In Korea, "Saving face" is very important, especially for men. Koreans wish to always present themselves as best as possible and place huge expectations upon themselves and others to achieve, therefore any sense of humiliation is perceived ten times worse than perhaps at home. South Korea has the highest rate of suicide in the world, especially amongst youngsters. It has been suggested to us whilst living here that the importance placed upon 'saving face' combined with the daily stresses may play a part in the reasoning behind such sad and shocking statistics.
New York Times: Global Suicide Rates.
Sorry for the doom and gloom there, thought I'd be a little informant!
However today, during my 20minute break between classes, second graders start knocking the door and once opened, handing me letters. Not just any letters, these letters were in beautiful envelopes, some bound with string, others with paper craft for decoration:
|The magnificently decorated letters and art.|
|Paper craft- 'Hanbok'- Traditional Korean Clothes|
|The real deal (source)|
|'letter' just in case I weren't too sure.|
However, my Co-Teacher helped me translate a few and the content was all pretty similar...
Traditions in Korea-
Kimchi: (fermented cabbage)
- How to make it.
- How to eat it.
- Do you like it?
- It's a little spicy.
- Do you know it?
- Very beautiful.
There were also a few "Thank you's" (one for helping her make characters for Halloween), "You are kind teacher", "You are pretty teacher". Possibly some "I don't like English", "I don't like Corey Teacher" too, although I'm sure they were too kind to translate such things.
Most wonderful statement from a student this week:
"Teacher maybe you are pretty. Maybe. Teacher, maybe. Maaaaybe. Teacher M-A-Y-B-E"
Shinee Class 4:1.
...and yes he definitely did intend this to be witty, his cheeky lil face made that much clear.
Close second: "Teacher I like Hyeung Yeung teacher, you...NO...Yes sorry, sorry."
Class 5:5, My least favourite student - This week!
Great way to start your day at 8.50am. My response was "Thank you. You are very kind" . What can you say, really.