Tuesday, October 25, 2005

도둑 Thief

Yesterday started like most Mondays. I arrived at school and taught my morning class full of bright young minds. My coworkers and I went for lunch, and being that we were expecting a new teacher to arrive after lunch, everyone was eager to make a good impression. After lunch we all returned to our classes to teach an afternoon of phonics and maybe some arts and crafts. This is where I was when I heard the news. While we were busy teaching, and my students were busy making Halloween decorations, a thief (도둑) had come into our teachers lounge and stolen money and wallets. One of the students reportedly saw an older man walking from the room. Korean surveillance, being what it is, was useless and three of our teachers (including our new teacher, Whitney) were robbed.
As we all scrambled to understand why someone would steal from us, the police came and we answered questions...although since none of us actually saw the 도둑 we didn't have much to say. The amount of money was not huge, yet the 도둑 took his time and searched through our bags. For some he left the cards, while others he took entire wallets full of id and money.
It makes me really consider why some people could steal from anyone, but especially teachers. Admittedly, many of us are here to pay off debt back home and Korea does offer a chance of doing this before we reach middle age - but most of us don't have a lot of money.
In the same breath, I am hurt that someone could bring themselves to steal in the presence of children. Perhaps I am taking this too personally but I hope that the person really needed that money - although I have my doubts as to what their needs may be when they can take from hard working people whose sole purpose in this country is to educate the young and give them an opportunity that their parents never had.
Needless to say, everyone was left a little hurt and a little violated. Our new teachers was very gracious and handled it much better then I would have, given she had been in our school less than an hour when she was robbed. So much for first impressions.
For those of us that didn't lose any money, we treated our new coworker to a few pints and some food after work. For those few hours it felt like just another Monday.


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