On Slow Bus Ride to China: 3 Initial Takeaways

Ella, please don’t be upset that I procured your song title, but for those that didn’t know, there’s a lot of traffic in China. A whole lot.

I can’t even begin to summarize how amazing my trip to China was. Surrounded by fellow Administrators, Superintendents, and BOE members, we had superb conversations and saw things in ways our educational eyes are trained to.  

So much to share, and most of my pictures will do the talking. Here my big three initial takeaways:

the ELL class had about 60 students in the room!

1. Nobody cares about your party planning. I’m into details when planning an event in school. I want everything to look perfect / reflect education, feel comfortable, yet professional, and if I am having several people in for a meeting, I want decent food and coffee. All of that in China does not apply at all. Sure, we ate food, but never at the schools. Most buildings were dilapidated at best, and cleanliness was not the priority. Why?

 Because the focus is on learning. 

What does a coat of paint have to do with teaching? You’re cold? Wear a coat. Hungry? Bring a snack; it’s not the set of Iron Chef. These are my interpretations of what I saw. 

one of the arenas where PE classes were held

2. Some of those “elite” private schools that wealthy US folks pay to get in? They’re hogwash in China too.  Educators know when they see good lessons and gobbledygook. To quote one person from the trip, “Every teacher we saw in this Private school was on the B-Squad.” By far, some of the poorest instruction and class management I’ve seen. These “educators” wouldn’t be on the B-Squad; they would have been on the unemployment squad. The worst part? I’m pretty sure that the parents that have them in the school think some mind blowing education is taking place. Nope. I truly felt bad for these high school students. We all know that some of this malarchy is happening in US schools, but I can’t imagine the hoodwinking is that bad.
  3. Kids are kids…anywhere. This may sound a bit offbeat, but I was under the assumption that we’d see all seriousness and silence from sunrise to sunset. We saw smiling and laughing, some bored and “playing school”, and even saw kids just being kids. Thousands of miles apart,  compiled with a very different culture, and kids are still kids.

More to come on this with collaborators for an EPUB from Glenn Robbins and Spike Cook later on. Until then, I’ll be drinking my coffee, watching scads of awful television, and working on this whole Ed.D thing. 


More China:


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