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I'm trying to peice together what the school system here is like, and so far I'm doing a lousy job.

What I've gathered about Li Cai really surprised me. The school has a Junior level and a Senior level, and I assumed that the junior students would go on to the senior levels after they were done Junior III. This is how things typically are in Canada. Junior High goes onto Senior High, if they're both in the same school.

But here, the Junior IIIs are writing exams in the hopes of getting into an important Senior school. One in Taizhou, or Nanjing. Apparently anyplace that isn't Jiangyan is good.

The Senior students here are the students that didn't do so well on the exams. I feel like this place is a sort of purgatory for them. None of them attended here as a Junior student.

On some level I think this explains a lot of my problems with the senior kids, but then I think that's really unfair. They're good kids, they just drive me nuts.

Paul's told me that at his school, the kids have to maintain a certain G.P.A. If they're under that, they get kicked out. Unless their parents pay a fine. Then they can stay.

We're both teaching at private schools, where the parents are paying for the privledge of dumping their kids off and only seeing them once a month. Paul's commented to me that, to his coworkers, barely seeing their kids is normal. I find it strange.

I didn't really think too much of this until I started getting the Christmas letters. I looked through them, and more than one of the students... all they want for Christmas is to go home.


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