"Party, drink, date" vs. "Study, study, study"

This fascinating article about Chinese teachers in America illustrates some reasons why China is rising and America is declining:

Zheng Yue, a young woman from China who is teaching her native language to students in this town on the Oklahoma grasslands, was explaining a vocabulary quiz on a recent morning. Then a student interrupted.

“Sorry, I was zoning out,” said the girl, a junior wearing black eye makeup. “What are we supposed to be doing?”

Ms. Zheng seemed taken aback but patiently repeated the instructions.

“In China,” she said after class, “if you teach the students and they don’t get it, that’s their problem. Here if they don’t get it, you teach it again.”

…“My life in high school was torture, just studying, nothing else,” said Ms. Zheng (pronounced djung). “Here students lead more interesting lives,” partly because they are more involved in athletics, choir and other activities.

“They party, they drink, they date,” she added. “In China, we study and study and study.”

…Ms. Zheng said she believed that teachers got little respect in America.

“This country doesn’t value teachers, and that upsets me,” she said. “Teachers don’t earn much, and this country worships making money. In China, teachers don’t earn a lot either, but it’s a very honorable career.”

…Ms. Zheng has described to her classes the high-pressure schools she attended in the city of Pingdingshan, where students study six days a week from 8 a.m. through a mandatory evening study hall ending at 10 p.m.

Posted by James on Monday, May 10, 2010