Every now and then, I get a little jealous of my students. Mind you, Korean student life is not enviable. I'm at school forty hours a week. Standard adult full-time job. My sixth graders--these are 11 and 12 year olds--are there 47.5 hours a week. That's basically a full working day above what I put in. And that doesn't factor in any private lessons or academies these kids attend. Every year they're in school, the expectations rachet up. The tension creeps higher. Every exam is treated like the Most Important Test They'll Ever Take. Until they get to the actual most important test: the college entrance exams.
What could I possibly envy?
Yeah, those are ponies.
Korean schools appear to come with ponies. And unicycles. And ukeleles. And giant trampolines. My elementary school topped out at hula hoops.
I'm talking about tiny, rural schools in the middle of the mountains. Pretty sure the big downtown schools have unicorns and rocket launchers.
Is it worth the stress of being a Korean student? I'm not sold on it. But there's one thing I do know for absolute sure.
They don't let teachers ride the ponies.