Negative Teachers in Japan and Korea

I made a video today because I wanted to share a little advice with people who are new to teaching or who are aspiring to teach.

When you move abroad for the first time to work in a school, you will meet people who really enjoy life in that country. You will meet people who like teaching, work hard at it and get a lot out of their situation.

You have been planning this move to Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, etc., for a really long time and have been so excited to move. You finally get there after months or even years of anticipation and when you arrive at your new school, you have a coworker who simply complains about everything around them.

We all have bad days.  I have been living abroad for almost ten years and I definitely get them from time to time. I have bouts of homesickness when I wish I was back in Canada teaching in a Canadian school. I also have days when I may complain about my job or other aspects of life in Japan. I have those days, but they don’t come often.

Some future coworkers may have days like that everyday. They always seem to be bitching negative. Their personalities make them seem like “human rain clouds.” They are almost like a cartoon character walking around with that little cloud above their heads at all time dumping rain and misery on them.

These are the people you need to try to avoid. If you cannot avoid them, take what they say with a grain of salt. People who are unhappy, for whatever reason seem to make their voices heard the most. Being unhappy about life abroad occasionally is normal. If someone is unhappy all the time, something is wrong. They are obviously not cut out for life abroad or life in the classroom!

You are starting your new adventure in the classroom and must be optomistic and enjoy it!

Check out my video on the topic:

The latest addition in my son’s toy collection. I though it appropriate to add to this blog! You won’t see a school bus like this in Korea or Japan, but kids do indeed have to take buses to their private schools.


About Teachin in Asia

A Canadian teacher, marathon runner, blogger, writer and father living in Kobe, Japan. I've taught in Korea, Canada and Japan.

Posted on March 20, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey Kevin!

    This is great advice. I think I’m pretty lucky with the school I’ve nabbed in Seoul! I’m a part of a great professional community – our staff is all pretty positive and really enjoy our lives here, making a difference to the students in our classes. My wife and I have already spent two years here, and will spent one more at least. Teaching abroad is truly an awarding experience!


    • That is awesome for you guys. I have a pretty good gig over here in Kobe as well.

      From my experience, many folks who come abroad almost seem upset about the fact that they are required to work for their pay! Strange, but true!

  2. Adam McKay-Allen Jarvis

    I really enjoyed your post (and accompanying Youtube video). Negative teachers are POISON for a school staff, and you are so right when you say that the most vulnerable to their influence are first year teachers.

    I’m a Canadian like you, but when I finished my B. Ed. I took my first job in an Aboriginal school in the Northwest Territories (I’m still here.. 🙂 ). I dealt with the EXACT same negative attitudes that you discussed. When I think of the “advice” I received from these disgruntled teachers, I have to shake my head.

    I will say, however, it is important for teachers to vent their frustrations – I think that’s healthy. The challenge is finding someone you trust to vent with – for me it’s my wife. Venting is only good if you feel refreshed and more positive after you’ve done so – like you’ve taken a weight off your shoulders.
    Unfortunately, what happens to a lot of well-meaning first year teachers is that they vent to a miserable, negative staff member who promotes even MORE negativity.

  3. Good advice! I say the same thing….I had a few complainer friends when I first moved here, but I stopped spending time with them and it made all the different in the world.

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