Students in China are so overloaded with homework it’s a wonder they haven’t gone completely off the rails. I mean, they’ve got to do about 3-5 hours of homework each night, from what I hear, and do you know what happens when they get a holiday? Well, lucky them! They get more homework!
- Overloaded Early: It’s a real shame, if you ask me. Most of these children get that thrown at them when they’re about 5-6 years old, sometimes younger. They really don’t have any childhood then, no chance to be a kid. I just can’t help but think that one day this will backfire and all of these kids will rebel. But maybe not. After all, they all want to get really good grades so that they can get into really good universities so that they can make really good money. And then what? Well, buy things, silly!
- Overloaded Often: And not only do they get school homework, but they get extra class homework. Many students go to training centers for science, math, Chinese, and English. They’ve got to sit there for an hour or two each day on the weekend, and if they’re studying multiple subjects, they could be looking at a full sentence of weekend classes, evening classes, and any other nook and cranny of free time that their parents can find to cram them with education.
- False Expectations: Most of my students think they’re going to Harvard. If they get the right native speaker to write their application letter, they may be right. But I don’t know how they could ever succeed. Maybe if they just throw money at the university they’ll get through. Who knows?
What I do know is that I rarely give homework. My students don’t like to do it, and I don’t like to grade it. And when you work at a training center, there’s really no consequence to not doing your homework. After all, we don’t want to lose the students’ money. Or excuse me, their parents’ money. So we go through a façade where we give homework, the students don’t do the homework, and everyone’s happy.
Ah, teaching ESL in China is great!