While walking to my classroom this morning to open it up and get it ready for my first class after final exams I saw this poor kid standing in the middle of the path running through a courtyard that is surrounded by four buildings on my high school’s campus . . .

As I got closer I could hear him yelling/chanting what I think was his name, his class number, and something else I couldn’t understand.  As I walked past him I looked at his face to see what he was feeling–and saw that he was crying.  His tone of voice was quite upset too.

I don’t know why he was crying or what he was upset about but I felt sad for  him standing out there all alone . . . I wondered if he was protesting some sort of injustice that had been done to him, or a friend, or what terrible thing had happened that would make him cry openly and stand all alone in one of the most visible spots on the campus where nearly every teacher and student would be able to see and hear him . . .

I hope someone tells him that high school is not forever, and that things have a way of working themselves out (most of the time, anyways).

On another note, just after the class time chimes went off for my first class of the day a Korean English teacher came to the door of my classroom to ask me if she could let students know their English essay test scores.  I said yes, of course, and stood back and watched as she let students come up and check their scores.

Regardless of how long I’ve been in Korea it still shocks me every time to see how openly test scores are given to students.  The two guys on the right kept hooting and hollering and making comments about every student’s score as each walked up to check . . . and this is normal for public school classroom culture. (Oh yeah, the two guys on the right were also flipping through the test sheets looking at other students’ grades–nice.)

You have to wonder how this contributes to the overall stress of students in Korea, and hope that in the future things change to a more confidentiality-based test culture.

J

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