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Article on tefl in China - realistic or negative?
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Lancy Bloom



Joined: 23 Nov 2012
Posts: 112
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

China is a great place for unqualified teachers. But have you ever run into one who is qualified.
Now as we are into personal stories my last job 6 months ago I was working in a special experimental middle school
They wanted me out. They told me that the Greek kid was a better teacher than me. He was waiting for his deploma from a college in England. He had the tatoos the and played Hangman in everyclass.
I have a good degree and references from good schools and have people who will vouch for my abilities in four countries.
I have seen this time and time in China. They take truck drivers out of work cooks, Taxi drivers and they teach English. I have yet to meet anyone from my university here teaching. I met many in Korea and Taiwan.
The story we are talking about says the same thing. Qualified EFL or ESL teachers don't work in China.
Don't attack me I am just tellling my experience. China is a good place for backpackers. The Chinese do not hire people to run their English Departments in Universities. Those positioins are held by members of the Communist Party and their positiosns are secured through the giving of gifts to appropriate people.
KOTESOL in Korea had monthly and yearly meetings attended by thousands of Japanese, Korea, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong English teachers. In the ten years I participated I never met anyone coming from China to participate.
The writer states the same thing. As a career move, coming to China to be a teacher of English is a step backward.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion or two. Thanks for the tip on KOTESOL.

DG
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The editor of the Middle Kingdom website seems to hate China and have this idea that there is no reason to work there.

I mean seriously, in the first paragraph:
Quote:
one of the most challenging countries in the world to live in.


Really? How? And the ridiculous bias continues into the rest of the article.

Quote:
In this context, moving to mainland China to work for Coolie wages in a country with the highest rate of inflation in the world is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.


Nice use of cliches. The guy is a terrible writer.

Quote:
With the exception of this site and a few personal blogs, it will be very difficult for you to find the truth about teaching English in China.


Of course, his site is an exception.

Quote:
For an external and independent account of the profoundly dehumanizing effect the EFL industry can have on its lay members...


Profoundly dehumanizing? The Vietnam War was profoundly dehumanizing. Teaching English - an easy job with lots of vacation time - not so much.

Quote:
Related to the fact that foreigners are hired almost exclusively as unskilled laborers, teaching English as a foreign language in China is very tiring work.


I get four months of vacation a year and currently work 6 hours a week.

Quote:
The reality is most foreign “teachers” in China are unqualified, never taught one day in their lives prior to moving here, and are only in China because they perceived it as their last choice.


Strange, I haven't met anyone who perceived this as their last choice.

Quote:
Our Chinese employers are not stupid: They fully appreciate that the vast majority of Westerners—especially those who are not professional educators and should either be starting their careers or firmly entrenched in them back home, with strong concomitant social and family ties (typically those between the ages of 30 to 50)—are teaching English in China year after year for an average of USD $730 to $900 per month because they couldn't (and can't) find anything more lucrative to do in their native countries.


Yes, the purpose of life is doing something 'lucrative'. Anyone who doesn't want to climb the career ladder must be living in Hell.

Quote:
No one abandons a successful life in a highly developed country to face the myriad of difficulties that await the underpaid and underappreciated foreign English teacher in China. No one.


Still wondering exactly what sort of questionnaire the writer used to ascertain and validate this point, and also what his sample size was, seeing how he asserts its truth with such ferocity.

Quote:
Middle-aged Western men who find themselves teaching oral English in mainland China by forced choice will typically and eventually marry a Chinese woman and may try to learn some Chinese. They will work several English teaching jobs to save some money, teaching as many as 30 hours per week,


forced choice? That makes sense. Also, Heaven forbid anyone work 30 hours a week. It's not like a normal person works 40 or anything.

In case you aren't getting my point, its this: The writer of that site seems to hate China, and at times, he also seems to hate ESL teachers who work in China. At best, the site offers a different perspective, but it certainly isn't a factual or unbiased one.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

30 hours per week!! Oh, the horror, the horror. I can't wait to get up to 30 hours per week between school and privates. At that point, I estimate I could easily be sending back $2K per month to the States. 40 hours per week would be even better.

The guy who runs that site is some sort of head doctor. Maybe he should seek out some advice as to why he has such a chip on his shoulder about this country.

DG
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1214

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Maybe he should seek out some advice as to why he has such a chip on his shoulder about this country.


Completely agree.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2416
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Middle Kingdom Life is American in origin and its authors would be unaware of the long history of Commonwealth (Aust, NZ, Can and SA) young people taking off overseas after completing their degree or trade qual.
In the past, the main destination has been the UK but as the UK becomes more Euro-centric and a visa wall emerges, these people go to places like China and other Asian EFL destinations.
Part of the attraction of this 'overseas experience' (OE) is the adventure and roughing it. They will in time return home none the worse and in many instances a lot better for the experience.
Americans it seems expect a seamless transition from college to corporate and when that doesn't happen they feel affronted as they seek employment with the commies.
One result is to denigrate the host country as a kind of evening up strategy.
I always factor in a resentment element when I see something like MKL.
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 548
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:

Americans it seems expect a seamless transition from college to corporate and when that doesn't happen they feel affronted as they seek employment with the commies.
.


Speaking as an American or just horribly generalizing? Fair amount of bitching about day to day life from Canadians, Brits, Aussies etc. Framing this as "well Americans don't take gap years so they must all expect too much" is pretty much placing you with the article writer as making uneducated generalizations. I would like to see your study done on "What American's expect living/working overseas". May be truly enlightening for me to see what I should expect rather than what I experienced. Could set me straight.

"Well only about 20% of Americans have passports" Well, that's still 70 million people...more than the population of England. I think Americans get around and experience enough of the world to be able to have an opinion good or bad. Hell, they have to find new places to start wars and such!
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2416
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Working alongside our American cousins over a few years in PRC, has given me an insight.
As DOS I had to sit in on a termination interview with the FAO and an American teacher.
Among other things he shouted that his country was the most powerful in the world and could take out China and my home country.
When he had finished he flounced out of the office leaving me to apologise (it was that foul) and to find a way to expedite his exit.
The next two older American teachers repeatedly breached a health quarantine that had been put in place because of an infection on campus.
The response to the question 'What if you take the infection into the downtown?' was 'who cares' and a shrug.
As for refusing to ask for help (so as to avoid an impression that they may not know it all) these two also misread the requirement for makeup class put in place to allow students to go home for 7 straight days.
They were sleeping off the prev night's binge when we finally woke them by which time the first 45 mins was just about up.
Even given the number of times I have done makeups in various schools I always swap notes with another teacher to make sure I understand the requirement.
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 548
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on having exit interviews with dumbasses....every country has them.
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DirtGuy



Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 529

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

B41,

That 20% of Americans having passports is a misleading number. Thanks to the frightened folk and gov. in the US, one now has to show a passport to go to Canada, Mexico, and (I think) the Virgin Islands. Prior to this asinine requirement, only a driver's license was needed. Many, many people now had to get passports. The number of what I would call "serious" travelers as a percentage of our population is still quite low. For as long as I can remember, the number I always heard was just 10% of the population had passports and probably many of the holders were business people.

Americans, for all their big talk and swaggering ways, can be very frightened and narrow minded people. Look at our previous president.

DG
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JamesD



Joined: 17 Mar 2003
Posts: 705
Location: "As far as I'm concerned bacon comes from a magical happy place."

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
Middle Kingdom Life is American in origin and its authors would be unaware of the long history of Commonwealth (Aust, NZ, Can and SA) young people taking off overseas after completing their degree or trade qual..........
I always factor in a resentment element when I see something like MKL.


Speaking as an American I have to agree. The major problems I have had with the foreigners we hire all come from my own countrymen. Brits and Europeans are typically more mature in their reactions to hicupps and adjusting to a new culture.
True story:
British teacher - "Oh, we have to make up classes for the extra day of holiday? Can we look at changing the time so I have a slightly longer break that day? I planned to do some shopping."

American teacher - "Make up classes? Changing the schedule isn't in my contract. Stupid Chinese calendar."

And this isn't an isolated example. It's always 20-something Americans expecting more pay for less work and making outrageous demands of the staff.

Let me tell you about the guy who called because he wanted someone to go change a light bulb that had burned out, or the couple who had a CT write a note to their neighbor telling him to close his window whenever he was cooking because they couldn't stand the smell, or....naah.....it still pisses me off.
90% of them, spoiled, entitled brats. Makes me glad I left the US.
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Banner41



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 548
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JamesD wrote:
Non Sequitur wrote:
Middle Kingdom Life is American in origin and its authors would be unaware of the long history of Commonwealth (Aust, NZ, Can and SA) young people taking off overseas after completing their degree or trade qual..........
I always factor in a resentment element when I see something like MKL.


Speaking as an American I have to agree. The major problems I have had with the foreigners we hire all come from my own countrymen. Brits and Europeans are typically more mature in their reactions to hicupps and adjusting to a new culture.
True story:
British teacher - "Oh, we have to make up classes for the extra day of holiday? Can we look at changing the time so I have a slightly longer break that day? I planned to do some shopping."

American teacher - "Make up classes? Changing the schedule isn't in my contract. Stupid Chinese calendar."

And this isn't an isolated example. It's always 20-something Americans expecting more pay for less work and making outrageous demands of the staff.

Let me tell you about the guy who called because he wanted someone to go change a light bulb that had burned out, or the couple who had a CT write a note to their neighbor telling him to close his window whenever he was cooking because they couldn't stand the smell, or....naah.....it still pisses me off.
90% of them, spoiled, entitled brats. Makes me glad I left the US.


Proves my point exactly....you are not "All Americans". You obviously are just as disgusted by some westerners behavior as I am but do not tend to label the whole batch as bad. We can all pull "this one guy I knew" stories until we were blue in the face. I have many cringe worthy stories of Brits and Aussies I have worked with. Doesn't make me think ALL of them are like this. Just because the author of the author "may" be American, well....I guess all Americans are this way or that.

My point is if you are going to paint everyone with a wide stroke you better make sure it is "all Americans" or "all....whatever". Guy wrote an unflattering article about your profession....must be an American because those as we know are the ONLY ones who bitch about anything in China.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2416
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banner41 wrote:
Congrats on having exit interviews with dumbasses....every country has them.


Have to tell you it got worse with this prat, but won't post here as don't want to over egg the anti American pudding.
I actually am a great fan of America, but some of its citizenry don't travel well.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too late to stop the eggs flying.

I see no difference in numbers of drunk Brits vs Americans.

"Realistic or negative"? I'd say realisticly negative or the other way around, and it doesn't take much time to figure that out.

Workload or salaries may not be the point.

There are many bias people around the world. When it comes to business, most will see their own points.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 2416
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's more the day to day attitudes, but that said one of the worst things I have seen was a Brit teacher who decided to rename all of her students (sophomore English majors).
She awarded the names on the basis of cartoon characters.
You can guess who became Donald - yeah the kid with the tuft of hair and a big mouth.
He was mortified, particularly as he had taken the name of an English author whom he admired.
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