01 April 2008

Crime and Punishment (sort of)

Here's a pic of a couple of my students in a typical pose.

When Korean kids misbehave they're put into this "hands up" posture for punishment. They really hate it and it is very effective at bringing the unruly crowd to heel. Not that I run any kind of super-strict classroom but the kids sometimes go a little crazy or can't stop making a racket. As you can see in the photo they're kind of smirking a bit 'cause I snapped their picture with my phonecam.

Sometimes I used to yell at the students but this has little effect on those intent on mischief and upsets the "good" students. (I have the voice of a drill sergeant, you can hear me all over my (small) school when I do cut loose.) I've been avoiding yelling at all for quite a while, but sometimes it's still called for. You can only say "Please be quiet" so many times under the din in the classroom before a dramatic increase in decibels is called for.

Other more creative "punishments" include having the misbehaving student sit at my desk for the class. This has two effects: they don't like it and are less likely to "do something to have to sit next to Rod-teacher" next time and they actually seem to get some studying done. It's funny, sometimes the students who have had the "front-row special" for a couple of classes start sitting in the front of the class on their own. I think it might be because they get a bit more positive attention about actually doing their classroom exercises.

When they get the "hands up" punishment it's usually for something like repeated outbursts in class, being a complete lunatic in the hallway or for something more serious. I usually place them at the end of my hallway by the front desk where the director can see them. They get scolded by teachers passing by if their behaviour was really bad. Usually a 5 minute application of justice is enough of a reminder and they are then invited back to class. I haven't had to do it very often for the past couple of months but a sudden influx of new students had a reaction similar to something you'd see in a prison yard scene from Shawshank Redemption.

What's really funny is that the kids who are the "worst offenders" (they aren't bad kids, they just need time outs now and then) are some of the kids who bond with me the most. They usually end up being much better students after a while, too. I've also noticed that the "smarter" students are also, more often than not, the ones who are more prone to mischief. Or at least that's the way it seems.

Anyway, I know that if I did anything like this in a school back home I'd be keelhauled. I'll be damned if I see anything wrong with this style of punishment though. A little instructive contemplation and redirection does wonders for classroom order.

[sob] I'm a MONSTER!! [sob]

So why the hell do the little buggers climb all over me and stick to me like fly paper all the time? Damned if I'll ever figure it out. I'll have to have some of my own sometime to see if I can figure it out.

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