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Contract Not Renewed After 2 Years - What's the Key?
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chryanvii



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:13 pm    Post subject: Contract Not Renewed After 2 Years - What's the Key? Reply with quote

Hello -

I'm writing this message because I've been in China for 9 years. Though I really enjoy teaching and find that it's my true "calling", I'm embarrassed to say that I've never been invited to work for a university for more than 2 years. Even with the universities where I've worked for two years, I wasn't offered a new contract so smoothly like other foreign teachers have.

I had a meeting with the Deans of my university department today about the reasons they didn't choose to hire me back at this university. The main reason they said is that students sent a complain letter to the President of the ENTIRE school about me being constantly late and eating during classes. They said that a letter was not only sent last semester, but this semester as well.

Questions:

(a) Do you ever eat during class? Even something simple like Bao Zi or dumplings? Does your school (or students) think it's a cardinal sin for the teacher to eat something during class? Do you think a student would really send a complaint letter to the dean or president about something so simple as this?

(b) Are you ever late to your classes? Such that other teachers in the hallway notice and tell the deans? One of the deans told me that other teachers were calling me out for that (the classrooms have windows facing the hall). I am late sometimes, but usually by only 1 or 2 minutes (never something drastic like 10-15 minutes).

(c) I scolded 2 students one day (in 2 different classes) for openly using their phones immediately after telling them not to use them (I have a traffic light signal in the class which tells them when they can and can't use their phones). I am known by students as a being a very sensitive person. But I later apologized to the students and told them that it doesn't affect my opinion of them. These students claimed to me that they didn't send the anonymous letter to the president, and would never cross me like that. They said that they think I'm a very friendly and kind teacher. I believe them and therefore am not convinced that they are the ones who sent the letter.

(d) I failed 4 students last semester in my academic writing class for cheating, and 2 others in my creative writing class last year (for not applying themselves). Do you think the real reason the school doesn't want to hire me back is this? And that they are simply giving me another reason as an excuse?

Anyway, thanks for your opinions. The dean did talk with me last semester about the lates and eating in class. And I have been trying to be much better about it. But the skeptical side of me still thinks that there is another underlying reason that they are really not telling me about.

(e) If the deans didn't like me failing the students, do you think they would have given me THAT as the reason for not renewing my contract instead of the lates/eating in class? I simply cannot fathom the idea that students would care so much about a teacher being 1 or 2 minutes late to class, or eating Bao Zi in class (especially in a discreet, non-obnoxious manner).

On a final note, I just wanted to say that I am nothing but friendly to the students, and I honestly believe that I'm a very likeable person. I sometimes play games with them, and hand out candy as rewards. For these reasons, I don't understand why students would keep complaining about me (enough to send an anonymous letter to the president of the school)
Additionally, I'm always very well-prepared. I can be a little bit serious/strict at times, but aside from that, I keep a good sense of humor, and laugh at myself along with the students quite often.

Something seems very fishy to me. Can you tell me what the special "key" to keeping a university job - or ANY job in China for that matter - is? I really appreciate that.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1546

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being late and eating in class shows a lack of respect for the job.
The fact that you were warned, and then continued the behavior, just makes it worse.
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chryanvii



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does everyone else agree with this? Lurkers, please chime in with your thoughts.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1546

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How would you feel if your students were late and ate in class ?
Would you feel as though the students were not showing respect for your class ?
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psychedelicacy



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Difficult to know where to even begin. Hard to believe it's a serious post and not trolling. However, why do you feel the need to eat in class? Are you, by any chance, very overweight?
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chryanvii



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"How would you feel if your students were late and ate in class ?
Would you feel as though the students were not showing respect for your class ?"

In regards to eating, absolutely not. In fact, I encourage eating and drinking (as long as it's just little things that aren't too distracting) because it helps students focus better. On an empty stomach, it's hard to focus.

In regards to being late, I don't care as long as they are there before I start teaching.

"Difficult to know where to even begin. Hard to believe it's a serious post and not trolling. However, why do you feel the need to eat in class? Are you, by any chance, very overweight?"

Why? I just put a lot of time and thought into writing this to ask for your personal opinions. Why would it be so hard to believe?

I'm a little overweight, but I don't think I'm obese. By Chinese standards, yes I would say I'm fat. How about you?
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am always 10-15 minutes early (well, unless back to back with different classes, then I go out for the 10 minute break after setting up for the next class) and I rarely eat anything in class. I had a cold a few weeks ago and was eating the little tangerines like crazy for the vitamin C, but students knew that. They are not allowed to eat in my class, school rules, so I do not really do it either outside of break time.

Seriously, just constantly being late would be a reason for me not to renew a contract. Especially, if I had already discussed the issue with the teacher (I am not in a position to make these kind of decisions, but hypothetically).
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lionheartuk



Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 165
Location: Guangdong

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A teacher should never be late for class. The time it takes to get things prepared ready to begin class eats into the lesson. If you are late then time is wasted when you are setting things up. Better to have things ready beforehand. Our school used to fine the teachers if they were late.
You can't complain about students being late if you do the same.

Eating in class should be a no go. A good many years ago I once ate something before I entered the class and was still chewing it when I was in. I got warned about that and have never done it since. Drinking is fine especially in hot weather as we all need to keep hydrated.
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chryanvii



Joined: 19 Jul 2009
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*****

Last edited by chryanvii on Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If those were the two main gripes it is fairly easy to fix. Leave your house 10 minutes before you would have before and eat outside of class. Also, consider if the students have certain rules to obey, the school would probably appreciate teachers setting a good example.

To your other point about motivation for being in China. Well, I did not come here because I could not keep a job, it was more a lack of jobs (or interest in the small pool that were out there). I studied Chinese, so thought I would give this a try. I would say, being on time, not eating in class, and dressing well are things that are simple. It gets no where near the hoops one has to jump through back home. I am moving towards 11 years here and have gotten quals and such, so my job is slightly more demanding, but they are by no means going beyond reasonable expectations. Dress well, be on time, don't smoke in front of students, etc. Otherwise, I am free to run my class as I please.

I will say, and I mean nothing negative or condescending towards you, maybe it is time you re-evaluate your motivation for being here. With your contract not being renewed (Happened to me in Spring of 2017), it is a chance to rethink such things. I have a wife and son, was told last minute. In my case apparently I was sick too much, even though at that place teachers had to make up any sick days (confusing). Now, I get 10 sick days and, if I am sick, I call in and my class gets covered.
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nimadecaomei



Joined: 22 Sep 2016
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worried about word count so continuing.

The other thing to think about, we are not against you or saying we don't understand. I have known many teachers who do the same things you described. Great people and I would have nothing bad to say about them. From the school/employer/manager's point of view though the story is different. I would not say you are necessarily stupid (will leave that open as I have never met you Very Happy ). What you describe does not sound like stupidity, it is just not being clear on expectations. That most likely became more difficult as you switched from employer to employer and they had different expectations. If you ask now for advice on how to keep that ----- job, people will most likely be full of helpful advice. Cheer up and have a good weekend.
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rogerwilco



Joined: 10 Jun 2010
Posts: 1546

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chryanvii wrote:
I thought everyone was here in China because we wanted to get away from the system. I thought we were all here because we were non-conformist "free-spirit" type people. Why aren't you guys still doing "actual" teaching jobs back at home if you're such system conformists?


I think that anyone that chooses to work in China is a non-conformist.
But, many of us do appreciate and respect our jobs.
I think it is insulting to the students to not try to be professional in your job.

chryanvii wrote:
In fact, I thought that's why everybody came here to China in the first place was because of the difficulties we had back in our home countries.


Many of us are/were in China because we love, travel, adventure, Chinese culture/food, working somewhere different after retiring from our home country, etc.

Many of us are not escaping our home countries.


Last edited by rogerwilco on Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kalkstein



Joined: 25 Aug 2016
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

chryanvii wrote:
I must be either an idiot or slow learner.


Well, here's a post to cheer you up. I agree with you in quite a few aspects. First and foremost it's a university job (I'm also in one, third year here). It's not an international school. I don't do anything beyond showing up to the classroom and sending the students grades to my FAO. I'm not paid that much in the grand scheme of things, I'm just in it for the visa.

I'm sometimes late although I don't eat in class. I don't care if people are late, I don't care if people eat (so long as they don't disturb others), I don't even care if they use their phones. Those who will want to learn will pay attention and those who don't shut up and chat on weixin. I do not intend to tire myself over the job. Never been reported for being late.

One of the perks of a university job is lack of stress, if it is stressful or they are demanding more than class hours, quit. Your university sounds pretty terrible. Basically 20% of my effort goes into my university lessons and 80% into my part time job. It's really not worth it pal, do what makes you feel comfy and don't stress yourself out for something insignificant, no matter what others say.

Here's another opinion that'll be unpopular, I don't really consider teaching a "professional" job anyway, the real professional expats are in tech, finance, medicine. I came from that world and it was stressful enough as is, I got into teaching to get away from it. Most foreign teachers are not experts, even qualified teachers. Too many people pretend that it is an extremely respectable profession.
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r_br_c



Joined: 15 May 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kalkstein wrote:
chryanvii wrote:
I must be either an idiot or slow learner.


I don't do anything beyond showing up to the classroom and sending the students grades to my FAO. I'm not paid that much in the grand scheme of things, I'm just in it for the visa.

I'm sometimes late although I don't eat in class. I don't care if people are late, I don't care if people eat (so long as they don't disturb others), I don't even care if they use their phones. Those who will want to learn will pay attention and those who don't shut up and chat on weixin. I do not intend to tire myself over the job. Never been reported for being late.


Seen and met a lot of 'teachers' like you. They have grand opinions of themselves as being clever because they think they are doing exactly what they want, everyone admires them and are above reproach. The reality is quite different.

Students probably don't complain about your classes because they see them as 'free time'. I suspect most think you are a joke but don't care or complain because they can do what they want. The administration usually doesn't care as long as there are no complaints. Basically, you are another foreign 'nobody'.

Generally, Chinese University students only make complaints when they don't get the marks they feel they 'deserve', the teacher is somehow repulsive or, the teacher completely incompetent, which probably describes the OP's situation.
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psychedelicacy



Joined: 05 Oct 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm a little overweight, but I don't think I'm obese. By Chinese standards, yes I would say I'm fat. How about you?


I could do with losing a few kilograms. However, I am able to refrain from eating between meals. If you aren't, I would suggest that you have a problem. Eating in front of your learners, in the classroom, is honestly not something I've ever heard of before in 13 years of teaching. It would be considered unprofessional and unacceptable even by the standards of the weirdest teachers I've met.
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