Monday, October 4, 2010

Class Teacher

In China, every class has a class teacher. Besides teaching his or her specialty courses, he or she is also responsible for other things affecting all students in the class, such as giving a grade for discipline or giving an over-all comment at the end of semester. If the class is having an outing, he or she is responsible also for the safety of the students and other related matters. At the end of the semester, the class teacher checks the average grades and hands out the final grade reports for the courses which the students have taken that semester, one at a time. Usually the grade reports are given out according to the order of the grade point average. The top student gets his grade report first, etc. Yes, if you are the last one in the class, you will get the grade report LAST. You can leave the classroom once you get your final report, it's your choice! Just imagine! There might be no one left in the room if you are the last one to get your final report. Often a student would ask his friends to stay around so as to diminish the impact of being at the bottom of the class.

In the three years I was in Cheng Kong High School, I had Mr. Chang Jin- Jan (张金鑑) as my class room teacher. He was a kind man with few words. His specialty was Chinese. At the time he was teaching us he was slightly older, about ten years, than the other teachers who were mostly in their thirties. I remember when he was immersed in a lecture he would read the passages over and over again as if in a dream. It was hard not to be affected by his enjoyment. I did not like to study Chinese. However, he certainly gave me a solid background in appreciating the language and literature.

If I remember correctly, I called him the first time I went back to Taiwan to visit my parents in 1969. I had a chat with him on the phone. He was happy and well. But in 1975, when we went back for the second time, his son told me that he had passed away. A dedicated Chinese teacher had gone!! He lived on in many of his students' hearts, I am sure!

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