How do you look for answer when you can not even begin to ask the questions?
Over the last few days I have tried to show allot of different looks at what happened at Virginia Tech. The reason was very simple, I live in Korea and the shooter was American-Korean and I posted the reaction of those voices in Korea and the hate that followed.
When it all went down I was shocked but then I heard that A Korean did the shooting, my thoughts soon went to my students. What would I do if they were threatened? For the next fews days I checked each classroom and checked for all exits and what to do in case. I saw the first cartoon from Korea about the shooting and then I started to see videos on you tube like these 2.
They show the actual cartoons from the Korean newspapers and with the idiot Korean folk singer singing his stoopid song. This sure did not help anything going on here in Korea.
The day after the insanity, I started to hear rumors at Woosong that the students were afraid that their American teachers would hate them and blame them for this insanity. I thought that it would go away but on Friday I heard the rumors for myself and then I made a very interesting decision.
At Woosong we have a noodle that we can post things about teaching and share ideas. I made this post on Sunday night.
Due to recent events in VT, I would like to make a recommendation.
(If I am stepping on anyones toes, sorry that was not the intent)
Navier and other Korea web sites and, sad to say, a few of my students fear that we, The Americans, will blame Korea for the insanity of of person. This need to be addressed to our students starting on the 23rd of April and to put a stop to their fears.
My proposal is two fold....
1. USA citizens. We must tell our students that we do not blame then nor do we blame Korea for the insanity of one person. If they fear that they have lost face, it will make our jobs as teachers harder.
2. For the other English Speaking teachers.... If your students say that America will hate us and if they do not believe you because you are not American, then please point to me and use me as the example....
Tell your students that the very tall teacher 1.93M tall, 350 shoe size, Ex US Army and Ex Police Officer, has told us that he does not blame Korea or any of his students for the insanity and you have seen him walking around Woosong and their is no hatred toward Korea in his heart.
Hopefully, we can put an end to their fears...
I know, It was a very smart or a very dumb, decision on my part! To me, in the end, it was a very simple decision.
I am the tallest American Teacher here at Woosong, the student know that I am ex-US Army and a few have seen me at the pellet rifle range shoot and hit allot of targets. I know that my students are visual learners, so I told all of the teachers that if they do not believe you then point to me. I got back one very nice reply.
Good man Mike! That's been an issue already in a few of my classes...some students even interrupted their own exams (orals) to ask about how Americans now feel towards Koreans.
I've done my best to assure them that Cho Seung Hui's "Korean blood" is of no importance at all to Americans, or anyone else. That in fact they (the Korean people) have made much more of it than anyone else is indicative of how differently ethnicity is viewed...and how far reaching Korea's "group above individualism" culture extends. It's a huge tragedy for the families involved (Cho's family included!), let's all try and limit the guilt feelings of our innocent Korean friends.
Happily CNN, BBC and even Korean TV stations are starting to broadcast messages from around the world specifically refuting this concern. I just hope that it can be the more quickly passed over by the media here. To linger too long on whether Korea has (rightly or wrongly) a collective guilt might appear a slightly insensitive usurpation of the sympathy that should be focused on those who lost and suffered directly.
Again thanks Mike for noting this as a potential issue for our students and teaching.
To be honest, At first I really was not going to post anything but then I remembered what history had taught me, that when evil come to you, you show it and you warn others that they might be ready to face it and to destroy it.
I may post more about it later but for now let me end by stating this.
A nation cries for 32 souls and ask why? When this happens again, will we be ready to stop it or will we keep making the same mistakes over and over again?