Published: May 7th 2012September 10th 2010
The basketball court underneath my apartment
I arrived in the small town of Macheng in September 2010. This is the second place in China I have lived in. I arrived there by train around 10pm with all my luggage. There was the head of the english department waiting for me on a motorbike. I was confused, where am i suppost to put all my lugguge? He got a taxi so everything was cool.
The next day after a arrived there i got sick. I got a fever. So i wasn't able to teach on the friday they wanted me to begin on. So I started in the Monday. Instantly once a started teaching the students attached themselves to me. They talked to me about there lives and what there going through. I joined in to there PE classes. Playing basketball, running, ping pong and I started a parkour training club at lunch for the students.
I worked there until the end of the first semester. I had to leave the school. It was too depressing. These kids had to be in class by 6:30am every morning. They finished class at 10:00pm. They don't home, they live in dorms behind the school gate. The students are
Another shot of the court.
not allowed to leave the school property unless they have a pass (or there with me :P) Students would have to climb a tree over an 8 foot wall just to get out to use the internet (thats why I started the parkour club).
The most depressing thing of all was I got really close with one student in particular. His name is Qiu Huanling. He had a passion and love for basketball. He had the same fire in his heart for basketball that I had for badminton. I watched as this prison they call high school chained him to a desk. He couldn't do what he loved to do. He had dreams to join the CBA, he only wanted to play basketball.
This is just one example of whats goes on in these schools. My fience is from Guangxi province and her schooling was very similar. She told me before she went to high school she loved to play ping pong. She gave it up when she went to high school.
Working in the this school has opened my eyes. You get so close to the students and you get involved in there lives. It's a
Students playing basketball during PE class.
truely amazing experience. Though it was a very depressing experience , i was also a very positive experience. I am very glad a had the honor to teach in this school.
The last thing a would like to mention is; Once I left this school, i got a call from the head master. He told me one of your students in grade 1 (13 years old) had committed suicide. He had jumped off of one of the teaching buildings. He couldn't take the pressure. Pressure from his parents, teachers, and peers. Sixteen hours a day constantly studying. he had enough, he couldn't do it. so the option for him was to end it all. THIS IS A NORMAL ACCURANCE IN CHINESE HIGH SCHOOLS.
There are more photos below