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Pressured teachers need more support
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-10 07:37

Four out of every 10 teachers in the country are troubled by psychological problems, according to a survey released on Wednesday ahead of today's 21st annual Teachers' Day.

Jointly conducted by Renmin University of China and Sina.com, the online survey shows that 82.2 per cent of the 9,000 teachers questioned are under tremendous strain, and 29 per cent are tired of the job. Dejection, paranoia and fidgeting are listed as the top three symptoms.

"Unsatisfactory salaries, unreasonable management systems, performance evaluations and social environment all result in poor mental health," said Li Chaoping, the survey chief.

Jiang Lina, a 25-year-old teacher with the middle school affiliated with Renmin University, was still busy correcting students' papers at 9:30 pm on Thursday.

"We usually have long days. Our work time is from 7 am to 5 pm, but we still have to correct papers, prepare next day's lessons or even pay visits to students' homes at night," she said. "And we're under great pressure, especially during examination time. Students' scores are key to our job evaluation."

Jiang said that during the first year of her work, she was troubled and often couldn't sleep. "Some parents put the blame on us for their children's misbehaviour or poor scores, ignoring the fact that parents also shoulder responsibility for their children."

Wang Zhu, a 57-year-old English teacher at Beijing Middle School No 80, said teachers today face much greater pressure than they did 30 years ago and admitted she sometimes vents her anger on her students' families.

"It's more difficult to teach and get along with today's students. They have stronger characters, and some are spoilt," she said, adding that another big headache lies in scores, which remain a major concern because there are still so many selective exams.

"Some of my colleagues in poorer schools have more complaints about their salaries and working conditions," Wang said.

The survey also shows the majority of teachers face the problem of pressure passively.

(China Daily 09/10/2005 page2)

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