K-Drama Premiere: “Black Dog” Familiarizes With The Different Struggles Faced By Young Teachers

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Black Dog takes the road to understanding what it means to be a teacher

Aiming to melt hearts with its heartfelt story about teachers, Black Dog draws attention with its pensive atmosphere and realistic acting.

The drama tells the story about a young teacher who has been hired at a temporary position in a private school. As she interacts with the other teachers and students of the school, she gets to learn about their various struggles. Through these experiences she grows as a person and also help the people around her with the various issues that they are facing.

Seo Hyun Jin plays Ko Ha Neul a new teacher at a temporary position. Joining her is Ra Mi Ran who plays Park Sung Soon, the head of the college advisory group and Ha Joon who plays Do Yeon Woo, another teacher in the college advisory team.

Premiere Week Rating:

Read: K-Drama Sneak Peek: Seo Hyun Jin, Ra Mi Ran & Ha Joon Step Into The Lives Of Teachers In “Black Dog”

Premiere Week Recap

Ko Ha Neul’s Journey To Becoming A Short-term Teacher

The story begins in the year 2007 where a group of students are going on a school field trip on a bus. As the bus keeps moving towards its destination, the weather gets worse as heavy rains starts. While the bus passes through a tunnel an accident occurs.

The passengers from the bus escape but one of the students, Ko Ha Neul gets stuck because of her injured leg. The teacher Kim Young Ha goes back to the bus to save her and gets her back to safety. But he ends up getting killed in the accident as the bus explodes before he could reach the safety zone.

At the Young Ha’s funeral, his bereaved mother complains at how her son did not get the right treatment from the school. He did not even receive an insurance for his death from the school. However, the school officials explained that because he was a short-term teacher, the school is not liable to give him any insurance benefits.

As Ha Neul sees the pitiful situation of the family she could only wonder on what could have possibly made her teacher go that far to save her life. That incident makes her determined to become a teacher herself.

Daechi High School

Fast forward to the present, Ha Neul is preparing for the teacher certification examination while also applying for teaching jobs. She clears the application stage for Daechi High School and gets shortlisted for the next selection process.

The Vice Principal of the school is looking to hire new short-term teacher because the previous one left due to overabundance of work from the departments of College Advisory Group and Senior Class Group. The two teams do not get along and are always at loggerheads with each other.

The College Advisory Group is responsible for assisting students in preparing for their college admissions. The department is headed by Park Sung Soon, a feisty lady who is very dedicated to her work. Do Yeon Woo is another member of the team who is a very competent and popular teacher.

During the next stage of the selection process, Ha Neul and her fellow candidates are asked to give a class demonstration. Ha Neul manages to impress with her class demonstration but she makes a tiny mistake while explaining on how she has referenced her teaching materials. Having made a mistake, Ha Neul does not think she will get hired, but then she receives a call saying that she has been accepted. Thus, Ko Ha Neul’s new journey begins as a teacher.

Ko Ha Neul’s Problems

While Ha Neul gets selected, it is revealed that she is Moon So Ho’s niece, who is the Head of School Administration. Though she was not aware about her relative working there, she gets accused of receiving benefit through nepotism.

As everyone at the school gets to know about it, they start judging her and giving her a cold shoulder. While she contemplates on quitting the position, she changes her mind after Park Sung Hoon who is already aware of the truth speaks to her.

Meanwhile, she has another obstacle in the form of Kim Yi Boon who is her course partner. Kim Yi Boon tries to have an upper-hand over Ha Neul by ordering her around and forcing her decisions on her. As the two discuss their lesson plan, Ha Neul expresses her intention to teach through a PowerPoint presentation.

Having not prepared one herself, Yi Boon asks Ha Neul to share hers to her. But she has too many opinions and Ha Neul gets tired out.

On the other hand, more problems awaits Ha Neul. First she gets to her class late. Then IT system issues took a long time to resolve. And when she opened her presentation, she realized it was completely messy as Yi Boon has marked almost all her slides for making the changes.

Later, she notices that Yi Boon has also taken credit for the work done by her. She further goes on to demean Ha Neul’s work and asks her to make further changes.

Having had enough Ha Neul speaks up against her. With her ego hurt, Yi Boon will now try to make things difficult for Ha Neul even more in the future.

Premiere Week Afterthoughts

The premiere week episodes progressed slowly as it showed Ko Ha Neul’s journey that began from the incident that sparked her interest in becoming a teacher. It went on to show the process of her finally getting a position as a short-term teacher at Daechi High School. The brilliant acting of the cast made it  impossible to look away from the screen for even a second.

The main leads did a great job in drawing in attention to the happenings around them. While Seo Hyun Jin’s character, Ko Ha Neul appeared meek, she had her firm beliefs making her an admirable protagonist. The strong points of the main lead so far was that she knows how to speak up when wronged, and does it graciously.

Also, it was impossible not to love Ra Mi Ran. She had always impressed with her performances in every role and here too, as Park Sung Soon, she is the ideal mentor for Ko Ha Neul. She guides Ha Neul in the right direction when she makes a mistake as well as gives her a helping hand when she is in trouble.

The drama put into perspective on how hard it is to get a job anywhere in South Korea and the struggles to make ends meet while chasing a dream. As for becoming a teacher too, there were short-term and permanent positions and there is discrimination based on that too.

Besides that, there were many other things such as dealing with students’ parents, and guiding the students that was tackled in Black Dog. Notably, this drama gave an in-depth focus on the teachers’ lives and does it quite realistically.

Black Dog airs every Monday and Tuesday via tvN at 9.30 pm KST.

Image and Video Credit: tvN