Meicun Meets Manteo

Kamryn Whiteside, Staff Writer

A few days ago, Mr. Nichols’s Intro to Publications class had the opportunity to talk to the Chinese teachers who had visited MHS. They were asked many questions ranging from a variety of different topics. Although there was a small language barrier, we were able to understand and learn about the difference between Manto High School and Meicun High School, the school in which the teachers came from.

Our student population is coherently small with about 500 students, so when we heard the number of pupils that Meicun High sustained, to say we were shocked would be an understatement. Their student count is four times the amount of ours, coming out to about 2,000 people. Ms. Zoe, one of the two teachers we were able to talk with, had told us she preferred a much smaller school with more personalized connections among the students.

Another difference we deemed interesting was the amount of time the students actually attended school. According to Ms. Zoe and Mr. Hu, the school day starts at 6:45 AM and ends at 9:30 PM. The teachers typically stay on campus until they finish their work and are then allowed to go home to their families. On the opposite side of things, the students sleep on campus and are permitted to go home on the weekends.

Considering the fact that Meicun has 2,000 people, classrooms could easily be assumed as hard to handle or chaotic. Though, says Ms. Zoe, it is quite the opposite; students are very well-behaved and focused during school hours. She even commented on the behavioral difference saying, “Your class is very lively.” Academics are extremely important to the teachers over in China, so we could connect that to the strict conduct of the students. However, their teachers do have the same purpose as teachers here, which is to equip students with the knowledge and ability to go to college.

Another similarity we share with the Chinese school system is the requirements that colleges place on students. In Meicun, the required classes are slightly altered to those we have here in the United States. As opposed to the four core classes we have, in China, students are required to take math, English, and Chinese. However, senior students have a choice in which science and history classes they take.

When it comes to the school-year duration, we have slightly differing schedules. Their school year begins September 1st and the first semester ends in late February. They have a break in between both semesters and begin the second semester in early spring. Very similar to here, they have a summer vacation that begins in early June. Though, instead of having a longer Christmas break, they have a highly-celebrated spring festival as well as something called “Mid-Autumn day.”

Mid-Autumn Day, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is very similar to our Thanksgiving. “That is a great day to get together,” says Ms. Zoe. This is when everyone gets together with their family, eat special desserts known as moon cakes, and celebrate the moon. During the holidays, family is a very celebrated aspect. Elders are very respected and a vital part of children’s home lives. In contrast to the US, we could say it’s almost less special to see their grandparents considering they see them daily. Though, of course, spending all that time with them could lead to a really strong relationship between the children and their grandparents.

Being able to communicate with Ms. Zoe and Mr. Hu was a great opportunity and we’re glad to have been able to learn more about a different culture. MHS thanks everyone who visited for sharing a contrasting perspective and their knowledge about their city, school, and home life.