The real title should be, “One teacher changed a school by guilting other teachers to donate 25 hours a week overtime.”
I posted a long comment on the KoreaBeat site, so I thought I’d just paste it here.
I applaud Ms. Kim for the changes that she’s brought to these schools. By any means necessary is a good mantra for education.
The problem here is that this change initiative is not scalable. This is localized change that is unlikely to promote large-scale change. Additionally, and most importantly from a teacher’s perspective, what about the teachers’? What about their right work a reasonable schedule? What about their right to spend time with their own families? What about their right to be paid for optional overtime?
Simon is right. This plan robs Peter to pay Paul (not monetarily, of course, but in terms of study hours). However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m coming from the point of view that there is nothing that can be done in the short term to limit the amount of study time Korea students have to put in. It is a socially derived necessity when you life path is essentially determined by the university you attend rather than the skills and knowledge you bring to the table. You have no choice put to do all you can to get an edge. This educational arms race will continue for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, day-long education could be a method of equalization that Koreans always appear to be looking for. It wouldn’t completely work (those with means can always find a way), but it would seem to work for the many.
Of course, I return to my previous point of scalability. For this to work Korea-wide, teachers would have to “volunteer” to work 65+ hour work weeks for the same or similar pay that they currently receive. If payment were required, this would increase payrolls in the neighborhood of 40% country-wide. This would result in a ballooning of the DoE budget and necessitate tax increases or movement of funding to cover the difference. The growing number of childless and empty-nesters would be in an uproar and likely route any politicians voting for this. Not to mention the parents who would still complain, because the money they are saving on weekday hagwons has just been moved to pricey, intensive weekend programs 🙂
This was much longer than I planned, but I’m procrastinating and this is a good way to do so. Thanks.