Cleaning in school is education

By Yang Jae-pyo

When I was in fifth grade, I was designated to clean the science room every day after school. Since I loathed cleaning, I just thought I’d give it a lick and a promise. However, my wish could not be achieved. The science reference room teacher was a real tough cookie. She was obsessive-compulsive and a neat freak. I had to clean until she was completely satisfied with the results. I spent more than 40 minutes every day sweeping and mopping the science room. At that time, I really wanted to commit arson. However, after time passed and I look back, I feel that it had a positive effect on my life. I became more patient when dealing with hardships. I began to tidy up things more than before.

People could say that it’s not a duty for students to clean, and a janitor or a professional cleaner can replace them. However, I believe cleaning in school is education, rather than labor. Especially when we’re young, it can give a lot of positive effects to a child. Therefore, I think requiring students to clean their classrooms will teach them to be conscientious.

First, cleaning in school can enhance students’ patience. After all, cleaning is indeed disgusting and boring for us. Furthermore, most of us students do not feel the need for cleaning. But it has to be done, with patience. Life is the same. When we have to achieve something, or do something meaningful, we must endure hardship. We students study hard for a better future. The more patient we are, the more successful we will be. In this sense, I believe cleaning in school could be practice for our future, experiencing how to deal with the hardships that will likely come to us.

Second, cleaning in school helps us adjust to a clean environment, eventually leading us to be conscientious citizens. The force of habit is strong. If students constantly tidy up their classrooms, their bodies would adapt to cleaning up their environment. Then, students would have a habit of cleaning even in other places besides school. For instance, after cleaning the science room every day for a year, I kept my room very clean. Furthermore, I have never littered in the streets since then. By cleaning our classrooms at school, I realized that tidying up our environment is very important. If many students clean their classrooms constantly, the country’s civic consciousness would naturally rise.

Cleaning in school surely has more benefits than losses. It’s a live education, making students be conscientious citizens. However, in Korea, though we’re making students clean their own classrooms, I doubt its efficacy. Students never clean their classrooms well. Classrooms are always dirty. Citizens’ conscience doesn’t seem very high. Japan, on the other hand, has a lot of positive effects by this policy. We cannot find litter on the streets. I think the difference is teachers. Teachers shouldn’t just sit back and let students clean by themselves. In Japan, teachers work together with students proactively. Students and teachers should clean the school together.

Cleaning in school is education. It helps us in various ways. In a short-term perspective, it teaches us how to tidy up our environment, resulting in an increase of civic consciousness. In the long term, we can say cleaning teaches life. By accomplishing hardships we hate to do, we can achieve something more meaningful. By having students and all the people in school, including teachers, cleaning their environment together, they can learn something valuable. Furthermore, our streets would be cleaner, and our country will be more competitive. Cleaning is education. An education that will benefit us all.

The writer is a student at Kyeongbuk High School. Write to

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