So following through on Wednesday's promise (a couple of days late I know), details on what else happened on Monday besides my run in with the Knitting Nazi. Last Monday will forever be known as The Day Jin-Seon Went Troppo And Tried To Kill Someone. Now I haven't mentioned Jin-Seon before, but he's one of the sweetest kids amongst the boys at my school, which is saying a lot as the rest of first-year are mostly little terrors. Jin-Seon is a really calm and earnest kid, quiet in class, happy to help explain stuff to others, or if he doesn't understand something will write it down and look it up later. (I know this because he will often then try to use whatever it was the next week). He's also confident enough that he actually talks to me and gives answers in class. Unfortunately for him, my co-teacher for his class, Ms Yun, makes students sit by number, and the boy he has to sit next to, Hyeon-Seok, is a bully. Which is kind of surprising because he doesn't look it - he's skinny (to be fair, they all are), average height, not particularly charismatic, arrogant, smart or handsome, where most of the others have at least one of these. He's also the typical teenage boy stuck in a subject too hard for him when he's not studious at all either, and doesn't know how to listen, sit still or at least shut up (again, fairly typical). He's not really a bother in my classes, as in I've never caught him actively trying to injure one of his friends, destroy something mindlessly or tell him off for screaming out obscenities, but this might also be because he's one of many little monsters in the worst first year boys' class, and his level of mischief pales in comparison to some of the others. I have seen Jin-Seon getting irritated at him before and trying to ignore him though, and about three weeks ago I saw them having a punch-up in the corridor and had to break them up - for the record, Jin-Seon was doing a pretty good job of beating the crap out of him so I don't know why Hyeon-Seok keeps needling the poor kid. Boredom perhaps?
So on Monday, when Jin-Seon started hitting Hyeon-Seok with his pencil case I didn't really think anything of it. I just said his name and shook my head at him and he stopped. Therefore I was extremely surprised when about two minutes later, Jin-Seon started again, except this time using his pencil case as a bludgeon, grabbing the back of Hyeon-Seok's collar and going all out. My co-teacher and I both ran over and about five of his classmates jumped in to try and separate them, but Jin-Seon was so upset his face was red and he was crying and wouldn't let go, while Hyeon-Seok's arms were flailing around as he was being choked to death. Five minutes of struggle later and we finally managed to pry Jin-Seon's fingers open, but my co-teacher had to actually physically pick him up (she's in her early 40's and not very big) and carry him away to stop him trying to kick the shit out of Hyeon-Seok, who's neck had gone red and actually had some grazes where the material of his shirt had broken the skin. Sensing the opportunity for further delaying the lesson, four of his friends picked him up and carried him outside, and then one of them put him on his back and they all tried to take him to the nurses office. Since Hyeon-Seok was laying it on a bit thick and pretending to faint all over the place while still having enough energy to keep saying "Oh, it hurts so much! Oh, I'm dying!" and the sort (in Korean) but not crying or seeming like he was actually hurt, I was a bit suspicious and said only one of them could take him, who of course couldn't really carry him, so they brought him back in and I sat him down to rest in a chair where he could lean against the wall if he was really injured. And of course five minutes later he was acting the fool again and joking around with his friends, I'm pretty sure about how he'd managed to make Jin-Seon snap. My co-teacher had a talk with Jin-Seon outside to figure out what had happened, but of course had to make a show of punishing him a little once they came back and made him stand at the back of the classroom. It was obvious that whatever had happened was Hyeon-Seok's fault, so I was really annoyed that he was sitting with his friends, not paying attention once I started the lesson again while poor Jin-Seon was all the way at the back (my classroom is the length of one and a half classrooms so it's really far back) straining to see and write down what I'd written on the board, even though he'd been so upset and could have easily gotten away with doing nothing. After class I got the details: Hyeon-Seok had been bullying Jin-Seon for a while and in fourth period right before lunch, had done something which Jin-Seon had been blamed for and punished by their homeroom teacher (probably meaning being caned). So as soon as they'd come into my class in fifth period right after lunch, they'd had to sit next to each other and of course Hyeon-Seok immediately started jeering Jin-Seon for getting the blame and he'd responded with his pencil case. When I'd asked him to stop, Hyeon-Seok had gleefully continued being an arse, which is when Jin-Seon lost it.
Anyway, so next lesson I'm going to move Hyeon-Seok to a desk by himself in the last row. As he doesn't pay attention anyway it's hardly going to impact his ability to study, but it's going to make it easier for my co-teacher to keep an eye on him while I teach. And hopefully Jin-Seon will be happier too.