Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The BS-Wrestling Pit => Topic started by: AMonk on August 27, 2007, 02:28:33 PM

Title: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: AMonk on August 27, 2007, 02:28:33 PM
As one of our new Members (Felix) has said on a different thread, there are some FTs / "teachers" who should have been banned from the classroom.  Here's where we can share, discuss and rip them to shreds.

One I know of one who tried to get me fired because she figured that I was behaving "inappropriately" with my (male, teenaged) students.....I patted a boy's shoulder after he did well in a class and solved a difficult problem. 
Oh.  And I do reward good behaviour by handing out a/one/singular candy, at the end of class.

Mind you....every male she ever taught, she ended up reporting for mastubatory behaviours!!  As If!!  They all detested her.  Especially one whom she called "ugly" and laughed at, to his face and in front of another student and an adult!!

Strangely, her contract was not renewed.  Mine was.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: AMonk on August 27, 2007, 02:33:10 PM
p.s.  And the B****ch had her BS.  Must have been a  Bull bqbqbqbqbq degree!!
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on August 28, 2007, 08:41:57 PM
Oh, jeez...where to START?!?
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: phets72 on August 29, 2007, 12:10:58 AM
At the beginning Raoul....always as good a place as any Laoban...
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 29, 2007, 12:31:10 AM
Where to start is a good one.
1.  Missionary who was baptising students in the toilet of his apartment.  He and a number of other missionaries also had quite a few of the students seriously freaked about going to hell - one girl for kissing her boyfriend.  The ones who prey on the vulnerability of the young REALLY REALLY make me want to 'school' them.

2. Teachers who want the administration to change to "back home" way of doing things.  And here - PSG coming up - it is mostly USAnians who fall into this habit. The desire to 'improve' things to just the way they were back home irritates me.  Cultural imperialism at it's best. We're here because it's different, we are basically the least influential people in the education system, our real influence is in the skills we teach the students, it's not our country or our system and every person within the system knows it's flaws and strengths.  But FTs coming in saying 'you've got it all wrong, do it MY way' aren't helping.

3. The rude ones.  The ones who don't attempt to understand the way of doing things, who    complain about everything, who won't make an effort to make friends with anyone but young Chinese girls ( afafafafaf) and then complain that people are unfriendly.  Ahh.....
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on August 29, 2007, 03:55:39 AM
LE, I think we have met and worked with the same people.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: gonzo on August 29, 2007, 10:05:04 AM
When you work in a country where any white English speaker can wear the title of "teacher", I guess that's what is going to happen. No use getting indignant and self righteous; you're in an unregulated industry. A bit like other unregulated industries, where some workers do a better job than others, but I won't go there!
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: AMonk on August 29, 2007, 06:54:57 PM
LE:  How did/have the new teaching couple turned out?  Not so bad as they might have, I hope. 
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on August 29, 2007, 10:37:10 PM
They arrive in just over a week I think.  So not sure how they are yet, but they have a couple of my classes from last semester, so I hope they are good to them.  My kids are really nice students. amamamamam amamamamam
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: teleplayer on September 01, 2007, 02:08:55 PM
....
2. Teachers who want the administration to change to "back home" way of doing things.  And here - PSG coming up - it is mostly USAnians who fall into this habit. The desire to 'improve' things to just the way they were back home irritates me.  Cultural imperialism ...


LE,
 Forgive my not knowing, but what is PSG? When does it occur. My lot may be guilty of the vulture cultural imperialism but not knowing PSG I can't imagine what that means.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 01, 2007, 03:19:47 PM
Sorry - PSG = Pretty Sloppy Generalization.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on September 01, 2007, 03:54:04 PM
There are some things being said here that I'm not entirely sure I'm happy about.

Wanting things done the way they are "back home" can mean a lot of different things. Some of them can be good.

Being inefficient, having problems communicating, etc. are one thing.
But there are others.

I don't want universities to sell grades and diplomas like bags of rice. I want it done the way they are back home.

I don't want to have to pass everyone in my classes just because they paid the tuition, and I don't want to abandon every vestige of performance standards that can be expected of my students. I want it done the way they are back home.

I don't want to see university administators amassing huge personal fortunes through corrupt practices relating to the educational system or visa applications. I want things done the way they are back home.

I don't want to see complete unqualified idiots promoted into choice classes and administrative or faculty positions simply because they are Party members. I want things done the way they are back home.

I don't want to see non-Party teachers treated like dirt, and brutalized into silence (or lifelong unemployment) if they don't quietly go along. I want things done the way they are back home.

I could go on.

These practices are wrong. Doesn't matter if you're from Beijing or Boston or Brisbane...they're just plain wrong. The Chinese KNOW these things are wrong, just as much as we do. The ones involved simply go with it, even try to justify or excuse it, because they are either getting a lot of money and/or personal advancement out of it, or they are too terrified to speak and act against it.

I personally am NOT too terrified to refuse to play along. I've been loud and visible in doing so. And I'm pretty fucking proud of that, really.

I have no tolerance for foreigners who constantly rip on everything Chinese. I've lunged for the jugular of more than one expat because they were doing this. When the Chinese way can be defended, I'm very happy to defend it.

I also have no tolerance for foreigners who turn a blind eye to the most corrupt and stupid aspects of life and work here, and simply assume "Chinese good, foreigner bad." I won't take this one, either. When the Chinese way needs its ass kicked, I'm very happy to kick it. I don't buy this as cultural arrogance. I don't expect everything to be done the Western way. There are some levels where concepts of right and wrong transcend borders and cultures, and just because a wrong has been practiced a long time does not make it a right. The universities and foundation programs I've worked for want to tell the world that they are delivering education to international standards, and producing students compatible with foreign educational systems, AND they want to continue taking bribes and stealing funds and giving diplomas to everyone who pays the admission fee. To them I say, "Fuck you, pal. You can't have it both ways, and I'll be damned if I'm going to help you pretend that you can."

And yes, I know these abuses happen in our own systems sometimes, too. But our systems aren't entirely based  upon them. When these things are found out in our countries, people generally get upset. Things are done about them. In China, it's just...life.

So, if you want to complain about foreign teachers who want schools here to be run "the way they are back home", please be specific. bfbfbfbfbf

Which reminds me: I've worked with an international rainbow of teachers, and I've found that people in other countries are as varied and individual as they are in my own country. I stopped (or at least tried very hard to stop) judging people by their passports a long time ago. Maybe some of you should do the same. My country definitely does not have a monopoly on Armchair Generals; singling it out as doing so is not particularly accurate or relevant or constructive.
Pretty sloppy, indeed.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 01, 2007, 04:12:50 PM
It was stated as a PSG!   acacacacac

And I agree that there is a lot of stuff here that could be improved. But I have found that those who want it done the way it is done 'back home' DON'T in general, realise that everyone working within the system is aware of the corruption, guanxi, foul play etc. They figure that they are giving new, you beaut information to the Chinese teachers or administration etc.  I guess my main objection is that those who do this are treating the Chinese people as idiots - and that they are not.  They figure they are spreading the 'good word' and that once this new improved way is understood, then all will be right in the system. Doesn't happen that way - not anywhere in the world.

But if we can't accept that this is not our system, and that as the lowest on the totem pole we have very little influence, that we are not the dispensers of fantastic wisdom we think we are, our big noses do not give us the high ground, then we will not ever understand how this system actually manages to stumble along.

I do my best to keep my hands clean, do a good job by my students and leave the running of the system to those who own it.

And changes are happening. Slowly, surly but surely.  And not because of us.

Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 01, 2007, 05:56:03 PM
Wow Raoul. I initially passed on this thread because I have already vented upstairs some time ago. But  I REALLY liked what you had to to say. What is the point of bringing in "foreign experts" to do things the Chinese way?
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on September 01, 2007, 06:15:40 PM
Thanks, guys.

Lotus, on that basis I more or less agree with you. I'm fine with a Chinese way, as long as it's an honest one. I very much share your distaste for Westerners who feel entitled and qualified to come in here and "enlighten" the Chinese.

I do disagree, though, that we are not a factor in change. We are. We HAVE to be. Of course, the homeys are never going to admit that... uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: teleplayer on September 03, 2007, 04:04:55 AM
Sorry - PSG = Pretty Sloppy Generalization.


Thanks for the acronym education. Never seen it. Never used it. In the haste of my misreading this it appeared to be an upcoming event in your teaching year like Post Salutation Grade Revisions based on payola, or Pre Loss of Sanity Grading instructions for the coming year, or perhaps something more reasonable and plausible for beginnning of school year of which I'm just not familiar. Pre Selection of language level grading of incoming class/returning class.

 As to the rest, I have to go with Raoul. My travels limited, my international contact more than most average world citizens ....no one nationality, race, creed, religion holds the banner for stupid reactions, biases, bigotry. We share it pretty equally. Guess it bottom lines us all as human.

Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Stil on September 03, 2007, 04:45:45 AM
Well, there's the French.  uuuuuuuuuu
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 03, 2007, 07:34:41 AM
As another poster mentioned previously, I had passed on reading this thread; at least until now. As usual, I whole-heartedly agree with what Raoul offers here. In various threads, I also find lots of wisdom, balance, and caution within Lotus Eater’s posts. LE’s posts often cause me to examine, and sometimes re-evaluate my actions and reactions to various episodes in China.

Where I am having trouble with what LE espouses in this discussion is the idea that we are the “lowest on the totem pole.” In reality, that may well be true, but if we are to do our job with this idea in mind, how ultimately does that philosophy effect our work, performance, and spirit? I’ve worked hard to let go of many of my western notions and expectations since coming here a number of years ago, but there will always be fundamental values within me that cannot be shaken. In my heart and mind, I refuse to be at the “lowest” position in any situation; and I believe no one should accept, or adopt this way of thinking.

I came to China in 2003 as a former university lecturer; an older guy who was a non-traditional student not too many years ago. I think it was from that experience, coupled with my previous teaching experience that enabled me to connect with my Chinese students well – and far more quickly and surprisingly than I had anticipated.

For a large part of these four years, I have given my very best energy and instructional efforts to my students, and I have received tremendous personal rewards from them in return.

Sadly, and after loads of trial and error, I gave up teaching in schools in China (universities, colleges, and training schools) recently. The reasons have been largely addressed and described with Raoul’s posts in this thread. I simply became sick and tired of being used by school “administrators’ and “leaders” for their own, personal, financial gain. After trying various gigs, in various locations, I simply lost any sense of tolerance of the consistent corruption and almost complete lack of academic integrity and bribery I encountered. Did I insist these schools and administrators do things MY way, or “my home country’s” way? Not at all. I simply couldn’t stomach doing things THEIR way any longer. (I also became infuriated by such shenanigans one too many times! And like, Raoul, I’m not ashamed of that.)  llllllllll

Two months ago, I was offered a position with a very successful company in Nanjing. The owner of the company has been my student for the past two years. When he learned I was planning to leave China after so many years of frustration with employment, he invited me to come aboard and help train and guide his managers and staff for future international business. I accepted the position, for precious little more money than I was earning as a foreign expert, but much more on the condition that I would really be JOINING the company and not treated or viewed as an outsider. In the most friendly and respectful way possible, I informed senior management (the owner is presently in another country) that if this was not possible, then I was simply not interested in the position. The other “requirements” (the term often employed by Chinese employers) I made had to do with the conditions of my teaching, not about my own, personal needs. They agreed, and I began the job three weeks ago.

The job was originally conceived a part-time position (the salary certainly reflects that) but I have found that in order to actually become a genuine part of the company I must be present there for more work hours than originally thought. In order words, I am making an investment of my time and energy to make this real union come to fruition. With each passing day, I find ways to make myself more useful than just offering oral English classes a few hours every day. I am now consulted on possible ways to market their products in western countries, guidance with English signage, etc. Everyday, more and more employees stop by my desk for short chat or to ask some questions. More and more employees express an interest in joining my class. I am also customizing my classes according the departmental functions and staff needs and duties.

Very recently, I learned that this company has funded various training programs at area vocational schools, and they have built new classrooms in the economically-challenged regions of western China and T. I am now asking to be part of those programs as well, and I think they are considering ways in which I can be involved and effective. In short, so far, so good. The inspiration I felt when I arrived in 2003 is returning.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that I agree with Lotus Eater that we must be very careful about bludgeoning folks here with our “ways” of doing things, but I also strongly disagree that we must see ourselves “at the bottom.” I think what most qualified and dedicated foreign teachers have brought to, and can offer China is much more than just teaching oral (and/or written) English classes. We give up so much to come here and do this work, and if allow ourselves to be marginalized (and often exploited), then we are doing a great disserve to ourselves and to those who need us. We can’t (and shouldn’t) to force everything to be the way we think it should be, but it doesn’t mean we should deny our tremendous worth and potential here either.

One of the features of most western countries is a far more “rainbow” society. If China wants to truly join the rest of the world, it needs to finds its own way to include us rather than just use us for a single-minded and short-sighted purpose. Otherwise, we should refuse to play along.

Thanks, Lotus Eater, for always nourishing us with food for thought. And fearless Raoul, as always, thanks for your endless supply of wit and wisdom!
agagagagag
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 03, 2007, 10:22:40 AM
Thank you birddog!

Within the administration we have no power to effect change.  Within our teaching and our relationships with students and the teachers who we are friends with - THAT is a very different thing.

I put my energy into my students and I have also been lucky enough to gain approval for the Debating club. This gives me another avenue to have influence.  But my influence is not in running this system - IF I am lucky, IF I have done my job properly, IF I have given my students the tools to think, analyse and articulate, then somewhere way down the track MAYBE something I have done will change the system.

Criticism of a system does not change it and can easily end up with you being more and more marginalised.

It sounds too as if you, birddog, put your energy into the students and your classes - and what is happening now is EXACTLY what I am talking about.  Down the track, your values etc influenced a student, and you are now able to move into a different place where you do have more opportunities. 

Congratulations!  I hope eventually what I do has similar effects.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on September 03, 2007, 02:58:59 PM
Thanks here, too, BD.

Criticism of a system does not change it and can easily end up with you being more and more marginalised.
I agree strongly with the second part of this. I disagree strongly with the first part.

The really evil bits can't be changed any other way. The criticism should come along with other acts, sure, but sometimes the process has to start with someone saying "This is wrong!". Criticism, if loud enough and persistent enough and widespread enough, CAN change things. Sometimes it's the only way they ever will change. The change may not come fast, but criticism can definitely start the ball rolling.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on September 03, 2007, 03:11:54 PM
Note: This thread seemed to have been created for the purpose of talking about monster teachers we may have worked with. It very quickly mutated into ranting about our esteemed colleagues' general approach to living and working here.

Groovy. I changed the subject to match the thread. I dinna tooch nary a word o' any post. And I'll start another thread to get back to the other mission...
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 03, 2007, 05:18:31 PM
Please forgive me everyone if I am pulling this thread farther astray. Perhaps what I am about to say should land in the “things you’d like to take an Uzi to” thread, but this post it’s in response to Lotus Eater and Raoul’s previous comments here…

One of the fastest ways to “get me going” in a group discussion (English Corner, etc.) is for someone to say to me: “There is no use in complaining. It is a waste of time,” etc.

Such comments often come from the mouths of the very same people who call America (or other western nations) a “developed country.” I tell them that America (which is my home country) is always developing. Most Americans don’t wake up in the morning and say to themselves: “We’re developed!” or “I live in a developed country…”

If we are perhaps more “developed” than China is likely because most of us DO believe that complaining is essential for change, and growth. Otherwise, why would anything change or improve? I think most western folks believe that we should never be too satisfied, or passive about anything. Most of us are always searching for ways to improve conditions or dissect problems. In my mind, that is the core foundation for much of our development.

What makes me crazy is this double standard of “you should accept things the ‘Chinese’ way,” but then when we question (and sometimes criticize) a condition, policy, or situation, we often must endure “China is a developing country” as the chronic explanation or excuse.

The primary reason we are brought here (in addition to our qualifications as English instructors) is because we are NOT Chinese, and therefore our non-Chinese-ness is viewed as a benefit -- often for financial exploitation – but when we offer some alternative ways of doing and/or thinking (usually to “management”), someone often utters: “You should be more Chinese…”
Where’s my Uzi…?    bababababa
 
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Raoul F. Duke on September 03, 2007, 07:12:18 PM
You should be more Chinese. <OW! STOP! OUCH! HEY! cbcbcbcbcb>
Seriously, no apology needed at all. Just getting things back on track...
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: woza on September 09, 2007, 11:43:12 AM
This is more about teaching.   You are in the car going to the school and you have your lesson plan, your props.   The teacher in the back says, "now what will I teach them today"?.  You are on the same pay scale.  I will just play a game or they can watch a DVD or listen to music.  They get away with it though because they go into dancing monkey scenario.  You can fool some of the people some of the time..............
The attitude of some of these FTs take the money and run.  My amazing and unique personality will be enough to cover me.

Don't get me started bbbbbbbbbb
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 11, 2007, 11:25:23 AM
Or like an expat I know who went to teach his kindergarten class after an expat party reeking of alcohol.  Even his sweat was alchohol perfumed - ughh!  And to think that this young, untrained person makes more teaching kindergarten (well doing a song and dance routine) than I do at the university.  Where is competency?  Where is the inner morality that should tell them that they are ripping off the children and basically confirming negative opinions about foreigners?
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Stil on September 11, 2007, 02:45:49 PM
Eagle. Stop smelling other people's sweat.

I've worked with letchers, drunks, a guy who I couldn't understand unless he spoke Chinese, totally incompetent people and a few that did nothing but complain but it's not a problem. They do nothing but make me look good.

It's the fault of the institution, not the employee. Do your thing. Do it well. The others will be gone.

Students always know.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: AMonk on September 11, 2007, 02:51:01 PM
Students always know.


These words should be carved in granite!!
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 12, 2007, 12:08:23 PM
Eagle. Stop smelling other people's sweat.

Erhm ... Sometimes there is no choice as the odour justs wafts along with its own will.

It's the fault of the institution, not the employee. Do your thing. Do it well. The others will be gone.

Now that is total BS.  I will not blame an institution for an individual's foibles.  And in saying this, it doesn't excuse the institution for hiring blindly and then turning a blind eye to the situation - for that they are at fault in a major way.  But, this does not remove the onus on the individual to be a decent person, to give a decent effort for their pay.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Stil on September 12, 2007, 12:41:47 PM
It's the fault of the institution, not the employee. Do your thing. Do it well. The others will be gone.

Now that is total BS.  I will not blame an institution for an individual's foibles.  And in saying this, it doesn't excuse the institution for hiring blindly and then turning a blind eye to the situation - for that they are at fault in a major way.  But, this does not remove the onus on the individual to be a decent person, to give a decent effort for their pay.

Not sure I understand this. You say my blaming the institution is BS because they are not responsible for a person's foibles but the institutions are at fault in a major way. mmmmmmmmmm

What standard are we using Eagle? Yours? Decency according to whom? It's subjective and employers should be clear on what they believe is inappropriate behaviour. The young guy may have felt he was doing well by not calling in sick and coming to class on time. If no one tells him different, how will he know? How will he have a chance to change?
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: George on September 12, 2007, 12:58:34 PM
Hmmmmm. Would a school in a western country tolerate a teacher turning up stinking of gin?
Would a teacher in a western country turn up, stinking of gin??
Would a school in a western country fire a teacher for inappropriate behaviour?
Would a teacher in a western country display appropriate behaviour?
By "Teacher" I mean a real, educated, trained teacher, not a backpacker.
Seems we have two problems. The trash that gets hired, and the desperate need for a white face.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: dragonsaver on September 12, 2007, 01:00:36 PM
My Uni just fired a guy today for being drunk.  Don't know all the details yet.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 12, 2007, 01:16:48 PM
Yes, indeed, George!

I strongly believe if we sign a contract for teaching then we should be dedicated and professional educators. No tipsy or toxic behavior is acceptable, or should be tolerated.

HOWEVER, I also believe that China runs the risk of "getting what it pays for"... If and when China decides to actually pay salaries that are within reasonable range of "competitive" and fairly "comparable," then China can demand higher professional standards.

Also, China is the host country. IT sets the tone and environment for professionalism and academic integrity -- both of which (in my vast experience) can often be nearly non-existent in many schools. There's often a double standard when it comes to what is expected of foreigners, and what is tolerated from home folks (and I'm not talking about being drunk before class).
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: George on September 12, 2007, 01:27:37 PM
Quote
HOWEVER, I also believe that China runs the risk of "getting what it pays for"...
Perzakkly! The desperate need for a "white face" outweighs the risks involved.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 12, 2007, 01:46:14 PM
Quote
HOWEVER, I also believe that China runs the risk of "getting what it pays for"... If and when China decides to actually pay salaries that are within reasonable range of "competitive" and fairly "comparable," then China can demand higher professional standards.

BUT - according to Chinese standards we are being paid very well.  Ask your Chinese colleagues how much they get per month, how much they are paid per hour/class.

So in the eyes of the bosses - they are paying top dollar. So - if we don't like the pay range, we shouldn't take the job, we should stay home and get more money there.  If we take the job then we need to realise we are pretty close to the top of the pile for teachers in this country and act accordingly.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 12, 2007, 05:52:01 PM
Sorry, LE, I am absolutely sick and tired of this argument.

Because Chinese teachers get HORRIBLE salaries, of course, that makes our salaries APPEAR to be handsome. It's a ridiculous comparison in my opinion. and does not address our special situation.

We are making different sacrifices than those made by our Chinese colleagues. I have also seen numerous Chinese teachers get their revenge (regarding salary and working conditions) by being robotic, disengaged (and disengaging), and apathethic in their classroom performance -- offering little or no assistance to students outside of class, as many foreign teachers do (or are expected to do).

I make 20% of my previous American salary. I came to China and accepted the salary because I wanted to do something useful with my time, training, and energy -- certainly NOT for the money -- we all understand that -- but I an HUGELY offended when people (Chinese or foreign) imply that I should somehow be GRATEFUL for the salary I accept here.

As I detailed in the thread "Foundation Programs," earlier this year I was hired by a supposedly "established and resputable" public university in Nanjing. I BELIEVED I was joining a legitimate foreign language department -- and accepted standard public university (foreign) teachers salary under that completely fraudulent pretense (6000RMB per month -- 3000RMB a month less than my previous position, by the way). What I quickly discovered was that my students (491 of them!) were NOT the true the students of the university -- they had failed the gaokao -- and each of them (their parents) had paid 30,000RMB each per year to be in my classroom!

OK, you do the math... Was that "top dollar"? Of course not! The great majority of those tuition fees were going directly into the pockets of these corrupt administrators -- who cared nothing about me, my qualifications, and certainly nothing about the students. NONE of that money went toward any teaching materials (I provided 100% pf my teaching materials), equipment, etc. When I refused to alter the failing grades assigned to about 30% of the students by the previous foreign teacher (who bolted in disgust no doubt), I was evicted from the campus apartment with three day's notice.

We are used to help THEM make "top dollar," help buy condos and limos for THEM. I've lived it, seen it, experienced it time and time again. What we are participating in has nothing to do with financial equity or academic integrity.

When they (school "leaders" and "owners") can get away with paying us 3000-5000RMB per month, that's EXACTLY what they will do. It has nothing to do with paying "top dollar." It has everything to do with: How cheap can I get this teacher, and what is the most marketable color I can get for the lowest price?

Whatever level of integrity, dedication, etc., exist is what WE foreign teachers bring to the situation. In my four-plus years in China I've not had ONE SINGLE employer who gave a hoot about what I was actually providing as a qualified and dedicated teacher. Their single-minded, short-sighted dedication was to themselves and how much THEY could earn from my efforts and the desperation of many parents.

"Top dollar"? You bet! For them!

After that debacle, I returned to training school employment. Salaries are a bit higher and there's far less hypocracy regarding the fact that it is largely money-driven. But again, let's not forget the fact that what they are selling/marketing, etc., is still English language education -- taught by foreigners. I do (well, did) this teaching with the same level of preparation and dedication as I brought to my university work (here and back home). I was always keenly aware of the high fees my students were paying for my services.

One day, about one month after I began the job, I met with the "education manager" to discuss concerns about obsolete teaching materials, broken equipment, etc. The purpose of the meeting was how to improve services for the students. Ten minutes into the discussion, the "education manager" (who had no previous experience as an actual educator herself) cut me off by saying; "Frankly speaking, we don't care about education here." OK, great! I'm glad to know we're equally dedicated to meeting the needs of our customers!

I am absolutely CERTAIN that self-serving idiot's salary was much higher than mine, as she was the owner's "best friend."

To return to our mutually-agreed upon point... Yes, I think if we accept these salaries we owe it to our students to give our best energy and focus to the job. They should not be caught in the crossfire between teachers and owner/leaders. Just don't ask me to be grateful for any of these paltry wages, for which I have personally given far more than I received (financially-speaking).

I came to China to play a small role in helping students possibly gain a slightly brighter future for themselves -- definitely NOT to help unscruptulous and deceitful owner/administrators get wealthier at my sweat (truly) and expense.
 
 

 


Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 12, 2007, 10:57:16 PM
Hmmmmm. Would a school in a western country tolerate a teacher turning up stinking of gin?
Would a teacher in a western country turn up, stinking of gin??
Would a school in a western country fire a teacher for inappropriate behaviour?
Would a teacher in a western country display appropriate behaviour?
By "Teacher" I mean a real, educated, trained teacher, not a backpacker.
Seems we have two problems. The trash that gets hired, and the desperate need for a white face.

George, to answer your questions ...

1 and 2 - Yes, it does happen.  The best grade three teacher in a northern school was an alcoholic who kept a bottle in his desk.  The principal of a different school was an alcoholic and showed up pissed - he kept his job for three years

3 - firing teachers is HARD in union country western world.  You'd be surprised at who gets to stay working ...

3 - yes - that's why there are so many unhappy principals in north america where almost every face is a a white face

I am m'kying glad that I am not a principal anymore ....
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: George on September 12, 2007, 11:06:30 PM
Yeah, I know it happens, Eagle. Same problems everywhere. I must have been post-padding!! afafafafaf afafafafaf
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 13, 2007, 05:41:45 AM

We are making different sacrifices than those made by our Chinese colleagues.


The only people here who I find claim to be making sacrifices are those who come here as missionaries ... and I don't value those type of sacrifices.  The rest of us are here for a variety of reasons:  paid holidays while learning a culture, a learning laboratory, an escape from a bad marriage, an escape from not finding anyone or anything back home that engages us or needs us, etc.  Sacrifices?  I don't think so.  We do take advantage of the real "need" here in China for white skin and the language of white skin - English.  We bring with us all of our baggage, and for many it is not a pretty set of luggage at all.  Can't get a job back home?  China will take you in in hopes that in return you will do two things: Teach and allow them to become richer.  Fair trade.  Want to travel now that your career is finished?  Welcome to China.  Postive and negative reasons for coming, positive and negative outcomes for coming.  Your choice - NOT a sacrifice.

Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Stil on September 13, 2007, 05:51:54 AM
Everybody keeps talking about white skin. It's a wonder I could find a job at all.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 13, 2007, 06:06:04 AM
For what it's worth, I'm not white.  That aside, being from a "white" "english" country makes me white in the eyes of those who are not white in other parts of the world.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 13, 2007, 06:19:12 AM
I definitely didn't sacrifice anything. When I first came I was on 12 months leave from my position back home - with 10 months of that as paid leave.  I loved it so much here I went back home and asked for 2 more years leave - unpaid - which my wonderful boss granted.  Then I realised that I would be sacrificing a hell of a lot if I went back at the end of those years and started working 10 hours days again, driving in rush hour traffic again, not being allowed to be uncontactable by my boss (even on holidays).

I have been bloody lucky - I have worked in 2 universities in my time here - both of them public universities - the first was a provincial uni, the second (current) a state uni.  The students here are not paying megabucks to be here - between 7-10,000Y per year depending on course - and that includes their accommodation. The uni is not making megabucks out of them.  And I am being paid 'top dollar' as defined by the state for the hours (12) I work and the services I provide. My Chinese colleagues are paid less and work more and their accommodation is appalling by my standards.  Are they getting their revenge
Quote
by being robotic, disengaged (and disengaging), and apathetic in their classroom performance -- offering little or no assistance to students outside of class,
?

Not the ones I am friends with. Maybe others - I haven't seen it - I do know that they complain about teachers who stand in read to the class - so they figure that is poor teaching. Today I was asked if I would be interested in teaching the teachers in their spare time as they wanted to improve their English so they could be better teachers.  Regularly I am asked by teachers to help with translation, word meanings, usage etc because they want to get it right and pass it on to their students. Teachers in other faculties invite me to attend their classes or go with them on outings of a weekend with their students.   One of them told me today that her students, by the end of the first few weeks into the semester call her Wang Jie - sister - instead of Wang Laoshi.  No apathy and lack of engagement from these teachers.

And salaries are basically based on comparative costings.  Food, accommodation, consumer items cost approximately the same percentage of my income here as at home.  So when the local teachers are paid half of my salary - I do feel grateful for this discrimination!!  I would hate to have to live on their wages. And even more would I hate to have to live on the wages of (and in the same conditions as) farmers, construction workers, fuwuyuan etc.

For me - the sacrifice would be returning to the big wages which come with commensurate big headaches!
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 14, 2007, 04:25:29 AM
 I agree with both Lotus Eater and Birddog. There is no way I can consider China's foreign teacher wages "top dollar" and I am sick of the "cost of living here is very cheap" argument used to justify the low wages. As such qualified professional teachers are going to be hard to come by and if employers offered better they could afford to be more picky. Japan, Korea and Taiwan offer far better packages and even those places are forced to accept their fare share of backpacker types.

 On the other hand I agree with Lotus Eater that if you accept a job with full awareness of the salary you really shouln't complain. And certainly I agree the perks of living here offset whatever "sacrifices" we make...but this is strictly a personal point of view. I've met a lot of people who think otherwise.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 14, 2007, 06:08:08 AM
Thanks, decurso!

Yes, yes yes! When we sign a contract (under honest circumstances) we should accept and go forth with genuine commitment to the job. But I also feel I have every right to hold my colleagues and "leaders" to the same set of standards I apply to myself.

I admire LE's writings, and her observations about living, and coping -- anywhere in the world. I also agree that she is "bloody lucky."

If I have learned anything from visiting and participating in various ESL-related forums and discussion threads, it's that FTs in China experience a huge range of employment and living experiences. One person's situation (path?) bears little or no resemblance to another's.

Here, and in other threads, we are discussing the pitfalls of uttering (and thinking) "The Chinese..." blah, blah, blah. Perhaps something similar holds true when discussing FT wages in China. One size definitely does not fit all. One theory does not hold true, etc.

Discussions of salaries are problematic and a "slippery slope" indeed!

Cheers to all of my dedicated colleagues!   agagagagag
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Con ate dog on September 15, 2007, 01:35:34 AM
My Chinese colleagues don't have to drop a minimum of 10,000 RMB to fly home to see their families.  And when they get home, they spend their Chinese money on CHINESE prices.

Chinese teachers' standard of living, from my observation, mirror those of Canadian teachers: they aren't tycoons, but they're paying a mortgage.  Their husbands work, they strain to care for their kids while paying the bills; they're getting ahead gradually.  I'm struggling: everything's more expensive for me, even before you remember that trip home.

I guess I could skip the travelling home.  That sacrifice is no big deal to some, but it would be a deal breaker for me.

A school owner who congratulates me on my exhorbitant income, then gets into their BMW and drive home to their big luxury apartment, cut no ice with me whatsoever.  Pay me, you weasel.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 15, 2007, 02:15:12 AM
Oh, Con, thanks!    agagagagag

Ir sounds like you and I have walked in very similar shoes (in China I wear size 46). Everytime I have gone home, yes, it has cost at least 10,000RMB, and NO school (despite promises to the contrary) has ever paid for any of my air travel. To date, I've spent more than 40,000RMB going in and out of China (only twice in four years) -- and yeah, that's only to put my ass on the plane. It doesn't include the money I need once I get there. (For one thing, I have to go back home to find shoes and socks that are large enough for me!)
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: dragonsaver on September 15, 2007, 02:44:39 AM
My Uni pays the first 1500 US and I pay the rest.

However, it is the cost back home for the shoes, socks and other necessities that will keep me working for several months to pay off.  I spent my 'money' I exchanged in a few days and then lived on credit cards until I flew back.

Thanks for the perspective, yes this is one reason our higher pay isn't really higher when the home expenses are taken into account.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 15, 2007, 03:19:20 AM
My Chinese colleagues don't have to drop a minimum of 10,000 RMB to fly home to see their families.  And when they get home, they spend their Chinese money on CHINESE prices.


I guess I could skip the travelling home.  That sacrifice is no big deal to some, but it would be a deal breaker for me.

A school owner who congratulates me on my exhorbitant income, then gets into their BMW and drive home to their big luxury apartment, cut no ice with me whatsoever.  Pay me, you weasel.

Testify!!! bfbfbfbfbf I have no great desire to return home but the main reason is the cost. If I could go back for the weekend I would...but I can't. This certainly is the biggest sacrifice we make and the biggest reason why the whole "cost of living here is very cheap" argument doesn't fly with me. I'd like to say things will change but the influx of backpacker types in recent years actually seems to be driving wages down.

 To return to the topic...Sharky's luck seems to have run out. In the wake of several arguments with Chinese teachers and continuing complaints from branch schools the school has been trying to make her quit and finally succeeded. They refused to drive her to branch schools anymore and evicted her boyfriend from her apartment.I suspect the reason they didn't fire her outright is because they wanted to recoup their losses by making her pay the breach of contract penalty.

 So she is heading for her recruiter in Shijiazhuang this weekend. Despite her complete lack of teaching aptitude and even the most basic of qualifications she will no doubt secure another position in no time due to the same poor standards created by the low wages here. I don't eny her future employer or students.

 More news on this gong show may follow...
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 15, 2007, 03:35:31 AM
I'd like to say things will change but the influx of backpacker types in recent years actually seems to be driving wages down.

Yep, that's certainly what's happening in Nanjing. When I arrived here in 2003, it was standard for the few training schools that existed at the time to offer most FTs 8000-9000RMB per month, plus housing, with little or no negotiation. Fairly easy.

These days, for the same number of classes per week (20-25) most training centers will offer new FTs 6500 per month, with no housing -- just housing allowance that doesn't fully cover rapidly rising rents here. It's all because the of influx of backpackers who will agree to such terms. The cheapest "teacher" is the one who gets the job. Qualifications and experience are a low priority, because their only real promise to the training school student is a "foreigner," not much more.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 15, 2007, 04:01:06 AM
So the argument is that everyone should be paid the wages of the most expensive country in the world to live in?  That would make it fair then for a Japanese teacher who took a job in the US to be paid to fly home, plus the equivalent money they would have been paid in Japan while they were in the US, instead of local wages.  Ahh.....

I am sure the US teacher working alongside that Japanese teacher would be more than happy for them to work less, be paid more and be given all of the extras - merely because it will cost the Japanese teacher a trip home to find things that are suitable, and that they gave up a good wage (or being unemployed) to be in the US.

Or, should the Japanese teacher, having considered the pay and conditions and living standard in the US - and therefore knowing that it will be lesser for them - realise that s/he needs to adapt to what is available, that s/he chose to leave the home country, most likely with a contract already signed or in the pipeline stipulating wages and conditions? These conditions will be better than the local equivalent teachers - maybe not as good as the bosses - but I bet bosses in most western countries have a better pay than the workers - and will just as frequently tell workers there is no way they can be paid more.

My conditions and wages are better than my co-workers - I do get the return flights - either as cash or tickets every year, my housing is way better than other single teachers, I work fewer hours, pay no tax (which for foreigners begins at a higher scale anyway - 1500Y for locals, 4800Y for us), I don't pay gas or electricity, I'm given a good computer, laser printer, 24 hours internet connection etc. for preparation.  My apartment is furnished with microwave, rice cooker, TV, refrigerator, washing machine, desks bookshelves etc etc.  I have 24 hours hot water. Local teachers here get a bed, chair, desk - the rest - including cooking equipment, water heater etc is out of their pocket. Anything breaks, the waiban will fix it immediately at no cost to me.  I get free hospital/health stuff at the best hospital in the city.

Naturally I'd love more money - who doesn't either here or at home? But I think we do need to be a bit realistic about we want and expect.





Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 15, 2007, 04:33:19 AM
All I am saying, LE, is don't ask me to be grateful or expect me to think of what I am paid as "top dollar."

As for your US-Japan argument, yes, a number of US firms would pay the Japanese employee the equivalent of their home wages if they truly felt the Japanese employee was a significant and unique asset to the company. Otherwise, they wouldn't expect them to uproot their lives to work in the US. American companies don't expect qualified and experienced professionals to take huge cuts in pay to join an organization.

As for your paid return flights, as you stated previously, you are "bloody lucky." Schools constantly make such pledges to me, but in the end, they find create ways and excuses to avoid such commitments and promises. I've long since given up listening to those added bonuses, because in my experience, they're often bogus. The only way to get many schools to pay for flight tickets, etc. is by signing yet another contract. If you decide NOT to re-sign, end of contract bonsues, return tickets, etc., often evaporate.




Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 15, 2007, 05:17:01 AM
Like LE, I find myself at the top of the teacher food chain here in China.  I get paid significantly more.  Besides the top kuai, I get a resigning bonus equivalent to another 500 RMB per month.  I get actual flight costs both directions.  I have a beautiful 150 square metre apartment at no personal cost, an apartment that includes everything that LE mentions.  I get paid for eight weeks of teaching that never happens (spring break, national week, may week) along with several weeks at the end of a term when I am not scheduled to teach.  If I want to work more, the uni will search out the appropriate gigs for me and make sure that I get there and back safe and sound at no RMB expense to myself.  Yes, not typical maybe, but not that atypical either.

Now, about sacrifice ... if it is a sacrifice to be here in China, teaching, leave and go back home where you will earn your American$/Canadian$/Euros or whatever.  You do have a choice.  China does not owe you anything.  You are not Chinese.  Can you buy an apartment here like others such as Chinese teachers?  Yes.  Can you buy a car?  Yes.  And like the local citizens, it will cost a lot of sweat and RMB.  Being a foreigner making more money, it should take you less time.  Remember, all things being equal - there is no equality. 

Some foreigners have shitty jobs here.  Simple - leave them.  Get a decent job, they exist.  If you can't find this decent job, work exists back in the home country.

Yes - obnoxious laowai attitudes ...
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 15, 2007, 05:18:38 AM
Quote
a number of US firms would pay the Japanese employee the equivalent of their home wages if they truly felt the Japanese employee was a significant and unique asset to the company.

Is this part of the problem?  We are NOT significant and unique assets. We are hired for our ability to speak a language and the colour of our skins or the height of our noses. MANY of us have NO formal training in the field we are in, many of us were unemployed or just completed studies when we arrived.

Would a US university/training school hire a Japanese TEACHER with no teaching qualifications, no experience and still pay that teacher way over the local wages??  Would they pay the same equivalent wages that a qualified teacher back in Japan would be paid? 

I don't think so.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 15, 2007, 05:53:14 AM
You are not Chinese. 

Precisely! That quality ALONE make us significant and UNIQUE. School owner/leaders are practically BEGGING us to come here because we are "not Chinese." I am signifucant and unique, as is everyone. Being "not Chinese" is helping some people learn lots of things they've had precious little previous exposure to -- outside of watching western films and TV shows. And being "not Chinese" is helping make a lot of people very wealthy!

I DO have lots of formal training and US University teaching experience.

The primary reason China is riddled with the kind of FT that Lotus Eater describes is in fact, due to the salary range here. I say again and again, China gets what China pays for.

Yes -- obnoxious laowai attitudes ...

Frankly, I think YOU are quite arrogant Eagle in your generic notions about Americans, and now, in this thread to admonish me for not feeling exactly the same as you. Sickening.

In other threads, I have spoken at length about the wonderful aspects of my life here -- especialy in what I have received from students; but of course, you just make sweeping judgements about me and others. Fine. I'll keep that in mind.

I have only a few friendships with laowai in China. The great majoriy of my friends here are Chinese. I came here to make friends with Chinese, and embrace Chinese culture as much as possible, through the joy of the friendships. I have been blessed with some extraordinary friends here, and I spare them most of my less-than positive feelings about China. (They've got plenty of negative feelings about the PRC themselves.)

I THOUGHT THIS FORUM was a place where foreigners could make these complaints, and share some negative feelings without being judged, but no, I am expected to take this judgmental crap from people who don't even know me.

My former colleagues back home admire what I am doing (I think), but without saying so directly, I feel most of them would never consider doing the same, primarily because of the SALARIES here -- in addition to the challenges of cultural differnces. After all, I've been here more than four years now, and none has expressed an interest in following my lead. As far as the great SACRIFICE I have made in terms of wages, they probably believe I am rather foolish, but they know I get a large measure of personal reward and satisfaction and enlightenment from my work here -- but the rewards ARE NOT FINANCIAL, and to imply that I am being some "obnoxious laowai" for having and expressing these feelings is truly offensive.  I feel no shame or guilt regarding my feelings about salary. I might feel quite differently if everyone around me was indeed far more financially-challnged than I, but it is simply not true. A great many of my students and frineds come from low-income families, but a great many DO NOT. There are just as many folks around me that enjoy a much higher standard of living than I do (hooray for them!), and so this notion of how we are somehow at the top of any chain is prepostrous, in my opinion.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I USUALLY AVOID ANY DISCUSSIONS OF SALARY IN CHINA. How stupid of me to think this forum might be an appropriate place to do so. No, we have to endure the posturings of folks that dictate what is and is not "obnoxious laowai" attitude.


Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 15, 2007, 08:19:58 AM
You win. 
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 15, 2007, 09:24:17 AM
Whoa guys - no need for the pistols at dawn!!  acacacacac acacacacac acacacacac

This is still a discussion re salaries that it interesting to follow, interesting to have.

I figure I am not unique and special here - because what I am valued for is NOT my hard won qualifications, not my teaching experience.  I am valued for an accident of birth.  I have no complaints about people who are hired BECAUSE and only because of their qualifications and experience - but if we tell ourselves that, we are only kidding ourselves. They are able to demand commensurate salary for experience.  They are most likely NOT English teachers, but scientists, researchers, investment managers etc. Their companies will pay them at rates that are close enough to comparable with overseas rates.  If I negotiate to take my other job as a full-time occupation sometime or other, then I would expect to command that type of money - because it is my quals they want - not my face, skin or words.

And I don't believe any developed country in the world pays well over the going rate for  people that they hire at base level merely because they happen to be born in a different country.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 15, 2007, 10:21:15 AM
LE, you write some of the most intelligent and thoughtful posts to be found in the forum. It's abundantly clear to me that you are much more than just some "native speaker," plain and simple. I feel certain that you are offering your students soething greater and richer than just "native" and "standard" pronunciation (whatever THAT is), etc. From previous postings I can glean that you offer them all sorts of perspectives about academic integrity, social responsibility, mutual respect, alternative ways of problem-solving, and so on...

My complaints about wages were not meant to inflate my ego, but I certainly believe I am giving my students more than some "native speaking" example and practice. My students respond well to nme for what I give them beyond oral English. It's what teachers like you do, LE, that makes you stand above most other FTs in the eyes of your students. You are probably NOT just going through the motions of the course text, but augmenting the material and enlivening the lesson with discussions and debates which extend far beyond oral English teaching.

I think if we allow ourslves to believe we are nothing more than some just 'average Joe" who was born in an English-spekaing nation, then it only supports and perpetuates the limited idea school owners have about us and what we truly do in the classroom. I think discounting what dedicated English teachers do is the wrong direction in which to guide this professional field. It is perhaps this same notion that has allowed so many school owners to turn English education into another kind of factory work. Just cram as many teaching hours as possible into one work week. NEVER pay for anything unnecessary like lesson preparation! What a waste of money! "Anyone from any English-speaking nation teach English" they often think, but what we discuss here is the fact that we know most "average-Joe-native-speakers" can't!

I taught a wide range of subjects in U.S. universities prior to coming to China. One of the most frustrating and disappointing aspects of my employment here has been the lack of will and imagination on the part of universities to see me as someone who can teach more than just oral English. I have so much more to impart to students here than just "practice oral English."

If we allow ourselves to undervalue what we do here, how can we ever expect school "leaders" to ever see us as more than some foreign face who utters native English for their own short-term financial exploitation? I honestly don't see how anyone (except school owners) is well served by this suggested mentality.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 15, 2007, 12:38:16 PM
Birddog, when you say such nice stuff about me how can I disagree??  akakakakak

But ...  when we or any other FT were hired we weren't hired because of the extra we put into the classes.  We were hired because we supposedly could teach Oral English - what they wanted.  The Chinese teachers teach the maths, astrophysics, the technology, the other subjects. I do get to teach Literature, Culture, writing (creative and technical) in English.  But the unstated purpose of the classes is that I also teach conversational English.  At the previous uni I taught business subjects as well as oral English - the first time they had an FT teach non-English related subjects.  There will be more opportunity for teachers to do 'content' courses in the future, which will then require 'real' qualifications, because this is becoming part of the policy and planning for the Central C'tee.

But anything else we teach, any extra dedication we give our students is because of our own internal need to do a good job.  Not one of the people who hired me knew what I could or wouldn't do prior to hiring. The hired the voice/nose/birth. They paid what they figure is good money for those attributes.  If they get extra - then they and the students are on a good wicket.  I'm on a good wicket as well because I have the job satisfaction, knowing that I am doing the best I can by my students.

We can only argue for more professional pay if we can convince the Education/Business Central C'tee to issue edicts preventing the hiring of 'non-professionals' (i.e. teachers without teaching qualifications, experience etc etc) - the way that happened at home. Professions at home have fairly rigid entry requirements to convince the powers that be that they are worth the money.  I'm guessing that one of the reasons that they are introducing the Foreign Experts Test (which I am still to do!) is that they themselves realise that not all 'experts' are expert. A bit of quality control coming - slowly, slowly, slowly.

So we need to decide whether we want the 'good' money and are prepared for many of the current FTs to be jobless - despite the dedication and caring many put into their classes, because they are not "real" teachers, or whether we keep it open and loose the way it is - and accept that we are seen as noses with the 'right' accent.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: dragonsaver on September 15, 2007, 12:44:03 PM
The Uni I am at all subjects are taught in English.  The majority are taught by foreign teachers.  To teach academic courses, they require you have a Master's degree with a minimum of 18 hours at the master's level in the subject you will teach.

Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 15, 2007, 02:36:06 PM
What does impress me a lot about "this lot" of FTs is the fact that many of us here are "professionals" in the business back in our home countries with the credentials.  Even more so, the number here with Masters degrees is high.  Perhaps the saloon just naturally pulls these sort in.  Because of my background and education, I get to teach more than "oral/conversational" English.  I teach content courses, courses for which I have the background.  I am lucky.  But what is more impressive is the number of others here who not having the "professional/educational" background, have put their hearts and souls into the classrooms filled to overflowing with students. 

To get back to the original intent of all of this, the laowai who DON'T ... the one's who feel they are owed without giving; the ones who are critical of the country, the people and their jobs while doing little to earn their salary and in the process giving bad PR to FTs in general.  'nough said.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 15, 2007, 05:05:37 PM
My uni also requires masters degrees, even from their Chinese teachers - if you are not at least working on your masters you can't stay here for Chinese teachers. I do teach content subjects - Lit, writing (technical/creative/thesis) and Culture.  The other FTs here teach newspaper reading, film appreciation and Oral English.  I teach Oral English to the 1st years because they like my accent better than US accents for those beginning students.  My other classes are 4th year and post-grad.

But - when I came here, no-one knew I could coach debating teams, or speech contest entrants.  No-one knew that I would write my own syllabi (and courses) teaching analysis, thinking skills, etc etc.  They figured I would be exactly like every other FT they had - and didn't re-employ.  No-one else has lasted past one year here - despite having Masters degrees. I am nearly finished my 3rd year, and they have asked me for a 4th.

I still figure I was initially hired for my big nose, my accident of birth - and re-hired because I did a good job. But I had to prove that I could do it to be re-hired - otherwise they would have taken the risk on a new person - as they did this year and the year before I was hired.  Both of those teachers wanted to stay - neither were asked back.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 16, 2007, 03:37:21 AM
So the argument is that everyone should be paid the wages of the most expensive country in the world to live in?  That would make it fair then for a Japanese teacher who took a job in the US to be paid to fly home, plus the equivalent money they would have been paid in Japan while they were in the US, instead of local wages.  Ahh.....


No, no not at all. I don't really even have an argument I am just stating what I think is a pretty obvious fact. Higher wages would most likely attract more qualified teachers. With the current standard for salaries schools are forced to take what they can get. As BD put it it's the cheapest teacher who gets the job...not the best.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 16, 2007, 04:20:20 AM
Um..I should point out it would be hypocritical of me not mention that if this country had the highest of standards I might not be here. I had never taught before coming here and despite having been told by many colleagues I am a damn good teacher my TEFL certificate is not recognized in Canada.

 My point here is that I don't mean to complain about the wages ect. but I do want to point out the direct corelation between the wages and the lack of qualified teachers.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Con ate dog on September 18, 2007, 02:14:39 AM
So the argument is that everyone should be paid the wages of the most expensive country in the world to live in?  That would make it fair then for a Japanese teacher who took a job in the US to be paid to fly home, plus the equivalent money they would have been paid in Japan while they were in the US, instead of local wages.  Ahh.....

It's not only fair, it's standard practice.

Quote
I am sure the US teacher working alongside that Japanese teacher would be more than happy for them to work less, be paid more and be given all of the extras - merely because it will cost the Japanese teacher a trip home to find things that are suitable, and that they gave up a good wage (or being unemployed) to be in the US.

If the course is Conversational Japanese, then perhaps the native Japanese speaker is better qualified.  And do you really think the American teacher would resent his colleague's free ticket home for Xmas?

Quote
My conditions and wages are better than my co-workers - I do get the return flights - either as cash or tickets every year, my housing is way better than other single teachers, I work fewer hours, pay no tax (which for foreigners begins at a higher scale anyway - 1500Y for locals, 4800Y for us), I don't pay gas or electricity, I'm given a good computer, laser printer, 24 hours internet connection etc. for preparation.  My apartment is furnished with microwave, rice cooker, TV, refrigerator, washing machine, desks bookshelves etc etc.  I have 24 hours hot water. Local teachers here get a bed, chair, desk - the rest - including cooking equipment, water heater etc is out of their pocket. Anything breaks, the waiban will fix it immediately at no cost to me.  I get free hospital/health stuff at the best hospital in the city.


You have a better deal than I have, and I have no doubt that you're worth every fen.  Do you feel guilty that you're making too much money?

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Naturally I'd love more money - who doesn't either here or at home? But I think we do need to be a bit realistic about we want and expect.

Precisely my point: to go home costs me nearly 12,000 kwai for the ticket and at least 400 kwai a day while I'm at home.  This is a cost that Chinese don't bear.  I must save it up myself.  If a school won't pay me enough for me to do so, I will not sign with them- no complaints, no hard feelings, but no deal.

The argument that Chinese teachers make less therefore I should too is BULLSHIT.  Fart, moo.





Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 18, 2007, 02:54:37 AM

It's not only fair, it's standard practice.

It's not standard practice in Australia. If you are a QUALIFIED teacher (ie the only ones that can be employed) then you are paid local wages for your experience and qualifications.  The same with any other job.  Backpackers, the unskilled do NOT get paid more than locals for any position they take on.

And I doubt that every expat in the States gets paid the highest wages. Ask a few Mexicans, South Americans or Cubans - even the ones who are there legally. (Also see below for the reality)

 
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And do you really think the American teacher would resent his colleague's free ticket home for Xmas?
Yes - they would. Why should an expat be given extra advantages over locals?  That person CHOSE to relocate.  Should people who move from Texas to Montana be given airfares back home as well??

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Do you feel guilty that you're making too much money?
Sometimes.  But not enough to give it back!  ahahahahah ahahahahah

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Precisely my point: to go home costs me nearly 12,000 kwai for the ticket and at least 400 kwai a day while I'm at home.  This is a cost that Chinese don't bear.
And you get probably at least double the money they do - with the same cost of living here. The Chinese also have other costs that we don't bear - taxes, extended family commitments, paying for accommodation, health care, internet connection, electricity, gas etc.

And - the facts don't stand up to the claims. These companies are hiring people with specialised skills in industries of need.  Do they offer return airfare, accommodation etc????

Quote
By Jon Dougherty
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

A new report says foreigners granted temporary visas to work in the United States are paid far less than their American counterparts, despite a federal law requiring employers to provide them with fair compensation.

The Center for Immigration Studies said the visa program, known as H1-B, allows U.S. firms to hire professional-level workers from other countries for periods up to six years, provided they are paid the same as comparable American workers or the "prevailing wage" for that job, whichever is higher.

John Miano, author of the study, said the law was designed "to prevent the hiring of foreign workers from depressing U.S. wages and to protect foreign workers from exploitation."

But, he says, according to federal wage data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, computer programming firms are instead, on average, paying foreign workers far less than American workers.

Among Miano's findings:

    * On average, H1-B applications for foreign computer workers were for wages $13,000 less than for American employees in the same occupation and state.

    * Wages for H1-B workers are "overwhelmingly concentrated at the bottom of the U.S. pay scale."

    * Nearly half of applications for H1-B computer programming workers (47 percent) "were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers," while just 4 percent were among the top 25 percent of wages for equivalent U.S. workers.

    * Employers hiring more H1-B workers tend to pay them less than comparable U.S. workers; employers making application for more than 100 H1-B workers pay them $9,000 less per year on average than U.S. workers doing the same job.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also supports the program.

"In addition to essential workers, the U.S. economy continues to need access to skilled workers in many sectors. Access to technology, scientific, education, health, and engineering workers, which the United States is not producing in adequate numbers, continues to be a Chamber priority," it says.





Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Mr Nobody on September 18, 2007, 04:06:12 AM
I think many Laowai should be thanking their lucky stars to get paid at all, and if they don't like it, maybe they should go back to where they were happy about the pay.

Or were they? Why are they here? If it is for adventure, then adventure includes some sacrifice. If it was for money, then go home. I am sure that people can work out their own priorities adequately without guidance from me.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: decurso on September 18, 2007, 05:50:45 AM
I think many Laowai should be thanking their lucky stars to get paid at all, and if they don't like it, maybe they should go back to where they were happy about the pay.

 I agree and I certainly am not complaining. By current standards in this country I have it pretty good. LOTS of time off and the school can actually arrange well paying extra work for me if want it...which I don't.

 However I have many friends in Canada and the US who are very qualified career teachers. Many hold Masters degrees, some are published authors and most have more than 10 years experience teaching both in North America and Asia. Not one of them would ever consider coming to teach in China. The money simply is shit here.That's not a complaint...it's just a fact. Forget about the ridiculous "cost of living" argument or the equally ridiculous  "we make more them" argument. These people have families to support, debts to pay and have invested a substantial ammount of money in their education. 10 k simply doesn't cut it when they can go to Japan or Korea and make 2000-3000 USD a month and still live well enough to bank half their pay.

 The thing is...most of them WANT to come China and would if the money was better. I suspect they represent a fairly large group of people. As a result China is forced to simply take what it can get which often is the kind of teachers who just come here for a lark and could give two shits about their professional responsibilities.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Mr Nobody on September 18, 2007, 05:55:40 AM
That's partly my point.

On the reverse side - If China enforced good qualifications, then they would have to pay more, and many so called FTs wouldn't get paid at all. If schools pay less, they can't get the people with qualifications, so gotta get the people who don't have them. People who are here must be here for other reasons, or aren't qualified to get the big educational bucks in their own countries. So either way, can't really complain.

Can't have it every way.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Con ate dog on September 18, 2007, 09:57:44 AM
There's the rub: none of us would be here if we didn't like the place.  Apart from the insane.  Those ducking indictment back home.  Those unqualified to teach in most countries, and too broke to move to Vietnam.  Those with children here. 
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Eagle on September 18, 2007, 11:12:33 AM
Or those who are indeed very qualified but retired thus not needing much money.  Truth is, it becomes a paid vacation of sorts.  I work at spending all that I make (not too successfully) by travelling as often as possible, eating well and ...  I don't touch the pension which just keeps gathering dust back home (won't talk about interest as it is almost non-existent).  There aren't many of us doing this as most retired teachers seem to by a bit conservative and stay-at-home types.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: Lotus Eater on September 18, 2007, 11:30:14 AM
It basically comes back to what China wants - not what we want.  The schools want foreign faces and accents - they don't really want highly qualified and experienced teachers.  They figure they pretty much have them - the Chinese teachers/professors etc - no matter what we think of them. So why pay for something you don't necessarily want? If you want a throw-away point and shoot camera you sure as hell don't go out and buy the most expensive SLR.

When China wants highly qualified foreign teachers, then there will be movement in the wages. But even so - other countries during teacher shortages have recruited overseas - but only paid airfares and settlement allowances - not higher wages than the locals are receiving.

People looking for career paths and high wages are going to build those things at home - very few achieve them overseas as teachers.

The cost of living argument is not 'dubious' - it is what wages are based on in almost every country in the world.  The argument run by unions for wage rises every few years always cites the rise in the cost of living one reason for the rise in wages. Social Security systems usually have automatic cost-of-living adjustments in them for pensions etc.  It is an IMPORTANT part of salary levels. 
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: George on September 18, 2007, 11:54:39 AM
I am here because I want to be here. I originally came as a sort of experiment...suck-it-and-see, sort of thing. I'm still here after 5 1/2 years, but now I have different reasons for staying. I get enough money here to live very comfortably, but I don't expect to take great wads of it home. Exchange rates see to that! If you go to live in a country with a low currency value, what do you expect? My sister gets paid in UD$. She has lost a small fortune since the USD has lost value against the AUD. I live here just as well as she does in Australia, but basic necessities cost me less. Cigs, wine, beer, etc, the essentials of life!! afafafafaf I spend around 100RMB each week on Taxi fares. She spent over $250 on taxis last weekend ferrying my mother home from hospital, including visits etc....a distance of 30 miles!
A top-of-the-ladder teacher in Victoria can expect around 65,000 pa. Yer not gunna get many Chinese Schools paying their foreign teachers RMB408,000 pa.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: cheekygal on September 18, 2007, 03:35:53 PM
Well, foreign teachers in BKC where I worked before coming China, were paid less than I was in my first gig in China and the hours load was twice for them. Only International schools pay high salaries in Russia. The training centers and schools don't.
Title: Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
Post by: birddog on September 18, 2007, 08:03:56 PM
I have honestly tried to refrain from perpetuating this futile discussion regarding salary. It seems to come down to people's own individual financial situation (i.e. some who have pensions piling up back home, some who love a chellenge and will wait for the money to come later, etc.) that informs their theories and attitudes regarding FT wages in China. I could go on and on, but we're clearly in gridlock at this point. Let me leave it by saying I agree with decurso's postings on this issue completely!