Working as a foreign teacher in China, I am very often told by colleagues that I am very patient, lenient and perhaps even too kind with my students. I have been told to be more strict, enforce more discipline and exert more control, and while I am sure there are harmless ways to do so, what I have seen from both Chinese teachers, and parents, sometimes, frightens me, and it is one of the top reasons why, when I have children of my own, I do not want them to study in China at all.
Abuse can take many forms, but every one of them is harmful. I wrote earlier, about a girl abusing her daughter on the subway and how I stood up against her. This film is about the emotional abuse, that Chinese students and children are put through, from their teachers, parents and grandparents. More importantly, it shows what that emotional abuse does to the children, and how they eventually fight back, desperately.
I have seen first hand, Chinese teachers abusing their students in public schools. I have heard accounts of infants and babies being physically abused in kindergartens and nurseries. I have seen first hand, how parents exert physical and emotional abuse on their children in public without any interference from the outside world. I acted on it in the subway car, and while her response what a slap in the face, literally, at least I stopped something. I have confronted parents who where hitting their children in public, or yelling at them in a school. And I will continue to do so.
I like to believe, that I have a connection with my students. Even with the ones, who do not always behave. I see other foreign teachers with similar qualities to mine, and they have told me, how their students talk about the abuse that happens to them at home. As a student, you look to your teacher for guidance and also for protection when something happens. How can you seek guidance and protection, from someone who hurts you. I am too young to have children of my own just yet, I hope one day I will. And when I do, I am never, EVER, going to lay a hand on them, call them a disgrace, say they are morons or stupid. I am never going to abuse my students, no matter how much they misbehave. I do a show of force and authority when needed, but it is always directed at objects, never people. I’ll slam my book at a desk or table, I’ll pat my students on the head when I want them to listen but I would never do anything to hurt them. I yell, but only for a second, I never call them names or say they are stupid. If my student isn’t learning, the fault most likely lies with me, not with them.
I have no children yet, I treat my students, as if they were my sons and daughters. In my own way, I love them. They bring me joy, happiness and good experiences, just like having a child would do. But they can also make me frustrated, annoyed and angry, just like having a child would do.
Think about what you do and say to your children and the children of others. What damage could a few words possibly do? Take a look, and find out!