Posted on October 13, 2017
Teacher’s Day 2017 in Shenzhen, China
Let me tell you the nicest thing so far that has happened while teaching at my school. Walking into the school, greeting the parents and students at the gate, looking up and seeing a group of children singing a welcome song. Wow. “What is going on?” I asked. There were many teacher’s milling around, walking up to a billboard that was not there the day before. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Everyone was taking pictures. “Come Teacher,” another teacher called. I walked over and was invited to join the group of picture takers. “Today is teacher’s day!” Imagine my surprise. School has not been in session very long. We are already being celebrated as teachers. This is amazing and totally unheard of in the places I have visited.
I took pictures just like everyone else; with the rest of the teachers, with the students who were singing, by the billboard and of the school. A celebration of teachers! China gives me many opportunities to feel special, kinda like a celebrity. Most of the time, I enjoy the moment. All of the teachers received a beautiful flowers. We were also given a lovely potted plant to take home and some of the children handed out flowers to teachers as well. I was thankful that even though I have not been teaching at the school for very long, I was not left out.
After a mini program for teachers day out on the exercise ground, we continued on with the day. However, the festivities were not over. All of the teachers, and their families, were invited to go to a restaurant across town to eat a special meal of roasted pigeon. Most of the teachers at my school joined in and we all packed into two tour buses. Riding in a bus surrounded by teachers in a festive mood, I feel proud to call myself a teacher.
Arriving at the restaurant, I pity the teachers sit at the table with us. How hard will it will be for them to overcome their shyness and try to speak to two newcomers with their basic English? Instead of being shy, they speak anyway and told us the names of things in Chinese. We promptly began to butcher the language. One teacher shared that she enjoyed listening to Selena Gomez. I happened to have a song on my phone and we talked about that for a while.
A parent and the headmaster stood and made a toast to the school, the teachers and the day. We joined in. I was waiting for someone to break out and start karaoke, but it did not happen. We began our meal. If you have ever had a family style meal, it was very similar. The food kept coming and coming. We started out with soup and then had a variety of vegetables with rice and fried fish, followed up by the much awaited pigeon. Bean was willing to try most of the dishes. In China, often fish, chicken and duck are served with their head on, Bean will not eat it. For the end of the meal, we were served a special bread of the region. I was too full to want to carry left overs home, but many people were thrilled to fill a bag. I like being in a country were doggy bags are acceptable!
Waiting for the bus to take us back to the school, many teachers and their families decided to take a walk through the countryside. We joined them and walked with a teacher acts as my assistant. How likely is it to have an assistant who speaks english and who is herself a single mother? Not very, but it happened for me! We learned a little more about the area and made a date to get together with our children.
Before getting on the buses, a private company gave us cases of date milk. I was sceptical of taking home a large case of milk. What if I didn’t like it and Bean would not drink it? No sense in take something and wasting it. We tried one and loved it. That milk was gone within a few days.
Teachers Day turned out to be a pleasant surprise and an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. If more countries celebrated teachers the way that China does, maybe more young people would find it a job worth having! Bean says she is going to be a teacher when she grows up. I tell her, “That is an excellent choice.”