Chinese parents frustrated by teachers’ requests to check kids’ homework
Published: Nov 11, 2020 08:43 PM

A teenage boy is doing his homework at home. Photo: VCG

A video of a Chinese father complaining to his kid's teacher asking him to send his kid to afterschool classes and check his homework has gone viral online recently, sparking heated discussion on Chinese social media about whether the parents are imposed on too much in terms of schoolwork by the teachers.

To show his strong disagreement, the father had left the WeChat group where all the parents of students from his kid's class communicate with the teacher.

The father accused the teacher of shrugging off their responsibilities to the parents. "Am I paying you to assign homework to me? If you can't fulfill your responsibilities, then stop being a teacher," the father said in the video, whose opinion was echoed on social media by some parents who were also asked to check homework and involve themselves in a large amount of school activities and after-class tasks. 

Many said that some teachers are transferring their work to the parents, making them feel fully occupied and pressured, considering most of them still need to work full-time.

Some, however, believed that parents are obliged to engage in kids' education as schools ask to help them improve their kids' education at home. 

"It is very common that in some schools in our city, teachers ask parents to check their childrens' homework," Ren Xian, a middle school teacher in Baoji of Northwest China's Shaanxi, told the Global Times. "But for some parents, checking homework is a demanding task, as some of them are too busy earning a living for their families and others are less educated."

The educational authority of Liaoning Province issued a notice on Tuesday requiring that the amount of primary and middle school students' homework assigned by teachers should be reasonable, asking teachers to check homework on their own. 

It also banned teachers from assigning homework via social platforms such as WeChat, a common practice now used in many schools. Schools are instead asked to include homework management in teachers' performance reviews.

Since 2018, at least ten Chinese provinces, including Northeast China's Liaoning, North China's Hebei, and Northwest China's Shaanxi, have launched official documents to "stop" parents from checking and correcting homework for students, reported.

Ma Xiaolan, a mother of a second grade student in Shanghai, however, thinks that rules cannot solve everything. She told the Global Times that she spends about four hours a day on average accompanying her son to complete his homework even though his teachers didn't ask so, as there is so much homework and her son is too young to focus all his time.

"It is common now that every child has to study until 10 pm every day, it is difficult to complete on time if their parents don't help," she said, adding that the parents and teachers should show more understanding to each other.

Asking parents to check homework or join in with school activities is intended to strengthen communication with their teachers and understand their kids more; however, some schools and teachers have gone too far in their expectations, said Wang Yu, a biology teacher at a high school in Northeast China's Jilin Province, who has won over 3.75 million fans on the short video platform Tik-Tok for his easy-going attitude with students.

Wang told the Global Times that he often receives similar complaints from some parents when he talks about kids' education with his audience online.

Wang shared his disagreement on asking parents to check homework, as parents vary in their own education levels. "Parents should supervise their children in finishing their homework on time, that's enough," he said, noting that it is still necessary to ask parents to join some school activities together with their kids, in a bid to understand their kids more.