“Mom! I think Mrs. Caldwell would be horrified at what happened in our Chinese class tonight!” My nine-year-old shouted out as soon as we got into our car last Friday night.

“What happened in your class?” I asked rather calmly.

My nine-year-old leaned forward, and said, “Mom, last Friday, we had a VERY difficult test. And as it turned out lots of kids didn’t do well on that test. So, today, our teacher came in with a stack of the test papers, and she called all the kids that didn’t do well to stand up one by one, and showed the whole class their test papers!”


“A third of the students stood up! I was so scared that she would call my name. I didn’t want to stand up, and have the sitting-down-kids think I am a dumb kid!”

“Did you have to stand up?” I asked.


“Why do you think Mrs. Caldwell would be so horrified?” I asked.

“Mrs. Caldwell never shares our tests with the whole class. And she is not happy with you, if she finds out that you have been talking about test scores with other kids even during recess,” my nine-year-old replied.

I was mostly amused by my nine-year-olds’ shocking evening. I like Ms. Jiang. She has a kind face.

Ms. Jiang is actually a caring teacher, genuinely interested in seeing her kids learn Chinese, and learn it well. She often brings a bag of treats with her to her class. She uses these treats as rewards to encourage her class. Her treats aren’t the kinds that feature age old Halloween candies. Ms Jiang brings in those cute erasers, pens, pencils that are especially appealing to children. Usually, around 9:00PM on Friday nights, Ms. Jiang’s class would have the most wide-awake kids, with their hands high up in the air, some waving for a better chance to win a prize from her treat bag.

On the drive back home, I told my two children about the difference between their everyday school and their Chinese school. I told them that Chinese schools can be vicious, because they deem it okay to use humiliation, peer pressure, and fear as proper learning tools to motivate children. So, they should be careful, and always be well prepared for their Chinese tests.

Then I told my kids that here in America, privacy is highly regarded and requires our deepest respect, even the privacy of small children, and especially the small children’s test scores. So, the teachers like to keep these grades in secret and only share them with the people that matter, which would be the parents. And parents behave much worse than the classmates if they see their children with poor report cards. So they should be careful, and always come home with A+ grades.

“You know, I was a dumb kid…” with a smirk on my face, I was prepared to just ramble on and on until we got home, but then I was interrupted…

“What do you think Mrs. Caldwell will have to say?” My nine-year-old wanted to get back to the original question.

“Hum…..why don’t you just ask her on Monday and find out?” Realizing that no one asked for my opinion on the matter, I opted to support my child’s curiosity, and to seek the answer from the direct source.

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