The Archaic Modern Computers of Korean Schools

How I feel about my School Computer…

This animated gif was taken from KikinitinKorea on Tumblr.  If you teach English in Korea, and you’re having one of those days, KikinitinKorea has the therapy for you.  It’s basically just loads of animated gifs that so masterfully capture the odd nuances of life in Korea as a teacher.

Normally I just chuckle and then move on, but this one really hit the spot today.

Korean school computers…

Sound system for my classroom

I’m sure schools in Korea and America and everywhere are similar in that they are all on tight budgets.  Unfortunately, one of the things that seem to suffer universally in Korea is computers.  Having worked for a number of companies over the years, all differing in size, I’ve seen all sorts and qualities of employee workstations.  Schools are similar to companies in many ways.  The desktops and laptops in my school are not horrendous, but some are quite old or just overworked for what the unit was meant to handle.  For example, my laptop in the teacher’s room is about 8-9 years old according to its appearance and some of the decipherable stickers on the bottom.  It’s a unit with 512 MB of RAM…type of thing.  It can only browse the internet for so long before it starts to choke up and freeze.  The browser and plug-ins are very outdated as well, and because of admin rights on the machine, I can’t update them.  At the same time, I don’t know if the computer could handle all the updated software even if it could be downloaded.

All hooked into my computer

The computer at my classroom desk is only about 6 years old.  That’s still a bit old since computer years are like dogs years.  However, because there are so many things hooked into it, it has trouble functioning on a consistent basis.  There’s a digital video recording system (likely for the CCTV in the room), a printer, audio/video selector, sound system, connection to the large touch screen board…a lot of stuff.  It’s just too much for this particular system.  The area under and next to my desk looks like silly string.  The computer randomly shows a black screen with Korean writing and won’t turn on again until a hardware support vendor is called in.  This recently happened and I was out a computer for 3 days.

More stuff connected to my PC

Then there’s all the foreign teachers who have used it before me, and those who teach Saturday classes at my school.  There always seems to be new pop-ups or a new browser widget installed when Monday arrives.  And last but not least, there’s the students who constantly try to blast K-Pop over the system and watch videos on the big screen.  There are times that I almost need to go into Chuck Norris mode just to back them off.  They click on so many sites there’s likely some device or tracker being dropped on the machine.  It’s not like the computer has great, if any, protection.

Hence, my computer is suffering.  And this is where the animated gif above comes in.  My classroom computer has gone on blink so many times, I’ve felt like doing the very same thing.  But it’s all good.

I don’t want to paint a picture that only foreign teachers get outdated computers.  The reality is most teachers in my school are in the same boat.  Usually the department heads have new computers and monitors and that’s about it.  I’m still able to do my job and do all the surfing I need to during down time though.  If I lost access to Facebook though, then I would start to have an issue!



  1. Hi Tom,

    I am enjoying your blog- lots of useful info.

    Do you have one classroom that is yours, or do you "float" to several classrooms? Do you know if the organization of your school is similar to that of all Korean public schools?


  2. Thank you – I'm glad you enjoy it and that it's helpful. I actually have a very large classroom dedicated to English. Some other English teachers share the room, but most classes are my own. I have a pretty good situation (other than the computer!).

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