A Solution To Exploitation? Via EFL Geek

EFL Geek had a good find on a topic many of us know and love: exploitation of foreign teachers (or is it?). The article is lengthy, but I think justifiably so as the topic is complicated. To simplify one of the main themes, the author says that teachers often allow themselves to be exploited by continuing to do what their schools tell them to do – work overtime for free, report to the office on their holiday, etc. He suggests they should simply refuse to do those things or move on to a better job.

My opinion:

In any situation where someone is (or feels) exploited, from the extreme of human trafficking to the simple of family dynamics, the person’s own continued decisions play a role in maintaining that. This theme is not unique to teachers in Korea (though as far as TEFL goes, it does seem to happen more frequently in Korea, or more severely, than elsewhere). And while it may provide some additional explanation for the situation, it does not make it acceptable.

Teachers do need to make an effort to educate themselves, and while their failure to do so may mean they get burned, it seems that sometimes even people who do what they can get burned too.

Is standing up to the bad employer the answer? In a sense, I agree that it makes some difference, but the effect will be greatly lessened if there are lines of people behind you waiting to take your place. I’d go so far as to say that it can harm the teacher as well, when finding another job: good schools are concerned that the teacher left without finishing the contract; bad schools probably worry that you will stand up to their bad practices too.

So what is the answer?! I don’t have a solution, but I admire the problem. Anyone?