Cleaning Up After Ourselves
My school's native English teacher once told the class a joke: "I thought I was in a school for juvenile delinquents my first day here."
As eager learners, we asked, "Why, teacher?"
"All of you were cleaning the school after class," she answered, laughing.
As none of us understand what she had said, the teacher explained, "Students in America don't clean the school after class unless they have done something really bad. Imagine what I was thinking when I first saw you all cleaning!" This was followed by some laughter and sounds of understanding.
Someone suddenly asked who cleans the schools in the United States. "Janitors or custodians, who are paid by the school to do so," our teacher replied.
Risking the possibility of receiving angry replies from other students, who argue shortsightedly that forcing students to clean their schools is a violation of human rights, I hereby state that students should do so, solely for their own good.
Schools are called "little societies." This is because school is where young people learn not only basic information but also social skills.
During the cleanup process, students have to cooperate to achieve the same goal, which is hardly seen during other school projects.
This develops students' social skills, as cleaning up requires conversation and cooperation.
Another lesson cleaning the classroom teaches students is that they become more responsible for their actions.
When students learn they are responsible for cleaning their school, they are less likely to litter on the premises.
For some, this may not be a serious issue.
They may say janitors will clean up the mess professionally. However, the fundamental cause of the problem is that students make a habit of littering. Without an innovative resolution, the habit will continue.
The change will make them more responsible for what they do in the future.
Finally, the creation of a student body that cleans its own classrooms can save schools money. In Hawaii, janitors earn nearly 13 dollars an hour. This adds up to thousands of dollars a month.
If a school could save that money, it could help to help build a new library or upgrade other academic facilities.
In conclusion, I believe that Korean schools should not hire janitors for the purpose of cleaning. Rather the school should put the money into acquiring academic resources students can actually benefit from, instead of wasting both finances and a learning opportunity.
Si Seong-un is a student at Dongdo Middle School in Daegu.