A tale of teaching with a message about sensitivity, adaptability, and persistence.
Week after week and class after class, they sit silent.
When they are called on, they sit silent.
When they don’t understand something, they sit silent.
When they understand perfectly, they sit silent.
When they have no specific task, they sit silent.
When they want to say something to their friend, they whisper in the friend’s ear.
What on earth is going on with them? I wondered. I was tottering between frustration and anger. I asked their classmates in another class who are more talkative.
Ahh, they said. Jung-i byeong.
Jung-i byeong. It’s a thing. It’s “second grade of middle school disease.” Also known as puberty.
I try everything from easier tasks to pep talks. They sit silent.
They will read. They will write. They will listen. But they will not speak.
Is it the topics?
Okay guys, here’s a scrap of paper. Write down the topics you…
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