A 23-year-old female teacher recently chose to end her youth at Seoi Elementary School in Seocho District, Seoul, due to work pressure.
A few days earlier, a student in her class accidentally scratched a pen on his forehead. The student’s parents came to the school and angrily claimed that the young teacher was not qualified to be a teacher.
The death of the Korean teacher was shocking. Many condolence wreaths were sent to the school. However, some parents argued that sending flowers deeply affected their children’s psychology. They even opposed the teachers changing their avatars to black ribbons to commemorate their colleagues.
I asked my friends who also work in education in Korea about the reasons. They believe that society uses money as a measure of wealth and poverty, victory and defeat, which makes people behave indifferently, even in teacher-student relationships.
The way of thinking and understanding of a teacher’s ethics and responsibilities may vary from country to country. But as a teacher myself, I have never found teaching as difficult as it is now. My colleague, who teaches at a prestigious university in the Mekong Delta, was once “exposed” by his students on the city’s confession page.
Many lecturers compromise with students for peace of mind to earn money, or because they argue that whether or not students learn is their business. The more lenient they are, the better students evaluate and respond through surveys. It benefits both sides.
Many teachers have to endure. Even to stay in the profession, some people have to go for psychological treatment because of the chaos and because of the cameras that can secretly record every gesture and word of the teacher, then post it for parents and society to judge.
Is it the children’s fault? We occasionally sit together and still share stories that in our generation, it was normal for students to be scolded by teachers. But now, not to mention “physical punishment”, a few criticisms heard by parents can be “blown out of proportion”, making it a big deal. I think we should not blame the children; the problem lies in how information is received. Children are mirrors reflecting adults close to them. They will look at how adults live, how adults interact with each other to learn.
For many reasons, both subjective and objective, many teachers lack self-control and are violent with students. But I think it’s just “one bad apple spoils the bunch”, we can’t conclude that all teachers’ actions towards students come from bad motives.
Each parent has two or three children and occasionally can “lose their temper” with their stubbornness and disobedience. Each teacher has dozens of students, each with different personalities and ways of mischief. Without discipline and punishment (within allowed limits), how can we educate them?
After the death of the female teacher at Seoi Elementary School, on July 21st, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Lee Joo Ho of Korea announced that he would amend regulations to reduce student rights over teachers.
Nguyễn Nam Cường
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Teachers fear their students