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Teaching 'Respectable', But 'Arduous' Job in China

While most Chinese describe teaching as a "respectable" job, increasingly people have become concerned with the health conditions of educators due to the great pressure and heavy workload, according to the results of surveys released in Beijing on Tuesday.

The two surveys, one soliciting 90,964 public responses and the other a poll of 51,488 teachers, were conducted by the China Youth Daily research center in the run-up to the country's 24th Teacher's Day on September 10.

About 85 percent of the public believed teaching was an "arduous" job, and 78 percent described the profession as "respectable," the Beijing-based newspaper said.

The results also revealed 10 percent of teachers often got sick. They listed the high pressure of helping students to achieve good academic results, long working hours and the low pay as the top factors detrimental to health.

About 55 percent of teachers said they worked eight to 10 hours daily, while 26 percent said they averaged more than 10 hours a day. Only 19 percent said they worked less than eight hours.

"I usually work more than 10 hours a day," a middle-school math teacher surnamed Pan was quoted as saying. "I have to correct students homework and prepare my lessons after work. Sometimes, I must tutor some students to help them achieve good marks in exams."

Teacher's Day was launched in 1985 to improve the social status of educators and to ask the entire nation to respect them and to seek knowledge.

Despite the great pressure, 54 percent of the teachers said they would take education as their lifetime profession.

(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2008)

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