Yesterday was teachers' day in Korea. On Friday the office was filled with flowers. Traditionally teachers received carnations from students and ex-students but, looking around the office, it seems to me red roses have replaced carnations.
One kid wrote an essay explaining that said that teachers are like second parents and I do not think she is alone in that thought. The majority of the kids live in the dormitories and only see their parents every other weekend at most. The homeroom teacher has a huge role in their lives, guiding them not only in school, but in life. The teachers provide the discipline as well as affection. One kid wrote that, "the teachers can give us the touch of affection when I need it".
It is hard for me to imagine parents turning over so much of the responsibility for raising their children to teachers, but that speaks to my upbringing in a society where we pay mouth service to respecting teachers. I think the respect for teachers here comes mainly from the Confucian influence in society. I think it is probably waning a bit, but it is still strong.