Now for the uninformed, GaoKao is the Chinese university entrance exam. They've had some form of post-18 assessment for ever in China (being the oldest civilisation and all), and the Gaokao was introduced when they formalised university study.
Anyhow the Gaokao isn't just a big thing. It's somewhere beyond monstrously huge if I'm honest. The pressure on kids is enormous. We had suicides at our school over it last year. Teachers aren't allowed anywhere near schools on the day of the examinations. Parents crowd the area round the school (in a specially created pen) sending vibes of "Do well or you die..." to the kids. They shut down street round schools (so messages can't be sent in) and cell phone masts are shut off the day of the exams. It is that crazy. The pressure on kids is enormous. If you think you have it bad in the UK or US, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Anyhow, the central office shut the school down today in preparation for Gaokao.
There are 3 sections of kids at the school, the "main school kids" who, by all account are the nerdiest kids in the universe, the boarders (who pay to go to the best school in the area), and our kids (who are viewed as spoilt brats by the Chinese teachers, and end up in Western universities). The main school and boarders got sent home at midday today. Our kids got sent home at 2:30, which I guess makes some sense as they aren't doing the Gaokao.
All the Chinese teachers were gone at the same time as their kids. We, however, were kept back till 4:30. Quite frankly, I have no idea why at all, but ok, Gaokao's not our gig. It was weird walking round school seeing the place all deserted, but that didn't really bother me.
What I can't understand is that the school is closed tomorrow. No one, I repeat no one is going to be in tomorrow. The head will be there. The deputy head will be there. I presume a secretary will be there. And us. 15 teachers with absolutely nothing to do. I know we're well paid, but can someone explain that to me?