Good teachers train students to feast their minds. Now, thankful students in Shanghai are treating their teachers to a more traditional feast.
The growing trend makes summer a great time for local restaurants.
The summer began with many high-school and university graduates gathering in local eateries for a farewell meal. Then came the rush of high-school graduates celebrating university admission.
"We estimated that about 20 percent of our customers are students and their families these days," said Xie Weiguo of the Zhapu Road Restaurants Association. A tour of the renowned gourmet street last Thursday evening found almost all the restaurants filled with families treating school teachers to lavish feasts. "My business is booming with 20 to 30 tables reserved for such purposes," said Chen Liwei, manager of Xiang Man Lou Restaurant on Zhapu Road.
Chen said the meals generally ranged in prices from 500 to 1,000 yuan (US$60 to US$120).
Shanghai Daily found roughly a quarter of the restaurant's 100 tables surrounded by graduates and their parents generously toasting a group of teachers.
"The meal represents our heartfelt thanks to my son's Chinese, English, maths and political science teachers," said 45-year-old Liu Yu. "Without their instruction, my son could not be admitted to Fudan University."
Liu's son, 18-year-old Li Xing said many of his schoolmates who did well on the college entrance exam will treat their major teachers - maths, Chinese, English, political science-to a large dinner.
At another table, Dong Zhinuo, a 46-year-old maths teacher said recently he has spent at least every other evening at such a meal, "because of the many invitations from students."
While teachers are enjoying the free meals, school administrators are worried the trend is getting out of control.
"I personally don't encourage teachers to attend such meals frequently, because it is their responsibility to cultivate students with all their efforts," said Gu Jianhua, of the Shanghai Education Commission.
Gu says the practice is becoming more popular due to peer pressure.
"It's a waste of money, especially for families who aren't wealthy."
( Eastday.com.cn 08/27/2001)