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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 1st, 2008, 05:34 pm
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Question Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I need help in figuring out if age discrimination exists in Asia. I'm more than qualified with the right degrees, credentials, and experience. However, I'm a 68 year old Asian female who looks and feels like a 55 year old. English is my first and only language as I was born and raised in America.
For the last 2 months, I've replied to several job announcements for TESL positions in Korea and Japan, but the results have been negative. Worse yet, there are no replies for most of my applications.
I'd really like to have honest answers from those who have the inside knowledge or experience as to why this is happening to me.
Thank you.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 1st, 2008, 08:45 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Hi,

I can't speak for Japan but for Korea, this might be possible. You might also be discriminated against because you are Asian. Some of my American friends who were adopted from Korea and then went back to teach there sometimes had to settle for slightly less money or found it slightly harder to get jobs because of how they looked despite the fact that their English was perfect and they spoke little to no Korean.

But don't let that get you down. I also met a few couples who were retirees who decided to go teach in Korea. They found it quite rewarding and I think it's really positive for the students.

You might consider applying for jobs where you would be teaching older students (university and adults).

Also, make sure you are focusing on your skill set, your teaching experience, your stability (you're probably not one to flee the country in the middle of the night) and your responsibility when you apply for the jobs.

It can be frustrating but I'm sure there is a job over there for you.
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Unread Jul 1st, 2008, 09:19 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Thanks for your reply, Eric. Yes, I think it's not only age discrimination, but the fact that I don't look like a foreigner to Koreans, since I am ethnic Korean. How sad!
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Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 10:20 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Yeah, it's too bad but in some cases, that's how it is. I'm sure there are employers who don't care whether you are ethnic Korean or not. They are looking for a qualified English teacher.

Have you tried a recruiter?
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Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:01 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I am interested in your dilemma as I also am 68, qualified, certified, and ready to rumble. However, I am white. After finishing the Global Tesol program in July will enter the market with suspicious eyes after reading about jobs on Dave's Cafe. I am only interested in teaching adults at the business or academic level. Let me know how you fare.
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Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:36 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Hey, "white" is alright! That's what's perceived in the Asian culture, as far as teachers of English are concerned. I suspect it's because recruiters have to please the paying parents. If recruiters didn't require my birthdate, it wouldn't make a difference, and I would be hired based on my qualifications and photo.

Also, I think looking "old" in Asia gains respect; whereas, in western cultures we want to keep looking and feeling "young" since age doesn't make a difference in how we're treated. So being 68 to the Asian public and recruiters equates to looking shriveled with no energy keeping up with the kids. Good luck to you! I'll post my success when I'm offered a job overseas.

Last edited by seniorteacher : Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:37 am. Reason: words omitted
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 2nd, 2008, 11:39 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

In Japan, the sad answer is "yes." Of course there institutions which don't care, but far too many want a young, recent grad. They complain less because they lack work experience, and are more likely to return home after a year or two. In addition, they're perceived as more energetic and fun.

It's illegal to hire (or not) based on age, nationality, gender, and so on. Yet people still do, and even go so far as to advertise for "a young, blond female American." Most places either know the law or realize that there's little chance a discriminated foreigner will actually seek legal help.

Yes, this sounds terrible. And like I said, there are a lot of quality schools which offer jobs regardless of age, gender, etc. If you come to Japan, though, you'll have to be patient, wade through this sort of discrimination, and look to all the other positive aspects the country has to offer to keep yourself from getting down.

Good luck!
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Unread Jul 3rd, 2008, 12:20 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Thanks for the info. I did a couple of short ESL teaching stints while working at Yokosuka base in '90 and enjoyed it. I love Japan, esp. Kyoto. Is it illegal to discriminate only in Japan, not China or Korea? I notice some schools and recruiters advertise an age range - up to 55, etc. I agree some seniors are "over the hill" and not too flexible. Having traveled to Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, I know what to expect regarding living conditions, etc. As long as I don't have to bicycle to school, I should be OK.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 3rd, 2008, 06:27 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I'm afraid I must agree with the posters above, being 68 AND of Asian descent would both ensure a job in Japan is out of the question. They have a job postings board at my Uni for professors wanting to move and more than half of them have an age limit of 35 years old to be considered. The kind of employment restrictions which would land an American employer in court are par for the course here. E.g., if you want to work as a flight attendant for JAL the application requires that you MUST be: single, female, right-handed, between the ages of 21 - 25 for an entry-level position, at least 160 CMs tall and "of pleasing appearance."
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Unread Jul 3rd, 2008, 09:23 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Having just turned 60 I certainly feel that I have a lot more to give in education and would love to hear from people such as myself who are either searching for that elusive adventure in education or have either found that spot!
Sniderman
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Unread Jul 6th, 2008, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

NaraNeil,

I've heard that the cut off at many universities is around the late thirties. 35 you say? That's really low. Any ideas as to the reason for such a young cut off, especially as it doesn't promote a professor to "trade up" as he gets more experience and more prestigious publications.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 7th, 2008, 12:19 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I just saw one recruiment which stated the maximum age is 55 as set by the Korean Ministry of Education. Well, I guess I should go where I'm wanted and appreciated. I've given up on S.Korea and Japan. It'll be their loss, as I've been with the younger teachers in my TESOL class, some of whom aren't qualified, but got their certificates by cheating and are so unfit to teach.
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Unread Jul 7th, 2008, 02:10 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

SeniorTeacher,

Good luck with wherever you end up. It's a terrible deal which should make you see red -- it makes me angry. In fact, I just keep telling myself that I don't work for pay or prestige, but to help people. It helps me keep sane.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 7th, 2008, 06:46 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

To be honest I can't see why there is an age cut-off, I don't think it is an attempt to save money by hiring younger less expensive teachers or related to health insurance costs or the like. Arbitrary limits are just a way of life here... It is a shame as with the fading japanese economy and the strong foreign dollar it is tougher and tougher to lure teachers to work in Japan.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 14th, 2008, 01:16 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Quote:
Quote seniorteacher View Post
I need help in figuring out if age discrimination exists in Asia. I'm more than qualified with the right degrees, credentials, and experience. However, I'm a 68 year old Asian female who looks and feels like a 55 year old. English is my first and only language as I was born and raised in America.
For the last 2 months, I've replied to several job announcements for TESL positions in Korea and Japan, but the results have been negative. Worse yet, there are no replies for most of my applications.
I'd really like to have honest answers from those who have the inside knowledge or experience as to why this is happening to me.
Thank you.
Hi,

I started teaching TESOL at the age of 62 in an engineering college in India. Since I was outside the mainstream of academic subjects and only working with the incoming foreign students, my age was not a concern. I hope to return to India again in September :-)

JUNE
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  #16 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 22nd, 2008, 01:36 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

Hi Senior teacher,
I have only taught in China, so I can't speak for the other countries you mentioned.
To be honest 68 could sound "old" on a resume. I have met some "young FTs" that have the energy of a corpse.
Age is relative in my opinion. Energy and experience is what matters.
If I were you and you can afford it, go to the countries you are interested in and apply personally.
The best of luck to you. If I owned a school I would hire you.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 23rd, 2008, 08:13 pm
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I have worked in Asia for about a year.
There's not only age discrimination as far I know, but deep racial discrimination.
I had a colleague from America. She was such a good teacher but of Asian descent.
Unfortunately, her Asian characteristics didn't convince my school that she looked like a 'native English speaker'.

This may sound mean, but being 'white' in Asia is an advantage as far as getting a teaching position is concerned.

I applied for a weekend teaching position the other day, and the lady on the other side asked me what race I was! :-O
I told her. She said I didn't sound like my race. lol
Anyway, she didn't beat about the bush. Said her School was not just a learning institution, but also a business premises, thus having teachers from The West would make her attract more students and as a result, good business! :-)

Anyway, good luck with getting a good job. I know there are lots of the educated recruiters in Asia who would consider hiring the qualified and diversely experienced, without considering their looks and their age.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 24th, 2008, 02:20 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

eslHQ
I am afraid what you said is pretty spot on. It's not the students but the training schools. The students are a lot more liberal and more accepting.
Universities are a lot more welcoming.
At the same time, I do get a bit annoyed with non-native speakers whose English pronunciation is so bad that I have trouble understanding them get jobs, mainly because these same training centres can get them cheaper.
I will give you a good example.
I was teaching a class in a training school. One of the students from the training department of his company was very excited one day he had met a foreigner from the Bahamas and wants him to teach English at his company even though he could tell his pronunciation was really bad. I asked why would you do that? He said he is cheap and we can just play with him.
Now I think it comes down to choice. I would be quite happy to learn Chinese from a non native speaker especially at a low level if I knew his/her pronunciation was good and could teach me language structure but there is no way I would learn Chinese from a non native teacher who couldn't.
Totally understand your frustration
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  #19 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 24th, 2008, 02:28 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

I feel like such an idiot I have been addressing my e-mails to Esl HQ, excuse me Siaji.
My excuse is the heat, I just loose my concentration.
Cheers
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  #20 (permalink)  
Unread Jul 24th, 2008, 05:22 am
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Default Re: Is there age discrimination in hiring seniors?

'The students are more liberal and a lot more welcoming.'

I couldn't agree more.

It's sad about the foreign teacher from the Bahamas, especially the fact that the employer acknowledges wanting to 'just play with him'!
In a way it cheats the 'unqualified teacher'.
Perhaps that's a reasonable argument as to why learners don't do so well in foreign languages in Asia.

No worries about addressing your emails to eshq. I'm new and still dont know how to reply effectively to threads. lol
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