Ease classroom pressures
Updated: 2011-09-13 08:27
In addition to paying tribute to the nation's teachers for their contributions to the country's educational cause and the cultivation of our younger generations, it seems to have become a regular practice around the annual Teachers' Day for the media and society to show concern about the pressures they face.
Before this year's Teachers' Day, which fell on Saturday, a survey in Shanghai revealed that this concern is probably well-founded as it painted a worrisome picture of pressures on primary and middle school teachers in the most-developed Chinese metropolis.
The random survey conducted by the Oriental Education Times and Fudan University on the happiness of Shanghai's primary and secondary school teachers revealed that 86.6 percent of the 1,426 teachers polled feel they are under great pressure from work, and 26.2 percent of them feel they are under huge pressure. Only 5.8 percent of the respondents said they do not feel any great pressure.
The respondents said the biggest pressure is the test scores of their students, followed by the pressures stemming from educational research and classroom management.
The survey also indicated that most of the polled have a heavy workload and time-consuming preparatory work for lessons and feel physically and psychologically exhausted by the various performance assessments that are closely linked to their incomes, as well as the frequent and, sometimes, unexpected administrative examinations organized by relevant departments.
But despite the pressures, the teachers in Shanghai still manage to produce excellent students.
Even though it was their debut, in last year's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test staged by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, aimed at evaluating 15-year-old students' literacy, math and science in 65 countries, Shanghai students outscored their counterparts in all three categories.
The top ranking of Shanghai students is to some extent a result of the city's improved teaching quality. But it is also possibly an outcome of the exam-focused teaching model, despite the country's calls to promote the all-round development of students.
As the gardeners of the flowers of our motherland, it will be detrimental to the country's future if our teachers have poor psychological and physical health, especially those low-grade ones who play a crucial role in the healthy development of our teens.
To create a healthy and comfortable teaching and learning atmosphere, the country should be more determined to discard the long-reviled test-centered education model and de-peg teachers' incomes from their students' academic scores.
The current assorted teaching quality assessments organized by responsible departments should also be reviewed so that teachers can concentrate their energy on their own job - teaching.
(China Daily 09/13/2011 page8)