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Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Classes Caught on Camera?

I have a soft spot for troubled kids and I like my student Neil a lot. He stops by my room between classes, begs me for stickers and causes mischief. But last class he was more aggressive than usual. He was late. I wandered into the lobby and found him staring at the TV.

I ordered him to get to class. He ran ahead of me, slammed shut the door and locked it. As I turned the knob and pushed, he unlocked the door and it swung open along with me! I stumbled into the room. When I asked him to get out his homework he threw his book on the floor.

He was obviously seeking attention and the thing about a hogwon is that you don't always feel like you have the permission to discipline because the kids are supposed to want to come to class- the school is a business. He refused to do the listening questions so I let him be and continued on with my lesson plan. About 15 minutes later I got a knock at my classroom door. It was my boss and a secretary. They asked me to join them in the hallway.

My boss said, "Neil's Mother is watching the class and she's angry that he isn't participating, so please get him involved. I know he causes you trouble, but try."

Was she observing from the hallway? How could she see the class? Then my boss explained. There's a hidden camera in my classroom that feeds a live picture onto an Internet site. Parents have access to the feed.

Not only that but the head of the school surveys the rooms on a regular basis. You see hidden cameras all over Korea so I'm not shocked but I should have been forewarned.


Gdog said...

All of our classes have cameras too, but they are not hidden, just black globes in the corner. They tell us it's for the purpose of "observing" the beginning it was weird, but now I've accepted the fact they are there and I just do what I normally do.

But that is crazy you had no idea there were cameras!

Josh said...

Imagine that! I think a hidden camera in the classroom is an awful idea -- good, perhaps, for the headmaster but NOT for parents. If there had been cameras with live feeds in my high school (classes, lunch room, etc), me and the other students wouldn't have felt free to mature and experiment; to do things our parents would not have approved of.; to become our own person.

But it's not a Korean phenomonon. The loss of privacy is something that aflicts all developed nations. I mean, just look at google earth...

They should have told you, but since it's there, how about you give me the code to the feed ;)

Melodie said...

That's crazy!!! You'd think that the boss would want you to be aware of what you do in the classroom because there are cameras. Hidden cameras that feed to the internet are sketchy! It's too bad that kid's mother didn't see what a little bastard he was in class and got angry at him!!! Ugh!!!

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Yes, the issue isn't that there IS a camera, but that they didn't tell me! So strange.

At least the window between my room and the hallway stopped me from doing anything like changing my shirt between classes! I was a little on guard.

And Josh, the students don't know there's a camera- either that or they really, really don't care.

Josh said...

It seems like such an abuse of privacy: clearly the children but CLEARLY your privacy. I'm fuming that they didn't tell you. But then again, I've been fuming a lot, lately. Perhaps I have rabies...


John said...

Today, a teacher's job is made all the more difficult by a media savvy generation of youngsters. They realize that their word will be taken over their teachers', so these children threaten their teachers with false allegations of sexual abuse if given homework or made to exercise in physical education.

Cameras with sound recording capabilites can actually protect teachers as well as students. At my last school, some male junior high students accused a male physical education teacher of sexual molestation. The truth came out, but the teacher was ruined professionally, emotionally, and mentally. The students got off with only a small suspension.

We live in complicated times with complicated issues. I wish I knew the answers.