Physical Punishment (Bul)

Before I begin, I would like to clarify a couple of things.

First, the punishments are for the discipline. Teachers would not give you punishments because of hatred or personal reasons.

Second, you might think all the students in Korea live in a fear, but not so. It is practiced everyday everywhere, it's common. It looks fearful only to those who did not come from this kind of society. When I was in Korea, I thought it was very natural to get a punishment, if you've done something wrong, or if a teacher says so (?). It would be strange not to get a punishment ever.

Third, harsh punishments are not only practiced in Korea, but in other countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, etc.

When do students get punishments?

Various Punishment

  • Push ups
  • The most common punishment. Either you have to certain number of push ups or maintain push up position. You have to do it with either fists, palms, head, one leg, only three fingers, two hands put together, or a combination of one or more of the above.

  • Keeping hands up in the air
  • Another common punishment, but not used by many teachers because of lightness of punishment. It's done many other ways, too. Keeping hands up parallel to the body, or normal to the body. Sometimes you have to stand and bend your legs half 2/3 way down, and keep your hands up. Many times, you have to hold heavy objects such as a chair to make it more painful.

  • Running
  • Most schools have track right in front of the building, so teachers often make students run around 10 or more laps. Sometimes, you have to go around the track while sitting and jumping.

  • Strike
  • This is the REAL punishment. Teachers usually carry their own sticks, and believe me, they are made to last long. If they don't have their own stick, they either use mob stick or a ruler. If nothing is available, they would hit your head, or in worst case slap you. They usually strike the butt, palms, top of the hands, laps, calves, head, or forearms.

    Back to Korea homepage