In China, one of the most prestigious jobs one can have is that of teacher. They are perpetually revered and celebrated as the source of great knowledge. Their generosity to share this knowledge is welcomed and appreciated beyond even that of pop stars wishing to share their personality.
In America, this dynamic has been obsoleted by paying teachers poverty-level salaries, destroying their morale, systematically vilifying them as agents of socialism, and moving their job from enlightener of youth to at-risk babysitters with less authority than a common garbage man and a reduced sense of responsibility and drive.
As a result, the Chinese (and just about everyone else in the country) have given up trying to teach Real-American kids.
Oh sure, there are still a few who are pushing the boulder uphill only to have it roll back down when they turn to write on the chalkboard. I’m sure Mr. Lum still teaches chemistry and physics at Florin High School in Sacramento, regaling his acne-filled, illiterate class on how L.E.O. (“loss of electrons equals oxidation”) the Lion goes G.E.R. (“gain of electrons equals reduction”).
But, as we all know, that knowledge just doesn’t stick with you compared to what Justin Bieber is doing on TMZ.
So now, even for Chinese in America, the respect that teachers once held has moved down the charts from Number One to the number representing “at least he’s not doing what Mexicans are doing” plus one.
Please discourage your children from teaching. There’s no future in it.