"It's such hard work being a teacher in China. I have to get up at 6am in the morning to make sure the students are getting up and finish work at 11.30pm when I check that the students are asleep. Students here have almost no time to rest or play sports during the day. When they are not studying, they have to clean the school, clean themselves and their clothes, do compulsory body or eye exercises [see photo] or eat. They simply don’t get enough sleep. As a teacher you don’t either. You have to spend so much time, love and energy on your students. But sometimes I get tired and annoyed. Sometimes I lose patience. Sometimes I feel I have to be the students’ mum, dad, nanny, teacher and friend. Sometimes I just want to stay quietly by myself in my dormitory.
So many worrying things happen in our school; the constant pressure of work and exams, students arguing with teachers, students running away from home or school. Students can even get pregnant, kill their teachers or kill themselves. I feel the job of a teacher isn’t safe. One day, a boy student was sleeping in my evening class. I asked him to wake up. He just turned and said some disgusting words to me. I cried when I got back to my dorm and later told his class teacher. I wasn’t in the wrong, I asked him in a respectful way and I am a teacher. I have to say or do something when I see a student doing something wrong.
A student committed suicide in my school last week. Maybe she felt too much pressure After her death, the leaders set up a psychology office and decorated some areas of the school but it’s still had a really negative influence in our school. I’m a teacher with responsibility for my students. I talk to my students, spent lots of time with them and care about them. But still I can’t guess who wants to commit suicide. I am so afraid. Sometimes there are no signs. Maybe something just happens to them on an impulse. I’ve thought a lot about the young girl’s death. That night I was in hospital with a bad cold. I saw our school leader, the girl’s parents and the dead body with the white cover…."