Choose your marker colors wisely

I’ll never forget the look on their faces, those shocked Korean faces, when I wrote their names on the whiteboard in red. It was the immediate sense that I had done something wrong, and it wasn’t simply the spelling of the names.  After a few blundering moments, I would find out key information that I would routinely pass on to other teachers with Asian students for years to come. Red is good for writing deadlines, checkmarks, asterisks, happy faces, underlines, but not for names.  It has been explained to me that in ancient times in Korea the color red was reserved for writing the names of the dead. Plaques, signs and gravestones would be written, painted and engraved in red. During the Japanese occupation in Korea, guards would cross out the recently deceased on their lists in red.    While I see the color red as enthusiastic, energetic, bold, and possibly obnoxious, I’ve learned that there’s nothing more obnoxious than having a Korean student anxiously wondering what brought on this nerve-wracking behaviour from his teacher. It’s a good thing the AusPen starter kit has 6 colors to choose from.

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