1997, Seoul, Korea Changdong! I am teaching at a Jehovah’s Witness “Hagwon” (private academy). It is my first job in Korea and while I am amazed at the lack of teaching materials – I am equally amazed at the perfect behavior of the children! The Korean children’s capacity to memorize is beyond belief. I could say memorize the first two books of the Bible and the next day every child would come in “In the beginning….” no really, I am serious! While it would mean nothing to them – it would be lodged in their super computer brains!
I am teaching vocabulary and this special little boy (English name Michael) is brilliant! He is like a product of Hitler Youth Korean style! Both parents are doctors – both parents went to Seoul University – one is a gynecologist and the other an ER Doctor (Seoul University is the Harvard of Korea – they went to Medical School stateside). He is seven years old and in my advanced English conversation class for high school students! The kid is a pain in my butt in a good way! He answers everything and the rest of the class sits back! I would ask a question – “what are some English words for happy” – and follow the question “not Michael!” Anyone Anyone Ferris Ferris…
Writing on the board one afternoon and bam airsoft pellet hits me right in the neck! Ahhhh, that hurt! I spin around and everyone is sitting placidly in their seats – I turn to continue writing and whack in the top of the head airsoft pellet! I am really hot spinning around I see Michael jamming the gun into his bookbag! Now I have a bad temper and shooting me in the head with an airsoft gun hurts so I grab Michael and pull him out of his chair spank him good and set him back down crying in his chair! That will teach him! Bottom line airsoft is a misnomer – there is nothing soft about being shot!
All of a sudden – I am an American teacher and thinking “oh no, I am in prison for child abuse!”
I shake it off and go home and forget about it!
The next day as I enter the school Michael and two Korean people are waiting for me at the entrance! I am thinking “oh great – I am dead eating Kimchi and rice in a Korean Prison for the rest of my life”! Michael’s parents bow low – (the lower the bow the more the respect) they both look up and take my hand while still bowed! (Now I am thinking this is some kind of Korean Karate move) and they both say in perfect English how sorry they are! They want to publicly apologize for the way their son acted. I was blown away! I accepted their profuse apology and offered to return the confiscated airsoft gun. The father smiled and said Michael would have no need for toys for quite some time!
I think I will let all of you reading figure out the moral of the story!