Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 160

Hard work

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by : 
EllaBlogger

I have been teaching in a middle school in China now for about 2 months. I teach 15- to 18-year-olds, so I try to make my lessons as fun as possible with videos and games for me and my classes to play together. I love my job because most of my students try really hard in lessons and they are incredibly responsive and enthusiastic about learning English. However, one thing that bothers me is that I occasionally have to nudge students who have fallen asleep in the middle of a lesson!

One or two students fall asleep in my class every day. Some students even bring pillows to school so that they can rest comfortably on their desks. I solve this problem by explaining to my students that if I catch them sleeping then they have to answer a question about the day's learning in front of the class. This has worked very well in my lessons, but I still wanted to know why I had such sleepy students.

This is what I have discovered:
At my school the first lesson of the day starts at 7.30 am and the last lesson does not finish until 9.30 pm. The students get 10 minutes of free time between each lesson, plus longer break times for their lunch and dinner. During their lunch break at about 1.30 pm the school is eerily quiet and all of the hallways and playgrounds are deserted, because every classroom is full of students who are fast asleep. I also found out that a lot of the time students are expected to attend school on the weekends for extra lessons, or to sit exams. Chinese students work longer hours a week than most adults in England!

When I was a teenager in London I started school at 8.30 am and finished at 3.30 pm every day. I had weekends to myself and I got to have dinner with my family or friends, usually in my own home. Discovering how hard my students work has made me feel extremely lazy and inspired me to try to be productive every day by challenging myself to learn Chinese, explore my new city and discover more about this fascinating country. It has also made me more understanding about their accidental naps in the classroom!

Discussion

How much time do you think teenagers should spend at school? Do you ever fall asleep in class? 

Comments

gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 11 November, 2016 - 13:06

At my school, the first class always start at 7 a.m regardless of winter or summer, rainy or sunny days, moreover, students always have to go to school 15 minutes earlier than teachers to self-study ( review old lessons or prepare for the new lessons)
I think students should spend 4 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon. My viewpoint is that, what make students feel asleep is
a) the lessons are too boring, students do not have many chances to raise their hands and express their ideas.
Or b) They have to study too much and they feel tired.
Teachers are coherently feel angry or disappointed when a student fall asleep in class, I wonder if in this world, is there a teacher who is tolerant and patient enough to let that student continue his sleep, wait until that student wake up himself, doesn't make a phone call to his mother, and is ready to lend a sympathetic ear to him and find out the reason why he fell asleep.

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EllaBlogger's picture
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EllaBlogger 14 November, 2016 - 13:16

Hi Gianggiang,

I have been a teacher for around two years and I have met many teachers who make it their aim to understand and help their students, I'm sorry if you have never met one!
In my old school we used to say "everyone is a teacher", because if we listen to our students then they can help us to become better at our jobs. That is why I wrote this blog post, because seeing how hard my students worked help me to become more ambitious and sympathetic. 

Good luck with your studies, and I hope you find the teacher you are looking for!

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sanpai28's picture
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sanpai28 4 November, 2016 - 04:18

I think teenagers should spend about six or seven hours at school. The school only teaches lessons and we learn them by just sitting on our chairs. When the first lesson finishes, the teacher goes out and after about ten mins, another teacher comes into the class and teaches the next lesson. We were just sticking with the chairs until the lunch break. The main point I don't like is that we don't have any fun activity in learning lessons. So, learning the lessons has become a boring thing for students and of course, students start feeling sleepy, including me. :) He He... But students don't bring pillows to school. In my opinion, the lessons should be taught by using games or fun activities or group competitions. This can make students more enthusiastic, fun and happier in learning lessons and their brain memories can absorb these lessons more quickly and effectively. And the time for physical exercises should be included in the school time table. They keep you healthy,happy and active, too. :D

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EllaBlogger's picture
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EllaBlogger 14 November, 2016 - 13:06

Hi Sanpai!

I agree with you! I try to do as much as I can to keep my lessons exciting with games and video clips.
My job is to get my students speaking, which they aren't usually allowed to do in class.
I think that there is a lot to be learnt outside of the classroom as well as inside it.
Good luck with your studies!
 

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sanpai28's picture
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sanpai28 16 November, 2016 - 03:39

Hi, Ella,
Thank you for your reply. :) Like in China, teachers don't like students speaking in class, even discussing about the subject they are learning. I want the lessons to be exciting and interesting and fun. You must be a good teacher who can make the students learn happily.
Good luck with your teaching!

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