Fever Dreams Of Corporal Punishment

I’ve been stuck with a fever for the last few days. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s something you expect when you work this closely with little kids. The worst is actually when I get home and relax. The fever really hits me at around 9PM and knocks me out. I’d like to be bedridden, but I have to work. Luckily, I won’t be tutoring tomorrow and I’ll have a weekend to get my strength up again. Hopefully by Monday things will be better.

I find it hard to sleep when I have a fever. It’s never restful. Thankfully I was able to get a lot of rest last night. Right now, I’m typing from under a duvet and starting a good sweat. I’m drinking lots of fluids and using Ibuprofen to keep the fever down.

I’ve received some criticisms about the corporal punishment articles that have been published on my blog. I’m surprised that I haven’t received more comments on these issues. Notable exceptions include a few emails from people whom I’ve connected with and a few anonymous hate comments, which I’ve deleted. It’s listed in my disclaimer. Leaving an anonymous comment will normally lead to its deletion. If it’s hateful and not constructive, you better believe that it will be deleted. The main thing that came up in these anonymous comments is how immoral it is for people to work at schools with these types of policies.

First of all, corporal punishment is endemic in Taiwan and other Asian countries. It happens a lot, and not just by the teachers. It happens a lot at home. I’ve had kids come to school telling me that their parents beat them. Other kids come to school with bruises on their faces and no real explanations. Some of them are too young to be able to express themselves. It’s not just in Asian countries as well, this sort of thing happens in America. People aren’t aware of it or aren’t comfortable talking about issues such as these. Corporal punishment for children used to be part of school discipline. It was slowly fazed out when abuse was finally legitimized.

The reports are factual, and I’m not going to get into the way that I obtained them. Anonymity and privacy issues are essential in these types of matters. I wouldn’t want anyone getting fired over some posts on my blog. This is why they are presented in this way.

Here is a comment from one of the authors about this situation:

I can see how infuriating these posts can be for people who aren’t aware of the situation. Let me tell you this, there isn’t anything that I can do about it. I’ve talked to the administration, I’ve tried mentioning things to the abusing teacher, I’ve talked things over with other foreign teachers, but it doesn’t lead anywhere. I’m not going to contact the police or quit my job, since I plan on leaving Taiwan for a few months soon. It’s not worth finding something else for just a few months.

Needless to say, at least I am exposing an ugly truth in the system here. I haven’t come upon a lot of literature on this in Taiwan and the problem is mostly swept aside by administrators, which is fine for most parents, because they seem to use corporal punishment at home as well.

Schools like Papa Jordan, Chocolate and other buxiban that cater to preschoolers have reputations. They need to produce a certain level of students. This puts pressure on the administrators to get the results they need for their owners. The administrators in turn put pressure on the teaching directors, who then exert it on the teachers. The teachers then push the children. In some cases, this leads to really ugly behavior.

Of all the Taiwanese teachers I’ve dealt with my three years here, I’ve only seen two really abuse the kids and they are at the same branch of the same school. However they abused the kids violently, in a manner which I found unacceptable. There was nothing I could do, don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried. It leads nowhere. The only place it will lead me is getting another job, which I am unwilling to do because I already work at three different schools. On top of that, regulations for ARCs have recently changed and what used to take about 3 weeks takes about 2 months.

By Nick Forinterieur, reporting from the Taipei ghetto.

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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