A middle school teacher from Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province has become an online sensation after pictures emerged of him kissing the podium goodbye where he taught for the last 40 years.
Sheng Zhijun, a maths teacher from Yudafu Middle School, was unwittingly snapped in the middle of the personal farewell ceremony after finishing his final class on Tuesday.
Qianjiang Evening Post Photo
“All sorts of feelings welled up in my heart as I finished my last class and brought my forty years’ teaching career to an end,” he posted on instant messaging app Wechat.
Sheng officially retired earlier this month but did not leave the school until earlier this week when he had finished all his scheduled lessons for the semester.
Sheng tutored students after class. /Qianjiang Evening Post Photo
“I helped them revise in preparation for the final exams,” he told the Qianjiang Evening Post, adding that he went on to tutor several students and correct their homework even after his final shift was over.
Flowers sent by students to Sheng. /Qianjiang Evening Post Photo
Sheng first stood in front of a classroom of students in 1975. Over the years, he has scooped numerous accolades for his teaching, going on to become a senior math teacher in the province as well as a prominent figure in scientific research.
But instead of kicking back and relaxing during retirement, Sheng said he plans to continue his career as a mentor to the next generation of teachers.
Sheng Zhijun. /Qianjiang Evening Post Photo
“I would like to help train teachers in rural areas so as to improve the education quality there,” Sheng said, “I’m still in sound health and I want to contribute more.”
Thousands of web users commented on the viral pictures of Sheng bidding farewell to his classroom.
“He lights up the lives of his students by consuming himself,” @yubaxuezhang commented on Weibo, citing an ancient Chinese poem comparing teachers to burning candles.