May 15th is Teachers’ Day in Korea. It began many years ago as a way for parents and students to show appreciation for the teachers’ hard work. Over the years however, there have been numerous instances of teachers accepting bribes for higher grades and so many schools close for Teachers’ Day.
The school where I worked before this one (near Seoul) had been one of those that closed. Of course, my version of having the day off and my principal’s version were completely different. In spite of the school being closed, all the teachers had been expected to show up at school at the crack of dawn. We then spent the morning on a bus, the afternoon hiking up some mountain somewhere (I had absolutely no idea where we were), the evening drinking heavily, the night singing karaoke and then we headed home in the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, nobody was bright-eyed or bushy tailed the next day at school!
I looked forward to seeing what Teachers’ Day was all about!
The first thing I noticed at school today was balloons. Every classroom seemed to be full of balloons.
The next thing I noticed was that carnations were apparently the gift of choice for teachers as well as parents. Carnation growers must love May. Between Parents’ Day and Teachers’ Day, there probably isn’t a carnation left growing in the entire city!
I received one live carnation
and a fake carnation. (Yes, that is a ribbon-wrapped Ferrero Rocher next to the carnation!)
I also got a fantastically tacky plastic corsage from a little boy in Grade 5. I felt obliged to wear it… for a little while at least! 😀
And then the gifts got a little odd…
An Angry Birds Pen, white out, and a whole flock of Angry Birds erasers!
And let’s not forget the Angry Birds plush hammer! “For hitting boys when they are bad!” explained the little girl who gave it to me.
I think I’ll hang it over my desk. 😀
This card came with the Angry Bird hammer:
Apparently we need to work on the past tense a little more…