From my teaching of students with rather well off parents, I’ve come to notice that many of my students either are learning to play an instrument, going to dance classes, gymnastics classes, and of course joining me for English class.
When I ask my students ‘what did you do last week?’ Most, if not all of them say ‘homework’. They receive tonnes of homework from their teachers. I ask my students do you play an instrument, most of them say yes, and it’s usually the piano.
Because they’re like what, 1.4 billion people in China? The amount of competition between them must be fierce. From a young age they need to drum the Chinese phonics and characters into them, writing and writing the same characters for homework. This is when they are like 6 years old. Add to the fact that the Chinese are notorious at being good at Maths. Same as Mandarin, having started studying at a very young age.
Aside from school, the parents send them off to learn something else like English or learning an instrument. With English though, I have to admit it is good to teach their child another language like English.
I think, for Chinese parents, their mind set is; get your child to excel at all these things, then they will have a better chance at having a prosperous life when they are older. I completely understand this; you have to stand out in China. But at the same time, every time I look at a child here, I think ‘I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes, you don’t realise how hard growing up for you will be.’
When they are teens, they have countless exams, pages of homework, and such a big pressure to do well in school. Get good results in English so they can study abroad. In China, you can’t just be average, you can’t just ‘do your best’. You need to excel at everything, or else you’re not going to get anywhere in life, well, in China anyway.
One of my teenagers told me that she has to do a physical examination so she can go into the next year. I was shocked! I asked her what she has to do; running, jumping, push-ups, ab toning and more. Apparently the government wants them to be healthy, but come on?? An exam on your fitness?? She said she has been practicing her push-ups and ab excursuses every night, 50 times…. her exam is next year. To me this is mad.
Ha, and the thing is, no one in China is overweight!
So these are the reasons why I wouldn’t like to grow up in China. To be honest I was average at school, meaning I would have been literally stressed to the max if I’d have lived in China.
I’m quite happy I grew up in Ireland!