Monday, November 10, 2008

In a Blur

There is a serious vision problem in China. I thought I wouldn't have to deal with it after I was finished teaching children.

Apparently, many parents won't buy glasses for children because they think the kids' eyesight will deteriorate more. This created a problem in the classroom as I had students running up to the board to squint at what was written, then scurry back to their seats to write it on their paper. At least I was told about this prior to my first class.

Now I have the problem at the graduate level. Last year I had students who refused to answer questions, and when pressed to answer would reply that they forgot their glasses. This year, I have students who say they can't see the board or projection screen clearly and, therefore, cannot answer the question.

The irony of this situation now is that I write in large letters on the board and use 18-20 point font for my lectures. I can see everything clearly from the back wall, which is ten feet behind the last seat. Not only that, but there are usually three rows of tables that can sit three students each at the front of the room.

It pains me to think that I might have to fail a student or three simply because he or she isn't responsible enough to get new glasses or sit closer to the front of the class.


light487 said...

Are glasses expensive in China? I have worn glasses since I was 5 years old and they are almost prohibitively expensive to the point where I went for 4 or 5 years without buying new glasses even though I was having trouble reading things at conferences I was attending for work.

kellen|范丹柯 said...

i had the same issue when teaching at a university. and now when people see me wearing my glasses (which i often don't) they tell me it'll get worse for wearing them. fine but then i can get another set of lenses for another 50 kuai and still be able to see. i can't follow the logic.

@light487 it's cheap beyond reason in many places. i have a friend who bought two pair for all 5 people in his family before going back to america because he could get them in this one town for about ten bucks a pop. you can easily blow a lot of cash on designer frames, but those are of course not required. mine cost me about 40 american dollars a couple years ago and that was when i thought i was getting a deal which i now know i wasn't at all.

Matthew said...

As Kellen said, glasses are much cheaper here than back home and eye exams are free. However, if you get better lenses (usually imported from the US or Japan), it's more expensive. I've been told more than 90% of the world's frames are manufactured here in Shenzhen.

SHUO said...

Firstly,good to know that you find our the "glasses issue".
Don't take it personally,because the same thing happened to my classmates back in high school.But I always got the feeling that they were just faking in order to avoid those questions which they were not quite sure with.
FYI,the thing you're supposed to do is making them more confident to express themself rather than worrying about the price of glasses.
BTW,your "" is so impressive.LOL