Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Education Begins in the Home

An educator working as a lecturer and consultor writes in the Kyeongyang magazine about the hopes of the teachers and parents of children graduating from elementary school. At a recent graduation she mentions how she was responsible for the  teaching on morals and character formation of the sixth grade children.

On the day of graduation she was most interested in Hyong Ki, whose ability remained at the 2nd year level. His family circumstances didn't allow him the necessary preparatory material, and he came  to school mostly for the free meal, and would often be absent. He tried his best but was not able to overcome his shortcomings, making it difficult on the teacher, frustrating her best efforts. She new he wanted to eat some pork belly slices, and gave him money to buy what he wanted, he bought some and gave the rest of the money to his mother which indicated the kind of boy he was.

What she thought would happen, did. Hyong Ki did not come to the  graduation. She had prepared a bouquet of flowers but he did not show up. She went to his home, called his name and he came out,  his hair disheveled. He led the way to the school. They were late and she sat beside him on the seats prepared and she whispered in his  ear:  "It is good we came isn't it?" He nodded in agreement. They ate at a college cafeteria, and as they left he said to the teacher: "Many of the students left a lot of food on their trays, it was tasty, why did they do that?"  

On the way home she bought some bread for him to share with his two siblings. She also left him with these words and doesn't know if they registered. "Hyong Ki, middle school is different from elementary, you will  probably be on your own. You will have to be your own boss. Don't take a bad  road. When you get into high school you can get a part time job and help to pay your way, after graduation you can find work and live in the way you want~!" Sadly, there are  many children who say all the parents did was give them birth.

In the past those who were studying to be teachers were bright but came from a background of poverty. This is no longer the case, she says, and in fact studies show that presently they come from wealth. Are they going to be able to understand the children from poverty? One educator said, teachers in the past had an inferiority complex; she would agree.

She was given the task by the board of education to give a lecture to those who will be teaching the 5th and 6th grade. In her lecture she asked that since they are beginning anew, they look with new eyes on their students: not to judge the students by their family background or by the  filtering done by the teachers in the past, but to work with the objective personality type tests taken.

She wants the teachers not be concerned with the students who do well in Korean, Math and English, but on all the students--those who have different talents and abilities. She wants the teachers to look on them all with a merciful eye.

She concludes her article by wanting the mothers to remember that when they send their children to school their expectations are high, but  not to forget what most  educators make clear, that 90 percent and more of the  education of the children is done in the home.

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