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Give and take in China
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 672
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's nothing quite like a stream of conciousness. Nothing.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MisterButtkins wrote:
Is this a thread about working as a teacher or a priest? I'm glad I've never met any teachers in real life who were as preachy as some of the posters on here. I must have missed the part of my contract where it says 'Cause problems for the administration by trying to change their educational system and failing horribly.' Or: 'Act like you must know better than your boss since you have a degree in education, the same college major as many football players.' Or: 'It is your job to set the standards at this school, since, as an ESL teacher, you must be a genius.'
I'd like to know who has preached on this thread. In any case, preaching integrity may be better than advocating some falsehood. Do we want our quality products (our students) or happy administrations? We do have to choose sometimes, don't we?
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 672
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the thing. In the real world, at least my real world, it's not as black and white as serve the administrators or serve the students. My big white ass is disposable. If I don't keep the administrators at least a little happy, then I'm out of here. Then they will bring in another monkey, and if that monkey doesn't keep them happy then they'll bring in another, until they end up with some moron who cares not a jot for anything but the paycheck that keeps the cheap booze coming.

I'm not that monkey. I care. I care about my teaching, and I care about my students. However I have to operate in a system that is less than ideal. Can I change that system? Perhaps a tiny bit over a long period of time. So I will try. If it works, it works, but if not, then at least I tried. In the meantime I do my job day by day, bit by bit, because there is nothing but the present moment. I do my best to improve my students English skills and life skills, despite the difficulties that surround me.

I don't get precious or obstinate about my teaching, or try to push too hard against the system, because I don't believe that it will do too much good. If I step too far outside of the parameters that my students have spent their entire academic lives living within, I find that they just get confused. I do the best I can with what I have and am given.

I hope and believe that those students I influence today will be the ones to change the system in the future. Probably long after I am dead. That's okay. I don't do this for approval or praise today. I do it because I understand that those people who made the world a better place for me were probably all dead by the time I arrived to take advantage of their hard work. So I do what I do, and I do what I can. I don't need praise or recognition, but I could do without the random ramblings of people who seem to think in black and white, and who, while damning what most of us do, never seems to tell us what their own contribution to the world of 'professional EFL teaching' actually is.

Yes, we have to choose sometimes. We have to choose between doing something, or doing nothing. Maybe we have to choose between doing what we can do on a daily basis, or just giving up and going to work in another country where we feel our 'professionalism' will be recognised and rewarded.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good Give and Take to consider; however, there are questions to be answered. How long have the old-timers been pushing so thoughtfully? Has the "less than ideal" system and its "parameters" changed to incomparably better since 90s? Have the young local administrators, who've recently come out of schools, made any significant impact on the traditional system?

I generally agree with the above poster. What I am concerned about is that how much a fine foreign teacher's Give may be abused. My colleague and a few other expats i've got to know have been here long enough to see their grads following directions of autocratic leaders/employers. Is the Take rewarding? Perhaps it is. I guess, it just depends on how we look at it.
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fred13331



Joined: 20 Feb 2012
Posts: 108
Location: Southern China

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
I find the “Give and take in China” self-centered, ignorant, irresponsible and somehow bias and parasitic. A few self-indulgent posts appear to pay attention to their own well being rather than anything else and they preach unaccountability for the duties of the profession to all who want to teach in China. The impartial judgment of the posts that lean towards the local attitudes seems, to me, to be intentional for the need of such professionals (as suggested on this thread) in the country.

In my half a year on mainland, I’ve seen some nice recently built residential areas with heated swimming pools out of service or expensive tennis courts that have potholes. I also have experienced luxurious hotels that over serviced me with unnecessary grins, giggles, gestures, directions and that falsely advertised their “practical services”. I have been to beautiful gyms with 50% of their equipment broken. What my observations suggest may not reflect the whole country, although it may point to how business is done around.

Moreover, I’ve noticed some pretty schools with plenty of sports facilities, PowerPoint options in every classroom; however, students’ physical education doesn’t correspond with what’s offered, the internet isn’t in their curriculum and either with or without the help I have failed to locate any practical material in their libraries. The Give and Take of those business people and educators sadly enough may not be far off from this thread’s strategy.

Lastly, we all know the world has been "imperfect" since it began. Nobody here has said that we have come from a perfect world. My give is to improve it as well as to help our great (teacher) colleagues who have the integrity or ideas to make the world better. Many of us do not want to compromise our positions or lose the "decent standard of living", however, should we really be feeding our directors/employers with the poor efforts to keep our jobs and the world so imperfect? The field of education or foundation programs to western universities is to be perfected, not imperfect-ed. Aren’t we living in the world of interconnected rather than isolated nations? One nations problem may be the other one’s as well. My Give and Take is about our characters, professional attitudes, responsibilities and integrity.


In the end, it most certainly ought to be up to the locals to fix their country’s issues and that I agree with. On the other hand though, questions should arise when the country’s ill prepared students plan to enroll in our homelands’ universities, or when the country’s nationals have in their minds to either establish themselves in or deal with our homelands. Some posts on this topic here, especially the ones which indicate that the posters assist kids to go abroad, clearly lack any integrity. The "Educators paradise" that some have suggested is nowhere on Earth, may not be too far from the parasite educators heaven.



My head hurts
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Has the "less than ideal" system and its "parameters" changed to incomparably better since 90s? Have the young local administrators, who've recently come out of schools, made any significant impact on the traditional system?

What I am concerned about is that how much a fine foreign teacher's Give may be abused.


For the first part Ive quoted here ... the same could be asked of education in the UK. Its not realistic to imagine we are going to change the world. In the private sector their is always talk about putting profits first. In the state sector the talk is always about teaching to the test. Neither is perfect nor shall it ever be. Throw in the things like the 'no child left behind' thing in the US, and OFSTED reports and exam league tables in the UK and you start to realise that the Chinese system isnt so bad after all.

I feel its naive to think too much. That we are the blessed educators here to free the minds and heart of our students. Few or us ... any of us, are truly qualifed, experienced or knowledgeable enough to be able to claim or think otherwise ... so we do what we can and I think thats enough. An unrelated degree, an online TEFL certificate and 3 years experience repeating the same lessons unmentored or monitored makes a fairly experienced China teacher ... but makes a woefully underqualified educator and changer of educational policy IMO.

TBH though, on the subject of give and take ... I dont actually feel there is much 'give' amongst the average FT. Perhaps not a popular view .. but one I believe to be true. Most salaried staff Ive worked with in the UK get asked to stay behind from time to time, take a bit of work home with them .... go the extra mile from time to time. Its accepted as being part and parcel of working.

Ask the average FT to attend an English Corner, do something not included in their contract on the weekend etc etc and the reaction is quite different. That attitude is infectious ... and Im no different. Working in the UK I remember long hours, driving to stupid meetings which meant waking up at 4.30am, getting to work early, leaving late.

But if my Chinese boss asked me to do just 10% of what I used to do extra back home Id go mental and refuse ... then post about how unreasonable he is on this forum!
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:
Has the "less than ideal" system and its "parameters" changed to incomparably better since 90s? Have the young local administrators, who've recently come out of schools, made any significant impact on the traditional system?

What I am concerned about is that how much a fine foreign teacher's Give may be abused.


For the first part Ive quoted here ... the same could be asked of education in the UK. Its not realistic to imagine we are going to change the world. In the private sector their is always talk about putting profits first. In the state sector the talk is always about teaching to the test. Neither is perfect nor shall it ever be. Throw in the things like the 'no child left behind' thing in the US, and OFSTED reports and exam league tables in the UK and you start to realise that the Chinese system isnt so bad after all.

I feel its naive to think too much. That we are the blessed educators here to free the minds and heart of our students. Few or us ... any of us, are truly qualifed, experienced or knowledgeable enough to be able to claim or think otherwise ... so we do what we can and I think thats enough. An unrelated degree, an online TEFL certificate and 3 years experience repeating the same lessons unmentored or monitored makes a fairly experienced China teacher ... but makes a woefully underqualified educator and changer of educational policy IMO.

TBH though, on the subject of give and take ... I dont actually feel there is much 'give' amongst the average FT. Perhaps not a popular view .. but one I believe to be true. Most salaried staff Ive worked with in the UK get asked to stay behind from time to time, take a bit of work home with them .... go the extra mile from time to time. Its accepted as being part and parcel of working.

Ask the average FT to attend an English Corner, do something not included in their contract on the weekend etc etc and the reaction is quite different. That attitude is infectious ... and Im no different. Working in the UK I remember long hours, driving to stupid meetings which meant waking up at 4.30am, getting to work early, leaving late.

But if my Chinese boss asked me to do just 10% of what I used to do extra back home Id go mental and refuse ... then post about how unreasonable he is on this forum!
Interesting to see the UK education so similar to Chinese. Really, really captivating info, although the topic focuses on China and my quote seeks comparisons of the "less than ideal system and its parameters" of 90s to today as well as it inquires about the young local workforce and its influence on Chinese education currently.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I detect some sarcasm there Joe?

No matter ... few of us can give the definitive answer you seek, (sorry for speaking on a similar or related topic), because few of us have been teaching in China since the 90's.

Id suggest education has been improvements though. I can only speak of my experience of course, but my Chinese boss has often said the reason he started his training centre was because he was aware that English education in high school and university did little to prepare students for the actual purpose of using English for meaningful communication. As a result he started a business which has being trying to prepare students to use English in meaningful ways (sometimes with success).

Id also hazard a guess that its far easier to find people who can communicate in English today, in 2013, than it would have been 15 years ago in 1998. Access to English education has surely improved, due to world conditions / internet and perhaps some of the young local administrators you refer to.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:
Do I detect some sarcasm there Joe?
A wonder as oppose to little irony that the UK education is so parallel to Chinese.

Quote:
No matter ... few of us can give the definitive answer you seek, (sorry for speaking on a similar or related topic), because few of us have been teaching in China since the 90's.
Oh, I am not looking for a perfection, just ideas. From reading forums, more than few have been in the country for long enough, and they aren't shy to instill their knowledge about China here. In any case, i've learnt plenty from my colleagues and expat acquaintances in just half a year. I guess the smart arses that've been advising here for years may have done equally before (decade ago). History may be passed on from one to another. But, yes, we can find a lot on the internet too.

So, you guess the local education has improved and Chinese administrators have an impact on the system. Thank you.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:

So, you guess the local education has improved and Chinese administrators have an impact on the system. Thank you.


Welcome Very Happy

If there has been an improvement (as I already mention I believe this is probably the case), I think it can only be the authorities and those that work within it who are responsible. The very transient EFL community are unlikely to have an impact on any wider level really.
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Burke



Joined: 22 Nov 2012
Posts: 42
Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:28 am    Post subject: More Take Than Give In China! Reply with quote

The OP is one lucky S.O.B. I have been teaching in China for quite a few years and never had any employer truly concerned about my welfare. Maybe the secret is having a Chinese wife who knows how to make waves here when you get cheated? Maybe I should get one because my ass is so sore from getting fu*ked so often I can barely sit down.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: More Take Than Give In China! Reply with quote

Burke wrote:
The OP is one lucky S.O.B. I have been teaching in China for quite a few years and never had any employer truly concerned about my welfare. Maybe the secret is having a Chinese wife who knows how to make waves here when you get cheated? Maybe I should get one because my ass is so sore from getting fu*ked so often I can barely sit down.

Maybe you were just a bit slow to catch on?
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Burke



Joined: 22 Nov 2012
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Location: Beijing

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:16 am    Post subject: Re: More Take Than Give In China! Reply with quote

Javelin of Radiance wrote:
Burke wrote:
The OP is one lucky S.O.B. I have been teaching in China for quite a few years and never had any employer truly concerned about my welfare. Maybe the secret is having a Chinese wife who knows how to make waves here when you get cheated? Maybe I should get one because my ass is so sore from getting fu*ked so often I can barely sit down.

Maybe you were just a bit slow to catch on?


No, I am just not an ass kisser. I treat people the way I want to be treated and if they shit on me or exploit me, my productivity and cooperation nosedives until "they catch on". I live by the global golden rule - not the Chinese version. (he who has the gold makes the rules as they go!)
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
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Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Denim-Maniac wrote:
wonderingjoesmith wrote:

So, you guess the local education has improved and Chinese administrators have an impact on the system. Thank you.


Welcome Very Happy

If there has been an improvement (as I already mention I believe this is probably the case), I think it can only be the authorities and those that work within it who are responsible. The very transient EFL community are unlikely to have an impact on any wider level really.
Interestingly, your employer walked out of the system unhappy to start his own, for profit, private language school. How does that account for an improvement? How has that provided you with such a clear view on the local industry?

I disagree with the likelihood and doubt the emoticon above is sincere. Some of the "EFL community" members are reliable. Their strong performances put the "authorities" in passenger seats only and teachers' reasoning behind great classroom efforts more often rests the local academics' views/actions/supervisions. I quite believe in the likelihood for improvement with such great teachers. Some teachers prepare students for abroad studies, and so they are highly accountable for their actions. Those teachers have the responsibility to send well prepared, not ill prepared, students abroad.

Sadly enough, the general consent on the topic seems to be that we lay back in our confort zones and backpedal whenever necessary. I see this as a cowardness and a really dangerous trend not to improve anything but to make it all worse. One day, we all may be surrounded by useless educational institutions and their worthless diplomas/degrees just about everywhere.
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get the impression you just want to argue Joe. Not the first time Ive had that feeling.

The improvement in education that my employer and his private training centre leads to is in increased choice and opportunity for the language learner. You and many others are quick to take potshots at the Chinese system in general which would suggest the general opinion is that it may fail many students. Training centres offer a different take on language instruction, flexiblity in terms of training, and an increased opportunity to interact with native speakers.

As I suggested before ... I believe that it is probably easier now to find Chinese nationals who speak English, than it would have been in the 1990s (the period you mentioned earlier). Is that because of an improvement in state schooling? I dont think so, that probably hasnt changed much. Access to English and English language instruction has changed ... and so my 'clear view on the local industry' is that the private sector (driven mainly be Chinese nationals) has made improvements.

Agree .. some members of the EFL community are reliable. I dont think its very many though. And less so in China probably. I think it would be a falsehood, and an inflated sense of ego, self-importance and delusion to think that EFL in China is driven by the humble teacher.

I think Id be hard pushed to find a post Ive made here that suggests remaining in a comfort zone and back pedalling though. I am and have always been a strong advocate of further teacher training and education.
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