Last year, when I worked at a high school, I was astounded by the lack of basic discipline in most of the classes. Few teachers required that students open every class with a bow, which is a Korean tradition. Each class has a leader whose job is to call the class to attention and lead the other students in greeting and bowing to the teacher. This should happen at the beginning and end of every class. I can count on one hand the number of times this happened last year.
This year, I am working at an elementary school that is much more focused on discipline. Though the kids go NUTS outside of class, as all kids do, they are exceptionally well-behaved during class. I was delightfully surprised during my first week that every single class opens and closes with a bow.
I don’t enjoy this practice because I feel important when students bow. Rather, I think it is an interesting and important tradition. It’s also worth noting that it is painfully cute when elementary school kids perform this ritual.
I had some extra time during one of my 4th grade classes, so I asked them if I could film them as they ended class. It took them a minute to figure out what I was asking, but once my coteacher explained it in Korean, they were more than happy to oblige.
Over the next week or two, I’m considering putting together a short video showing all of my students opening and closing class. I think you’ll understand why I like it so much when you see all of the 3rd and 4th graders snap to attention and bow.
Until next time.