Schools in Korea are obviously different than back home in the States. I saw it almost overnight when I got into Korea. Just a few weeks ago was a major event for high school students as they had to take their university entrance exams. On that day many students receive some sort of snack as a way of good luck. Cookies tend to be the preferred choice for most people.
However, today is the day for 3rd grade middle school students to take their high school entrance exams. Since I get a ride from my principal everyday to school I got to experience it first hand and not just by watching the news. Our first stop was where my co-teacher was stationed. Her job was to ensure that her students got to the school and took the test. We then travelled for what seemed the entire Bundang area scouting out the various high schools where our other staff members were stationed to check off their students.
The area was a mad house. Almost every school had a few police officers directing traffic and maintaining the peace as students parents prayed and wished them luck. Many parents stay outside the entire time their children are inside doing their best. Although law enforcement was there, this didn’t seem to bother some of the less skilled drivers from pulling U-turns in an already jam packed street or cause an accident just seconds before we got to an intersection (the woman involved in the accident ironically was the woman who pulled the u-turn).
As much as it seemed like controlled chaos, I have to say I really liked it. How much better would a student from the states perform on their major exams and tests if their parents showed an interest in their education? There are a lot of things that make me shake my head while living in Korea but, the same could be said about the US. One amazing show of support that the parents in the US could learn is to go out and physically take part in their child’s education and really prove how much you care. While some parents in Korea go to the extreme when their child’s education is concerned I can’t help but wonder if we could just take some of that energy and learn from it back home