Yesterday was Children's Day in China.
Naturally the only thing that kids got to do for children's day was skip between their english lessons and math lessons and then top it all off with homework.
School and the education system in China is so competitive. Parents often live near a top Primary school so their child can attend the top Primary School. After Primary School//Middle School, students take a test to determine which high school they will go to. In High School, students take the gaokao, which is similar to the SAT and will dictate if they can get into a top university in China.
If students do not do well on the Gaokao and they can afford to study abroad, they will take the SAT or another country's required test and apply to colleges abroad. If students know in advance they want to study abroad, they will prepare for the SAT or other country required tests instead of the gaokao or even go abroad as early as high school. Many students that I teach want to go abroad, but they do not have money restraints. I know obtaining a student visa can be difficult if you do not come from a wealthy family. The Chinese government does not give out loans--instead people can borrow money from friends.
The competition and preparation starts at a young age. Since many families only have one kid, there is intense pressure on the child. Kids spend their evenings and weekends taking private lessons or tutoring sessions or doing an absurd amount of homework. Little emphasis is placed on the importance of extracurriculars or fun activities outside of school.
When students come in on Saturday and Sunday it is almost depressing to ask them how their weekend is going. Over holidays where students get weeks off school, they tell me they would rather be in school because they have so much homework and other lessons.
With that said, I had a full schedule of classes yesterday. My students told me they did not like Children's Day. In my 1:30 class of 7 year olds, many came with tears in their eyes because they had to leave Children's Palace to come to class.
Some of my littles!