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Verdian27 karma

I am a teacher for kindergarten through 9th grade in Japan. I hug the younger students back, they can sit on my lap, climb all over me. I'll toss them around, rough house with the older ones, get play-punched and punch back. If a student is good, I'll pat them on the head; if they are bad, they get a light smack upside the head (just the older ones). All of the teachers do this.

The relationships between teachers and students (in part because of this) are incredibly strong. Students trust teachers, develop strong mentor/student relationships, and as a result work harder at school and in club activities. Teachers also take a close interest in students and will talk to them individually if they sense something is wrong. For many students, they are closer to their teachers than their parents.

This is normal here. As a person from America, it took me a long time (about a year) to get used to this. I had teachers encourage me that it was okay. Even students were surprised that I was a bit stand-offish.

I could never teach in America. I'd have been fired and sued in an instant over the casual forms of contact that are encouraged here. It is a paranoid, unloving education system back in the States. If I have kids, I hope they can go to school over here.

edit: I shouldn't generalize all American and Japanese schools like that. There are plenty of caring American teachers, and horrible Japanese teachers. Apologies all around.