Se Eun Kim ‘19
What is closest to us, yet feels the most unfamiliar? That’s right — the GMC. HAFSonians spend at least one-third of their day at the GMC, but still have trouble wrapping their heads around the GMC’s student life regulations. These regulations are often criticized among students, and once in a while someone posts questions regarding the rules’ validity on the HAFS Confession Page. We hear the students’ opinions nearly every day. But what of the GMC teachers?
It is true that the GMC teachers have rarely had the chance to explain their side of the story. Fully aware of this unfortunate lack of communication between the GMC and the students, HAFS Harbinger conducted an interview with an anonymous GMC teacher to give the HAFSonians some insight on the workings of the GMC.
Which regulation do the students break most often, and what are your thoughts about these violations?
The students definitely have the most trouble leaving the GMC in the morning on time. This is followed by violating the dress code and tabang, or visiting other students’ rooms.
So many students break the dress code every day that it is hard to discipline them all. In the past, students used to take pride in the uniform, but more and more students are starting to consider the uniforms cumbersome. I don’t mind the uniform culture changing, but I fear that it is changing for the worse. I personally think that it is unfortunate that students are not appreciating our school’s tradition. I wish I could help the students learn to appreciate the uniform more by hosting related campaigns.
Regarding tabang, I fully sympathize with the students who want freedom inside the GMC. However, we the GMC teachers have a duty to protect the rights and well-being of the students. Visiting other students’ rooms can be disturbing to the students living in the room, and thus we have to discourage this kind of behavior in order to protect other students’ rights to sleep and rest.
How do you feel about complaints regarding the GMC regulations?
I get a lot of complaints, both from parents and students—nearly 50 complaints a week. They usually make complaints about getting rid of evening self-studying time, forbidding laptops and internet routers, and not disciplining the students enough.
There is a meeting among various school and GMC teachers every Thursday regarding the complaints and other regulations. We discuss the reported grievances and other problems happening at the GMC and try to find solutions. All of the decisions regarding the regulations are made in those meetings, and we GMC teachers have no choice but to carry out the instructions from the meetings. So, in truth, we do not have much discretion or freedom on this matter. I just think it is unfortunate that we are unable to convey to the students the decisions made about the complaints in the meetings.
What do you think about the student life culture at HAFS?
I think we should all work to change the school culture, bit by bit. At HAFS, students often litter and do not clean up after themselves. If our students treat public facilities with the same mindset, our society won’t move forward. Also, students should respect others a bit more, and keep their manners. Warmly greeting school and GMC teachers would also be a great improvement. Before, students used to greet everyone including the visitors, and some of the visitors have told me that they have been very impressed with the students’ cordiality. But now, students rarely greet the GMC teachers, let alone visitors. I hope this changes so that we can become a more connected school community.
In conclusion, the teacher admitted that GMC teachers are often given the role of the “bad guys.” However, he wanted the students to understand that there is a valid reason behind every regulation and discipline, and that at the end of the day, the teachers sincerely want the students to enjoy their school life. He hopes for an improvement in the school culture and the interaction between the GMC and the students so that HAFS can become a better place for everyone.