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Author Topic: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)  (Read 20087 times)

teleplayer

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #15 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.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 03:07:12 PM by Raoul Duke »

Stil

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2007, 04:45:45 AM »
Well, there's the French.  uuuuuuuuuu
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 03:07:29 PM by Raoul Duke »

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #17 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
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 03:07:55 PM by Raoul Duke »
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Lotus Eater

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #18 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.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 03:08:42 PM by Raoul Duke »

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #19 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.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2007, 03:09:04 PM by Raoul Duke »
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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #20 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...
"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)

birddog

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #21 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
 
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #22 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...
"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)

woza

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #23 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

Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #24 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?
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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #25 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.

AMonk

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2007, 02:51:01 PM »
Students always know.


These words should be carved in granite!!
Moderation....in most things...

Eagle

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #27 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.
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Stil

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #28 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?

George

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Re: Obnoxious Laowai Attitudes (was "Teachers" you'd like to school!!)
« Reply #29 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.
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