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Author Topic: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College  (Read 8827 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« on: April 29, 2007, 08:11:45 PM »
The original poster isn't with us, at least not yet, but this story should not be forgotten or buried. He and his wife got put through major hell in this place.
Note that this post has been taken down from some less independent forums under pressure from the school! - Raoul


Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College, Huaibei, Anhui Province

The city of Huaibei is located in the northern part of the Anhui province, a poor undeveloped province even to most Chinese. The city of Huaibei doesn?t possess the cosmopolitanism of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, or Suzhou. Places to see are few and far between. There?s Xiangshan Park, which has a temple. Shanghai lies 10 hours away by train and Beijing 12 hours away. Weekend trips to those cities aren?t an option if you teach on a Monday.

Since it is in a heavy coal producing region, the air quality of Huaibei is very poor. Western amenities are very few and include: Budweiser beer and Coke. Night life is practically non-existent except for the standard ?massage-prostitution? parlors near the train station. There are some good restaurants and a few good outdoor tent diners. There is one KFC, recently constructed 2 years. They also have a great many VCD shops to wile away your time in isolation since throughout my employment only 2 to 3 foreign teachers were hired.

The inhabitants openly spit, urinate, defecate, and blow their nostrils in public, and littering is non-stop. Sanitation is poor. The hospital is dirty. Of course the incessant cattle calls of ?hello,? the hostile stares, the gawks, and laughter were the predominant behavior of the residents both on-campus and off-campus whenever I left the confines of my apartment.

The accommodations of my campus apartment were similar to what was described in my contract: computer with broadband internet access; but no printer. The furniture was hardwood, without soft cushions, and incredibly uncomfortable; but after complaining to my FAO he did procure two sofa chairs. Most everything was in working order, although old and grimy and maintained only after a bit of prodding.

All water was routinely shut down to the apartment around 11 pm every night, so late night showers weren?t an option and neither was flushing the toilet from 11 pm until 5:15 am. Occasionally, power would be shut off to the apartment from 4 to 8 hours every 2 months.

Mafia-zation would best describe the administration and the Foreign Affairs Office. The school administrators were essentially hold outs from the Cultural Revolution, deeply mired in antiquated perceptions of foreigners, and never willing to go beyond those stereotypes. The modus operandi was guanxi (relationships) and houmen (getting things done surreptiously) in which any educational standards were not valued, nor did they even exist. Bribes were very prevalent to encourage the on-going construction of the college, increasing enrollment, and increasing profit. Of course, the later can be argued that this observation is not any different from most public colleges and universities in China, and it?s not my country and thus, not any of my business, but the degree in which it was exercised here was blatantly obvious, even to a foreigner who wears relativistic blinders.

Administrators often had lavish banquets while students languished in absolute squalor. The administrators did not want to have anything to do with foreign teachers, nor did they care?until they wanted foreign teachers hired to fulfill the government requirement. In fact, many times I was asked to write web advertisements enticing fresh foreign meat to come teach, (and these advertisements are still being used). Here?s one of them:

The college is located in the city of Huaibei, in the far northern part of the Anhui Province, here in The Peoples Republic of China. The city of Huaibei is approximately five hours north by train from the Anhui Provincial capitol city of Hefei and 10 hours south by train from Beijing as well as 10 hours northwest by train from Shanghai.
The city of Huaibei has approximately 1.9 million people within its municipal vicinity and is mostly an industrial city, consisting of textile and beer factories as well as a power plant. Although Huaibei does lack the cosmopolitanism of Beijing and Shanghai, it can give the foreigner a better insight into the daily life and culture of the Chinese people. Huaibei also has many Chinese restaurants and hotels as well as numerous supermarkets and department stores. The main modes of transportation here in Huaibei are its public bus system as well as numerous taxicab services. Just recently, Huaibei has seen the developments of a few health clubs, which some of our foreign teachers have enthusiastically joined.
Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers College was first established in 1974 and is a fully accredited public college. The campus itself consists of a library, with a well-stocked English book selection, as well as parks, and numerous classroom buildings.
The Foreign Language Department consists of students whose major field of study is English, and will eagerly welcome you to teach them.


Also, you will have to pay for your working z visa, which you will be informed about after your arrival.

They do have a well-stocked English library.

The Foreign Language Department did schedule my classes at good times, usually in the morning or early afternoon; but my classes were overcrowded from between 60 to 70 students. I was never given a roll sheet, but soon learned to take matters into my own hands, developing a roll sheet for each class with their student identification numbers, their Chinese names, their Pynin names, and their English names.

The last two years, the college embarked on an ?Adult Education Program? where students paid fees, rarely attended class, and if they did, they were enrolled in classes with regular students whose language skills far exceeded the adults.

The classrooms were filthy, strewn with trash and debris, and the ever-present smell of decomposing feces and urine reeked out of the restrooms into the classrooms.

The Foreign Language Department attempted to exploit foreign teachers to increase its department budget; often requesting foreign teachers to teach weekend classes to off campus adult students and paying only a pittance to do so; fortunately, I did have the option of refusing these kinds of classes and did so.

I set my own exams, but my exams were proctored by Chinese teachers who never took their duties seriously, resenting it if you stressed they should, and thus cheating was exacerbated. Some students, especially adult students, would suddenly show up for the exam, although I had never seen them in class. Fortunately, because I had a class roll, it was relatively easy to spot them.

I was expected to grade hundreds and hundreds of formal exams without any assistance by the Foreign Language Department. I sucked it up and accepted it because my wife,a Chinese, was employed as a teacher by the Foreign Language Department. Yet, the Foreign Language Department expected her to assist in grading my exams as well as recording the marks, and we both thought this was unfair because she had her own classes and duties. One vice dean even said to her, ?You?re half foreign since you married a foreigner, so you should help him.?

Also what had been the ?The Foreign Teachers? Office? had been commandeered?without prior notice?by the Foreign Language Department to accommodate a Foreign Language Department Administrator.


Without a doubt, the biggest problem of living and working at Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers College was the daily barrage of jeering and harassment from students, faculty, and staff.

For a long time, I made the best effort to ignore such behavior, figuring that this far into the provinces that I had to accept it, that it was a different culture, a different country?however, after many incidents, which included students yelling obscenities and being aggressively so, I complained to my Foreign Affairs Officer. He acted concerned, and even went so far as to inform various student campus organizations to make efforts in telling students that such behavior was totally inappropriate.

Later, I found out he NEVER contacted the students or the administration about this recurring problem.


On September 8th 2005, while walking to my classroom, my wife and I were openly harassed, jeered, and assaulted by students from the Physical Education Department. My Foreign Affairs Officer chose to ignore the problem.

Therefore, I notified the US Consulate in Shanghai about these events that very day. They contacted the Foreign Affairs Provincial Office in Hefei, the Anhui Provincial Capitol city as well as the Huaibei Municipality Foreign Affairs Bureau. Without the US consulate?s great assistance, I feel the situation would have been worse; I went to the PSB who listen to my wife?s recounting the events, and seemed sympathetic, but weren?t really. The bottom line is my wife and I left after my FAO conducted a criticism meeting that smack of every bad dialogue imaginable from the Cultural Revolution. We went to a better city and a better school in China.

Frankly the city of Huaibei and Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers? College is not fit for foreign habitation or employment. The only reason I stayed so long was my wife was working there and she had a contract with the department danwei (working unit), which looking back now, both of these reasons were lousy, but when the events of September 8th occured and I found out where I stood, we chose to leave for our personal safety, but not before my FAO sent me to the PSB to have my working Z visa cancelled. Despite that, through the help of foreign and Chinese friends, I still found employment.


There are, most assuredly, much better colleges and universities to teach in China, where they take their responsibilities toward foreign teachers more seriously, and are certainly more respectful towards them.

You may accept this review with a grain of salt because it greatly conflicts with your idyllic views and believe I have an axe to grind in this review or chalk it up to a preconceived personality disorder, in which whining is a symptom on my part, because you direly want to go to China and are willing to consider any offer. But this review is a very real warning and I urge you to continue your search for a college or university that supports its foreign teachers and takes the responsibilities for their welfare seriously.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

milkweed

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 11:20:09 AM »
Having recently been talking to a friend in Huaibei, she offered the web page and I found the contact email for Huaibei Normal University's FAO. Raoul, do you or anyone else know if this is the same college but with a slightly altered name?

old34

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 12:09:58 PM »
It's the same place according to both Huaibei Normal University's own website:

Quote
Huaibei Normal University, located in the City of Huaibei – one of China’s important energy bases and a National Garden City, is a regular undergraduate teachers university with a comparatively long history in Anhui Province. The university was founded as Anhui Normal University at Huaibei in 1974. After being approved by the State Council to be named "Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers College" and designated to be administered by the former Ministry of Coal Industry in December 1978, the university started to enroll students from all over China.

http://www.hbcnc.edu.cn/Site/English/

and Wikipedia (FWTW):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaibei_Coal_Industry_Teachers_College

I knew the guy that worked there personally and he got  true and royally mistreated by the school and the city. He left out a lot of stuff.

The takeaway quote from his review is:
Quote
Without a doubt, the biggest problem of living and working at Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers College was the daily barrage of jeering and harassment from students, faculty, and staff.

Whether they have improved or upped their game, maybe. Whether the "Helloooo" "Laowai" and worse has diminished, I doubt it.

They deserve to be put in the penalty box as a no-go for FTs for at least 10 years as penance for their crimes sins against H and his wife, IMO.

Don't go there.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 12:19:41 PM by old34 »
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 12:19:13 PM »
A little Baidu investigation reveals that they are indeed one and the same. This is what I could find in English  http://teachinhnu.coachdevelop.com/ -- notice the part about getting approval for the Coal Industry name in 1978. Also, if you look up both the names 淮北煤炭师范学院 and 淮北师范大学 in Chinese they direct to the same place.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 12:19:59 PM »
Cross posted with Old. Great minds, eh?

Definitely don't go there.

gonzo

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012, 02:41:32 AM »
How recent is the original post? To my creaky brain it rings bells from many years ago, even pre-Dave's forums, which I think kicked off in '02. Before that there was still an outlet for individuals to express, indeed vent, viewpoints, but not in the present format. The OP's confusion between quotation marks and question marks [maybe someone shifted buttons on his old keyboard] seems very familiar.

That aside, the post rings true, especially when considering my early years [1997-8] in Guangxi. But it sounds dated. If you have a good FAO, as I did, then life is OK. But I saw enough of what he's saying for it to sound credible. The harassment from English illiterate, xenophobic male students, whilst low-key, was always there. Much of it stems from sexual jealousy: Western males having relationships with local women, whilst these guys are yanking in their dorms. The corruption, cronyism and cynicism are institutionalised in China, as is profiteering from outsourcing of FTs, which I ran a separate thread on. Stuff about water and electricity cuts/failures was bog-standard back then, as was the uncomfortable, tacky accommodation. That's why I think this post is a museum piece. My "old" Guangxi uni when I visited 6 months ago had 15 FTs, as opposed to moi back then, new [i.e, built after I left!] and comfortable housing, and there were no utilities outages in my 4 weeks renting privately, as opposed to 1997!

I guess though one salient point for the uninitiated is to stick to schools in bigger population centres. Ones that have a history of FTs, some of whom you can talk to. Avoid anything with "Coal" or "Sardines" in the title. I know this poster was there only because of his wife's contract and believe me, Chinese teachers -unless they're up there in the Party Machine- get it tougher than us. He sounds like he knows his stuff, but its just the currency of the information that I'd want to know more about.
RIP Phil Stephens.
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 02:58:57 AM »
No, this is the same school that terrorized (as in physical violence) Sir Fudge and his missus some years ago. Under no circumstances should anyone even consider going to work there. bqbqbqbqbq
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

gonzo

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 01:32:37 AM »
No, this is the same school that terrorized (as in physical violence) Sir Fudge and his missus some years ago. Under no circumstances should anyone even consider going to work there. bqbqbqbqbq

There's no questioning that Raoul. It was just a historical perspective I was after.
RIP Phil Stephens.
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MK

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 06:16:01 AM »
I think this all happened around 2002-2004, no?  A while ago but not pre-2000.  I remember reading this teacher's exceedingly well-written but now unfortunately offline blog, and then the posts about the bitter end here, at an earlier version of the saloon.

EDIT: 2005!

Quote
On September 8th 2005, while walking to my classroom, my wife and I were openly harassed, jeered, and assaulted by students from the Physical Education Department.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 06:27:17 AM by MK »

gonzo

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Re: Huaibei Coal Industry Teachers' College
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 09:09:27 PM »
Well done MK. I was a few years out, but knew I'd read it before.
RIP Phil Stephens.
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