Classroom 'candles' are honored by students
Every child in China has heard the saying, "teachers are like candles, illuminating the way for others." On Teachers Day on September 10, students had the chance to pay respect to those lighting the road ahead.
Ma Baoling, a freshman at Renmin University of China in Beijing, sent greetings via video to Fu Yaohua, a science and technology teacher at Minhang Shuangjiang Primary School.
"Teacher Fu guided us when I was in the fourth grade," Ma said. "He taught us, step by step, how to assemble a robot and program, and led us to participate in many competitions, where I got pretty good results.
Fu said he was delighted that Ma remembered him and had benefited from his guidance. He said it was always his goal to build confidence in students.
Founded in 2009, Shuangjiang school was created by the merger of several private schools for the children of migrant workers. Com¬pared with other public schools, it initially didn't have the same level of resources.
Starting from 2012, science and technology educators in Minhang initiated a program to pool resources across Shanghai. Teams of special educators and exhibitions rotated through schools, and students were taken to visit places like the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
"We have 10 projects for children to learn about gardening, robots and other hands-on technologies," said Ye Yinhua, president of the Minhang Teenagers' Science-Technology Education Association. "They may start at zero, but they eventually work their way up different levels of competitions, even national ones."
He said more projects will be introduced to expand the program.
Teachers' Day observances were often heartwarming. At Zizhu Primary School Affiliated to East China Normal University, some students read poems they wrote to teachers, or simply gave them a hug.
Mentors help ease the burden on teachers
Teachers are not only those who stand in front of classrooms every day. This year, more than 200 mentors – experts in various fields – have been hired to provide extra help for students at Qibao High School.
The mentors step in when head teachers have their hands full with classes of about 40 students. Each mentor may help up to 15 students with their studies and aspirations.
"I have a student who wants to someday attend Shanghai Jiao Tong University, my alma mater, so I have been helping her understand how graduates carry out research," said mentor Zhang Yaoxin, who said he believes his assistance has resulted in the student becoming more motivated.
Liu Yifan, a student in Qibao, said he remembers a hiking excursion to Sheshan Hill in Songjiang District with Zhang and other classmates.
"We had lunch together and talked about our futures on top of the hill," he said. "Zhang is a good mentor and a good friend."