New Students New Teachers

In comes August, and with it a batch of new students , kicking and screaming , leaving their parents for the first time arrive. With them comes a batch of eight new Chinese teachers in the school. Whoa, eight of sixteen teachers opted not to renew their contracts, and most of these teachers were newish arrivals from the start of the winter semester. I guess I should have expected that but it took me by surprise.

Now for the most part I like my job. My schedule is pretty relaxed , my wages are nice , and the kids are cute. I’m the big goofy clown that everyone loves. Walking into the school every morning I’m created by a choir of kids all chanting my name. Hugs in the morning? Try that in the corporate world.

However, my job and the Chinese teachers’ jobs are much , much different. More work , more kid discipline , endless meetings , constant children progress reports , and non-stop preparations. Oh yea , and at a 1/4 (yes a quarter) of my pay. Ouch. So it makes sense the turn-over rate was as high as it was.

It’s like the fast food industry back in the U.S.A . An overabundance of unskilled workers willing to work for peanuts and quickly realizing this job sucks. Quit. Repeat. I’m not exactly sure how I myself survived two years of work at K.F.C .

These teachers aren’t of the same unskilled KFC worker cast but the huge population of China is working against them in this situation. Go ahead and quit. You are replaceable. Want too much cash? Ok , we can find someone who will work for less. Somewhere in this labor people of 1.4 billion people are tens and tens of millions of teachers. The eight positions were filled very quickly.

The former manager-type of the kindergarten (Principal’s Right Hand Woman) just up and stopped coming to work , wouldn’t answer her phone calls , and surprised everyone by leaving. She really did work hard and did a good job. My guess is that she tried to get a much deserved raise , her demands were rejected , and she said f*ck it ,and dipped. Now one of the former teachers was drafted over to the administrative job . She is in over her head just a liiiiitttle bit.

That’s how it is in the workplace in China. Bosses aren’t good to the workers, and don’t reward them , because they can afford not to. My girlfriend works in the corporate world and it works the same way there. In her 8 months of work in the company she has seen countless people come and go , with the majority quitting in two weeks or less. I can’t remember how many times she has come home in a rage , cursing the bosses , and vowing to not take their shit anymore. Guess maybe it’s a good thing guns are outlawed here.

Kid’s Songs

As a Kindergarten teacher I’ve found that having a large repertoire of songs comes in handy. We always hear that songs are very important to learning but I forgot that before. By the time we are in middle school we aren’t singing songs anymore and by the time high school rolls around forget about it. High school has students sneaking around outside trying to have a cigarette , thinking of ways to skip class and get away with it. If a teacher said let’s sing a song! The students would most likely tell them where they could go stick that song.Back in Kindergarten though when I say “Let’s Sing!” everyone gets happy and cheers! Sometimes it feels more like a game and not education but I’ve found melodies and songs do in fact teach and/or can help reinforce things we have practiced already.

As I’m looking through songs to pick some new ones to teach the kids , I’m stunned when I recognize and remember the melodies and lyrics to soo many songs I haven’t thought about in 16+ years. I have no recollection of actively learning and singing these songs in school but I know I have and the fact that I can remember the melody after so long shocks me. If I don’t remember how the lyrics go at first all it takes is one look at the lyrics page and then bam it’s all back in my head. Crazy how these things work.

If that still doesn’t convince you of the educational applications of children’s songs then at least take it consideration that it’s a good way for the kids to have fun , get them to shut up , and get them to get focused on the class. Plus the parents really like it when the kids can sing songs (bonus points for you!).

I’ve found quite a few good songs on the internet and many that I remember but not all are golden. I can just imagine the bitter old lady who penned this beauty up


Have you ever seen the scrawls
On the fences and the walls,
All the horrid little pictures and the horrid little names?

Don’t you think it is a shame?
Are the Goops the ones to blame?
Did you ever catch them playing at their
horrid little games?

Hahahahahahaha. Graffiti as art! and rebellion against all those hideous advertisements we are bombarded with everday! Wooo hooooo

Summer is officially over.

Well its official everyone. All the kids in Shanghai are back to school! Hahahaha suckas! The familiar sight of students in their lil’ uniforms walking the streets , waiting for the metro ,and cramming into the stationery store buying their school supplies. It’s a bit weird after being used to the summer when you don’t see the kids at all and then bam all of a sudden they are everywhere.This also means that the new semester has started in my kindergarten. Bigger classes , one more class,  singing in the morning with all the kids, and a shortened 2 hour 45 minute lunch break instead of the usual 3 and a half , sigh.

Taking a turn for the sad this also means the pressure is back on for the kids. School here after kindergarten turns hard. Kids have tons of homework everyday , usually end up studying on the weekend , and memorize page after page of materials. Students in high-school are super busy studying for the gao kao 高考 literally the high test , which is a college entrance exam. With so many students all competing for entrance to university (1.3 billion people means a helluva lot of students) the pressure is on. Parents put an undue amount of pressure on the children (and you thought you were worried about the SAT and ACTs) and sometimes it is too much.

This article mentions that last year 8 primary and middle school students committed suicide , not even the high school students whom I expect to be more likely. That’s crazy when the lil’uns are offing themselves. In another post I’ll delve more into the subject but for now I’ll leave y’all with some cute uniform pics.