County high schools: The “exodus” of teachers and students

Last year, Wu made an important decision to leave the county high school where she had worked for nearly 10 years and jumped ship to a local city high school that was not at the top. This is not the first time that a middle school located in a county in Jiangsu Province has been “left behind”, Wu Xiaoxiao has the impression that the school staff of 400 to 500 people, a dozen or so will leave every year. The school’s staff of 400 to 500 people leaves every year.

“Escape” has become a recurring theme in many county high schools, not just for teachers, but also for students.

As long as the results are good, they will go to the city. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the market. “

The constant loss of teachers and students is pushing the county middle school, which is already in a difficult situation, into a more rapid fall.


On the campus of Nanjing University, Xiang Xi sat in his stall, staring at the stalls crowded with students not far away, he was a little annoyed and a little lost. He is a county high school principal, today is the day the city’s major high schools collectively recruit teachers, the location is located in Nanjing University.

Inside the brightly lit arena, a few desks simply spell out a recruitment booth, with a triangular sign with the school’s name on the table; behind the recruiters, there are poster stands filled with words, densely stacked with school specifics.

Other booths were filled with students who came to ask questions, but Xiang Xi and the other four booths were extremely cold, some students passing by only stopped for a moment, skimmed a few eyes, and then left. The same salary package, but not to attract the same talent, simply because their five booths are from the county high school.

The five county high school stalls are very close to each other, compared to other stalls in front of the bustling, they this piece seems a bit out of place.

Xiang Xi’s high school is not bad, the promotion rate is much higher than some of the city’s high schools, is a very competitive school in the mouth of everyone. But this for the graduates to apply for jobs, obviously nothing attractive, they would rather stay in the worse urban high school, rather than go to a small county as a teacher.

This kind of thing, such as Qingbei master’s degree students going to middle school as teachers, will only happen in urban high schools, for the county middle school, does not exist. “Even the students who got into teacher training in our own school are not willing to go back to their alma mater to teach. ” lamented Xiang Xi.

The number of people who choose to take the teacher’s program at Xiang Xi’s high school is already small, and some may choose not to come even if they do get in.

Xiang Xi vividly remembers that one year, a student got a biology teacher in their school and was ready to sign up, when the student called and said he wasn’t coming because a high school in the city had just hired him. Xiang Xi asked him which high school it was, and as soon as he heard that it was a high school with a much lower student population and promotion rate than their school, he tried to retain him. From the school atmosphere to the regional housing prices, Xiang Xi will stay in their county high school benefits said all over, but only in return for a hesitant “I think about it”.

A few days later, the student called: “Teacher, I’m sorry, I’m not coming. “

In 2020, Nanjing education system 35 institutions for the public recruitment of 239 teachers in the establishment, the recruitment conditions clearly indicate that the candidates at least graduate degree.

Speaking of the criteria for recruiting teachers, Xiang Xi mentioned, “Now high school, graduate degree teachers to account for a certain percentage. “But from the school’s point of view, Xiang Xi is more willing to recruit students with a bachelor’s degree as teachers. “In a sense, if a person does not do well as an undergraduate, even if he went to graduate school, put him at the high school level to compare us to this school, he can only be said to be a relatively low-achieving student. And then he comes to teach after a few years of college and comes to me to teach students who are better than him, how can that be taught well? “

Xiang Xi is not too comfortable to let them teach.

Some of the county high schools that can’t recruit the ideal teacher have also chosen to train this path on their own. Xu Yan is an English teacher in a county in Guangdong Province, in their schools, the lack of teachers is also a headache.

“Shaoguan College, Huizhou College, Zhaoqing College, Maoming College, Lingnan Normal College ……” Xu Yan counted out a string of applicants’ qualifications in recent years, basically from double non- (non-985, non-211) institutions.

Although Xu Yan is also aware of the fact that “education is not the only theory”, it is undeniable that in the current education system, a bachelor’s degree is largely a direct reflection of a person’s ability to take tests at the secondary school level. In the current education system, a bachelor’s degree is largely a direct reflection of a person’s ability to take exams at the secondary school level, and “to put it mildly, if you can’t get into a good university, it means that your learning ability is a little bit poorer, and your own learning style and method in the learning process may not be too good. “. And after becoming a teacher, facing the heavy responsibility of teaching students how to learn, facing the same need to constantly learn to improve teaching methods, Xu Yan believes that, compared with other top students from prestigious schools, these teachers will always be somewhat disadvantaged.

“There are very few 211 schools, not to mention 985 schools. “Not satisfied with the teachers recruited, the school can only independently strengthen the guidance of young teachers in order to ensure the teaching quality of young teachers, opening special teacher training, classroom teacher training, training on student psychological problems, etc.. In addition, teachers from famous schools such as Huanggang Middle School were invited to come over to give lectures and learn their advanced teaching philosophy and education methods.

“The teachers in our school rely on their own training. “Faced with such a fact, Xu Yan’s attitude has become helpless and calm.


The county middle school can’t attract quality talents, so it has to make constant efforts in training young teachers, but the teachers trained will rarely choose to stay in the county.

A physics teacher at Xu Yan School chose to leave after six years of teaching. After hearing the news, the school administration urged him to stay, and the school leaders even offered to let him be the head of the preparation team. But the physics teacher still chose to leave, going to a training institution in Guangzhou without the establishment.

“Because he is Guangxi Yulin, a not particularly developed area, may also be home pressure. “Xu Yan expressed understanding of this. Teachers have traditionally been seen as a noble profession, but outside of the glory of spring and rain, county teachers also need to face the reality of firewood and salt.

The city’s high schools have higher salaries, more opportunities to evaluate titles, and better development space. In contrast, the county has been criticized for a long time in addition to the “county model”, there does not seem to be any reason to let people stay.

The county where Xiang Xi is located, every year there are excellent teachers left, in his words, is “can not stay, and can not stay. He was impressed by the fact that one year, a good high school in the city wanted to poach their school’s excellent math teacher An He. An He received the invitation, also moved to leave the idea. The school wanted to keep him, and the school leadership showed great sincerity by giving him a spot in the city’s Outstanding Teacher Award that year.

The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public.

But this in the view of the onlookers very high honor did not keep An He, but became a springboard for him to get a better deal, helping him to successfully jump out of the county.

Leaving the county high school and jumping to the city high school was a big decision made by Wu Xiaoxiao last year. For nearly 10 years before that, Wu had been working as an English teacher at a county school in Jiangsu. One of the reasons she decided to leave was because last year she was awarded the intermediate title and also won a teaching award in the city, and she happened to meet a school in the city that sent out a job offer, and she applied successfully.

The exodus of quality teachers has put the county high school in a dilemma. Xiang Xi’s high school had joined forces with five other county high schools to put forward the slogan “County High School Defense War”, but in terms of concrete actions, it was only possible to hold on to the promotion rate more tightly. The only way to implement the slogan was to tighten the rate of promotion.

The harsh pursuit of the promotion rate is one of the characteristics of the “county middle school model”, with the top The pressure of the “hard to produce noble children”, such a model, not only let the students feel difficult, but also let some teachers feel that they are being ” The pressure”.

In the county to teach for many years, Wu Xiaoxiao is also deeply tired of such a model, “the county model has a characteristic, that is, the teacher’s education is not important, good class is not important, the important thing is that you can not spend time to pressure students to learn. “In the just past April, Wu Xiaoxiao experienced a “one-month streak “, April only three days off for the Qingming Festival, the other weekends students and teachers are in school to make up for the lessons, classes, exams, reading papers in a row, “more weekend classes than usual “. Some of Wu Xiaoxiao’s colleagues in the class at the most, two days to finish 10 sections.

“With grades, the school board doesn’t care.” Students are always under high pressure, and the teacher’s rest time is also seriously occupied, Wu Xiaoxiao feel that the low salary or secondary, more important, is “salary and workload is not proportional “.

It’s not that Wu didn’t try to break this “ironclad” board that only looks at grades. One year, she was assigned to take a class “hosted” by another school. “The results were particularly poor. To increase students’ interest in English, Wu would give them creative assignments. At the end of a class on Socrates, Wu asked the students to make a poster about Socrates’ life.

One student turned in an assignment that Shinobu Wu has kept in mind to this day. That poster was made into the cover of a book with a picture of Socrates’ head and some text descriptions of Socrates’ writings attached to it. Later that student explained to Wu that it was because he felt that Socrates had not left any writings in his life, and he hoped that this book could fill such a regret.

“They are still thinking and will make a lot of things. “Wu has seen the results of her innovations, but to this day she remains the only English teacher in her school’s preparation team who has tried such teaching methods.

Some students wrote to Wu after graduation, saying they liked English because of her. Receiving such letters Wu Xiaoxiao is always touched, but this touch is not enough to support her to stay in the county. “Actually quite realistic, because the teacher is also a profession, the county center is really still more restricted development. “

“to the teacher to put too many shackles and moral burden words, I think there is actually no need”, in this county middle school dedicated to work for nearly 10 years, Wu Shinshiao feel that “to afford myself and to others.”


There are still one or two years, Xiang Xi will apply for retirement. Whenever he talks to onlookers about this school that has made him work for more than 30 years, his topic always circles back to more than a decade ago. It was a “golden age” for the county high school, and Xiang Xi can clearly count the two or three students who got into the university each year. “ranked in the top 20 grades have the opportunity to enter Nanjing University, Southeast University, such as 985 schools; as long as the top 50, into the head of 211 schools is not a problem. But these years, students even if they get into the top 10 in the grade, eventually can not enter a head 211 schools, are an unknown. “

More than a thousand kilometers away in Guangdong, Xu Yan’s county middle school also experienced a similar “history”. “In 2005, one got into Peking University, in 2008 a Tsinghua, in 2009 there was a top student in the city, in 2012 a Zhejiang University. Xu Yan can effortlessly recite these brilliant achievements of students more than a decade ago. Yet by now, the best annual college entrance exam goers in this county are Sun Yat-sen University and South China University of Technology, the two 985s in Guangdong Province.

In addition to the destination of the school’s top students, the first-year rate is an even clearer and cruel indicator. Xu Yan’s county high school now has a first-class rate of about 5%. But the real problem behind the “5%” is not how low it is, but that the number has not changed since 2000. In these two decades, the Guangdong province’s rate has been climbing, reaching 15.03% in 2020.

“The water rose” but did not bring “boat high “, the most fundamental reason, according to Xu Yan, is that the county is rapidly losing good students.

From a few years ago, the top 100 in the county’s secondary school examination, seventy to eighty percent will choose to “go outside”, some will go to the local city, some are directly by the Some go to local city high schools, while others are poached by the best schools in Guangzhou.

Every year, after the midterm exams, Xu Yan and other front-line teaching colleagues form teams in pairs and knock on the doors of the top 100 students in the county to do “ideological mobilization work “But at most, only 20 to 30 of them could stay.

Although most of it is a waste of breath, but this work is still in every year after the midterm examination thundering persistently. “If you don’t do it, you may not even be able to keep these 30. “

“200 points,” which is the difference between this county high school and the best local urban high school midterm admissions score line, the city high school, if drawn at 660 points, the county high school score line is at 460 points or so. And the huge score difference, three years after changing a look, it became the county in this always no improvement in the rate of a number.

Three years ago, Lin Yun, 16, was admitted to a high school in Nanning, Guangxi, from her hometown. The place where she “escaped” – a county located on the border between China and Vietnam, belongs to the city of Chongzuo, Guangxi In the eyes of the locals, it is “one of the worst developed cities in Guangxi”. In the high school class, Lin Yun and a dozen other students from Chongzuo City last year just out of poverty in the county.

After the midterm, Lin Yun is also one of the students who have been done “ideological mobilization work”. As one of the top five students in the county, Lin Yun’s family has been ushering in many local education bureau leaders, persuading her to stay in the local school, to ensure the best teachers, small class teaching conditions, but also to give the full exemption of tuition and fees, the promise of a high scholarship. But Lin Yun finally refused.

In the best local high schools, the number of people who get into a year-round less than 20, while Lin Yun chose to go to Nanning to study in the school, in the 2020 college entrance examination in a rate of seventy percent, the number of people on the line more than 1300.

The biggest opportunity is to get out of the “farm gate”, the college entrance examination. Lin Yun from the beginning to the end of the consideration, is not afraid to “take their own future to gamble”. In his hometown county junior high school, Lin Yun once took a somewhat difficult topic to ask the teacher, the response was: “Do not dwell on such difficult problems, not your level”. Junior high school for three years, Lin Yun constantly heard that there are new teachers come and go, like good grades students are “fleeing”, the level of high teachers can not stay.

After working in the county for nearly 10 years, Wu Xiaoxiao admitted that there is a real problem with the teaching of teachers in the county. The old teachers dominate, and this education is rigid, or according to a very primitive model to class. “In Wu Xiaoxiao’s English class group, often the whole year is unified to assign a guided study plan, students complete the teacher in class to answer, after which students are asked to go to the whole study plan memorized.

Doing the problems, memorizing them, and taking the test is the main mode of English learning for students. As for how to exercise reading skills, which take a long time to sharpen, Wu had to skip it in order to keep up with the preparation team’s schedule, and speaking, which is not a mandatory requirement in the Jiangsu provincial college entrance examination, was not given any attention at all. When listening to other teachers’ lectures, Wu even found that some older teachers could not read phonetic symbols.

More than ten years ago, Wu was also a student in this county high school. Like now, there were ordinary classes, sub-intensive classes and intensive classes, and the admission score line of the ordinary class in the city middle school was basically the same as the sub-intensive class, and Wu was assigned to the intensive class, and all of his classmates basically got into 985 and 211, and three others went to Qingbei. But now, the admission score line of the general class of the city middle school has become equal to that of the intensive class, while the sub-intensive class and the general class have to fall down a notch.

In the face of the falling county middle school, more and more students chose to “flee”, and the continuous loss of students was like slowly removing the bottom pillar that supported the school, making the fall come more The loss of students is like slowly removing the pillars that support the school, making the fall even more rapid and unstoppable.

One of Lin Yun’s middle school classmates chose to accept preferential treatment from the local school board and stay in the area. The promises of small class sizes and waiver of tuition and fees were fulfilled one by one, but three years later, the goal of the “top students” in his class was to sprint to the first grade line, while today Lin Yun’s The results are stable beyond the level of a line of 70 points, she set the goal in Guangxi a line of about 90 points above the Communication University of China.

The contrast seems more than obvious, the same table Jiang He gave a concise summary: “is not a quantum. “

The way out

In early 2020, the Department of Education of Guangxi Province issued a document stipulating that the implementation of the overall goal of “school enrollment, the source of students in close proximity to school”, public and private high schools are not Allowed across the municipal area enrollment. This means that, like Lin Yun, the secondary school entrance examination from Chongzuo City into Nanning City path of study, from now on no longer work.

But this does not mean that the road to “escape” from the county is completely cut off. On the contrary, the “escape” is happening earlier and earlier. Lin Yun’s nephew will soon start elementary school, and when they learned of the new rules, the family was already discussing letting their nephew start learning OU in elementary school, and enrolling in a private school in Nanning in junior high school, so as to get the opportunity to stay in Nanning for high school.

Lin Yun’s high school classmate Jiang He is a local of Nanning, junior high school in Nanning City, Guangxi University of Nationalities affiliated high school. At that time, there were students from other cities and counties such as Fangchenggang, Hechi and Chongzuo in Jiang He’s class. In the middle school exam, these students could get into the best local second and third middle schools with their middle school registrations in Nanning City, requiring much lower scores than the original self-admission exams for foreign students.

“If you don’t get out of junior high school, you can’t afford to get into high school even more! “Yan Hongyan’s family lives in the county under the city of Hengyang, Hunan Province, from the fourth grade, Yan Hongyan’s son will go to Hengyang City Youth Palace every week to attend training courses. Every Saturday morning at 7:00 from home, 8:30 to 12:00 language, mathematics and English three subjects on a rotating basis once. When he returned home at noon, dinner was served at least after 1:00.

After successfully enrolling in the city’s junior high school, her son did not disappoint Yan Hongyan’s expectations and enrolled in one of the best key middle schools in Hengyang. In the second semester of his sophomore year, his son’s grades declined and he proposed that he wanted to move out of school. Yan Hongyan agreed and immediately rented a 60 to 70 square foot house next to her son’s high school and began to accompany him.

For a whole year, Yan Hongyan’s daily schedule is full: 5:15 a.m. get up to make breakfast for her son; 6:10 a.m. her son goes to school, followed by the preparation of lunch; the food is ready to put in the refrigerator, waiting for her son to come back at noon and eat it hot; she rushes back to the county to look after the family clothing store. At 4:30 p.m., Yan Hongyan returned to the city by car and prepared dinner for her son who came home from class at 5:20 p.m., which ended a busy day.

The daily round-trip drive of more than an hour, just the cost of travel is more than 10,000 yuan a year. The son once felt sorry for Yan Hongyan and said, “Mom, you work so hard”. Yan Hongyan relieved her son: “It’s okay, people sit at home every day to play mahjong, a day also to go out a few dozen ah, the money spent is not a waste. “

Yan Hongyan around there are many parents who choose to accompany the study. A friend’s family two couples are the county’s elementary school teachers, children and Yan Hongyan son of the same age, rural households. From junior high school, the child was admitted to a middle school in Hengyang City, two couples rented a house in the city to accompany the students, plus the child’s grandparents, grandchildren live together in more than eighty square meters of rental housing. During the day, the grandparents cook at home, the couple go back to work in the county, and drive nearly 30 kilometers to the city after work to give the children guidance on their homework. Middle and high school six years children are in the city to complete their studies, and eventually, the child entered Wuhan University.

“Think about how many children in the county can get to 985 it, 211 are very difficult. “Yan Hongyan in the county often talk with friends about the education of children, parents reached a consensus, as long as the ability to send out, they are sent to the city.

Yan Hongyan remembers that her son was 10 years old and had just gone to the city’s Youth Palace to attend a training course. One day he came back and said to himself, “Mom, all the kids here know the brand name in English, I don’t know anything about it. Two years later, her son entered junior high school in Hengyang City, and this time, he brought back a new insight: “Many of the students in the class from the countryside don’t know the English brand names. “

“That’s because you went to the city training, otherwise you do not know ah. Yan Hongyan explained to her son with a smile.

Out of the county, to the city to see the world, enjoy more quality teaching, to get into a good university, this is Yan Hongyan and many local parents summarized the “path to success “. However, for Xiang Xi, such a concept is popular among parents, perhaps from the influence of survivorship bias. Xiang Xi himself has seen many children who went to the city with one of the top secondary school scores in the county, only to often suffer a setback in the college entrance exam three years later.

“This is called the law of two or eight. “Xu Yan’s school had the county’s top students in the annual examination to do the high school entrance examination to track,” only 20% of the students out after the examination than to stay in the county better. The other 80% are not as good. “

Each semester, Xu Yan receives several applications from parents: “My child doesn’t fit in in the city, can I transfer back? There are many reasons for not adapting, but the majority of them are the lack of independent living skills and the huge difference in comparison with students in the city. “If they can adjust their mindset, they may learn better, but in fact most of them can’t. “

Xu Yan has repeatedly told parents this kind of reasoning during his “ideological mobilization”, but only a few of them believe and are convinced.

Yan Hongyan once heard her son talk about a girl in his junior high school class, her hometown in the countryside, but her grades have been very good, some of her classmates who originally lived in the city were therefore jealous of her, often wearing expensive brand clothes to show off in front of her. The girl’s parents were working in Guangzhou, and only her grandmother took care of her at home. After learning about this, her grandmother comforted her: “Those clothes are the parents of classmates to buy them, you now study well, read the book is your own stomach, others can not take away. “

Just like all the bitter-sweet stories should end, the girl finally got into a book as expected.

Now, sending primary school-aged children to urban classes is the norm for education in Yan Hongyan’s county. There is a constant precedent of success, and the “escape” is becoming more and more determined. “62%” Yan Hongyan accurately recites the percentage of his son’s middle school going on to the provincial high school in the year of his middle school exam; back in the county, the number becomes “No more than 5 out of 100 people”.

In front of the irrefutable gap, the road from the county high school was getting more and more crowded, and the trumpet sound of the “county high school defense war” belonging to Xiang Xi and Xu Yan was heard in this team. The sound of the trumpet belonging to Xiang Xi and Xu Yan’s “county middle school defense” is being left far behind while the team is gaining momentum.

(Cover photo from People’s Vision, all interviewees are pseudonyms.