[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Teachers too harshI am writing in response to all the first year students who are upset over the new grading system. I have been an English teacher in Korea for three years at a foreign language high school in South Jeolla province. I spoke with my class today about this new grading system since we had just completed my mid-term exams.
Understandably, none of my students are impressed with the new grading system. They are the first victims of change, after all, and that is not an enviable position. They were, however, shocked to hear that I was totally in favor of the new system.
I spent the better part of 20 minutes explaining why I was in favor of the new system. Then one of my students expressed to me the real problem with the new system.
I will try to recall the person’s words as best I can: The teachers will treat those students who are not at the top differently. The teachers will make their lives miserable.
I replied to the student that THIS was a teacher problem, one that desperately needed to change. This is a mind boggling experience for me. The students are afraid of the teachers. What has gone wrong with the society where students will kill themselves rather than take the wrath of their teachers?
When students become afraid of what their teachers think of them, then the teachers are at fault. The teachers have created this problem, and they need to correct this problem. The teachers need to readjust their thinking, rid themselves of their prejudices, get some courage, and actually stand up for an issue that is more important than their pay.
We teach because we love it. If we don’t love it, we should not be doing it. We are here for the children. Not for ourselves. And when the children are killing themselves because they are afraid of their teachers, there is a problem bigger than anything that the government can legislate. Open your minds, teachers. Try to remember what your real job is, teaching the children, all of the children.
by Kathryn R. McNeil
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