Chinese high school students study from 7:00am to 10:30pm with an hour nap mid-day. They are doing all their classes in English, the same curriculum as a Nova Scotia high school student. However, in addition they have to study IELTS to show their English is high enough to get into most western universities. They also study Chinese philosophy in Chinese. So they get two high school diplomas, one from China and one from Canada.
Thus, they study with a dedication rarely seen in America or Canada. Studying is their job, the foundation to their dream to go to a good school abroad. Falling in love is prohibited by most parents as they fear it will be a distraction. They are so obsessed with improving their English that they attend supplemental classes on weekends, holidays and over the summer.
To them, a weekend not studying is boring. Watching movies and playing computer games is seen as a waste of time for which they feel so guilty, they don't seem to find them relaxing. Since most are single children, they miss their friends at school.
It is a joy to teach these students. Behavioral problems are not an issue. The worst is they fall asleep in class. But then many stay up until midnight or later finishing their homework. However, smart phones have caused many to lose sleep, playing computer games or chatting with friends on QQ (Chinese version of Facebook).
Overall, they are attentive, dedicated and appreciative of our Sino-Canadian program. Used to classes of 60-80 students with one teacher and rote learning by memorization and recitation, it is a joy for them to have classes of only 35 where the teachers make jokes and are friendly. To be expected to share and write their opinions is a new experience and sometimes has to be taught.
Since the kids pick an English name, it seemed fun to have a Chinese name, and years ago friends picked Shan Shan for me. It means cute, pretty girl.
Try it! You'll like it!