On November 14, student reporters interviewed the principal of Seosang Middle School, Chae Kwan-seok. The principal answered questions about teaching life and school management as well as giving advice for students in Ulsan.
Q. How did you become a teacher and why?
A. “I did not choose to become a teacher after considering the salary, the value of the job or the social contribution it offers. It was just because of my grades. I wanted to study business administration, but at that time, my homeroom teacher chose a department that fits my grades and wrote down the application for admission. If you want to become a teacher, you should not follow that method. Anyway, I entered the department of a predetermined university. At first, I only played and my grades were not great, but gradually I learned about the teaching profession and laid the foundation and qualities of a good teacher. I decided not to be teacher who decides a student's career based on their grades. I always kept that idea in my head.“
Q. What is the most memorable thing you have done in your educational career?
A. "I have done lots of memorable things. In 1990, after our fall picnic, I saw a fellow teacher make a huge sacrifice during traffic guidance. At that time, to help students get home safely, a colleague guided traffic from the 4th lane of the road while I did it in the hard shoulder. That day, a drowsy truck driver hit my co-worker and he had to be treated in the hospital. Eventually he died. If the teacher had not been there, a student might have had a big accident. I believe the sacrifice made by the teacher helped students to grow safely and healthily. Their safety is important, and I believe the students grew into successful people because of my co-worker."
Q. What is the best thing you get to do as the principal of Seosaeng Middle School?
A. "Sitting on the benches and rocks, watching the students enjoy playing with friends. This is the pure habit of students who are smiling and greeted brightly. The most memorable thing recently was the school concert. It was awkward at first, but the orchestras made a lot of efforts and created a harmonious melody. It's a beautiful world because there are people who make harmony with each other, and people who are trying to improve our school life."
Q. What is the most important thing for school operations?
A. "The most important thing at school is 'autonomy' and 'respect'. The process of determining the willingness is to handle democracy. Students need training to determine their intentions rather than solidarity. You can train it by giving students some autonomy. It is also important to make friends and respect each other. If I respect my friend first, my friend must respect me. If the teacher respects the students, the students are confident that they can do it. I think that the children who have respect are going to create a society of mutual respect in the future."
Q. Do you have anything that you hope the students of Ulsan will do?
A. "Let’s realize our dreams! Let's raise our power to think! And let’s challenge the future!" There are many students who give up on studying these days. Maybe it's because it's hard to solve the questions because they require complicated thinking. It's no wonder a lot of students struggle to meet this challenge. The problem is they only complain that it is tiring and they don't think about why they have to study. It is easy for students like this to fall behind. It is called a 'fantasy' to have a dream about something and not try to achieve the dream. Let's take the habit of dreaming and go beyond fantasy. Let’s challenge ourselves to achieve our goals!"