The English Teacher (The Movie)
It was filmed all on location in South Korea and follows the drama of the life of one American English teacher in Seoul.
It surprises me a bit that there hasn’t been a movie with a TEFL theme before. I believe there is a series from the UK about an ESL class there (not Fawlty Towers but another one…three points for any reader who can name it) but EFL in the cinema is very much on its early legs. I’m aware of some travel-themed movies, which all seem to share some element of horror (The Beach, Hostel, Turista Go Home and Return to Paradise, though there are still the Griswolds, Before Sunrise and the Motorcycle Diaries) – but these don’t seem to be about expats or even longer-term stays abroad.
Is it a bad thing that the few films available on these themes often play on people’s fears or stereotypes: EFL teachers go abroad to party, use drugs, and sleep with students (or in the case of travel-themed movies, going abroad is just generally dangerous)? In a sense, yes, but movies need people to go see them as well. And while the stereotypes are obviously not always true, there may be something behind them. I should point out that I don’t know how much English Teacher plays with these stereotypes, and certainly don’t mean to come across as critical. In fact this movie tops my list for the TEFL connection!
I don’t know what my movie options are from where I am, but if any of my readers has seen this film, speak up and give a review! The TEFL Logue promises to investigate and report back if when there is more to be said.