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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in South Korea Series on KoreanClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Korean holidays and observances. I’m Brandon, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 20: Teachers’ Day.
Do you have a teacher who you won't forget for the rest of your life? Most people are fortunate to have had one or two teachers who were extraordinary or who spoke words of encouragement when they were having a difficult time. In this lesson, we’ll learn about how Korea celebrates Teachers' Day or 스승의 날 (seuseung-ui nal) on May 15th, the day for expressing gratitude to teachers.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: what does this term in Korean mean—군사부일체(Gunsabuilche)?
If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
While Teachers' Day is important in Korea, it isn't a public holiday. Students still attend school as usual, but inside the classroom, they usually surprise their teachers with different gifts or activities. For example, students sing the “Teachers' Day Song” or 스승의 날 노래 (seuseung-ui nal norae) to their teachers; put a cake on the teacher's desk; and say, “Thank You.” or 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida) In addition, students write thank-you messages on a large piece of paper, known as the “Rolling Paper,” and give the paper to their teachers.
On this day, students also have a one-day teaching experience. The students become the teachers, and each student teaches a class for one hour at a time. You could probably understand the teacher's distress if a student tried teaching a class, right? Parents also have the opportunity to visit the school and teach a class.
What would you do if you want to see a teacher after you've graduated? In South Korea, people visit their former teachers on Teachers' Day. If you go to a classroom on Teachers' Day, you’ll see enrolled students as well as alumni.
Here's our fun fact for the day! Did you know that in South Korea the school year begins in March and ends in February the following year? For that reason, it has been suggested that Korea move Teachers' Day to February, when the school year ends, because it's a better time to express gratitude to teachers.
Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: do you know what the Korean phrase 군사부일체 (Gunsabuilche) means? Well, the first word 군(Gun) means "a King;" 사(sa) means "a teacher;" and 부(bu) means "parents." Altogether, 군사부일체 (Gunsabuilche) means that one must show the same level of respect to your king, your teacher, and your parents.
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Does your country have a day to celebrate the contributions of teachers?
Please leave us a comment telling us how at KoreanClass101.com.
And we'll see you next time!