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Relationships are being strained by sycophancy, abuse and grandstanding. Zou Shuo reports.
Xiaowang won first prize in an essay contest? Then you simply must send a message thanking Mrs. Li for all her help-just make sure you do it via the teacher-parent WeChat group, so everyone else knows, too.
Mrs. Li just posted a notice to the group, so you must reply with a group message, preferably with emojis, to thank her for her diligence and professionalism.
Sentiments such as these seem to be a dominant force in the use of teacher-parent WeChat groups.
The groups were originally designed as conduits of informative and harmonious dialogue between families and schools. Instead, the sheer convenience of the instant-messaging platform is becoming a cause of stress among teachers and parents alike.
The chat groups no longer play their original role, but have instead devolved into a free-for-all in which parents argue, show off and bootlick their way to curry favor with teachers, while the teachers feel obliged to answer questions and requests from parents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Zhang Shuai, father of a third-grader in Wuhan, Hubei province, said that although WeChat groups are a convenient way of learning about his child"s schoolwork, he is frequently disturbed by unnecessary messages that can flood the groups.
"When a teacher sends an announcement in the chat group, the parents thank the teacher one by one, saying what a good job he or she has done. For me, this is a little bit over the top; after all it"s the teacher"s job to send out the announcements," he said.
"I feel emotionally drained by constantly having to heap praise on teachers via the messaging app and forced to respond with likes or emojis so as not to appear unappreciative."
He is also concerned that if he fails to show due respect, some teachers may treat his son badly, so he regularly resorts to cheap flattery.
Relationships within teacher-parent chat groups are subtle and complex. In the course of supposedly normal interaction, parents compete with each other by overtly signaling the high esteem in which they say they hold the teachers.
The result is unbridled sycophancy-scenarios in which parents fight tooth and nail to praise the teachers to the moon, but are actually showing off their or their child"s achievements or trying to impress the teachers.
Teachers" Day, which falls on Sept 10 every year, provides plenty of classic examples of parental sycophancy. WeChat groups are awash with parents tagging teachers in seemingly endless streams of good wishes. Some parents even trot out their child"s grandparents so all three generations can wish the teacher a happy holiday together, while others have their child record special video messages.personalised wristbands irelandwristbands with a message no minimumrubber wristbands ebaywhere can i buy an anti bullying wristbandpersonalized awareness bracelets