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Author Topic: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)  (Read 20553 times)

dragonsaver

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #30 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.
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birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #31 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).
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George

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #32 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.
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #33 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.

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #34 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.
 
 

 


« Last Edit: September 12, 2007, 08:48:07 PM by birddog »
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Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #35 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 ....
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George

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #36 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
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Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #37 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.

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Stil

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #38 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.

Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #39 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.
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #40 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!

decurso

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #41 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.

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #42 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
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Con ate dog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #43 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.
And there is no liar like the indignant man... -Nietszche

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birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #44 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!)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 02:41:37 AM by birddog »
"I wish my first spoken word was 'Quote' so I could make my last word 'Unquote'."
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