She’s not my student—she’s my friend—and she attends one of the better middle schools in Beautiful Gyeongju. During our last conversation she revealed that one of her teachers punishes her students by, first, holding her fingers almost like a long-nailed vampire or ghoul, and, second, by raking them against the asscheeks of her disobedient pupils. She whacked one such student several times with a meterstick or a pointer or something, and he was so badly hurt he had to go to the hospital, telling my friend that his behind was covered with black and blue welts.

They’re usually punished, physically, for not doing their homework.

One other teacher at this proverbial good school, who teaches Home Economics, is also remarkable: she apparently comes to class, tells the students she doesn’t feel like teaching them, and then walks out, leaving them to their own devices. On the rare occasion when she does actually stay in the classroom, she spends her time quietly organizing the contents of her purse.

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