Nothing happened


Well, after the rant about Monday’s classes, Tuesday I got to school and Mr. Lee was there and the classes went well (I also reduced the lesson and broke up some of my board writing, which helped me not lose the class) and haven’t heard about the boys or whether they got punished or not.

So many times here, when there is an escalation of problems and some nearly explosive situation, the following day everyone is smiling as if nothing happened.  Like the time me, the Vice Principal, and my female co-teacher were in a meeting together and discussing the problem with Mr. Lee not showing up.  The V.P. called him on the phone to discuss the problem, and I was expecting some reprimand or some excuses and some awkwardness.  But instead, the V.P. made some joke, smiling all the time, Mr. Lee laughed and said something while smiling, and then he left.  Problem solved.  Maybe it was a sarcastic joke, or maybe it was a joke about how it’s a tough time to be unemployed or something, but that’s the strange way in which it went.  No asking him what he was doing with all his free time, no asking why, no asking his opinion, no harsh tones, no explanation of the kind of support I needed – just a joke and a smile.

The other day there were three boys in our office being disciplined by seven star.  They were in our office for one full period, through half of lunch, and then for another period.  They all had to get in the downward dog position and he took his stick and brought it down on the backs of their thighs.  (ouch!)  And then made them stand the rest of that time while he lectured them for two hours.  I asked what they had done, and they hadn’t turned in their homework.  Seven star is very strict I guess.  He is also one of the most loved teachers in school.

One time, three boys were in the hallway being punished by having to kneel on the hard floor with their hands up.  Seven star got on his knees too with his hands up and everyone had a good laugh.  (I tried to take a photo, but seven star got up and the boys all hid their faces)  This is why he is loved so much, I think.

Anyway, I may never understand this culture…

Oh my, I really really must write about Andong so I can include some of the things I love about this culture as well.  And even some of those things have a dark side to them…

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