The weight of it all.

So. It is the last week of school, and the third graders are clearly acting out. A strange combination of feelings -- the freedom of escaping from one school, the pressure of facing down three more even harder, uncertain years at another.

I didn't get a chance to see Mingi today, but I happened to be coming downstairs at the same time Joonghyeon was finally released today. At first I hung back a bit, because I never know with Joonghyeon. Sometimes he wants to talk, and sometimes he wants to be left alone. But as I padded along behind him, his pace slowed and, without looking up to acknowledge me, he fell into step beside me.

So we walked a bit of the way home together. He looked like shit. When I asked him if something bad happened to him today, he visibly winced, realizing news of it had already spread even to the fucking foreign teacher.

What I hope the VP took into account is, Joonghyeon's mother has brain cancer, and in addition to the personality disorder that I'm certain Joonghyeon has, which he's been working very hard all year to control, he's going through something horrible at home. And at a very awkward time to be going through it as well.

He didn't even look angry -- just sad. I just said the only thing I could think of, which was, "Two more days..." He nodded and didn't even say goodbye before he veered off as we parted directions.

As I rounded the corner, I saw the student whose mother killed herself this year across the street at the bus stop and waved.

Fucking hell.

Now I'm sitting here while Busan is trying to explain that, for the first time in Korea, a teacher is going to jail for neglecting a student who was being severely bullied and who eventually killed herself. Apparently the student's parents begged the teacher to intervene, but the teacher just scolded the students a bit and didn't take enough care to stop the bullying.

They're under a lot of pressure, our coworkers, and they're carrying a lot more responsibility than we realize sometimes. I only hope that these sad stories will slow down soon, although I don't believe that they will. Being alive in this world is tough for anyone, but it's especially tough as a kid. God bless them all, and the people who take care of them.

No comments: