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Amazing Chinese Student

Popularity 1Viewed 11760 times 2018-6-15 04:13 |Personal category:Education|System category:News| Lang, Chinese, students, education, china

Yesterday was the most interesting of days. Being half way around the world from your home and choosing to do what you can to make a difference in the lives of Chinese children can be both exhilarating and sometimes, exhausting. Here is how my day unfolded.

It started out with plans to go to the hospital to get checked out regarding some pain that I'm feeling in my body. It was nearly noon and we knew that there likely wouldn't be any doctors available. So, I went to a professional massage therapist to see if he could give me some relief from the pain. He was also about to eat and suggested that I wait. I was hungry and decided to leave and go eat as well.

While I was eating, I got some disturbing news about some parents of students (kindergarten students) who were refusing to accept our summer program for review of our lessons. It is a one month program that we'd spent more than two years developing. These parents logged several complaints regarding our video review (of which, they knew nothing about) and then threatened to quit our classes. I don't allow such behavior from parents and dealt with it very swiftly and directly. 

I soon made the decision to cancel the class and let the parents go and find a Chinese English training center for their children. The great part about it was that all of the parents of all other classes enthusiastically loved it and paid for it right away.  I have no shortage of students who want to learn English from me and don't have time or any desire to tolerate parents who don't want to follow our lessons. If you can't or don't want to follow the teacher, go find a new teacher.

After making the decision to cancel the class, several parents wrote me privately asking me to please let their children continue classes with us. Of course, I will help those parents without compromising our principles and standards.

This ordeal was exhausting and is why I go to great lengths in trying to choose the right parents for our classes. Parents who don't want to follow a proven program of success can be a lot of trouble for a teacher. I've learned a lot about how some Chinese parents interfere with their child's teacher and appear to believe that they are far smarter than the teacher. I've been in education for the past 32 years and have, since coming to China in 2011, sent Chinese students to Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins University and other top 150 colleges in America, Australia, the U.K. and Canada.

Last night, I had a dinner scheduled in which I was invited by a student (and his mother) who has studied with me for more than 5 years. Gary, the 17 year old student, and Lucy, his mother, sent me a car and a driver to take me to the very exclusive restaurant and tea house where we would dine. What I didn't know about the dinner was that a big surprise awaited me.

After the aggravation of the events earlier in the day, I found out that Gary had just been accepted into a program at Yale University. Gary is a highly talented classical pianist. He is fluent in English and had just recently scored a 112 on the TOEFL exam. I encouraged him to take it again and try to get his score above 115. He'd already decided to do just that. 

Gary has performed (on piano) with such elite pianists as Lang Lang when the famed musician performed here in Zhengzhou. Gary has been fluent in English for the better part of 3 years. He recently returned from Hong Kong on yet another educational excursion and will leave for Yale in two weeks. 

We had a delightful dinner as we talked about his amazing accomplishments and exciting plans that lay ahead of him.

What a contrasting day. On one end, dealing with parents who were resisting what I've done here in China for the past 7 years and then, going to celebrate with a long time student who has followed my instruction for many years and is now reaping the success that he deserves..

Life is certainly interesting. The good and the bad. The happy and sad. The ugly and beautiful. In the end, I was left with a smile on my face and peace in my heart knowing that I can and do make a difference on this planet for Chinese children and their families. There is no greater reward.

Gary, Lucy and Michael

Michael and Gary

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




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Comment Comment (2 comments)

Reply Report Swifty55 2018-6-16 15:05
Great story.
Reply Report MichaelM 2018-6-20 05:20
Thank you

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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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