‘I’d Rather Be a Prostitute than a Teacher’

‘I’d Rather Be a Prostitute than a Teacher’

15/09/2011 12:06:00
By Kan Zhong Guo Staff
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screenshot of the blog of the Hangzhou female

Can you believe those are the words of a high school

In China’s traditional culture, intellectuals had upheld social mores. This
trend seems to be reversing. With the coming of annual Teacher’s Day, a female
Hangzhou teacher wrote, ‘I’d rather be a prostitute than a teacher’ in her blog.
The current status of China’s educational system, moral values, the quality of
teachers and their relative low living standards are concerning. It worries
everyone who is concerned with the future of education in China.

teacher, claiming to have double degrees from a prestigious university wrote,
“I’d rather be a prostitute than a teacher. I know many people will condemn me
for my words. I do not know how students will react. Forgive me. The saying
‘Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ is only for fairy tales. A good
life doesn’t depend on others, but is about how
well you can sell

She describes her life: “I receive just about RMB2000 (USD300)
a month as a lecturer. I live in a rented room, which can only accommodate a bed
and a table. I have to be very careful with my expenses. In order to save 1 RMB
a day on electricity, I have to live without an air conditioner and switch off
the fan, even though I am sweating profusely.”

Another woman, Mrs. Wang,
is a retired teacher in Beijing whose husband is a professor at Peking
University. As a young researcher he went through many trials after others stole
his research results. His wife agrees with her husband’s words, “Choosing to be
a teacher is choosing to be poor.” Many teachers struggle in today’s cash-driven
society to comply with their professional code of conduct. According to Mrs.
Wang, “In the pursuit of money many teachers just want to make extra income by
tutoring. This reflects on the students and parents. Students do not learn
important things these days. In the past teachers were regarded as ‘gardeners
for the future flowers of the country.’ They are like doctors looking after the
souls of the next generation, but present-day ethics seems to be far removed
from that.”

Although money is necessary, if values are measured solely in
monetary terms, what will society’s future be?

Hu Ping, Beijing’s Spring
Magazine’s editor-in-chief, thinks Chinese society now laughs at poverty but not
at prostitution, and values are reversed, which affects the perceptions people
have of teachers. “In the Chinese tradition, teaching is a very respectable
career, but now it has a poor reputation. One reason for its poor reputation is
certainly related to wages; the other is that teachers face tough choices in
today’s China making it difficult to assume the role of educators for the
community. Just like other industries, the educational field has its shortfalls
making it challenging for teachers to feel like an honorable person in such an

Prof. Zhang Tianliang from George Mason University
commented how in the past the teacher’s job was not only to teach skills but
also how to handle life. It was important to teach them how to be good people.
Now teachers just pass on science and technical knowledge to the next
generation, without addressing moral values. This leads to a fast decline in
human morality. The teachers can no longer win students’ respect if they take
this approach either. “The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) itself is a criminal
group oozing corruption. Students’ minds are actually instilled with this
ideology, so the current generation has been disjointed from traditional

A teacher commented on a blog, “Chinese society and its
educational system make teachers’ morals unsustainable. Dutiful teachers feel
humbled when facing rude students and low wages, and even more so when their own
children look down on their careers.”




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