10 Things about the schools in China that I learned working there as a teacher

To be chinese is not easy. When you are more than a billion and a half in the country without social guarantees, one must work hard to find a place under the sun. But the chinese children are willing to this; they have to work hard since the first grade.

Some time ago I was an English teacher in four chinese schools (and trainer in a school of kung fu). Therefore, I would like to share my experience with the readers of Great.guru.

Children in school uniform — costumes sports — in a class dedicated to the Day of the Earth, Liaocheng, April 2016.

  1. In many schools in China there is no heating, so in winter the teachers and pupils are not removed from the clothing. The central heating is located exclusively in the north of the country. In central and southern China, the buildings are designed for a warm climate. This means that, in the winter, when temperatures can reach zero, and, at times, below zero, the only means of heating is the air conditioning. The school uniform is a suit, sport baggy pants and a jacket. The cut is almost the same everywhere, they differ only by the colors of the costume and the emblem of the school on the chest. All the schools are behind the large gates of iron, which is always kept closed, opening only for the passage of students.
  2. In the chinese schools every day doing exercises (several times a day) and it imparts training for students. The morning at school starts with exercises, then a training in which they report the news the main and raise the flag: of the school or the state. After the third class, all children do exercises to relax the eyes. Accompanied with a soothing music and the recorded voice of an announcer, the students touch on special points. In addition to exercise in the morning there are exercises for the rest of the day, around two in the afternoon, when, accompanied by the same recorded voice, the students go to the hallway (if there is no place in the classroom) and start to raise our hands and jump.

Chinese students of the city of Jinan by doing exercises on the roof.

  1. The lunch break usually lasts an hour. During this time, children have time to go to the dining room for lunch (if there is a canteen in the school, bring them their food in trays-special boxes) and run around, stretch the legs, to shout and do mischief. The teachers in all the schools eat lunch for free. And, worth the mention, very well. The lunch traditionally consists of a plate with meat and two vegetable dishes, rice and soup. In schools faces, also deliver fruit and yogurt. The chinese like to eat, and even in schools continue this tradition. After a break for lunch, some schools oldest buildings are given five minutes to “sleep”. By the way, a couple of times my students fell asleep in the middle of a class, and I had to wake them up with a knot in the throat.

A modest school lunch, according to the chinese: eggs with tomatoes, tofu, cauliflower with pepper, rice.

  1. The attitude toward teachers is very respectful. They are called by their last name and using the word “master”; for example, “Zhang master” or “master Xiang”. Or, simply, “teacher.” In a school, the students, no matter whether they were mine or not, when you see me doing a tilt.
  2. In many schools corporal punishment is common. The teacher can hit the student with a hand or a pointer for some kind of misconduct. The more away from the big cities and most simple is the school, the more common is this practice. My chinese friend said that they gave them time in school to learn English words. And for each word, without learning how they were beaten with a stick.

Recreation during the classes, drums-traditional, city of Ansai.

  1. In a classroom you can see a performance rating of the students that encourages the best learning. The notes are from a To F, where A is the highest, corresponds to 90-100 %, and F is the unsatisfactory 59 %. Encouraging good behavior is an important part of the educational system. For example, for a correct answer, or good behavior during the class, the student will receive an asterisk of a certain color or additional points. By the conversations or faults, are deleted points and asterisks. The progress of the school is reflected in a special box on the board. The competition, so to speak, is in sight.
  2. The chinese children are studying more than 10 hours every day. The classes usually last from eight in the morning until three or four in the afternoon, after which the children return home and make an endless task until nine or ten in the evening. On weekends, the school of the large cities usually have additional classes with tutors, go to schools of music, art and sports lessons. Due to the competition, since the childhood the boys are pressured by their parents. If they can’t pass the exam after secondary school (and compulsory education in China lasts between 12 and 13 years old), will not have a chance to go to the university.

The first day of school the first grade students of the “School of Confucius” in Nanjing to participate in the ceremony of the drawing of hieroglyph “Ren” (“man”), with the start of your learning.

  1. The schools are divided into public and private. The cost of studying in private schools can reach up to a thousand dollars per month. The level of education in them is several times higher. It gives a special importance to the foreign language. 2-3 English classes per day, and between the fifth and sixth grade of the schools of elite students already speak English fluently. However, for example, in Shanghai there is a special program, paid for by the government, thanks to which the foreign teachers teach in public schools.
  2. The education system is based on the mechanical memorization. The children simply learn a large amount of material. Teachers require autoplay, regardless of how much of it was understood the material studied. But now systems of alternative education (Montessori or Waldorf) are gaining more and more popularity, with the objective of developing the creative abilities of the children. Of course, such schools are private, the training on them is expensive and accessible to a very small number of people.
  3. The children of poor families that do not want to study or they are too naughty (according to parents) often take you out of a public educational institution and send them to schools of kung-fu. There are full board, training from morning till night and, if they are lucky, they receive basic primary education: must be able to read and write, and, since the system of the chinese language, this is very difficult. In such institutions corporal punishment is common.

Classes in the school of kung-fu.

The teachers hit the students with a shovel-sword, or, without further ado, use your foot or give a torniscón. But in the end, the parents receive a young disciplined with the profession of trainer of kung-fu and, at least, a chance to be someone. The most famous masters of kung-fu passed through such a school of life. It is also quite common for children with poor health spend here one or two years to get stronger, living and practicing kung-fu or tai chi.

Regardless of where they are studying the chinese children, in a kung fu school or a common school, they learn from childhood on three main qualities: the ability to work, discipline and respect for elders in terms of age and hierarchy.

From childhood on, are taught that they must be the best, no matter in what field. Perhaps, that is why now the chinese are beginning to occupy positions of leadership in all branches of science, culture and art. Competing with the europeans who grew too much too closely supervised, often do not give them a single opportunity. Only because the latter are not used to studying for ten hours straight. All of the days. All the year round.

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