A tale of two mothers
After teaching English for a long period of time, I became a homeroom teacher this year. I was an English teacher, and I felt so burdened about becoming a homeroom teacher of little kids in the second grade that I had never taught before. But I found that they are immaculate and very cute regardless of whether they are dull or smart.
After two and a half months, I suffered an unexpected incident. There was a phone call from a parent 15 minutes before the teachers' meeting started. She told me to wait for her to have a personal interview with me. I asked her to come to school on another day because I had to attend a teachers' meeting.
Then, the tone of her voice suddenly turned threatening. She said, ``I will go straight to the principal's room unless you meet me now." I asked, ``Why?" She said, ``My child is bruised because you pinched her." I did not know what she was talking about. She was the mother of a child who often embarrassed me by making trouble.
At last, accompanied by another woman, she appeared with her child, while a teacher told me over the phone to come to the teachers' room quickly. I could not find any trace of bruising on her body. Her main protest focused on why I unfairly scolded her child.
How could I scold other children when she almost always did something naughty alone? I read everything to her that I had written down about her child's school life. She went out hurriedly, saying, ``I'm afraid of what I'll be bullied for." Compared to the teachers who have been hit by students or their parents, what I underwent was a drop in the bucket. But I hope that parents forsake the idea that they can threaten or deal with teachers as they please.
However, I also know of quite a different instance. At the beginning of the first semester I had an interview with the mother of one of my students. While chatting with her, I came to know that her 28-year old son had graduated from a famous university in the States.
So, my student is her child. She has a profound insight into education. She said that there is a strong possibility of success for students with the habit of self-study but a remote possibility for students who are forced to study. Her son always behaves himself, takes every opportunity to read, and is absorbed in assembling and designing toy robots. I guess that's what it was.
One day the little boy brought me a bottle of cold drink in a bag, saying, ``Mom told me to give this to you." In the bag I found a note which says:
The weather becomes much hotter. You may have a hard time with the little kids. I always thank you for that. I have a few homemade fermented fruit beverages. So I have sent them to you, conveyed in my son's hands. Teacher who gives himself trouble, I wish I could help you a little more. And I hope in the process of errands that my son learns how to serve teachers and to thank them. Be healthy. Woojae's mom
After having it every morning a week or so, I felt both so thankful and so sorry that I sent a text message to her and got a reply:
I started it first myself but now my son is taking care of it. How commendable of him to do it all by himself! I am grateful to you for the occasion where I can give my kid valuable education. I feel very happy to see his heart of gold every morning due to your presence. I really appreciate it. What can I say to a wise mother who better knows what education is for than teachers?
Many teachers are giving up their work for students. All that most principals hope for is that they have no problems at their own schools. Most teachers suffer disadvantages when they try to do their best to teach students. But what is certain is that problem parents are always behind problem children.
Issues of education are domestic matters rather than matters for schools.
The writer teaches at an elementary school outside of Seoul. His email address is email@example.com.