China's Teachers' Day is a reminder to pay gratitude to teachers
Updated 18:04, 10-Sep-2019
By Zhao Hong

China has a long tradition of respecting and honoring teachers. The modern Teachers' Day, September 10, was established as an official holiday that recognizes the important work of China's educators by the Chinese government in 1985. On this day, students, alongside the whole community, express their appreciation to teachers of all kinds.

One common metaphor is to look to gardening to explain the role of a teacher, in that students are flowers. Pre-school teachers are among the first mentors for children in their process of socializing, playing an important role in nurturing children's social and emotional development. 

There are currently 46.56 million children in kindergartens in the whole country with just 2.58 million full-time teachers, making the student-teacher ratio at 18:1, higher than that of primary, secondary and higher education.

Secondary vocational education faces the largest student-teacher ratio at 19:1, and the situation is the worst in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province.

As the following graphic shows, the number of pre-school teachers has surged in recent years, while others have grown slowly.

Spring silkworms spin till death, running out of yearning thread; Burning candles weep, till no more tears they can shed. – Li Shangyin (813-858 AD), a poet in Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)

The verse comes from a romantic poem used to express the poet's longing for his lover, but now it is often used to describe teachers' selfless long-term serving and dedication by comparing teachers to spring silkworms and burning candles.

Teachers often serve as role models and leaders, regularly reinforcing what society expected from students. Very often Chinese teachers acted as mentors throughout their whole life. And their experience is highly valued in society.

Seen from the teachers' demographics, the largest group of teachers age from 35 to 39 for both genders. And nearly 38,000 People age above 60 are still active in their profession.

Teachers are the ones who could propagate the doctrine, impart professional knowledge, and resolve doubts. – Han Yu (768-824 AD), a Chinese historian, poet and writer in Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)

The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching. – Aristotle (384-322 BC)

The Chinese Teachers' Day works not only as a reminder that teachers should be held in reverence for instilling knowledge and morals in students, and also as a reminder to teachers that they need to reflect on their self-improvement in terms of knowledge and personal integrity.

Statistics from Chinese Education Ministry show that most teachers have a bachelor's degree or above, taking up 69.1 percent. If you look at the higher education, the majority own a master's degree or above.

According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the average salary for employees in the education sector is 92,383 yuan (12,984 U.S. dollars) and has continuously risen for the past five years.

Teaching is one of the most historically-respected professions in China. And the festive date offers an opportunity for all to thank their teachers. 

Now it's time to say, "thank you!"

(Graphics by Fan Chenxiao)