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Teacher's Day, Don't Forget Those on Special Posts

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With the annual Teacher's Day falling on Thursday and students in big cities visiting their teachers to express their thanks, those who worked on their special posts should be remembered as well.

One man's persistence

In the Yingxin Village of Changfeng County in the agricultural Anhui Province, a school has survived for 13 years, with the number of its students changing from 12 to 60. The headmaster, teacher and staff were just one single person -- the 56-year-old Tang Quanyou.

"Since I took this job, I must do it well," said the man with a smile, wrinkles showing on his sun-tanned face.

Tang became a teacher in 1975 after graduation from a local middle school. At that time, he was assigned to the Shangdu Primary School, which has two thatched cottages and three teachers.

The other two teachers left after two years, while Tang taught all the subjects alone.

In 1979, the school was merged into the Bazhang Primary School, when Tang finally ended his solo stint.

However, this change meant that many children had to make a round trip of 10 kilometers on a rugged path.

In 1998, at the suggestion of villagers, another teaching site for students in low grades was set up, and Tang became the headmaster.

He teaches all the subjects in the school--Chinese, mathematics, geography, art and physical education.

To teach his students the broadcast gymnastics which nearly all schools had to do, Tang went to the schools in the county seat several times.

Now every morning, villagers can see an interesting scene: a gray-haired man jumping in front of a group of kids to the sound of music.

"Students in the low grades were like a piece of white paper; you can write anything on it," he said, noting that it was why he considered the job important.

"For those kids, he even slept in the school and our land became run-down," said Tang's wife Gao Guozhen. But in 2006, Tang managed to drag her into the school as well. Since then, Gao became the chef, cooking for the kids.

Tang's efforts paid off. His fellow villagers frequently dropped in, giving him some vegetable or eggs. Nobody burned wasted crop straws near the schools, for fear of affecting Tang's classes.

Sixteen kids entered the school this September 1, five of whom were just five years old.

"They are too young," Tang smiled, adding that he even had to feed them with water and take them to toilet during classes.

The teacher didn't know that his students prepared a special gift for him for the Teacher's Day.

Outside the school, wild flowers were blooming. "We will give our teacher a most beautiful bouquet," a boy whispered to a Xinhua reporter.

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