Today, I had a case of the Mondays. I woke up in a good mood but my precious Kindergartners were not so precious. They instantly pushed my buttons and my patience started to wear thin with all the extra whining, nose picking, and refusal to listen to instructions. With each class, the students continued to have a complete disregard for me, it’s as if I wasn’t even there. I went home on my lunch break and watched a Watermark Podcast and started to feel better. Listening to messages about being Christ like will always make you check your attitude. So, I went back to school hoping for a better afternoon but I quickly realized that wouldn’t be the case.
Shortly after lunch, I was handed a stack of “pre-writing” assignments to be corrected. They were from my favorite class. I love these kids. Their imaginations run wild and they are so creative and very smart. We have so much fun in class and they are always up for a challenge. This is also the class who is given a special rule whenever we have a writing exercise, Rule #1… No one is allowed to die! For some reason these children are OBSESSED with people dying. My Korean co-teacher does not have this rule for her class so she gave them an assignment to write about an adventure with their pet dog. Story after story, I read about how the dog died, or the dog was beaten, or how the dog bit someone and then he went to hell and then I read a story that had the following words; “Then, I saw the dead dog in the street and I was angry at the dog so I beat the dead dog.”
Disgust suddenly came over me as I imagined all the students in the class laughing at this story and thinking it was funny. I talked to my Korean co-teacher and explained to her I do not allow the children to write about death or any kind of violence in my classroom and I hoped she would incorporate the same rule for her class. She explained this is just how the children are and they think these things are funny. I went on to tell her I did not think it was acceptable for a student to write about how they violently attacked an already dead dog lying on the road and it definitely wasn’t funny.
My frustration and disgust continued to build as I thought about all the other things that are just dealt with and brushed under the rug in this country. They are not okay and I’m hate watching as people stand by and pretend it isn’t a problem.
It is not okay for children to write stories about beating dead animals.
It is not okay for my students to learn what an adjective is and immediately raise their hand to use the words angry, mean, and bad to describe their fathers.
It is not okay that when I reach in front of a student to grab something they flinch because they are terrified they will be hit.
It is not okay that there are 6 shelters for battered women and children in the city I live in.
It is not okay that I have an 11 year old child going bald because of the stress his family puts on him.
It is not okay that the suicide is the leading cause of death for those under 40 in this country.
It is not okay that Koreans have surgery to shave their jaw, add a double eye lid or whiten their skin just to feel beautiful.
I could go on but I think you get my point. There is no way we are going to change the morals and values of this country over night but we can change the attitudes and hearts of the children who are the future of this country. If they know it is unacceptable, they won’t laugh it off or pretend it isn’t a problem. For those reading that are fellow teachers in Korea, I hope you will have the same attitude of disgust and refusal to accept things that are not okay. For my friends in family who are not in Korea with me. will you please join me in praying for change in this country. There is so much to be done here and I believe God will hear our cries for help and change the future of this country.