I've gotten emails from former students of mine in China who have gotten accepted into American universities for graduate studies. They say their high school curriculum in China was more challenging than their university studies in America.
The Chinese go to school for long hours because they are competing not just in China, but globally. They want to study abroad because, when they come to America, most can outperform our students. They are not smarter than us, they are just better prepared academically.
The majority of Chinese students have great respect for their teachers, and it's because of that reason I enjoyed being in their company. That respect is vital for their overall education, and when you truly care and respect others, you will find that others will truly care and respect you. When a teacher takes the extra time to reach a struggling student, it is perceived in China as an act of kindness.
Our American students, just like students from all over the world, put great emphasis on getting into the right colleges and earning the right degrees. Education, after all, does provide us with boundless opportunities, and an educated society enhances the overall well-being of its nation.
If a teacher takes the time to positively impact a student's life, they are changing the world one person at a time. That kindness will be remembered long after the lesson plans are forgotten, because it leaves an indelible imprint in one's heart and soul.
When I was a student at Shenandoah Valley in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania I struggled in School due to severe Dyslexia and 69% hearing loss in both ears. But I still have fond memories of the great teachers that revealed to me that, in spite of my deficiencies, I have great gifts. Our gifts and talents are further developed when we share them with others.
A teacher's kindness cannot be bought, sold or acquired academically; it can only be freely given from one heart to the other - and that can be their greatest legacy. Teachers are not only teaching, they are being taught by the lessons of life. The greatest teachers throughout history were also the greatest students when it came to those life's lessons.
- Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
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