You know, when I see a Chinese child I become very sad! They are not exactly going to have the easiest time growing up here, as I’ve found out since living here. I was chatting with one of my students during class about the topic of free time and what this means to her. Free time to her, is substantially different to what it meant to me when I was her age!
First off, they have to perform extremely well in school, getting top grades in school, and only have one full day off from school. Study this, memorise this chapter, dictate this, do this, do that….
After primary school, they have their really important exams that they must pass to be able to go into 3rd level education. I know every country has these exams, but these Chinese exams are, from what I heard, one of the most difficult in the world. The pressure that they face is unreal. Once a student told me about the exams…. she was 8 years old. Even at that age, they know that they have to do these exams eventually.
My private student actually told me she often cries in school because she is under so much pressure… she is only 10 years old.
So basically, test scores are of the most utmost important in Chinese school.
So after they are finished school and have a degree…. finding a boyfriend/ girlfriend is the next hurdle they must go through. My Chinese friend is in her early 30’s… so she is labelled a ‘Leftover Woman’. ‘Leftover Women’ is a term for women who don’t have a boyfriend by a certain age. In China, you really don’t want to become a leftover woman. Quick, find a partner!
Ok, so you are in a relationship… what next? Marriage! Of course the couples parents are going to be pressuring you into marriage, they want their dream grandchild! In China, you must get married first, then you are able to have a child. My Chinese friend admits she hates going home to visit her parents as they keep pestering her to find someone.
Marriage done, children done… what next… a house! You definitely will need your own house. Usually, the husband will host his Mum and Dad in their own house together. Actually, our next door neighbour comprises of the Mum, Dad, child and the Grandmother. When the Mum and Dad are working, the Grandmother minds her grandchild during the day… and from the amount of crying the little girl does… it does not seem like an easy job!
I’m not really sure how this housing relationship works… but it’s very common here so it must work fine. Although sometimes I think the grandchildren spends all their time with their grandmother/grandfather and not a lot of time with their actual parents.
Keep in mind, during getting married, having children… they must have a car, plus have a job that will pay relatively well.
Ok, I’ve gone a bit off my topic, but my poor student has all this ahead of herself, unless she moves away from China!
My student only has Saturday off school; but on this day; she’s goes to dance class for 1.3 hours, then she has lunch…. heads to piano lessons for another 1.3 hours…. THEN she has me teaching her for 1 hour.
Finally she can go home, do 2/3 hours worth of homework, and then, finally then she will have her free-time. I’m really surprised she can last the whole day!
So in short, although my student says she has enough free time (when her homework is finished) I really don’t think Chinese students do. Unfortunately they are in Chinas big bubble, without a clue about how other countries education system differs from their own, and how much pressure they actually have to deal with.
I really hope this pressure of doing well and exceeding everything slowly starts to diminish… but unfortunately I highly doubt it.