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Chinese Students Amaze Me

Popularity 5Viewed 3237 times 2015-5-10 06:32 |Personal category:Education|System category:News| equivalent, addition, teachers, Chinese, classes

Saturday is 'Marathon Day' for me and my teaching assistants. We have the equivalent of 9 classes. We take no breaks except for the 10 minutes after one class ends and the next one begins (in addition to lunch). It is a long time considering most teachers who teach in the public school where I teach part-time, teach about 15 classes a week on average.

At 56 years old, most people tell me that I teach too much. The truth is, I'm not that tired after teaching 16 classes on the weekends and 12 more during the week. Why? Well, first of all, me and my staff love teaching. We enjoy it. We enjoy our students and our students enjoy our classes. Most of the time the students are more tired than we are. But, we keep our classes lively, interesting and fun.

However, none of these reasons reflect the ultimate reason that I feel so well rewarded from teaching. My reward is when I begin to review students over previous lessons that I've taught them. What I find out and what amazes me is how well they learned what I taught them.

Perhaps I'm biased in my evaluation of my students, but, Chinese students amaze me with their ability to learn and remember. When I give them a review, I don't make it easy on them. I push them to what I believe is beyond their limits. I test them on things I've not covered previously in class, but, they are things that I believe that they have inside of them. They aren't perfect, but then, I don't expect them to be because I am stretching them beyond their limits. What truly amazes me is that, they rise to my level of expectation for them. They not only come up to my level of expectation, but, they often exceed it while shocking me with their knowledge and abilities.

Recently, I told the geography class at the international high school, what I expected them to do on their up-coming mid term exam. I talked to each one individually about what I expected them to do. I wrote the exam and knew that I wasn't making it easy for them. I reviewed them thoroughly over what the exam would consist of. The students who usually scored in the 30s, 40s and 50s, blew my mind with what they did. In fact, the lowest score in the class was 80. Tina, a student who consistently scored below 60, made a 91. The director of our program was astonished as well. Of course, the first thing she did was to check the difficulty of the exam. Before she saw it, she commented that it must have been too easy. After she saw it, she said, "There is no way I could pass that exam myself." She saw that it wasn't easy.

Now, let me make this clear (in defense of my age; HA! HA!). As a Westerner, I don't consider myself anywhere near 'old' at 56 years. My mother is 78 and keeps a up a daily pace that most 30 year olds would find exhausting. She does it with ease. I keep up my daily pace without getting very tired most of the time. But, the fuel that keeps me going day after day is the rewards I get by seeing the success of my students. I am always so proud of them and, to the chagrin of some teachers, I let my students know by praising their accomplishments. They respond by accomplishing even more. Some teachers tell me that they fear that if you praise a student too much that they will get lazy. I find that the opposite happens with me. The more I expect and praise them for their hard work and achievement, the better that they do.

Most of all, I get rewards that can't be measured in money, praise or anything tangible. I get rewarded by simply observing their efforts and abilities to achieve success. And, they never disappoint me. I'm so proud of them and so happy with my opportunity to be here in China and teach such amazing students.

Thank you China for giving me a few of your children for a few hours each week. This foreigner feels so blessed to me here and experience the rewards of teaching your children.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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