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Author Topic: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)  (Read 20080 times)

dragonsaver

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #45 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.
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decurso

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #46 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...

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #47 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.
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #48 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.






birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #49 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.




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Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #50 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 ...
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #51 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.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 05:21:17 AM by Lotus Eater »

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #52 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.


« Last Edit: September 15, 2007, 09:04:32 AM by birddog »
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Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #53 on: September 15, 2007, 08:19:58 AM »
You win. 
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through which we see it.” (James Hollis)

Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #54 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.

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #55 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.
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #56 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.

dragonsaver

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #57 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.

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Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #58 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.
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #59 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.