Friday, February 16, 2007

이메일 잘 받았는데

In ancient times China, parents had high respect for teacher because only through his teaching can their son be given a chance to succeed in his life. Education was seemed as the only means to break the poverty vicious cycle. It was true in ancient times and it continues to be true today. In ancient times, parents had no qualm about kowtowing to teacher or offering him gifts so long as he was willing to educate their son. The success of Chinese immigrants in any of their adopted countries is partly due to their emphasis on education for their children. With this emphasis comes the natural respect for people who take up the profession of teaching. The fact that teacher is called Seon Saeong Nim (선생님) in Korea also shows that teacher as a profession is well-respected in the society. As recent as my parents' generation, they would still instruct the teachers to beat their children if they are naughty or disobedience. It shows the trust and respect that my parents' generation had on teacher to know what was the right things to do. But these days, things don't seem to be the same anymore . . .

A recent incident compelled my teacher to send out an emotionally-charged email to her students. In the email, she gave us a lesson on the true meaning of respect. I have taken the liberty to edit her words with the hope of expressing her thought better.

"I am not just teaching a language, I am also imbuing respect in my students. Learning the language is a way to understand why respect is important in the Korean culture. Korean language is surely more than just Korean dramas. Culture and language are inseparable. To me, there is only one human race and I respect good teachers regardless of nationality."

What touches me the most about the whole incident was that she stands by the group of teachers who work for or with her. My teacher demostrated a simple fact that only through respecting others can one wins respect for oneself. During a time when intelligence has robbed people of their morality perhaps it is a good time to reflect what are we losing to our own intelligence.

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