The Pressure Cooker

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This weekend I decided that because my math classes had been so boring lately I would steal Steph's idea of doing a quiz for the kids. It had worked well in her classes and the kids had enjoyed it. I tried it with my class on Sat morning and it went well, aside form a few kids sulking at the end because I had deducted points from their team for not following the rules - admittedly not very well described rules, but there you go.
I tried a similar quiz in my Sat evening class and they enjoyed it at first but started to buckle a bit as the pressure of winning got a bit much toward the end. One boy had a bit of a melt down when he thought he had gotten the answer wrong and lost the game for his team, even though he still had plenty of time to correct it and this wasn't even the final round! This caused a bit of a situation and the boy started yelling Chinese obscenities at his team mate, who was obligingly returning the favour. The situation was quite tense and rather surreal when you have two kids screaming at each other but you can't understand a word! We gave up on the quiz and the TA managed to get the class back to their seats. However the one boy who had started it would not stop with the Chinese obscenities. I ended up having to yell at him incredibly loudly - Steph could hear it from down the hall - shocking him into silence. It was quite horrible having to yell at a kid like that and then immediately put on a calm and composed complexion to finish the class.
I did the same sort of quiz again with my Sun morning class and they went much better at it. However again we had one boy who couldn't cope with the competition when he was on the losing team. Though this boy was able to just set himself aside and have a bit of a cry - far less destructive. I don't think I'll be doing any more quizzes with those classes in future which is a real shame.
I feel quite sorry for the kids as they are under so much pressure form parents to succeed and do well. But also with most of them being only children, many of them, especially the younger ones, have never lost before.  Their parents give them anything that they ask for, and are used to getting their way.  These kids have the most unfortunate combination of being the light of their parents lives (little emperors) but also the future sole providers for the parents.  The pressure on these kids to succeed in such a huge and competitive country like China is immense!
The break downs over a simple and meaningless quiz are kind of understandable in that context.
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carly on

I've been staring at this post trying to think of an appropriate comment.. Got nothing except, thanks for this post Evan! It was a very interesting read! Hang in there :P

pammynz on

Nana thoroughly enjoyed and could relate well to this post. It is all good experience for you eh! You are getting in some great touristy things too which is fabulous. Makes you appreciate where you come from doesn't it? xxxx

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