BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- When the class began, Math teacher Xu Junjun announced that Premier Wen Jiabao was with them, the students turned round simultaneously and craned their necks and found Grandpa Wen, who greeted the marveling faces with a gentle smile.
During the morning class that started 8:10, Wen was seen taking notes carefully. After the lesson, he sat with several students sharing his notes with them.
He spent a total of four hours and five minutes till the music class ended with Class 5 of the 8th graders at Beijing No. 35 Middle School on Friday.
"It's a memorable experience and I felt as if I had traveled back to my childhood," he said, "I love you all."
Wen has been visiting teachers and students on every Teacher's Day since 2003 when he took up the post. The 25th Teacher's Day will fall on Thursday.
"Sitting in on the class all the morning is my way of paying tribute to you teachers," he explained his visit later in a meeting with the faculty in the afternoon.
The meeting was attended by representatives of teachers from Beijing. The premier commented on the morning lessons one by one and offer his suggestions to the teachers.
Wen said that education is a lofty and honorable cause because the fate of the nation depends on it.
"The nation's rise and fall rely on education, as only first-rate education can generate first-rate talents who in turn can build a first-rate nation," Wen said.
China currently has about 16 million people working in educational institutions, including 12 million teachers in middle and primary schools.
Chinese teachers have made great contribution to the country's education and modernization through their hard work to cultivate generations of talented people over the years, Wen said.
"Anyone, no matter how successful they are, owes their growth to their teachers' enlightenment and instruction, and thus should be a student forever before their teachers, " he said.
He also urged the teachers to be creative in improving their teaching skills, teaching contents and evaluation methods.
"Teachers are not sculptors, but what you are crafting is the most valuable work of art," Wen said.
He called on the educators to teach with love, be dedicated to learning and set exemplary roles for students.
"I felt quite warmed at heart after I watched the premier spend the whole morning attending lessons and use almost an hour to comment on each one," said Zheng Xinrong, a professor with Beijing Normal University, China's top institute for teachers.