Happy Teachers’ Day!

May 15 is Teachers’ Day in Korea! I generally don’t share photos of the nice little gifts I receive from students. Let’s just say I’m doing okay in the snack department for the next couple of weeks.

As a teacher for nearly 16 years, I understand how important and challenging a teacher’s job is. I want to thank all the teachers who have guided and put up with me. I congratulate all those who carry on in this truly noble profession.

And thank you to all my students who give me the privilege of making my modest contribution to their growth and development, while providing the chance to become a slightly better person each day.

Koreans start at the top. Or do they?

I woke up at 5:50. The air was clear for a change. Instead of being filled with the usual excitement that accompanies the excitement of a much needed run, I transferred my body from my bed to an armchair and snoozed for another hour or so. That preventative dose of TheraFlu last night really did a number on me!

Still, I managed my drag myself out of the embrace of my chair and into some running clothes. The run itself was a modest one (3.76 km, 23:02, 6’07″/km), but at least I gave myself the boost I needed to start my day with a clear head. Though saying I deserve congratulations may be going a bit far, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t proud of myself.

Poster for a clearing out sale at Orange Factory, Suji-Gu, Yongin.

I took a photo of this poster during my run as proof of a tendency Koreans have. When English speakers express a numerical range, they tend to do so from the lowest to highest number (ex. I’ll be there in 10-15 minutes.). Shortly after coming to Korea, I noticed Koreans expressed such numerical ranges in reverse (ex. There are 50-40 students.).

When I pointed this out to a class of elementary school teachers many years ago, they said I was wrong and claimed to express ranges just like we do. No one seemed to know what I was talking about and even giggled at my erroneous recollection. But again and again, year after year, Koreans proved me right.

I offer Exhibit A above. I point out this tendency not as something to correct (unless, perhaps, when they’re speaking English) but as a mere observation.