After 7:30 p.m., I was walking Home with my student, Zitong Liu, who is a student at the “Dream Center” tutoring center. As we were talking, we passed a convenience store and she suddenly said, “Wait, teacher. Then she turned around and rushed into the convenience store. When she came out, she had a bottle of carbonated drink in her hand and told me to “fill my stomach” before arriving home.
In September 2020, I went to work as a teacher at the “Dream Center”, a tutoring institution in a county under the jurisdiction of Heyuan City. Liu Zitong, a girl in the sixth grade, was one of the first students I took to the evening classes. Because we lived in the same neighborhood, we often walked home together.
Zitong was raised strictly by her mother. She often talks about conflicts with her mother, most of which are related to Zhang Yan’s overly strict planning for her.
Right now, Liu Zitong is gulping carbonated drinks into her stomach because her mother, Zhang Yan, interferes with her eating. Liu Zitong is slightly chubby, and some Parents understand that children of this age gain weight as a result of growing up. However, Liu Zitong’s parents were on the verge of making a “weight loss” diet plan for Liu Zitong, where she could only eat a small bowl of rice for dinner every day. Liu Zitong was so hungry that he did not dare to say much, and could only sneak out to pre-fill his hunger.
Liu Zitong was born in a township under the jurisdiction of our county. Her father worked hard for many years for the whole Family to leave the township and enter the county.
He originally worked as a physical Education teacher in the town’s elementary school and has been working hard for many years to maintain excellent teaching performance. Two years ago, Liu Zitong’s father finally got the opportunity to work in the county through hard work. Although he could not enter a public elementary school and had to serve in a special school, it was all worth it for the family to make the leap to the city.
As the family moved to the city, Liu left his teachers and classmates in the second semester of the fourth grade and moved to the county elementary school.
When she had Time, Liu Zitong would tell me about her old Life. In her description, the elementary school in the countryside was not too stressful academically, but on the other hand, it showed a sense of growing defeat. Before her time, classmates had left the township and streamed to the county. “In the first grade, there were more than 30 students in the class. Read until the fourth grade before the transfer, only 19 left.” Liu Zitong said that not only her classmates, even the teachers in the township high school, also try to find ways to go to the county, just like her father, even if the work in the county is more strenuous, they still try to seize the opportunity to go to the city.
She now has more than 50 people in her class. Liu Zitong said the class teacher was not very patient. One day when the class teacher checked the homework, a boy in the class playfully confided in the teacher, “The homework was not done.” The class teacher interpreted this as a provocation, so angry that he slapped the boy’s face with a book on the spot. “Teacher you do not know, I was scared to death!” Liu Zitong said she wasn’t complaining, she just felt uncomfortable.
“As soon as I came here, I knew there was a gap.” When she said this, Liu Zitong, who attends elementary school, had an adult-like look on her face. She said the teachers in the county are much stricter than those in town, and the homework is exponentially more demanding. In order not to be left behind by other students, she consciously “do not dare to relax for a moment”.
The “Dream Center” is located behind the shopping mall in the county, and the second elementary school in the county is just past the shopping mall.
Nearly half of the fifth and sixth graders I teach at the Dream Center are children who have transferred to the county from village and township level schools. Their grandparents and fathers worked hard to get out of their villages and to buy their own homes and take root in the county. These efforts have also allowed the children to leave the fate of their roots in the farmland and move to the county, becoming the “new city people”.
In the past few years, hundreds of thousands of farmers have flowed into the county from the lower towns of our county. Ten years ago the new county was a barren land, but now it has developed into an area with a permanent population of nearly 100,000. Housing prices are rising, schools, hospitals, large shopping plazas, cinemas and other urbanization facilities with the influx of people to increase the size, renovation, “new city” is built up.
Many “new city” families have solved their settlement and work problems, and their biggest anxiety is actually the education of the next generation. The way many parents dispel this anxiety is to use various ways to extend the time of their children’s education, hoping to improve their children’s performance.
After Liu Zitong was transferred to a school in the county, her parents enrolled her in the “Dream Center” evening classes, and also enrolled in various interest classes, so she had less and less time to spend after school.
In order to meet the parents’ needs to relieve these feelings of powerlessness, “Dream Center”, “Wisdom Tree”, “Golden Ranking”, “Full Score 100 “These tutoring trainings have a wild soil for growth, and parents have high expectations for education outside the classroom.
In the beginning, the most direct demands of parents on the “Dream Center” were to pick up their children and to tutor and supervise them to complete their homework. Later, many parents added a layer of potential expectation that their children would improve their grades and achieve the goal of “outperforming” the children in the county under the tutoring of my colleagues and me.
When she brought Liu Zitong to the “Dream Center” for registration, Zhang Yan made a clear request to the teachers at the “Dream Center” that the child not be allowed to go home earlier than 7:30 p.m. every day. Because she is a nurse, 7:30 p.m. is the time she returns home from the hospital every night.
Because of her busy schedule, Zhang Yan is rarely present at the evening auxiliary class, but that doesn’t stop her from controlling all the details of her daughter’s life. Every day, the teacher of the evening class sends the parents panoramic photos of the class while she is working. Zhang Yan always looks at the details. Sometimes, she will find dessert in Liu Zitong’s plate in a group of children, so she immediately contacts the teacher and asks us to take away Liu Zitong’s dessert.
Liu Zitong would sometimes say that her mother’s control made her feel breathless, but there was no way to resist. “Who let her be my mother!”
In the evening support center parent group, a woman named Zhang Ping has similar anxieties to Zhang Yan’s.
“Teacher Yo, can you give him another remedial homework during winter break?” On the fourth day after the county elementary school final exams, Zhang Ping sent me a WeChat asking me to tutor her child, Xiao Tao, in his homework. “I don’t have much money, but I’ll pay you for the tutoring!” she said eagerly in a voice message.
On the fourth day after the exams for the second semester of the 2020 school year at the county elementary school, Zhang Ping got Xiaotao’s report card. The results were unsatisfactory, and I clicked on the screenshot of the results she sent me, and the results of each subject, language, mathematics and English, were far from the passing line.
Originally, I wanted to politely refuse, but I heard the desperation from Zhang Ping’s earnest tone, I could not bear to refuse, so I deleted the written refusal word by word.
The owner of the “Dream Center”, Mr. Tong, once mentioned Zhang Ping to me with contempt: “Xiao Tao’s mother, who has little money, still wants the best teacher to tutor her son.”
A few years ago, Zhang Ping and the original husband divorced, and her ex-husband had two sons of the pressure of support, and immediately fell on her alone. After that, she returned from the county to work in the town, usually working in the town’s pig farm, the children are left in the county to study.
At that time, Zhang Ping was not well-off, but still spent most of her money on raising her children. The “Dream Center” evening assistance each semester to charge tuition of about 2,500 yuan, she also gave Xiaotao enrolled in each lesson 100 yuan weekend “one-on-one” tuition. According to the teacher Tong said, reported “one-on-one” class, Zhang Ping is also with the above tone to her said: “I do not have much money, but I will give you tuition fees.”
For Xiaotao’s study, Zhang Ping did her best. Every day around three o’clock in the afternoon, Zhang Ping will start forwarding Xiao Tao’s homework to the teachers in the evening support class, never missing one. Sometimes, after she finished forwarding, she would specially “@” me, asking me to pay attention to the day’s homework in the math problems or English quizzes, which is Xiaotao’s weakness.
But one is catching, the other is slipping. While his mother is eager to pull her son into the track of changing his fate through education, Xiao Tao is resisting and escaping from his mother’s arrangement by being late all the time.
Xiaotao is thin and straight, and when he appears at the evening support center, he often arrives before his voice does – opening the classroom door with a bang and then dodging into the classroom, nimbly walking around the rows of desks and turning to his seat. Often this time, other students have already sat down, quietly doing homework for a long time.
That day, I was sending a voice with Xiaotao’s mother, “bang”, Xiaotao quickly flashed into the classroom. I haven’t asked, he himself gave the reason for his tardiness: “The teacher let cleaning today.” The reason for his tardiness is different every time, half-truths, although I have stressed with him several times, he continues to be late in a breezy manner.
Xiaotao’s mother can’t do anything about him. One day, almost 5:30 p.m., Xiaotao’s seat was still empty. I then sent a voice message to Zhang Ping, she quickly replied, the tone of anxiety: “I do volunteer work today, obviously look at him out of the school, did not go over it? I let his grandfather go to school to see.”
In the face of his mother’s pressure, Xiaotao is becoming more and more adept at mastering ways to get out of control. Zhang Ping has been a bit unable to catch her son.
Zhang Ping always meticulously remembered each of Xiaotao’s homework, Xiaotao never remembered his homework, and every day when he returned to his seat after dinner, he would look at me with big eyes and ask: “Teacher, what is my homework today?” I often had to go through the records sent by his mother in the group and tell him one by one.
Knowing the homework, he would also think of various ways to skip it. Once he told me that he couldn’t do one of his assignments because “mom bought the wrong reference material”.
Because Xiaotao arrived the latest every day, he was late with many assignments and was slow in doing them, so he also left the latest every day. On a very cold day in December, all the other students finished their homework early and went back, leaving only Xiaotao in his seat to work on his books. I saw him copying the language homework, their language teacher asked them to copy the “famous quotes and sentences” ten times.
“There is no road in the world, there are many people walking, there is also a road – Lu Xun”, his words are big and black, soon the workbook was filled with the same sentence most of the time.
The weather was really cold, and Xiaotao’s hands were red under the incandescent light. I couldn’t bear to see it, so I asked him to go home and copy the rest of the homework again. Once he heard, he quickly packed his school bag and ran back.
Unexpectedly, the next evening when I went to work, my leader Tong teacher said to me unhappily: “Yesterday Xiaotao’s homework did not complete to go back? His mother sent me a voice message early this morning to complain.”
Parents’ complaints are a big no-no for training and tutoring institutions. The management will put pressure on the tutor to make sure the teacher keeps an eye on the student. I was just about to explain when Tong instructed, “In the future, no matter what, make sure to double check to make sure it’s done before letting the student go back, especially that Xiao Tao.” So, after the parents had made every effort, the pressure eventually fell on the children.
All the children who come into the evening classes treat homework like a monster, hoping to finish it as quickly as possible and go home early. Some children will sacrifice their recess time to do their homework just to get it done quickly at the evening center so they can go home early. After all, the day’s schoolwork is really over when school ends for the second time at the evening tutoring center, and there is no child who does not look forward to this kind of pressure release.
But for tutoring institutions, children go home too early, it will give parents the illusion that “after-school homework is easy”, the second will make them feel that the money spent on evening classes is not worth it, the child did not get adequate tutoring.
In the evening, before six o’clock, Lu Yuan had already done his homework and was waiting for me to check it on the corner of the desktop.
Lu Yuan is an excellent student in the evening class. Mr. Tong once took a photo of him with a high-scoring test paper with the text: “‘Dream Center’ out of the child ” posted to his circle of friends, and he became the living sign of the evening assistance center.
Despite already being better than most of his peers, Lu Yuan’s mother enrolled him in the evening tutoring class, hoping he would go to the next level here and bring up his somewhat parochial English scores.
At the beginning, Lu Yuan was always the first child in the class to leave. Tong’s teacher came to me for this reason: “This child goes home too early, parents will have a problem, we should find some topics for him to review and consolidate again. “
So I asked Lu Yuan to finish his homework every day, and then do basic English practice problems for half a hour. At first, Lu Yuan was very cooperative and bought an English exercise book to bring to the evening support center to do. But slowly, he often took advantage of my absence, picked up his school bag and went home.
After learning that Lu Yuan was always sneaking away, Ms. Tong decided to do something about it. She took out the newly bought exercise book from Lu Yuan’s bag, turned page by page to the blank pages that had not yet been done, and said to him, “You come here every day to learn for the teacher? You have to be a little self-conscious yourself. “
Lu Yuan sat silently in his seat, refusing to move. Mr. Tong turned to me and said, “Mr. You, you can supervise him to make up these every day, and you can’t go back until seven o’clock. “
When Mr. Tong went out for a while, Lu Yuan was still sitting there motionless. I wanted to talk to him, only to find that his eyes were suddenly red.
In the last month of the semester, Lu Yuan did not appear in the “Dream Center” again. I thought that maybe he no longer attended the evening classes. But when I met him by chance at the county square, he told me that he was still attending the evening classes, and that his mother had enrolled him in classes elsewhere.
The bell rang. Soon, the younger students poured out of the slowly opening iron gates. When I first picked up the children at the school gate, holding up a sign with the words “Dream Center” on it, I met the old man Zhang Chunshou. His eyes followed the procession brought out by the first grade 2 teacher because his grandson Xuanzi was among them.
The teachers in Xuanzi’s class whistled and lined up at the school gate, waiting for parents to come forward one by one to claim their children. After a while, Zhang Chunshou went up and called out “Xuanzi”, Xuanzi recognized his grandfather and ran over.
Zhang Chunshou couple two more than 60 years old, they spent most of their lives in the northern Guangdong mountains in a village farming. After the son became a family, and his wife went to work in Shenzhen, Zhang Chunshou and his wife took on the care of three grandchildren.
Three years ago, Zhang Chunshou’s son bought a new house in the county, Zhang Chunshou couple and children, moved from the village into the county. From Monday to Friday at 4:30 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Zhang Chunshou would appear at the entrance of the county’s second elementary school on time, waiting to pick up their three children. In the crowd of middle-aged parents, their silver hair caught my attention, and after a few conversations, we got to know each other.
A month later, Zhang Chunshou approached Mr. Tong at the Dream Center and asked about the price of the evening classes. After hearing the price quoted, the two old people were silent for a while and said they would go back and call their son and daughter-in-law to discuss it. Soon, the son, who was far away in Shenzhen, paid the tuition for the three children’s evening classes to Zhang Chunshou’s account.
Mr. and Mrs. Zhang Chunshou’s thoughts on the evening classes were because they could not cooperate with the teaching requirements of the school.
In the past few years, the county’s schools have gradually upgraded their teaching methods and given more “homework” to parents. For Xuanzi, who just started first grade, his language teacher required students to go home and copy 24 vowels every day, read them aloud and punch them in a designated learning software after completion. At first, the two seniors tried to figure out how to use the learning software on their cell phones, but to no avail, so they asked younger parents to teach them how to use it, but they couldn’t. As a result, Xuanzi always failed to complete his reading aloud assignments. Every day, Xuanzi’s teacher would make a list of students who had not completed their homework that day and send it to the parents’ group, and almost every time, Xuanzi’s name was included.
Zhang Chunshou has been a strong person all his life, and when he saw his grandson on the dishonorable list, he couldn’t face it and was anxious, so he found the “Dream Center”.
In the evening auxiliary class, like Xuanzi, almost a third of the “left-behind children” children whose parents are not around. Most people have the impression that left-behind children usually stay in poor rural areas. However, as more and more migrant workers settle down in the county, but still have the financial pressure to support their families and cannot return to their hometowns, the left-behind children do not disappear, but migrate from the countryside to the city.
Grandparents do their best to spoil Xuanzi and his brother and sister materially. After getting familiar with them, Xuanzi would take the initiative to greet me, and when he smiled, he would reveal a mouthful of cavities, and I soon learned the origin of Xuanzi’s cavities. He and his brother, who was in the sixth grade, carried snacks with them almost every day. When other students ate late at night, Xuanzi and his brother always took snacks out of their school bags to eat. Sometimes it was a packet of instant noodles, crushed raw through the bag, sometimes it was a bottle of popcorn, and sometimes it was a packet of spicy strips.
One day I asked Xuanzi: “Where do you get the money to buy snacks every day? ” Xuanzi replied pointlessly: “Grandparents give pocket money ah! “
In Xuanzi, there is also the understanding of a child left behind. Once he started doing homework, the relaxation in him disappeared and only tension and tirelessness remained. Other older children sometimes get playful and chase and fight in the class, Xuanzi never does. He was a dedicated student who sat in his seat every day and did his homework quietly and on time. When he encountered a problem he did not know, he was more willing than anyone else to pursue it to the end, always calling on the teacher many times a day to ask: “Teacher, teacher, how do I do this problem? “
Xuanzi is very demanding of himself, always afraid that he will make the teacher dissatisfied, sometimes very heartbreaking to me.
One night, Xuanzi’s language homework was the spelling of the vowel “b” and “I took him to read for nearly twenty minutes, but the result was still not satisfactory. My impatience showed at this point, and sensing my emotion, Xuanzi’s voice gradually dropped.
I taught him to read, “ba”- “dad” of “dad “, “ma”- – “mom” for “His voice was as small as a mosquito.
“Can you spell it yourself? ” he suddenly lowered his head under my angry cross-examination, and his tears “blah blah blah “The tears flowed down.
I blamed myself and was helpless.
Once Xuanzi copied his homework wrongly, I asked him to revise it over, and after he finished rewriting it, it was still exactly the same as the original mistake. He did not tire of my request to change again and again, and finally used the eraser to erase the workbook are broken. He did not know what to do and was about to cry when his brother tore down the page and copied it again for him.
However, when he saw that his brother was using a ballpoint pen, he said angrily and with a sobbing voice: “The teacher told me to write in pencil, not with this kind of pen! The teacher will say so! “It was a small thing, but it still triggered a strong reaction from Xuanzi.
He gambled, put all his homework away, and refused to do it again. The next day, Xuanzi’s name was on the list of incomplete homework again.
The fifth-grade girl Xiaoqing’s mom and dad also work in Shenzhen, where she had been studying before. Xiaoqing’s parents could not afford the high housing prices in Shenzhen. Because there is no local household registration, no real estate license, the better public schools they can not squeeze in, and the private school tuition is high, a semester of more than 10,000 tuition Xiao Qing parents can not afford. In the end, Xiao Qing returned to the county, living and studying beside her grandparents.
Xiao Qing, who had left her parents, was not as well managed as Xuanzi. She came late every day with her backpack and never remembered the homework assigned by the school that day.
Every day around 3 or 4 p.m., the school sends the child’s homework to the parents through the parents’ group, and the parents forward it to the evening support class. Xiaoqing’s parents rarely forwarded her homework in time, so when Xiaoqing didn’t know her homework, I had to take the initiative to “@” her mother in the group. Often, it was not until the end of class that her mother replied to my WeChat: “Sorry teacher, I’m a little busy, I just saw the message now. “
In the evening class, Xiaoqing was not interested in studying, and she played around with her classmates every day to muddle through the evening class time. Once, she took out the hand sanitizer from the bathroom and put it on the classroom door handle. When Ms. Tong found out, she gave her a stern lecture: “A girl who only plays with her male classmates all day long is a waste of your parents’ money. “
Xiaoqing muttered in a whisper: “It’s not like I want to report it. “
In order to cope with the homework, Xiao Qing secretly prepared the answers to the exercise book, and always do homework when I was not paying attention, secretly copy the answers. When I found out, I put it away, and when I turned around, I started copying again.
“Copying the answers doesn’t mean anything to you. ” I reasoned with her. She talked back unimpressed: “Teacher, everyone copies. All exams can be copied. “
The school soon had a unit test, and when the test results came in, we had to work with the school teachers to help the students correct their mistakes. Xiao Qing hid the test paper, no matter how to say, are not willing to give me. Liu Zitong from the same table advised me: “Teacher you should not force her, she scored too low, too embarrassed to take out. “
One day in the early winter of 2020, Xiaoqing was absent from school for no apparent reason, and when the teachers couldn’t find her, they called her mother. In Shenzhen, Xiao Qing’s mother can not do anything about it, only let the teacher Tong rush to call the late grandmother, let the grandmother keep a close eye on her granddaughter.
Older people who follow their children and grandchildren drifting to the county, like Zhang Chunshou and Grandma Evening, have a different understanding of raising grandchildren than their children’s parents. They felt guilty for not being able to help their children improve their grades, and they were very uncomfortable seeing their children get caught up in heavy homework.
After that, Xiaoqing’s grandmother always came to see Xiaoqing at the Dream Center. She was an affable old man who would stand at the door of the classroom and tell her granddaughter, “Listen to the teacher! In return, her granddaughter would stick her tongue out at her. She was not angry, but still looked at her granddaughter with a smile, her eyes both loving and helpless.
Since December 2020, Xiaoqing’s absences from evening support classes have become more and more frequent. Every time, Ms. Tong contacted her mother, who could not do anything about it, as the mountains were far away, and could only say apologetically one at a time, “Let grandma keep an eye on her and the teacher control her more strictly.” It was another day at 4:30 pm.
Another day at 4:30 p.m., dozens of elementary school students from the county’s second elementary school would follow their teachers or walk on their own, returning to the evening support center one after another.
Evening and afternoon classes like the “Dream Center” started out as a service for parents who were not available to pick up their children. But nowadays, parents place their expectations on us to improve their children’s performance.
This is not a problem for Ms. Tong. Some parents put their children for two months, see no improvement in their grades, think that the “Dream Center” teaching level is not good, they will help their children to change institutions, which has also become the evening support This has also become a pressure for the teachers in the center.
However, we are only one of the links of the pressure transmission. The pressure of hoping for a brighter future ultimately falls on the children who seem to be cared for and helped.
When the children returned to the evening program, whether they were led by their teachers or returned to the program on their own, they would pass by the sign that said “Dream Center”. It was standing in the middle of the entrance, and underneath the sign was a small line, “All for the children.