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Stricter teachers, better educators

Matthew Halter asserts authority over his students during class.

In recent months, South Korea has witnessed a trend that has shaken its education system to its core: the increase in suicide among teachers. Due to the lack of protection for teachers, parents of students have abused the vulnerable teachers for their own advantage. While it may seem counterintuitive to the previous progressive changes made in the Korean education system, a more disciplined and structured education system would alleviate much of the burden unnecessarily put on teachers these days.

Traditionally, teachers not only were educators but also parent-like figures, responsible for the moral and character development of the students. In 20th century Korea, it was common for students to be whipped and flogged by their teachers, purposed to ‘educate’ the students. Obviously, this form of punishment and education has its own problems, which is the reason why modern education has turned away from these physical punishments. 

“Teachers a few years back were far stricter than the ones in public schools today,” Joonmo Ahn, previous Korean middle school student, said. “They are nicer and far more gentle, but that also means that they are more forgiving of bad actions by students, such as swearing, smoking, and drinking. These bad behaviours have clearly increased these days.”

Although physical abuse should be prevented at all costs, we have taken this too far; teachers now have been stripped of all control and power within classrooms. Students now have less respect for teachers and show more problematic behaviours at school, as teachers can not punish them for these misbehaviours. The slightest touch may cause a lawsuit, but even basic scolding of students is complained about by many parents.

Not only do students play a role in this problem for teachers, but parents also play a significant part. The first major incident that sparked the ongoing debate in Korea was when a 24-year-old teacher from Seoul Seoi Elementary School committed suicide in a resource room on July 18. His reason for suicide was a mother had been threatening him to keep an eye on her child after her child stabbed another student’s forehead with a pencil. 

It is only natural for parents to care for their children and frequently contact teachers regarding their students. However, this becomes an inherent issue when parents exploit teachers, demanding their children special attention.

At SIS, which is a private school, the situation is far better as the student, parent, and teacher bodies are much more understanding and communicative. Yet, the need for stricter teachers still exists even at our school. After summatives, it is a common sight to see many students complaining and arguing with teachers regarding point allocations. Parents’ phone calls flood the high school office every day, with parents insisting that the tests were not fair for their children. 

 It is a fact that the job of teaching is considered a stable career with decent pay by many, but most teachers take on that role because they truly enjoy educating others, and also love watching their students grow over time. For the significant role they play in students’ lives, teachers need more respect and more authority, at least in the classroom. 

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About the Contributor
Waan Choi, Reporter
Waan is a junior reporter for the Tiger Times Online team. He mainly enjoys writing articles about sports and Korean news. He loves watching the Premier League, listening to music, and playing soccer. 

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