Consequences of Teaching in a Private Chinese School

The student’s view of life in a private Chinese school is quite interesting and will definitely give you the inside scoop of what we teachers and adults are blind to. It’s a reality check since it’s unfiltered honesty that isn’t intended to hurt anyone. (If you haven’t read what life is like for Asian students and Chinese teachers, here’s Part 1 and Part 2.) I’ve received some objections regarding specific consequences that have been dealt within the last year. I strongly feel that my students would want others to know what happens to them at times. So I’ve created a list.

The Top 5 Worst Consequences Asian Students Receive

1. Write a Chinese character 100 times. – When I first heard that this was the result of not writing a character correctly, I about had a heart attack. I couldn’t imagine having to do this though I wrote sentences once or twice when I was a lad. A particular student had to do this two times. He was not known as the most studious, but he had his moments. What made it worse is that he had to do it while missing a Special (Art, Music, etc.). Thankfully, I talked with the Homeroom teacher, and he didn’t miss any of my P.E. classes. I also talked with our admin about this.

2. Stay at school until your homework is done. – It’s more of a last resort, but this can possibly show a student how much “power” a teacher has or “respect” one supposedly deserves. The teacher calls the parents for permission. If they say it’s fine; no problem. The student literally stays at school and will work on homework or correcting mistakes (that were probably assigned for homework). No worries! He/She can eat at the cafeteria for dinner. Now the time to return home could be a different story…

3. Write the class rules 100 times. – When my Chinese-English teaching colleague shared with me what he assigned to a student, I couldn’t help but chuckle. I had just been told by that student what this teacher did, and I had to approach this issue. I was slow to speak since I had to hear the story first. After gathering details, the situation still didn’t seem that serious (she said something in class that didn’t have the class go off-task). So we talked. He asked what I would’ve done, and I told him. After more mutual understanding, the teacher said that he’d lower the consequence to 20 times each. That was still 100 sentences with having 8 class rules. I expressed how I wouldn’t do this at all, the negative side effects and how admin said not to do this a couple years ago.

4. No WeChat for the week. – WeChat is a very popular app created and used a lot in China. It’s a mix of Twitter, Instagram, and iMessage. It’s unique, user-friendly, and quite handy. The students were going to have their big tests in Maths, Chinese and English that particular week. Because of this, one class’ Homeroom teacher instructed her students not to use this app at all for the week since it hindered their studying time and capability. I guess she had to do it since the parents wouldn’t (or couldn’t?). I just can’t imagine a teacher in America doing the same thing and the students actually following through. No offense to the Americans though it turned out that my Asian students succeeded. All except a couple, that is…

5. Run. – Every morning, morning exercises take place in schools across China. It’s not that bad really unless your students don’t care, come up with health excuses not to jog or somehow need to tie their shoes every couple laps. The total jogging comes out, I would estimate, to around 800-1200 meters. Not bad because it could be more. For some, there is. I’ve had students been told to run extra laps afterward because of being loud in the classroom, not jogging during exercise time, or whenever the teacher feels like it. Convenience over safety. Little do the teachers know that the students in fact jog or walk.

The word consequence in Chinese is 后果 (hòu guǒ), which translates directly to “after fruit.” That’s what you get from the cause in a situation. The result is the effect, or “after fruit.” When consequences like the ones above are given to children, it confirms for me even more the reasons why certain students don’t change and continue to act the way they do. What we do to a child shows in the way they act following our dealing with them. We as adults and teachers must keep this in mind. We need to remember what “after fruit” we want our children, our students and the upcoming generation to grow up to be.


4 thoughts on “Consequences of Teaching in a Private Chinese School

  1. Not on the same level, but when I was in the 4th grade, I had to stay in for recess until I fixed a sentence that the teacher puurposely wrote incorrectly. This made me despise grammar. I was usuallly one of the last to leave, making it a bit embarrasing that I worked loer.

  2. I used to teach English in China too, but I never thought to do any of those things to my students…of course, no one had cell phones back then and I bet students having smart phones in class is a huge problem now. I think I got lucky though, I only ever had one student that ever gave me any real trouble. I put up with weeks of his constant talking in class, disrupting everyone else, back talking, etc. Every class I would threaten to call his mom and he would start crying and behave for the rest of that period, but go right back to his old ways next time. Finally, I just pulled him out of class and told him not to come back. It was a private school that I owned, so I didn’t have to deal with any administration or anything. I never saw him again and I can’t say I missed him. 🙂

    • Yes, these consequences are quite outlandish. It has been one of the hard, yet necessary, issues to discuss with the Chinese teachers who use this. No Foreign Teachers have done this, that I know of.

      I worked in a school in America with 1:1 iPads a couple years ago, and it was mainly tough for the teachers who didn’t want to take implementing them seriously. I didn’t have many problems. The Chinese Homeroom Teacher in this situation banned her students from using this app AT HOME(!) during the week. I forgot to mention that all important detail.

      Interesting story. Thank you for sharing!

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