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  • NMonk
  • Veteran

    • 205

    • March 04, 2011, 05:39:39 pm
    • Seoul
Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« on: May 12, 2011, 11:12:30 am »
Since I started teaching high school level I've been really surprised by how acceptable it is considered here to sleep in class. To be honest, I don't have a problem with it in my classes at all, but when I wonder the corridors in my free periods and look in the Korean teachers classes sometimes up to half the class is sleeping while the teacher is speaking. I can't get my head round how acceptable it is here, I fully understand how much work Korean kids have to do but I still think it's extremely rude.

Anyway to my point in the U.K, at least at my school, if my eyes so much as looked like they were going to close I got a good bullocking. Are there any other countries where it is acceptable to sleep in class? What was your experience as a student with being punished for sleeping in class?
Check out http://alienteachers.com for my blog, FREE lesson plans featured by the British Council and general living in Korea resources.


  • cansom
  • Adventurer

    • 39

    • April 27, 2011, 09:43:12 am
    • Korea
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 11:23:59 am »
I was pretty surprised by this too, I teach at a girls middle school and in one of my first grade 3 classes nearly 7/8 people were sleeping. I couldn't believe it and personally found it pretty disrespectful. At the end of the class I finally said, it is not nice to sleep in class! And they have been a bit better at not totally ignoring me. It seems like the students that sleep in class are the ones that are really uninterested in learning English or are more advanced and don't seem to have any problems when I ask them to present their dialogues in front of the class.
If anyone in my schools in Canada fell asleep during class, not only would they be humiliated they would also be given detention or some sort of punishment.
This also goes for the non-stop talking in class, which I used to do when I was in school. Though if I was asked to stop and didn't, I would get detention or extra homework. Only occassionaly do I see the teachers hit the girls on the palms of their hands with the wooden stick, but not in my classes.


Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 11:33:04 am »
I slept in nearly every class in high school. Some would try to wake me up but not all. Others would wake me up, ask me questions, and when I'd get them right, they'd just tell me to go back to sleep. I've found the students with poorer grades were given more crap when they slept, but again, not all teachers exerted the effort. My health teacher in high school would pour water on people's heads.


  • cruisemonkey
  • Expert Waygook

    • 853

    • March 25, 2011, 02:17:57 pm
    • China
    more
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 11:33:50 am »
It just goes to show the 'joke' state of K public school education. And Obama wants to emulate it in the U.S.?... he's lost his mind!
The Ks once gave me five minutes notice. I didn't know what to do with the extra time.


  • NMonk
  • Veteran

    • 205

    • March 04, 2011, 05:39:39 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 11:36:23 am »
Ye I really can't get my head round it, I mean what is the point in teaching someone who is asleep? Surely you're failing them as a teacher? Students have tried it once or twice in my class when I first started but they learnt very quickly it isn't acceptable.
Check out http://alienteachers.com for my blog, FREE lesson plans featured by the British Council and general living in Korea resources.


  • heyitslep
  • Super Waygook

    • 253

    • April 08, 2011, 04:51:52 pm
    • Near Cheongju
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 11:38:40 am »
I slept in nearly every class in high school. Some would try to wake me up but not all. Others would wake me up, ask me questions, and when I'd get them right, they'd just tell me to go back to sleep. I've found the students with poorer grades were given more crap when they slept, but again, not all teachers exerted the effort. My health teacher in high school would pour water on people's heads.
Yeah, I was the same. I don't remember anything from pre-calculus or calculus as I slept through those classes every day. No one made an effort even to nudge me. I attended one of the top high schools in the nation as well [3 time blue ribbon school].


  • Andyroo
  • Expert Waygook

    • 676

    • February 09, 2011, 12:49:41 pm
    • Korea
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 11:41:06 am »
I wouldn't even dream of going to sleep at my high school.
I don't tolerate it at all but the Korean teachers seem really lenient on it.
One student said "I am sick" when I stopped them trying to sleep so I suggested they go to the nurse ..... that suggestion seemed completely alien to my co teacher.

They did about 1 hour of pretty lame sports (jump rope where most of the time their just standing in queue) and they expected special treatment like they had just climbed Mount Everest. Similar result after mid term tests even after a 4 day break. They are physically fine (at least they should be) but everyone keeps accepting they are tired.

It's a vocational school and I get the impression my students don't have a very tough after school schedule so they just seem really really soft.

I empathise a little because I stopped studying Japanese as soon as I was allowed to in High School and am thankful I didn't have to progress with it past the age of 14. If you don't really want to learn a language then studying it can be a nightmare.


The other one is not bringing a pen. This happened quite a bit in the first few weeks of my classes even though they are high school students . .  . . . . you would be assessed for the special needs class if you did that more than once back home.


  • andyfoggy
  • Super Waygook

    • 357

    • December 07, 2010, 12:11:55 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 11:41:59 am »
I never slept in any of my classes in any school, not even uni
not acceptable at all, we never even tried it as we all knew what would happen


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 11:43:52 am »
Quote
I slept in nearly every class in high school. Some would try to wake me up but not all. Others would wake me up, ask me questions, and when I'd get them right, they'd just tell me to go back to sleep. I've found the students with poorer grades were given more crap when they slept, but again, not all teachers exerted the effort.

Haha, I used to have this business studies teacher whose voice could put someone on ecstasy to sleep. I used to sleep in pretty much every one of his classes. Occasionally, I'd get called out on it but he mainly focussed on keeping the poorer students awake. I don't think I used to sleep in other classes although I'm sure if I was at school from 8.30am to 6.30pm or even as late as 11.30pm (as many of my high school kids do), I'd have slept in R.E., French, I.T., Maths and any other subject that happened to bore me at the time.

Quote
It just goes to show the 'joke' state of K public school education. And Obama wants to emulate it in the U.S.?... he's lost his mind!

He wants to emulate Korea's academic achievements but I doubt he knows what that would entail.

I don't think that Korean public school education is a joke.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


  • heyitslep
  • Super Waygook

    • 253

    • April 08, 2011, 04:51:52 pm
    • Near Cheongju
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 11:50:52 am »
So then we're all in agreement that just like back home, some students sleep in class and think it acceptable while some don't and think it's rude?


  • cruisemonkey
  • Expert Waygook

    • 853

    • March 25, 2011, 02:17:57 pm
    • China
    more
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 11:56:26 am »
One student said "I am sick" when I stopped them trying to sleep so I suggested they go to the nurse ..... that suggestion seemed completely alien to my co teacher.

When I first came to my boys middle school, the K co-teachers were agast I would not let the soccer players sleep in class. Apparently, being allowed to sleep in class was one of the perks they got for being on the school team; and, for the future fame & fortune they will bring K-land by bringing home the World Cup.  ::)
The Ks once gave me five minutes notice. I didn't know what to do with the extra time.


Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2011, 12:01:18 pm »
We were NEVER allowed to sleep in class and I was completely shocked to see that it's acceptable here.  I always tried to stay awake but sometimes I would nod off for no more than a few seconds, but the students that really tried to sleep never got away with it.  I can only remember one instance in middle school when a student fell asleep and our teacher let him sleep until the next class started.  Even then, the student was at least punished because he was late to his next class and got a "strike" (three strikes = one detention, ha).

Since I know I can't effectively alter the situation in Korean schools, since most of the Korean teachers don't care to alter it, I don't mind when it's only a couple students sleeping in my classes.  But sometimes almost an entire table will be asleep, and then it seems to catch on to the next table until about half the class is sleeping.  THAT pisses me off.


Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 12:02:55 pm »
I was guilty of falling asleep a few times in High School.  The best was when I fell asleep during the last period of the day and nobody bothered to wake me up when class was over.  I woke up to an empty classroom.  WOOPS :P


Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 12:05:51 pm »
It just goes to show the 'joke' state of K public school education. And Obama wants to emulate it in the U.S.?... he's lost his mind!

I've been thinking the same thing. I feel like writing him a letter telling him how Korean schools really are.

Anyways, on the sleeping. I remember taking a nap at the end of English class every day in high school, since I had study hall in the same room the next period, so the teacher didn't care. I must have dozed off in Spanish class too, but since my level was far better than anyone else in class I dont think she minded.

Oh, and I slept in Valenciano class when I lived in Spain. I didn't have to take it, but still had to sit in the class with everyone else. Teacher didn't like that very much.


Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 12:07:57 pm »
I went to high school in the midwest USA in the 1970's and students sleeping in class was not allowed.  On the other hand, we were not in school much past 3pm.  I was not one to sleep in class, but I recall some who did.  There were only mild consequences.

I remember a phyics teacher giving one of my 11th grade classmates a hard time for putting his head on the desk in class.  But even as the teacher scolded, he recognized that some students had after school jobs, which were somewhat common among high school students in my area in those days and sometimes of-necessity.

Some of these Korean students are up very late.  That is how hard the system pushes them.  On occasions when I have them to myself, I come right out and tell them it's okay to sleep in my class.  This comes as a great surprise to them.  It actually wakes some of them up.  Some hear my generosity and express guilt and remorse and actually try to stay alert.

I used to take it personally when students fell asleep in my classes, until I realized they do it with other teachers as well.

To be completely honest, in my experience growing up in a bi-lingual household and through my own efforts to learn new languages, I consider foreign language learning to be one of those things that can still take place to some extent at sub-aware states of consciousness.  Not that one can rely on this all the time.  But, some of you may have noticed when falling asleep while watching Korean language television, that some of it is getting in.  You don't have to be focused and paying attention for some of it to soak in.  The sound and meaning content may actually still be accessing at some level.

I say let them sleep.  Especially since many of the Korean teachers and even the vice principle at my school, occasionally take naps.


  • Redvers
  • Waygookin

    • 21

    • May 10, 2011, 04:37:16 pm
    • Boryeong
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2011, 12:17:15 pm »
I went to a traditional South African all boys school and if you slept there was hell to pay despite your 4am pre-season rugby start and cricket practice until 17:30. The other school I attended depended on the teacher's discretion. An a sleeping student is infinitely easier when you have other students to teach than dealing with a tired and restless one. It depends I suspect on the severity of disciplinary measures available to the teacher. I have no issue with it given the hours K kids actually work but if it was a lazy failing student then it is a different case.

As an aside I had a friend at uni who used to fall asleep in every lecture, ok he is still there, but I remember sitting next to him in English 8:00 and then again at 12:00 for Philosophy during which he finally woke never mind the Accounting, Economics and Sociology lectures that happened between. He used to sit in the middle of the row right in the centre of the lecture venue.   


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2011, 12:39:07 pm »
I attended a performing arts high school in South Africa.  Since we were always busy with shows/concerts/performances of some sort, we were allowed to sleep in class in the final week of rehearsals and when we were performing because we'd be in the theatre from 3:00 to 11pm and then stay up to finish our homework.  We also had rehearsals and/or concerts on weekends and most of us were involved in outside orchestras/shows/work in addition to our school activities so the teachers were pretty lenient for the most part.  Although the teachers understood that it was sometimes necessary for us to sleep in class, it was still frowned upon and the onus was on us to catch up the work missed (as it is in Korea).  However, my school was an exception and we had to maintain certain grades in order to stay at the school.   


  • katrink2
  • Adventurer

    • 72

    • September 19, 2010, 03:39:27 pm
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2011, 01:10:03 pm »
My high schoolers sit in the same seat in the same room for 14 hours a day. That's before hagwon. I challenge any of you to consistently stay awake through that, day in and day out. (I'm especially sympathetic toward the girls, who won't be able to do much with their education anyway.)

It can work as a classroom management tactic though-- "Class, if you get through this lesson and participate the best you can, I'll let you sleep the last 5 minutes." Never have I seen so many English-speaking angels.


  • konayuki
  • Adventurer

    • 63

    • March 07, 2011, 09:22:09 am
    • Seoul
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2011, 01:21:35 pm »
Never would sleep in class. Never.

I work at a middle school in a low-income area. Many of these kids do NOT go to academies after school, they just go hang out with their friends or around the school. So I don't usually allow them to sleep in class, I do have exceptions, though. I really do hate the "I'm sick" excuse, especially since they magically get better after class is ended.


  • IslandGook
  • Veteran

    • 115

    • April 19, 2011, 04:18:49 pm
    • Jindo Island
Re: Were you allowed to sleep in class?
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2011, 01:33:47 pm »
I wasn't allowed to sleep in class, from grade school up through college.  Although frankly, in grad school if we wanted to sleep a fair number of the professors seemed to think that if you wanted to pay that much money for a nap, you earned it. 

Here, I know my students don't get a ton of sleep.  Some of them regularly seem to get 3-4 hours a night.  Sometimes the reasons seem legit to me (lots of homework, hagwon, etc.).  Sometimes they don't seem that way (too much Starcraft, etc.).  But honestly it's not my role to judge or police that.  I'm here to teach English as best I can, and also to try and help these kids reach their potential as best I can.  Sometimes that's going to mean they need some sleep. 

I've got a couple of couches in the back of my classroom.  They are nicer than the ones in my apartment.  Shame.  But I've offered to let a kid just go back and lay down on the couch if he wanted to sleep.  I did it without malice or anger too, but I think just the recognition let the student see that I wanted to help, and he woke up for the rest of class.  Maybe someday a student will take the couch option.  Honestly, that's ok with me.  If they are going to sleep in class they aren't learning anyway, so they might as well get decent sleep out of it.

I also sit in on my CoT's classes, just to help out if needed.  If I notice a kid is sleeping, I'll go over and start a note conversation with them, just writing back and forth in English.  Maybe something as simple as asking them how much sleep they got, or how they are doing (I'm middle school, so that's doable).  Maybe I even ask them questions with words they don't know so that we have to look in the dictionary, or I play pictionary with them to get them to understand.  Either way, I figure that they are using/learning some English instead of sleeping.  Even if the lesson is on grammar, I'd rather they get some practice writing than just nap during the class.  Plus, again, it lets the students know you care about them and notice them.  That can go a long way sometimes.

Finally, it's been my observation that the students who are sleeping are usually the ones who are furthest behind in class.  Whether that's correlation or cause doesn't really matter.  What matters is that at some point the class material is too advanced for them to keep up and so their attention and energy drifts.  Then they fall asleep.  It seems important to me to keep them engaged, whether that means asking them questions directly or maintaining eye contact with them (and slowing down/simplifying if they look lost) just depends on the situation.  I don't want to teach to the lowest common denominator, but I want to at least make an effort to make it accessible to the lower-level students so that they don't just tune out altogether.