Wednesday, February 11, 2009

School's in

Now that school is back in session, the kids are experiencing the great life crushing burden of education in an overachieving country. School starts at 7:30. They get a couple of hours off at mid day for lunch and a nap, then back for more until almost 6:00, then homework until about 10:30. Also homework on the weekends. This is the case for all ages. Then there are kids like a little girl I tutor whose parents have them studying music, sports, and in this 8 year old's case, extra English at 8:30 pm Saturday night.
Class sizes are about 40 kids. The teachers can smack 'em around. High school kids get a mandatory week of military training each year to give them disciprine.
They don't teach Chairman Mao's little red book any more, and they haven't for a lot of years. He is more of a figurehead hero.
We got to watch a show put on by a local Shaolin school. These are live in martial arts academies that are very hard core. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, but we saw a great show by a bunch of teens doing different demonstrations of sword and spear dancing. Drunken master. And a great bunch of those cool dancing lions, with them doing great acrobatics on tower platforms.
Our schools are so much easier. It seems to me that the kids here have an overall better level of education than ours, but I think it could be done with less severity. We could use a little of the discipline they have.
Our colleges and universities, however are much better. Every bright student dreams of studying in Europe or the US.