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Why Chinese “教师节 (jiào shī jié)” Teacher’s Day Is Special

Sep. 10, 2020

The establishment of “教师节(jiào shī jié) Teacher’s Day”, aims to recognize the effort made by teachers in the field of education and falls on September 10th every year.

At the beginning of the new school year (usually September 1st), students would start preparing the activities to show their teacher’s respect.

教师 (jiào shī): n teacher.

Examples:

wǒ shì gè yǒu 21 nián jiào líng de jiào shī.
我是个有21年教龄的教师。
I’m a teacher with 21 years of teaching experience.

tā kāi shǐ le zì jǐ de jiào shī shēng yá.
她开始了自己的教师生涯。
She started her career as a teacher.

The way to celebrate

Teacher’s day is not a traditional Chinese festival, thus there are different customs of celebration.

Generally, schools will hold a ceremony on this day and issue certificates, and schedule a recital with singing and dancing performed by students. Moreover, students can deliver their sincere blessings and wishes via blackboard messages, greeting cards, paintings, and more.

The influence of this festival

Positive

The festival reflects that the teacher has been respected by all society, as more and more people have recognized that education is vital for the prosperity and future development of a country.

Through many types of benefits and “补贴(bǔ tiē) subsidies”, the enthusiasm of teachers engaged in the educational field has been improved greatly.

补贴(bǔ tiē): n.  subsidies

Examples:

tā jīngcháng zhuànqián bǔtiē jiāyòng.
她经常赚钱补贴家用
She often makes money to subsidize her family.

gōng zī zhī wài lìng jiā bǔ tiē.
工资之外另加补贴。
The subsidy will be added to the regular salary.

Negative

With the development of the economy, the custom where parents send money and gifts to teachers has evolved gradually, aiming to receive better treatment from teachers for their children.

However, in accordance with the provisions of Chinese Criminal Law ruled on November 5th, 2007, teachers acting as members of public institutions, if they receive money, gifts, or other property interests of a large amount sent from parents, they will be suspected and charged with bribery.

Derivative culture

The first set of stamps for Teacher’s Day was released on August 27th, 1947, which had patterns including a Confucius statue, the table of Confucius’ lecture, the tomb of Confucius, and the Grand Hall of Confucius.

Other countries celebrate Teacher’s day on different dates. Even though the dates vary and the ways in which teachers are shown respect, respect for teachers is an unchangeable custom since ancient times to the present.

One sentence of the “诗(shī) poem” related to teachers goes like this:
令公桃李满天下(lìng gōng táolǐ mǎn tiānxià),何用堂前更种花 ( hé yòng tángqián gèng zhònghuā)?
Literal meaning: The world is full of peaches and plums sowed by you, why plant flowers in front of the hall?

Note: “peaches and plums” mean those students who are educated by a famous teacher and graduated successfully.

This “诗(shī) poem” was composed by the author and a teacher while they viewed flowers together.

诗 (shī): n. poem

Example:

tā gěi wǒ xiě le yì shǒu shī.
他给我写了一首诗。
He wrote me a poem.

zhè shǒu shī yǐn qǐ le dú zhě de gòng míng.
这首诗引起了读者的共鸣。
This poem has struck a chord with its readers.

Now that you know how China celebrates teacher’s day and shows respect to their educators, you can share your culture’s customs about how teachers are treated in your country.

You May Want to Learn More About Chinese traditional festival :
“Different Customs and Taboos of the Hungry Ghost Festival in China”
“Don’t Say Happy Dragon Boat Festival!”
“How Tomb Sweeping Day was Different This Year in China Due to COVID-19”
Top 4 Chinese New Year Traditions Explained”

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