The Queen’s Classroom
With the ages of the cast falling mostly under 15 or so, it may not seem like an appealing drama at first. Even as a fan of school dramas, I found Queen’s Classroom to be an outlier in terms of focus and was iffy about watching it. However, my curiosity had stemmed from raving reviews of the Japanese version and so I decided to check out the Korean version just for a taste. It was and wasn’t what I expected. In this drama, there is a teacher who seems bitterly cold and cruel on the outside to her middle school class. The kids name Teacher Ma as the “Witch” as she harshly rules her classroom based on grade discrimination. For her, the better grades you get, the better she treats you and the more privileges you get. The worse and weaker you are, the more she picks on you. Knowledge and power are everything while friendships mean nothing. For a kid in middle school, it must seem like the end of the world with each difficult situation they are put through. However difficult she may seem, it seems she lives by the philosophy of tough love. She values practicality and teaching the kids about facing reality. The more she picks on the weaker kids of the class, the more she cares about toughening them up to face reality. Her classroom is basically a simulation for future society where there is most definitely discrimination based on power, money and knowledge. Furthermore, she is also hiding a dark past to which known of the kids or staff know about.
After marathoning 8 episodes, I still have not cracked the mystery as to why Teacher Ma acts the way she does. It seems as if she teaches the reverse of the other “usual” teachers. Other teachers care more about being “nice”, “well-liked”, and “democracy”. She does not coddle her students and treats them as society would treat them. Is this a better way to teach? I do not know. I have had one teacher like this in high school who took no nonsense, but not to the extremes that Teacher Ma does. Am I better for it? In the long run, I believe it did me well. Society is not going to smile at me and pat me on the back for each little thing. Even in the news these past few months, articles have come out discussing whether schools have been coddling the minds of young adults with certain subjects and bending to the wills of parents.
As for these children, they are at an age of being moldable and going through puberty. It is vital that the right lessons be installed in them. They are on the brink of becoming independent from their parents and maturing into young adults. Is it too young for these lessons or should these children be raised with more “love”? Teacher Ma seems to feel that it is better to endure these lessons now than to be shocked with disappointments later.
While I appreciate the drama for the lessons it teaches, and the great acting from its younger cast, I am not sure if I am going to finish it just yet. It is one of the those dramas that do not have a huge climax, but just a well written plot that teaches great life lessons in each episode. However, the curiosity of Teacher Ma’s dark past may just keep me going back!