China / Society

Parasol photos of teacher trigger anger and acceptance

By ZHAO XINYING ( Updated: 2015-05-06 22:10

Photos showing a primary school student holding a parasol for his teacher have triggered heated discussion after they were posted online.

The pictures show primary school students taking a spring outing at a garden in Shanghai on a sunny day.

One of them, who is about 10 years old, is seen holding a parasol as a sun screen for a female teacher wherever the teacher goes.

The teacher, who is wearing sunglasses, appears to take the boy's service for granted and seems to be enjoying the shade of the parasol without thanking him. The teacher is also seen waving a fan to cool herself.

The photos have irritated Internet users, with many criticizing the teacher.

"I feel ashamed of her," one netizen wrote on a micro blog. "Didn't she see that the student had to stand on tiptoe to hold the parasol for her properly? A teacher should not be like that."

But others expressed their understanding and said the incident was "no big deal".

One post said: "It's normal for students to do some things for their teacher. It's just a way of showing respect, and we should not make a fuss."

Some others said the student had carried the parasol "to get into the teacher's good books".

On Tuesday, education authorities in Shanghai's Baoshan district confirmed in a website notice that the teacher in the photos works at a primary school in the district. They said they had asked the teacher's school to deal with the issue.

"We hope teachers can be self-disciplined and care for students," the notice stated. "Let's create a harmonious atmosphere together, in which teachers and students respect each other."

The teacher said in an interview with that she was "terribly sorry". She said her students had enjoyed a good relationship with her since she took over the class three years ago, and they often helped her with tasks such as handing out notebooks and cleaning the board.

"So, on the day when a student offered to hold a parasol for me, I didn't refuse," she said. "I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry for the adverse effect I have had on the image of teachers as a whole."

Chu Zhaohui, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences, said it is only natural for anyone seeing the photos to feel uncomfortable with the teacher's behavior.

"A more proper reaction for the teacher when students offer to hold the parasol is for her to say 'let's hold it together so everyone can enjoy the shade'," he said.

Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said teachers should refuse politely when students offer to hold a parasol for them "unless the teacher is sick and the students try to take care of him or her".

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