No, this isn’t a post in which I take advantage of Korea’s ridiculously low medical fees and get a sex-change operation. Although that would definitely make for a riveting blog post. Instead, my high school has undergone a transformation, and is now co-ed. Hello boys! They are slowly immersing a Y-chromosome into the halls of my school, starting with the first grade (American 10th grade). The name of my school has changed from Yeoju Girls High School to Sejong High School. (King Sejong the Great was in power in the 15th century, and is the man responsible for Hangul, the Korean language, and is buried right here in Yeoju! Come visit me and we can go see his tomb.)
Last week was the first of our new semester, and the boys have been hilarious, energetic, and very engaged in classes (for the most part). It’s been an interesting experience to see how the girls’ behavior changes around the opposite sex. Although I haven’t gotten to see how the behavior of the girls I’ve known for 6 months already has changed, since the 2nd and 3rd grade classes are still girls only, it’s still a nice social experiment to sit back and watch. Girls and guys rarely sit together, although this is slowly starting to change as some of the classes get more comfortable with one another. They never sit together at lunch, and I hardly ever see boys and girls hanging out in the hallways. Not that they have much time to “hang out,” this is Korea afterall…work-hard/play-hard, minus the play.
One downside I’ve noticed to co-education, from a teaching standpoint, is that the boys have been dominating class discussions, excitedly answering all my questions while girls sit back and watch. It’s not consistent in every class, but it’s definitely happened a noticeable amount of times. Not only are their personalities more rambunctious and outgoing, but the sheer volume of their voices has been drowning out the sounds of the girls in class. Sometimes I’ll ask only the girls to answer, to make sure they aren’t just sitting back and letting the boys take over. We’ve all seen what that has done to our world!
On that note, I leave you with Girls Generation’s “The Boys” – one of my favorite K-Pop tunes. (They performed on Letterman a few weeks ago – big moves!)