The Interview of Tom Teacher…

Some students from the school newspaper asked me if they could interview me so of course I obliged.  It wasn’t really so much of an “interview”, but more like one question.  They wanted my opinion on Korean schools and how they compare to American schools.

I can say that in the short time I’ve been here, some of the differences on this country’s approach to education are vast in many ways.  I believe all students here must wear uniforms.  Until one comes face to face with this whole notion it’s hard to see how much this can affect a student’s perception and focus on school.  The idea of expressing one’s self through their dress, or what social group they are associated with goes away with uniforms.  I really think this helps the students stay more focused on school and less on expressing themselves through their dress.

It also goes without saying that the students here are far more respectful to adults and teachers than the US by a longshot.  The overall culture here does not tolerate their newly forming spirits and individuality to rise up in the faces of educators and adults.  There is just no sign of that.  I don’t need to go into too much detail how that is just not the case in the States.

One thing I tried to relay to them was the issue our schools in the states are having with drugs, gangs, and violence.  These things are so foreign to children here.  I believe a country’s government has a large responsibility (if not total) for allowing drugs into a country and it is very clear that Korea does not allow it.  Because of this, there is no threat of it reaching children and getting into schools.  The lack of drugs also nearly nullifies the presence of gangs, weapons and violent crime.  It’s not to difficult to realize that they are all interlinked.  The general culture and government here holds children and their educations in the highest regard and I believe this is one of the reasons external forces such as drugs is kept at bay.

I’m proud of these kids and the way in which they are being brought up.  It’s really been a pleasure to work with them and see their focus and passion for their own futures.  Hopefully they sensed my appreciation in our little “interview”.  I look forward to working with them more in the future.

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