Teacher stamps marks on underachieving students’ faces
From Southern Metropolis Daily and Sina Weibo
An elementary school teacher in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has been widely criticized on the Internet for stamping red and blue marks on her students’ faces based on how they behave at school to tell good students from “bad” ones.
The complaint over the public humiliation and discrimination was first brought by a parent to Southern Metropolis Daily. “Is that any different from stigmatizing an inmate with tattoo on his face in the ancient times?” he asked.
The reporter with the newspaper came to Shangfen Primary School in Shenzhen on the afternoon of September 25, and saw at least three students bearing marks on their foreheads in the third-grade class. According to the students, top-performing students received red marks on their faces, whereas the mischievous ones got blue marks.
In Class 1, Grade 3 at Shangfen Elementary School in Shenzhen, three students are seen bearing stamps on their faces, including one girl having a red flower on her forehead that says “Award.”
The other two students wear smudged blue marks. Both of them have tried to wipe the mark away.
One student with a blue mark told the reporter, “Everyone knows blue stands for bad behavior. Many classmates laughed at me. My pride is so hurt.” He said he once pled the teacher to stamp the mark on his arm instead of the face to make it less visible, only to be refused by the teacher. The teacher even told him not to remove it until he got home.
The reporter found the class was the only one in the school to stamp marks directly on students’ faces. The teacher, Ms.Guo, explained that the school has been promoting a performance appraisal system since the beginning of this year. Each student has a booklet to collect stamps. After a certain number of red stamps are collected, the student can get a badge of honor awarded by the school principal.
Ms. Guo, who has been accused of her improper teaching method, graduated from college not long ago and is a new teacher at the elementary school.
“Given that once the stamp is left on the booklet, it is final and cannot be erased, I wanted to stamp it on their bodies, especially on underachieving kids, to spur them on and fight for more red stamps,” Guo explained. She apologized for her lack of consideration.
Li Yu, the vide principal, said that Ms. Guo is a newly-arrived teacher and lacks experiences; she meant well but did not handle the matter correctly, “We will strengthen our training of young teachers to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Respect for kids always comes first,” but he did not say if Guo would be fired.
Last October, an elementary school forced “bad” students to wear green scarf as opposed to the typical red scarf worn by most Chinese pupils as a badge of shame, which came in for much criticism of its teaching method.
Selected comments on Sina Weibo:
驴脾气小驴：I just don’t get it: isn’t it perfectly normal for little kids to make a mistake?? Why not? Why can’t they?? If you want to make a saint out of them, at least be a saint yourself! What stuff are teachers nowadays made of~!
Emma-白哲：Don’t dismiss it as a trifle. Its impact on kids’ psychology may be permanent. Little kids have a strong sense of pride. They must be encouraged often. How can one hurt kids’ pride? I think choosing the right school is also important. Should have enough information about teachers before letting kids enroll. My cousin used to attend a dancing class. The teacher there used a lot of profanity when talking. The kid was psychologically adversely affected. Later her parents even filed a complaint.
溜溜达达的懒猫：So are they really going to keep this teacher?
御风而行Vivian：I think it is actually a good idea to use the red stamp as reward. The blue stamp is about letting students know the shame and then work harder. I don’t think the blue stamp is that much a big deal. Teaching is not an easy job. When you have students who just won’t listen to whatever you say and impervious to the grill, you gotta use extreme methods to achieve your intended goal.
众人深爱的家骏哥：I am curious: how many ignorant and unethical scumbags like this is China’s army of teachers made of?
VenusLondonH：Haha, nice mark! Like those on pork for sale!
燕大人围脖：The psychological scar one gets at a very young age is very difficult to get rid of! Such a memory will persist for the rest of one’s life!
Icy努力上多大：Don’t always use the excuse of letting kids know their mistake to mask mistakes of adults. No education can make it up to the psychological would kids get. Such a teacher should really be fired, because her frame of mind, quality of character, education and (lack of) cultivation have all disqualified her for the job of elementary teaching.
嘛嘛育萱：There are unethical teachers everywhere. Hope my daughter will never meet any one of them in the future.
杨朝雨：Chinese good kids will pay for the school, for their education in obedience. Chinese good kids are easily overwhelmed by flattery and honor, whereas those who score low in exams are considered imbeciles. Bad students are negligible laughing stocks at school. Chinese good kids are like caged birds who forget how to fly and lose their bearings once they are released into the society. Chinese good kids are always one being taught. Good kids, mama’s boys?
骑着驴去飚：Red stands for good; blue stands for bad. The truth is, red countries are autocracies; blue countries are democracies. Blue is good. They can definitely relocated to the U.S. The red ones, just go ahead being enslaved in the Heavenly Kingdom!
CL小妞：Those who work as a teacher will also be a parent one day. Try to think about the future of your own kids.