Adventures in a Country Grinding to a Halt…

I don’t have a class at 9 o’clock Thursday mornings, but if I had have had, I wouldn’t have had one this week. (Did you follow that?) All 9 o’clock classes, in Universities nation-wide were canceled on Thursday. The school day didn’t begin until 10 o’clock. Flights were grounded until after 10 o’clock. Rush-hour was re-scheduled until 10 o’clock. Employees were told not to report for work until 10 o’clock. The stock market didn’t open until 10 o’clock. Babies weren’t allowed to cry until 10 o’clock. The sun was told to shine at half-strength until 10 o’clock. Ok, the bit about the babies and the sun isn’t true, but the rest is. What could cause an entire nation to grind to a halt and postpone their routines? An eerie hush fell over the country as thousands of high school seniors made their way across cities, streets made silent to accommodate them. Nothing must interfere with the students as they arrived for their College Scholastic Ability Test. That’s right – 12 years of education, and their entire academic future rests on one. single. test. How would that feel? Your grandmother has been going to church, or chanting in front of Buddha for weeks, praying for you to do well on this test. Your mother has given you a pre-test gift: a roll of toilet paper (so you’ll be able to easily reel off your knowledge). The entire country has made way for you so you can easily catch a bus or subway. Drivers have been told not to honk outside the venue. Flights have been grounded so the noise doesn’t disturb you. The invigilators have been warned not to wear high heels or perfume so as not to distract you. No pressure though. Just do your best.

My students also had a test on Thursday, but it was just a little quiz. I think I may have embarrassed myself though. One of my students arrived without a pencil (sadly, not an unusual event), and without thinking, I handed him the one in my hand. Now, the one I had in my hand is an excellent pen for a teacher to carry. It’s a pencil, blue pen and red pen all in one. However, I realized too late that it’s also a promotional pen for Viagra. (A friend’s friend’s husband is a pharmaceutical rep.) And yes, it was written in both Korean and English.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. I find the pencil story so funny! How old was the student…too funny! The test situation is crazy!! Wow, so their life is over if they do poorly? And every student is tested the same time all across the country? Wow!Debie

  2. Hi Debie, The student was a Freshman. He didn’t say anything when he gave the pencil back, but still…Well, their life isn’t exactly over, but the top scorers get sent to the top schools, and then filters down to the bottom scorers getting shuffled into the worst schools.

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