Thursday, September 10th, 2009...1:39 am

10 Sept 2009-Teacher’s Day

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Teachers were celebrated today by students giving us flowers, cards, and little gifts as we entered school and when they dropped by the teacher’s office.  As I arrived to Jeifang Primary, there was the marching band lined up on the sides of the brick pathway leading to the front entrance.  I was too shy to figure out that this was for teachers, but when I saw my colleagues walk in, the band started playing.  On my way to the English office, a student who was not even one of mine gave me flowers.  At the end of my second class, my students presented me with another bouquet of flowers as they said in unison, “Happy Teacher’s Day!”  A student in my third class also gave me a tiny stuffed bunny-keychain.  All this was capped off with an early dismissal so teachers could go home and relax by lunch-time.  What a pleasant day.

Another thing I wanted to mention before was what the students did during their breaks.  There is one period where students have “morning exercise,” in which all the children line up outside on the playground.  An adminstrator, with megaphone in hand, commands the students from upstairs inside the building through a window, and the kids go through a series of stretches, calisthenics, and marching drills in a military-like fashion.  I’m not sure exactly the purpose of this.  The students also have P.E. and recess, so I think this is just an organized routine in Chinese schools since the days are very long and it is a way for them to stay in shape throughout the day and throughout the year.

Another way to help students get through the day is during the 10 minute break between classes, they perform “eye exercises.”  Since students are constantly staring at teachers and the blackboard, this supposedly helps them endure the long day.

One thing I do appreciate is that at some of my schools (mainly the upper-class ones), when I walk through the hallways and pass by a group of students, they all bow their heads and say “laoshi” (which is “teacher” in Mandarin).  I don’t think we have to say or do anything in response, but I’ve seen some simply bow their heads in return, which is what I’ve been doing every time.  Teachers get love here in China…

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