Friday, August 6, 2010

Classroom Teacher

For all 12 years of pre-college education in Taiwan, each classroom had an assigned classroom teacher, as I have told you before. They were responsible for maintaining order in the class whenever there were no other teachers in the classroom. For students, it was important to get along with their classroom teachers as they were the ones who assigned the final grades on "discipline" for the semester. Yes, "discipline" was a separate item listed in your semester report card besides all the other subjects you took during the semester and physical education. The classroom teacher not only gave a grade but also wrote comments on each student in the class listing everything parents of the student should know.

If I remember correctly, our first year classroom teacher was Jiang Shaw-chu (姜啸秋). I am not one hundred percent sure of this although I do know that he was one of our teachers. I called a classmate Tu Shu-min (杜淑民) this morning and he was not sure either. Jiang was our Chinese teacher, a very nice older man with a very special twang which he used to read Chinese poems and other classical literature. He was very lax and did not pay much attention to our discipline.

For the last two years of our Junior High, our classroom teacher was a young man who had just graduated from the University, Du Tie-Ye (凃天怡). He taught us English. He was very enthusiastic, and cared about us very much. He treated us like adults; everyone appreciated him. Another responsibility for the classroom teacher at the end of a semester was to give out report cards. In contrast to the US custom, to encourage competition the report cards were given out in order of academic grade point average. The student with the highest grade would be the first to receive the card from the teacher. Then he could walk out of the room, waving his card as he skipped away. Just imagine how you would feel if you were the last one to pick up your report card! 

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