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Teacher's Day Around the World
   
 
  ▲ Picture of Kazakhstan's Teacher's Day celebration.  
 
Teacher’s Day is the day when we celebrate our teachers for their honor and effort. In Korea, 2013, May 15th is the 31st anniversary of Teacher’s Day in Korea. Celebrating Teacher’s Day started in 1963 by students of RCY (Red Cross Youth). The Students of RCY visited teachers and Redcross established Teacher’s Day on May 24th, and the following year it became a national commemoration day on May 15th when King Sejong was born who invented Korean alphabet (Hangeul) that known as great teacher of Korean. There has been pressure to stop celebrating Teacher’s day by the former president, who is often called a dictator, Park jeong-hui. He stopped celebrating Teacher’s day. However, after him, Teacher’s day was revived and still lives on today. Koreans celebrate Teacher’s day by giving small presents with a letter and small party in the classroom. Also, parents give small presents and letters to their child’s teacher with regards. Flower is popular present for Teacher’s day and in Korea the red carnation is a common flower for teacher because the red carnation symbolizes love and respect. Students give red carnations while they sing a song which is named “Teacher’s favor.”

Around the world, nearly 100 countries have Teacher’s day. In Central and South America, they celebrate Teacher’s day following the famous catholic priest’s birthday known as the patron of education and some countries celebrate Teacher’s day for the day of a famous educator, for example, Confucius. Other countries celebrate Teacher’s day by following the UNESCO’s World Teacher’s day on October 5th since the UNESCO announced as Teacher’s day from 1966.

The Post interviewed some foreign exchange students at Dongguk University who have come from various countries. The first to be interviewed was Gaukhar Avezova, who comes from Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, they have a week for celebrating Teacher’s day during the first week of October. During the period, there is a director who decides the day when performances will take place. Classes are shorter than usual on these days to give time for students to prepare their performances. She said that in Kazakhstan students dance, sing, and make short video clips for their teachers and give flowers or small presents like chocolate. It does not matter which flower is given to teachers and there is no traditional flowers for Teacher’s day like Korean’s red carnation, but most people give red roses to their teachers.

In Korea, sometimes flower sellers come to elementary, middle schools on Teacher’s day, but it does not happen in Kazakhstan. Therefore, students must go to a flower shop before they go to school so students have to wake up earlier than usual to buy flowers. Because many students want to buy flowers they have to wait for a while. Also, the price of flowers goes up several times more than usual during these days. Students give one rose to close teachers and three roses for very close teachers. It is important not to give even-numbered flowers because even-numbered flowers are given when recipients are in sad or bad situations like the times of funerals or while sick in the hospital. She added that giving a red carnation is little bit surprising to her because they give red carnations to soldiers who have died for the country during the WW2 (World War II). They give red carnations on May 1st to honor soldiers and veterans who fought against the Nazi German army. Red carnations remind her of their sad history rather than love.

As for the performances, she said that students prepare dances, songs, and video clips two or three weeks in advance. Not all students participate, only some. There are sometimes even role-plays on Teacher’s day. Student may become the teacher and teachers may become the students. The students who do this can teach any subject. They prepare a week before Teacher’s day and they mimic some ridiculous humor or behavior that the teacher often does. It is very funny to watch and every teacher becomes a student so that they can understand other subject’s teachers too. During the dances, there are no traditional clothes that students have to wear so they can wear whatever they want. Usually female students wear dresses and male students wear suits, but both often wear casual style clothes as well. Since they do not unify their clothes, some wears pink dresses and some wears white dresses and even shoes may vary from sneakers to high heels in the performances.

The second person interviewed was Mariana, who came from the University of Texas, Dallas and was born in Mexico. She said that she was surprised that Koreans celebrate Teacher’s day on May 15th because Mexican teacher’s day is on May 15th, also. In Mexico, from elementary school to high school, students have no class, but they come to school to celebrate Teacher’s day. However, in college, there are still classes on Teacher’s day. The difference between Korea and the other countries is that they still celebrate professors on Teacher’s day because students use the same classroom all day and only professors are changed depending on the subject. This allows them to have a stronger relationship than in other countries where students choose their professors and have to move from classroom to classroom to listen to their lectures.

They usually present baskets of lotion, shampoo and body wash. In junior high school and elementary school students give letters and sometimes flowers to their teachers. Parents sometimes make handcrafts like sweaters, and scarves for teachers. They make the presents by themselves rather than buy them because the presents are expensive for ordinary Mexican people. She added that now she lives in the USA and she thinks that Americans buy presents rather than make them, therefore they give nice presents, but still she thinks that handcrafted presents have their own value, too. An interesting part of Mexican Teacher’s day is their party. It is not a parade, but they still have a festival on Teacher’s day. People bring their tables outside of the school and some of them sell food there. They usually sell Cotzitos (hot fired corn tortilla with tomato source and cheese that is crunchy), Empanadas, Tamales (a long piece of meat, like chicken), Aguas Frescas (mixed with various juices like pine apple, watermelon, similar to punch or a cocktail but it does not have alcohol). Parents can join the party. In the party, some students may dance and sing songs that they have prepared for their teachers. They enjoy this party listening to exciting and fast up-tempo music.

The third person interviewed was Ieva Rituma who came from HZ University of Applied Science in the Netherlands and was born in Latvia. Her answer was simple. She has not seen a celebration of Teacher’s day in the Netherlands. She added that in Latvia, usually, people celebrate Teacher’s day on the first Friday of October, but it is not that important when compared to other places abroad. She said that Teacher’s day in Latvia was started when Latvia was the part of USSR. Latvian people still celebrate this day because they think it is worthwhile to celebrate. Usually, students decide on a theme to make surprises for the teachers by wearing clothes as hippy, punk style and give letters or drawings of their teachers.

The way of celebrating Teacher’s day and the date is different from country to country but still the existence of Teacher’s day around the world means that the love of teachers is a common ethic and has value for human beings. Most people have their own memorable teachers in their life. It is a precious time to send a message, make a phone call or visit your teacher to give them thanks on Teacher’s day.

Kim Du-hyeon  kimduhyeon51@dongguk.edu

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  • obkluyt@gmail.com 2013-09-28 17:53:35

    Hey #obama, where do I get one of those clean, energy efficient light bulbs that are made in America? #debates Where are those #jobs???   삭제

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