noticing. For an unbiased society, Korea should try hiring teachers from other races than Caucasians, which is unlikely to happen under the control of secretly biased Korean administrators, or they can simply try hiring less native English teachers to at least stop the proliferation of race discrimination.
Yuh Yunsung, Daegu, via Facebook
Sure (there can be fewer), if the Korean teachers can use English fluently. At the moment, that is not the case in most schools. More to the point, the way schools use the native speakers is ineffective for the most part; more value could be gained from their employment, I’m certain.
Chris Sanders, Seoul, via Facebook
We need less incompetent native English teachers, i.e. the idiots who come to Korea looking to embarrass the other foreigners trying to work hard and earn a living in this country. Too many foreigner males here ... give other foreigners a bad rep. We don’t need an NET in every school who doesn’t do a good job.
But, we do need NETS who are successful at helping kids. There needs to be a better process in place to both supervise and review native teachers both at hagwons and in public schools. Furthermore, there needs to be Korean teachers (particularly at schools) who can speak English. Why have a Korean teacher as a co-teacher for a native speaker who has no English ability? There are just as many bad Korean teachers as bad waygooks!
Holly Hamilton, Gunpo, via Twitter
Are so many NETs needed? Probably not. What is needed is better structure, direction and management from districts and schools.
Cory Olson, Yeosu, via Twitter