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Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« on: May 18, 2011, 08:17:05 pm »
I teach in what is considered a relatively poor area in Seoul and over the course of this most recent year I've noticed several students sitting in the middle and more towards back of the class squinting a lot.  At first I assumed that the images on the board were too dim and started using brighter colors and bolder shapes.  But the situation never changed.  One of the student's is a twin to another student in one of my other classes.  This other student wears glasses and hardly ever has trouble seeing what's written or shown on the board.  Seeing as how both students are are hard workers but a bit shy and very polite to both myself and the Korean teacher I took it upon myself to ask the one who wears glasses if her sister had a pair of glasses but just didn't want to wear them because she was concerned about how it would make her look or if she had lost them.  The responce I got nearly broke my heart.  She told me that glasses are expensive and her mother couldn't get them for her.  Since then I've spoken to the other sister and several other student's that are constantly squinting during class and basically received the same response "that it's too expensive".  I find this utterly shocking given the amount of government attention payed to medical care.  I even asked one of my co-teachers if there was a program for students like them and she responded by telling me in a round about sort of manner "no".  As nearly all of these students I've spoken about are solid students I have even considered buying them a pair of cheap glasses but later thought that might be both inappropriate and embarrassing to the students and family.  If anyone has any suggestions at to how to go about possibly taking up a collection from the faculty and staff or any other ideas that would be great cause it's just really a bummer to watch these kids struggle so hard compared to the other student's who have all the advantages and don't really seem to give a damn.


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 09:08:22 pm »
First,  as an English teacher you should know that an apostrophe is used for possessive words, not plurals.

Second, what about a seating chart that puts the squinting kids up front?  If you just moved these kids they might be embarrassed, but if you assign seats and move everyone then those students can see better and won't be singled out.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 09:10:59 pm by grandfromage »


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 09:15:13 pm »
Maybe you can contact a church near you to get donations...i'm not religious myself but i know koreans are and i think a lot of volunteer work here is done thru churches.

good luck!  ;D


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 09:21:02 pm »
To the 2nd poster who suggested moving those kids up front: I actually have kids who even when they're up in front, they still squint (and i write pretty big). Plus, I can't imagine having to even walk around with blurry vision...much less try to read a language that isn't my first.


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 09:24:03 pm »
To the 2nd poster who suggested moving those kids up front: I actually have kids who even when they're up in front, they still squint (and i write pretty big). Plus, I can't imagine having to even walk around with blurry vision...much less try to read a language that isn't my first.

Yeah, it sucks and it might not help, but what can you do?  I don't think buying them glasses or soliciting donations would go over well.  I'm hardly an expert on Korean culture but I think there's a good chance of the parents taking that as an affront to their ability to raise a child and getting royally pissed.


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 10:50:42 pm »
To the 2nd poster who suggested moving those kids up front: I actually have kids who even when they're up in front, they still squint (and i write pretty big). Plus, I can't imagine having to even walk around with blurry vision...much less try to read a language that isn't my first.

Yeah, it sucks and it might not help, but what can you do?  I don't think buying them glasses or soliciting donations would go over well.  I'm hardly an expert on Korean culture but I think there's a good chance of the parents taking that as an affront to their ability to raise a child and getting royally pissed.

possibly it might be taken the wrong way; however, i don't think it hurts to ask if you do it the right way...i think it's very easy for ppl to notice a problem and decide it's better to just not involve themselves so as not to create any potential friction or issue, which is understandable as we are foreigners here (but which I've also found to be what koreans usually do as well). but, you'd be surprised how much a gesture, however small, can make a difference. Even if the parents aren't into the idea of accepting a donation to buy glasses, maybe it'll make them realize that it's a priority. Esp when a teacher sees it as a big enough of a problem to say something about it.


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2011, 08:03:19 am »
It's really sad to see families that are so poor they can't afford glasses for the kids.  It's especially sad when glasses are so cheap here.  I couldn't afford new glasses at home because they were soooo expensive, but here in Korea, I bought a pair for 60,000. 

I have many students who can't see far away.  When I do a new seating arrangement I always have the Korean teacher ask (if she says it in Korean we can be sure they understood exactly what she said) if the people at the back can see the board/TV.  But, even some near the front can't see it. 
I know we can't buy everyone glasses, and it's really tough being that poor (speaking from experience), sometimes I try to lighten the mood by lending students my glasses for a few minutes.  Some of them actually take me up on the offer and we have fun for a few minutes AND they get to participate.
I wish I had some old pairs that I could pass along for them to keep. 


  • catfish99
  • Adventurer

    • 67

    • February 22, 2011, 05:21:09 pm
    • Gyonam
Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2011, 08:56:40 am »
First,  as an English teacher you should know that an apostrophe is used for possessive words, not plurals.


The OP was talking about the heartbreaking and life effecting issue of poverty on these innocent children ... and the first reply is this jarring, cold, what almost feels like an attack on the OP as a teacher.
There's move to English teaching then perfect grammar Mr. Insensitive.


  • dmhr25
  • Super Waygook

    • 299

    • October 03, 2010, 04:07:38 pm
    • Incheon
Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 09:04:28 am »
I tried moving the squinting kids from the back to the front.  Then, I found that the kids who were in the front were now squinting too!  I kept re-arranging - but it seems that many of my students need glasses...


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2011, 09:20:00 am »
I would not dismiss a collection or charity giving so quickly. It was just last week or so that I saw a TV program, hosted by the famous comedian Lee Su-Geun where poor families receive aid. This show takes a close up look at the families' needs and circumstances and then shows their reactions as they receive the aid from the show. And it's big stuff, like a free apartment for a year, etc. I was quite surprised that people would be willing to show themselves on national TV like that considering how much value this culture puts on saving face.

Anyway, my point is that if families are wiling to receive charity on TV, maybe your kids and their parents would be willing to receive donated glasses? Especially if it was all done privately. I suggest you talk to your co-teacher, and I second the suggestion of seeking out churches with charity services. In fact, there's a good chance one of your co-teachers goes to church and can help you with that.


Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2011, 11:50:03 am »
First,  as an English teacher you should know that an apostrophe is used for possessive words, not plurals.


The OP was talking about the heartbreaking and life effecting issue of poverty on these innocent children ... and the first reply is this jarring, cold, what almost feels like an attack on the OP as a teacher.
There's move to English teaching then perfect grammar Mr. Insensitive.
Thanks everyone for the ideas i'm sure i'll put them to use as soon as possible and see what  happens.  @ 77janejane i would agree that anyone who takes the time to correct your grammar in a non-professional thread is most likely an asshole.  The best thing to do is just ignore the individual and move on.


  • catfish99
  • Adventurer

    • 67

    • February 22, 2011, 05:21:09 pm
    • Gyonam
Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2011, 12:29:20 pm »
First,  as an English teacher you should know that an apostrophe is used for possessive words, not plurals.


The OP was talking about the heartbreaking and life effecting issue of poverty on these innocent children ... and the first reply is this jarring, cold, what almost feels like an attack on the OP as a teacher.
There's move to English teaching then perfect grammar Mr. Insensitive.
Thanks everyone for the ideas i'm sure i'll put them to use as soon as possible and see what  happens.  @ 77janejane i would agree that anyone who takes the time to correct your grammar in a non-professional thread is most likely an asshole.  The best thing to do is just ignore the individual and move on.

ha, yeah. Don't feed the troll.


  • jonpurdy
  • Veteran

    • 212

    • March 10, 2010, 01:42:50 pm
    • Ulsan
Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2011, 12:32:05 pm »
anyone who takes the time to correct your grammar in a non-professional thread is most likely an asshole.  The best thing to do is just ignore the individual and move on.

This is a professional forum. We're all English teachers here exchanging ideas for teaching, classroom management, and other things related to working here. If you're a native English speaker there's no excuse to make such a jarring mistake in the title of a post.


  • Rina
  • Adventurer

    • 53

    • October 17, 2010, 08:17:53 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Student's in desperate need of glasses.
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2011, 12:58:12 pm »
Just go to a company that does laser eye surgery and ask them for glasses. Ask for -1.5, -2., -3. etc.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 01:20:01 pm by Rina »