"But when everyone is desperately seeking to achieve the highest percentile, the result for the majority has to be disappointment. Even those who do well have been convinced by a society that only accepts one hundred percent that they need to do better."
Korea: The Impossible Country, by Daniel Tudor.
Referring to the Korean education system and the crazy race to the top here in Korea, but I think it can be pretty applicable to life in general. Korea may take it to an extreme, but I know that I definitely have to remind myself that comparing myself to my peers is not an accurate test of my success or worth.
It’s official: all my graduate school applications are in. They’re out of my hands, there’s no longer anything I can do about them. Which is both comforting and completely terrifying.
For those of you who follow my blog for the random funny things my kids say and/or reblogged videos of Korean presidential candidates animated like Indiana Jones, feel free to stop here. For people who are curious about my plans next year (aka Nana), read on.
Walking into school this morning I saw a bunch of students lined by the entryway holding signs in Korean. I didn’t pay too much attention beyond giving them curious looks and rushing to print an absurd amount of class material in the twenty minutes before first period. But when I later asked my coteacher what they had been doing, I got the full story.
Apparently, students who misbehave in class get points taken off their grades (naturally). But they have a chance to regain some of their lost points by standing around before school with signs that encourage good behavior.
So apparently all the signs said things like “Let’s all take out our trash!” and “Let’s not be late to school!” etc. Adorable, but probably mostly ineffective.
"In conclusion, to parents and teachers, vacation is time for students to play and rest. Think of our future. Do you think studying is the best way to make bright future of the country? I don’t think so. Experiencing something we don’t know is more important than learning new knowledge. You might say studying is what students have to do on their age but, reality is different. We think it’s time to change your mind. Think carefully."
— From an essay for the school newspaper by one of my second grade middle school students arguing for a longer summer vacation (this year they had two weeks of vacation).