national

Teacher gets pay cut for putting chalk in yawning student’s mouth

70 Comments

The head teacher at a public elementary school in Kochi Prefecture had his salary cut by 10% for three months after putting chalk in a student’s mouth, it was learned Tuesday following an announcement from the Kochi Prefectural Board of Education.

The male teacher in his 50s put chalk in a boy’s mouth on June 24, after warning the class that he would do so to the next student who yawned. The boy is said to have told the teacher that he didn’t mind and opened his mouth, and the teacher put the chalk around 3 centimeters long in the boy’s mouth for a couple of seconds. The boy was absent from school the next day and only turned up to school four more days before classes finished for the summer break.

The teacher has apologized and pledged to do better in the future.

© News reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

70 Comments
Login to comment

Hey, the kid asked for it!

Seriously, is this so traumatic that the boy had to miss school? I don't think so. Personally, it really bugs me to see the huge jaw-cracking yawns that some kids give during class. They need to be taught some manners; if not at home, then at school. At least they should have the simple courtesy to at least try and restrain it, or cover it. I can't begin to imagine what would have happened to me if I did that when I was in school...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Poor teacher. The student deserved it completely. Japanese students think that everything is ok in the school room. The parents of the idiot students should be punished too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The boy was absent from school the next day and only turned up to school four more days before classes finished for the summer break.

What a wuss.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Parents need to tell their son to HTFU!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let the kids yawn. It's like coughing or sneezing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let the kids yawn. It's like coughing or sneezing.

The boy did it on purpose. The teacher most probably have prepared for his lesson, have put efforts to make the lesson interesting and what he sees in return - sleeping students. Anybody in his position would get annoyed by the bad attitude of the students who come to school to sleep and not to learn anything useful.

I think the student and his parents should apologige to the teacher and not the teacher to the student. But it is Japan, the teachers have to apologize to students for teaching them manners.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I used to teach at elementary schools, I walked into a grade six class and the home-room teacher was sitting at his desk at the front of the room, fast asleep.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Ministry of Education needs to actually teach teachers how to deal with problematic students. As it stands right now, teachers are not allowed to even kick out students who are disruptive. And with teachers having no control over the students can only smack them on the head or put chalk in their mouth.

The teacher should have used some common sense, and just ignored the student.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yawning isn't sleeping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have to admit, that teacher has balls... in a few months we may be reading about a teacher bludgeoned to death by a student who wanted to get revenge for having chalk put in his mouth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So what this a straight put-in, or did the teacher try his "ace in the hole" shot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you don't want the kids yawning, don't give them so much homework

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyway who the hell would want to be a teacher? All teachers must become mentally ill to various degrees having to deal with kids all day long. I could/would never do it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regardless of the behavior of the student, teacher cannot touch the boy in a aggressive manner, possibly causing injuries, regardless of intentions. For some teachers, it is sometimes rewarding but can be frustrating work with little pay. Today with the generation gap in Japan, teachers has to better understand the difficulty of being a student. School should provide more open forum with teachers and students to discuss some of the differences and let students speak more openly and be receptive to their suggestions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A bit of common sense on both sides probably would have been a better idea.

Putting something into someone's mouth is just plain stupid for various reasons (not the least of which would be hygiene). And the boy could have had a few manners and tried to hide the yawn(s).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

smart ass kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The teacher should not be sorry, chalk doesn't hurt you and it serves the kid right for being a smart ass.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Three centimeters of chalk for a couple seconds? C'mon. Everybody needs to eat more chalk. It's healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you don't want the kids yawning, don't give them so much homework

Many schools don't give any homework. The kids don't have time to do it, they're too busy doing bukatsu and then going to juku. I've even heard mothers complain when teachers have given homework, because it gets in the way of juku.

In his 50s and presumably with decades of interacting with smartass kids, you'd think this teacher would have sussed out by now that when you make a threat on the lines of 'If you do that again, I'll....' it's a dead cert that the smartaleck is going to do exactly what he's just been told not to do, and do it in a way that demands attention. Never threaten a kid with something you're not prepared to carry out, or with something that's going to get you in deep water.

It's the kind of thinking that says it's ok to expose oneself on a train.

Yes, maybe it is. Let's just overlook the fact that exposing yourself on a train, taking pictures up a girl's skirt and chucking chalk in kids' mouths gets you in trouble. Or maybe you'd like to expand your theory and say that in some societies the thinking is that it's OK to shoot up your schoolmates? Or is that different because it's not Japan?

And cleo isn't a 'he', by the way. Darn cheek.

:-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is sad ... Most teachers I know, get into the game because the love to work with kids and want to help them. That there is little support doesn't surprise me. That's the nature of modern times, so it's not surprising that a few get a bit silly... Putting chalk in a kids mouth? Was the brat's mouth prized open and the chalk rammed down? Of course not. Total overreaction and so what ... My god, how times have changed. I knew teachers who flogged us with short thick straps specially made for the purpose just for looking sideways. A pay cut? Give me a break.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can think of better uses for a stick of chalk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

don't teach such boring classes but nevertheless that piece of chalk might just give that young man a head start in life. CHALK FOR THE MASSES!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am a High School teacher here in Japan. In many classes, more so in "low level" schools, students do anything from playing video games to sleeping to fixing their make-up during class. But, there are always some students who do want to learn. So, I teach for them. And besides, no matter what the students do, I still get paid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why didn't the student come to school for three days? Post Chalk Shock?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Calcium deficiency is a serious problem in Japan. The teaacher could have spun this better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Besides, if this chalk-serving teacher has been teaching for a long time, a 10% pay cut is next to nothing. A Japanese teacher with seniority once told me the school board could hire four "new" teachers for what he was getting paid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sensei258 shows exactly what the problem is. Apathy. "no matter what we do we get paid." Sad indeed! Timtak, Post Dramatic Chalk Stress Syndrome. Did the kid get into any problem for being a smart ass or was he rewarded by getting this teach in trouble.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yet another reason to keep your kids out of the public education system. Yawning has many causes: tiredness, stress, overwork, lack of stimulation, boredom. The teacher is a jerk whether or not the kid deserve it or not is irrelevant. Chalk also contains talc, a known carcinogenic agent... so lets hope the kid doesn't develop cancer in a few years thanks to this teachers abuse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WTF is it with teachers? Yawning is a natural necessary just like going to take a pee. Forbidding this in the first place is completely wrong! Unless the teacher and students are into SM, of course.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chalk contains talc? Not in this century. http://www.ishn.com/CDA/Articles/Industry_News/c21857886bfb7010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Noborito - It's not the teacher's apathy when you're in a class of 40 students and only 10 or so even want to be there. It's student apathy. I always do my best, and am well-prepared for each lesson. Contrary to what you seem to believe, I do actually care about the students and their future. But, you can't force them to learn, it's sad. I have met teachers who are like what you are saying, but I am not one of them. I just tell myself "no matter what the students do, I still get paid" to make myself feel better after teaching a class where the students COMPLETELY ignore the lesson.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Calcium deficiency is a serious problem in Japan. The teacher could have spun this better.

He needs an agent.

Taka

0 ( +0 / -0 )

spudman - This is Japan and we are talking about a public school.... been to your local yakusho lately? Notice all the tables and chairs no matter which yakusho you visit?... Its like stepping into a time machine to the 1950's.... notice that even in the last few years there are report of asbestos in buildings?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wow - teachers in my school would never have been paid!

I'm just amazed they still use chalk. My son's school has a touch pad whiteboard linked up to the computer. Very hi-tech and not seen it in any company I've visited

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If ya don't eat yer chalk, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer chalk?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

EnragedBees - Good one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

enragedbees - ditto

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a teacher, I just place a 'Y' next to a yawning student's name and make a point of remembering him/her at grading time.

"Don't get mad, get even." JFK

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I used to put garbage (paper, erasers, etc.) on the heads of sleeping students. I would gently build a small pyre of gomi on their heads to the delight of the rest of the class. Then I would slam my hand on the desk and watch them jump. It was delightful. Was this wrong? Would I not have loved to defend my actions to some parent? I wished they'd brought it.

Props to Mr Kotter. Wish I could donate a couple of bucks to make it up. I hope he has the support of his fellow teachers on this one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sorry. I'm trying really hard to muster some sort of outrage at the teacher here, but I just can't.

I can imagine the sort of kid he was dealing with here. And besides, it was chalk, for Pete's sake, not a handful of asbestos. Also, this wasn't about an outright prohibition on yawning for the sake of banning yawning; it about attempting to refocus the kids' attention in the distracting summer heat. Sometimes, mild threats work. And this was a very mild threat – and fate – that the class smartass decided to tempt; the little scamp (I'm trying to be nice here) literally asked for it. As a parent, I wouldn't be too happy to know I raised a child who could so brazenly challenge a teacher with, "Oh, yeah? Whatcha' gonna' do about it?"

I mean seriously, this is probably one of the best lessons this kid will ever learn in life: 1) Say what you mean and mean what you say. 2) Don't weep when your own hubris paints you into a corner when you're obviously in the wrong.

Besides, there's a lot more to this story than what we can see on the surface of this article. It seems rather clear to me based on personal experience that this event didn't just occur in a vacuum; that the kid felt compelled to challenge the teacher's authority, and that the teacher felt equally compelled to carry out this threat suggests some history between these two. Also, that the kid stayed out of school the next day, then only sporadically attended thereafter suggests that there’s far more at work here with this kid’s attitudes towards school in general than simple chalk abuse. Maybe it was the chalk that broke the camel’s back, but again . . . the kid did ask for it.

BTW, on the front lines, so to speak, white boards suck stupendous, virtually unquantifiable amounts of sheer arse in terms of illegibility for the kids in the back of the room and inefficiency in terms of how much more costly those damned markers are than chalk. And of course, there's always the dreaded, "Damn, this marker’s out of ink. So's this one. Crap! So's THIS one!" White boards are vastly overrated and in desperate need of design revolution that takes them beyond a form largely unchanged since their debut in the early ‘80s. The wow-factor wore off a long time ago for me.

I'll take a traditional blackboard and chalk any day of the week over white boards. Besides, if the teacher had stuffed a white board marker in the kid's mouth, he'd be up on potential poisoning charges, rather than just picking on a kid who literally dared the teacher to discipline him. Then this discussion would be entirely different and all teachers in Japan would be condemned as evil ogres bent on killing the youth of tomorrow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain I agree with you. And thank you for saving me time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain: Good post, the kid did ask for it so the teacher just did what the kid asked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and when the principal gets caught looking up some girl's skirt, his salary will be cut 2% for one month...typical backwards japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain i also agree with you :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain -- outrage, maybe not, I'll give you that. But a teacher, particularly one in his 50s, is supposed to demonstrate more maturity than the youngsters he's responsible for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chalk? The teacher should have tossed in one of those hot chili peppers. That would have been more fun!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with LFRA, except about the chalk. I can write twice as fast with a whiteboard marker, and they're much better for illustrations, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don`t get it??!! Was there a problem?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There really is nothing teachers can do with disrespectful students these days. No detention, no failing, no consequences of any kind. Japan depends on cooperation on the part of its citizens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the teacher was doing his job, there wouldn't be so many students yawning!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sharky,

Maybe, but developing an interest is necessary as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good I think the teacher did okay. Some kids today especially in the USA don't have any respect for adults. I think that what is needed is more discipline and less letting younger generations get away with more and more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can imagine the sort of kid he was dealing with here. And besides, it was chalk, for Pete's sake, not a handful of asbestos.

If you put chalk in a yawning person's mouth at the food court at the mall, you would be charged with assault. Why should it be any different here?

A 10 percent pay cut over 3 months seems way too lenient. .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also, that the kid stayed out of school the next day, then only sporadically attended thereafter suggests that there’s far more at work here with this kid’s attitudes

Great. So if I assault a kid at my school -- and yes, putting chalk into a kid's mouth IS assault -- and he/she skips school for a few days after that, I should blame it on his/her attitude?

Yeah. Kids just LOVE going to school where there are teachers who assault them. How dare they expect to go to class without toxic substances being placed in their mouths! Oh, these kids today!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LFRAgain, the teacher actually apologized for his behavior and pledged never to do it again. So why are you still defending him?

You sound like a lawyer who continues to piss and moan about a client's innocence -- after the client has already admitted to the crime!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The teacher didn't promise not to do it again, the teacher promised he would do better. Don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds to me like he plans to use flavored chalk next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the student said he did not mind, he was openly challenging the teacher's authority. That challenge invited the response which he got. He should have blamed himself for being stupid, not the teacher for asserting his authority.

It is the teacher's job to teach the class. Sometimes it is necessary to silence an individual who disturbs the class so that others may receive the lesson that they want to have.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How dare they expect to go to class without toxic substances being placed in their mouths!

Chalk is not toxic material. It contains calcium.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This teacher's behavior is no less problematic than student's challenge to authority. The teacher made the wrong choice for his action on this student. Physical discipline is unnecessary, period.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JenniferKim,

Not defending anyone. Just explaining why I don't think this is a big deal. The three-month, 10% pay cut would suggest this principal's superiors, as well as the PTA, feel the same. But don't let that stop you from raging on

"So if I assault a kid at my school . . . and he/she skips school for a few days after that, I should blame it on his/her attitude?"

Well, only if you're purposely trying to be obtuse. But then again, I guess I shouldn't berate you for what seems to be an obvious misinterpretation – creative or otherwise – of my original post. To refocus your energies, I never said the student leaving school was strictly due to his own negative attitude. I said that there was likely more to this than just what we see here in the above story. At the risk of belaboring a point I already made once, this event didn’t occur in a vacuum. But never mind that; you go ahead and pick up the slack in outrage that I can’t. Be my guest.

And "assault?" You might want to brush up on the legalese for actual “assault.” Generally speaking, it involves a threat of violence, and at the minimum, even simple assault, as per “unwanted physical contact,” would require the prerequisite of lack of consent. Nothing in the article suggests that the teacher forcibly “crammed,” "shoved", "pushed," "thrust," or “stuffed” the chalk into the student’s mouth. That would be assault.

However, the article says that the teacher “placed” the chalk into the boy’s open mouth --- No, not “yawning” mouth --- Open mouth.

I know, I know: Those damnable constructs we call "words" - They're just so pesky when they concisely describe one thing, and you desperately want them to mean another. But alas, according to the article, the boy said he didn't mind if the teacher placed chalk in his mouth, then opened his mouth for the teacher to place the chalk therein. The boy gave consent. And he got what he asked for.

Good luck convincing any judge or jury that this fool of a child was, ahem, "assaulted." Nice try, but I think you're probably far guiltier of creative lawyering here than I.

Oh, and chalk is not toxic. The primary ingredient of chalk is calcium sulfate, which is used in the production of some forms of tofu, resulting in a higher, and thus important source of dietary calcium for many Asian nations.

http://www.ilo.org/public/english/protection/safework/cis/products/icsc/dtasht/_icsc12/icsc1215.htm

But again, you just carry on with your "outrage." I’m lacking sufficient motivation tonight, I’m afraid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These kids need a smack upside the head and some failures. Weak ass schooling breeds weak ass people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the boy said he didn't mind and opened his mouth on purpose, then he invited the teacher to put the chalk in his mouth. That's not assault.

The boy was absent the June 25th (no reason given) and only attended four more times before Summer break started. So how many days did he miss, total?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yawning children often have many after-school sports/acadamic commitments. that and the fact that they go to bed late/wake up very early in the morning; only adds to their level of fatigue. some of them come from broken homes, where there's only one parent who works a night shift. TV is their babysitter/only friend. instead of chalking children's mouths, maybe he should try to learn the reasons behind the yawning. what a chutzpa this guy is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree that yawning, like peeing, is a natural act. However, like peeing, it also needs to be restrained in certain situations. It isn't too much to ask a child over 6 or 7 years old to at least make the attempt to cover or stifle a yawn. In my classes, I tell the kids their options- cover a yawn with their hand, use a book to hide it, or at least do it with your mouth closed. Given the state of dental and oral hygiene here, the last was my preferred option. But just sitting and giving a huge open mouthed 15 second 'good morning' yawn is simply disrespectful and teachers are correct to try and change such behavior.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

who uses chalk anymore? I thought everyone used dry-erase boards these days?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What if he had accidently swallowed it? The teacher should not have done it even though he said he would.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just the basic rule- Teacher doesnt TOUCH the students. Avoids all this nonsense from happening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I don't see an uncovered yawn as any big deal, not particularly disrespectful or anything. I do it myself very occasionally in the high school I teach part-time at when I'm sleepy.

Also, I don't see the big deal with putting a piece of chalk in a kid's mouth, either. A bit odd, but not dangerous.

It seems to me people like to make a big deal out of nothing compared to like 30 years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The teacher should have been fired. It's an insane thing to do to a child. Teachers are there to help children learn.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think this was awesome and the teacher should not have apologized. If it was my kid being a little smart ass, I would expect him to be disciplined. I support the teachers decision. People are waaay too weak these days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites