China has a long tradition of respecting teachers. There is an old Chinese saying, “Once my teacher, forever my father,” which illustrates tremendous respect for mentors.
However, during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), teachers and other educated people were ridiculed as “Choulaojiu” –stinking ninth category.
In 1985, the 6th National People’s Congress decided to mark September 10 as Teachers’ Day. The festival was initiated as a reminder that teachers should be held in reverence for instilling knowledge and morals in students. It also serves as a reminder to teachers, popularly known in China as engineers of the human soul, that they need to reflect on their self-improvement in terms of knowledge and personal integrity.
The government then issued a sequence of laws to protect teachers’ rights, improve their working and living conditions. Teachers’ income was raised, and primary and secondary school teachers were included in the selection of special government allowances.
Teachers’ Day was set in September because it’s expected to create a nice environment for teachers and students at the beginning of a new semester.
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