September 10 – Teacher's Day in China

Posted on September 10, 2015

It's so nice to show appreciation for the people in one's life, isn't it?

Many kids have teachers of one kind or another in their lives. Some kids homeschool but still have ballet teachers, hockey coaches (coaches are a kind of teacher), or painting teachers. And in many different nations, there is a special day set aside to honoring teachers.

In many communities, the custom is to giving a teacher a present, some flowers, or a card on Teacher's Day. It's a nice custom. It shows people that you really care – and it means that many teachers will never have to buy a mug or a vase!

However, nice customs can run amok. And that sounds like what has happened in China.

I read that, in China, gift-giving to teachers on teacher's day has become almost a competitive sport, with people giving gifts worth more than TWO THOUSAND U.S. dollars!

Chinese parents are left scratching their heads about why there seems to be an unwritten rule that flowers just aren't enough, anymore, and that gift cards or cash are needed as well. Or that some really creative gift is needed. Parents wonder, “If I opt out, will my teacher be prejudiced against my child?”

I read that more than 60% of the parents want schools to outlaw teachers accepting gifts from students!

By the way...

Educators and journalists in countries all over the world seem to be wringing their hands over the state of education “these days” – and to some extent are looking to see what other nations are doing to improve their educational standing in the world.

China has long been seen by many as having an excellent but highly competitive school system – but then leaders have historically worried about the lack of creativity of the students who emerge from that same system!

Here are some of the things that the government has been trying to institute in order to change and improve Chinese education:

  1. No tracking students. In other words, each class should represent a balance of low- and high-achieving students, rather than having a “fast-track” class and a “slow-track” class.
  2. No written homework for grades 1 to 3.
  3. No standardized testing for grades 1 to 3.
  4. No numeric grades. China used to use a 100-point system to compare student achievement; the government recently mandated that grading move to categories: “exceptional,” “excellent,” “adequate,” and “inadequate.”
  5. At least one hour of physical exercise.

I hope that China is having success at enforcing these new regulations. And I sure wish schools in the U.S. were trying to copy these changes!

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