Until I took up an academic position in China, it did not occur to me that the teaching profession is so respected. In fact all teaching staff, whether they are teaching primary, secondary or university students are referred to as “teachers”. For me, it felt great being addressed by my students as “teacher” when I stepped into the lecture hall at Zhaoqing University for the first time in March 2019.
Every year during the celebration for “teachers’ day” many businesses will give special deals and gifts to teachers in China. The feature image in this post is just one of many of such signs of respect to the teaching profession. I must admit, I will miss this free gift of RMB300 worth of spectacle products this year as I am still unable to travel back to my university from Malaysia due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have started my second semester of online teaching at the beginning of September 2020.
It is precisely due to the respect given to teaching staff that there is a higher requirement for university teaching staff to give more attention to students’ academic performance and their well-being on campus. This is unlike the situation in Malaysia and the UK (where this author was a student for 12 years) where university students are considered as adults. Chasing after students to submit assignments and giving offenders second chances are relatively new experience to me, a veteran of the higher education sector of over two decades!