Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beat Downs

I think I've mentioned in a post long ago that while Korea has "banned" corporal punishment, they still totally do it. At my old school, I had students tell me about being hit in class by teachers. I've had some foreigners tell me about seeing kids get smacked upside the head by other teachers. I was pretty sure something went on at my old school, but it was always behind closed doors so I never knew for sure.

At my current school, I've seen it. So far I've seen kids stand in a squatting position and hold it (like yoga), stand with their arms straight out in front of them and hold it (again like yoga) and the last (and most painful in my opinion), they held out their hands palms up and got smacked with a stick. It was very surreal watching this because that would never happen in the US (although it probably should a bit). My director is never cruel in his punishments (in that he doesn't go overboard), but the kids get the message not to mess around.

It's an interesting dynamic because while I see this director actively punish the kids, he is also much more loving and friendly to the kids too. He plays around and jokes with them. They aren't afraid of him by any means (unless they didn't do their homework). The strangest part of all of it is really the kids who aren't being punished. They totally want to see other kids fail. They will tattle on each other and then watch while the "bad" one gets in trouble. In some ways I can understand it - they did the work and want the kid who didn't to get punished. But I am so sympathetic towards other people that I still try and protect the "bad" kids by making them do extra homework, or by rewarding the good kids with candy or no homework.

And while it may have happened and I'm just unaware of it, I will let you know the first time a kid gets punished because of me :)

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