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A teacher in China took a student to work at a construction site in the hopes it would inspire him to return to school. It worked. Photo: Weibo

Chinese teacher takes delinquent student to see his mother’s tough construction worker job to learn value of education

  • The student had dropped out of school and said he had become addicted to mobile games
  • The teacher hoped to help the boy understand how hard people have to work to earn a living without a proper education

A teacher in central China made the extra effort to teach his 12-year-old student the value of an education by taking him to a construction site where his mother works as a manual labourer.

The student, surnamed Yang, was reportedly addicted to the internet and had dropped out of school about 20 days before. The teacher decided to show the boy how hard his mother had to work to support her family.
“When Yang’s mother said she earned around 100 yuan (US$15) a day, Yang replied that ‘was easy peasy’. So, I decided to bring him to the construction site where his mother works,” the teacher told the mainland news platform Xibu Juece.

The teacher made Yang wake up at 4am, as his mother does, and work long hours at the site moving steel bars. The teacher accompanied Yang for the day, and believed the boy would return to school if he personally experienced the hard work.

“The absence of my parents made me feel very bored, so I became addicted to playing games on my phone. Now I’ve learned how hard my mum is working to earn a living, so I will work hard on my studies and repay her,” said Yang.

Yang will return to school next Monday.

The boy spent the day moving steel around at a construction site. Photo: Weibo

The teacher’s decision to show the hard work of Yang’s mother attracted a wave of compliments on the mainland Chinese internet. Many people said that practical teaching and learning are beneficial to children, despite that it might seem harsh sometimes.

One said: “I’ve learned a useful strategy for teaching kids, and someday I will try it.”

Another, who claimed he is a teacher, said: “It inspired me as I’ve been thinking of taking my students to a factory where there is no air-conditioning equipped so the children can experience what it’s like to twist screws.”

Two months ago, a father from central China’s Hubei province demonstrated a similar parenting style. He forced his 11-year-old daughter to dig for lotus by hand for four hours under the blazing hot sun to teach her about what life without a proper education would mean for her future.

In 2021, a high schoolteacher in eastern China assembled his students on a winter night with a temperature of negative three degrees Celsius to watch a construction project at the school’s gymnasium.