Updated April. 29, 2014 05:27
Scars from Sewol wreck is also running deep in teachers who were not present in the tragic scene. Since they meet students at around the same age of the student victims and hear news about victims from fellow teachers, they are suffering from deep depression.
Last week at one high school, a 20-something female teacher ran out of the classroom while teaching. She told her colleague teachers, "Students were all looking at me at the same time, and the accident scene suddenly came across my mind. I had to escape." She graduated from the same university as the teacher who was killed in the latest ferry sinking and had visited the funeral. A vice principal at a school in Gyeonggi Province said, "At our school, there are teachers who had worked or received training with teachers who became victims of the Sewol sinking," adding, "Some teachers at our school are asking not to turn on the TV or not to make news appear on PC screens. Everyone is very sensitive."
Unlike those in other jobs, teachers suffer from the assumption of "What if I was in such a situation." A principle at a junior high school in Gwangju said, "Teachers have a very high sense of responsibility and thus have tendency to substitute situations," adding, "Some are having hardships in setting exam questions or suffering from heart pounding when they see students gathered in groups."
Teacher association groups are concerned that students can be adversely affected if teachers are depressed or are at unease. The Education Ministry also shares the need to help teachers, but is too busy devising measures for direct victims of the ferry sinking.
In an increasing number of schools, counseling teachers are mentoring colleague teachers. A counseling teacher at a junior high school in Gyeonggi Province said, "Since the tragic sinking, many teachers are agonized over whether it is right for them to smile or to eat," adding, "They should have a positive mindset since being physically and mentally healthy will enable proper teaching of students and give them safety instructions."