Park: Korea Needs More Teachers Like Keating


Graphic by Paul Stevens

Graphic by Paul Stevens

By Chan Kyu

In the film “Dead Poets Society,” Welton Academy is an elite conservative boarding school. At school, English teacher John Keating greets his students with a surprising teaching method. He expresses the idea of carpe diem, which means to seize the day. Additionally, he encourages his students to make their lives as extraordinary as possible. Unique class activities included standing on their desks to look at life from various viewpoints, ripping out the introduction of the poetry book which explains poetry as a mathematical formula and teaching individuals to choose their own style.

As the students figured out about the Dead Poets Society, they restarted the club. As Keating teaches them to live their lives, Neil discovers he loves acting, even though his father wants him to go to medical school. Other students tried new things in their lives after being influenced by Keating. The headmaster of the school did not like students questioning the authority of education and of the elite school, so he warned Keating not to instruct students in that way. Neil’s father watches Neil act in the play and tells him to quit or else he will put him in military school. Being unable to stand up to his father, Neil commits suicide.

Keating gets fired due to the death of Neil. Before he leaves the school, he comes to collect personal articles from the students, and Todd and half of the students stand on the desks, shouting “O Captain! My Captain.”

This film was inspiring because of the ways Welton Academy reflects the education of Korea. Korean students are in a strict and restricted educational environment. They need an instructor like Keating to encourage them to live their lives. Korean parents and teachers think the best way for students to live is living a normal life just like everyone else. This state of mind suppresses students’ creativity and their abilities in various fields. Creativity is rising as an important factor nowadays. In a mold, students are unable to think creatively or know what is in their best interest.

Students need to stand up for their own interest, and parents or teachers should encourage them to be the best version of themselves. Keating is such a wonderful teacher in those parts. He encouraged Neil and every other student to do what they wanted to. In education, instructors should believe in their students. Students can sometimes make bad decisions because they are young. On the other hand, teachers have a variety of experiences which can be helpful for students. Students will gain courage when their parents and teachers support their dreams.

I personally hope that in Korean education, more teachers are like Keating. With an instructor like that, students will be able to live with more joy and less stress. Seizing the day is crucial for students in education and in the future.

[email protected]