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Making it Work while Teaching on a University Salary
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Kalkstein



Joined: 25 Aug 2016
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cormac wrote:
Non Sequitur wrote:
Oral means oral. In China at least, students get the grammar, lit etc from far better qualified Chinese teachers.


Not sure about better teachers, but I would say that Chinese students need to have grammar rules explained to them in Chinese as opposed to English.



Yeah, I would agree with this. I can communicate reasonably well in Chinese now and a lot of the Chinese grammar rules I've learned from Chinese courses (including BLU) I've reverse engineered to make English lessons from. Understanding the L1 language has made me an immeasurably better teacher and I can live a relatively normal life as I understand the local language. I couldn't imagine teaching or even living here without knowing Chinese.

As for having gaps in intricacies of grammar logic, I think this is a pretty normal as an NET. When posed grammar questions by students that you don't know the answer to, it's usually better to admit your shortcomings then do the research. Next time you are thrown the question you will have the answer. The lazier teachers of course, just don't care.

That being said, putting in all this effort to become a better teacher will not be rewarded in most university jobs. I put about 20% of my effort into my normal job and 80% into my private lessons. I point blank refuse to do work outside the classroom (I do different classes each semester so all my lessons have already been prepared). I've even mentioned this to my employer without being aggressive about it.

I think the bottom line is, there is a balance. If you go into class and show videos the whole lesson you're a c*nt as far as I'm concerned. These students have paid for a service and you're paid to give them.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non Sequitur wrote:
Oral means oral. In China at least, students get the grammar, lit etc from far better qualified Chinese teachers.


Well it seems most Chinese jobs do things much differently than basically anywhere else as I have never heard of a job that ONLY focuses on oral outside of some private tutoring stuff I suppose. Still, at least put some listening from British council or Listenwise, jesus. What purpose does constant movies serve?
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Elicit



Joined: 12 May 2010
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tefltainment perhaps? 🐒 and 🥜

As for Chinese English teachers being better than their foreign counterparts, this may be true. All of the local teachers I know get paid more than, and I use the following word loosely, ‘university’ foreign tefltainers.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTravel32 wrote:
Non Sequitur wrote:
Oral means oral. In China at least, students get the grammar, lit etc from far better qualified Chinese teachers.


Well it seems most Chinese jobs do things much differently than basically anywhere else as I have never heard of a job that ONLY focuses on oral outside of some private tutoring stuff I suppose. Still, at least put some listening from British council or Listenwise, jesus. What purpose does constant movies serve?

The alternative to Oral is subject teaching. I've never had a job where I've been tasked with anything OTHER THAN oral.
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jas5sk



Joined: 07 Aug 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:41 pm    Post subject: Great Reply with quote

Emp1 wrote:
thechangling wrote:
There are no valid rewards for operating fairly and with integrity in China so most people just play it to their maximum advantage and extract what they can out of it while they can. In China honesty, integrity and hard work is not rewarded like it can be in the west. It's not a moralistic crusade, it's about survival within a system that is crude, cruel and unforgiving.


Yep, this is what it boils down to, and before some public uni hack comes out with the 'teaching and the love of educating is its own reward' crap - it isn't. I don't consider it a privilege to teach, and I damn well don't want to live my life poor. The 'rewards' of doing a good job should be a nice house, decent holidays, savings to put aside for retirement, increasing salary throughout the years, being able to raise a family in comfort.

Teaching abroad, outside of the few genuine international schools, is not a 'professional' job. No one working at a uni, language school or high school teaching ESL is a 'professional' teacher. Professional teachers have teaching qualifications (no your CELTA or TEFL certificate certainly isn't one, and saying it is so is quite frankly an insult to those with their PGCE/state teachers licence) and a career path that includes substantial pay rises and responsibilities. Teaching English in China is more comparable to being a waiter or waitress in a restaurant...the money actually can be pretty good sometimes, but there's no upwards progression and it's not a 'career'. You should just do everything you can to maximise financial reward while minimising effort.

Everyone willing to slave away for their uni and actually plan good lessons, a syllabus, mark papers etc should just load up a pension calculator sometime. Now this doesn't apply if you're 60 already, have worked in the west for 30 years, and you're already set. In that case, do whatever you want. For those who don't have a substantial amount saved, or mummy and daddys trust fund to fall back on, you need to start banking serious cash.

To have an age 65 retirement income of 15000RMB (so we're not even talking rich here, just 'OK'...remember when you retire you'll need to pay for your own accommodation if you don't own a house) you need to be saving 10000RMB a month from the age of 35. If you start at age 25, you need to be saving 6500RMB a month. Just have a think about that. To have a reasonable quality of life after you finish working, you need to be banking more money per month than the average uni FT gets for his whole salary.

And that's only one of lifes big expenses. Want kids? That'll cost you a whole lot. Buying a house? In most places in the world that you can feel comfortable buying property you'll need a 20% deposit which can easily be 300,000RMB+, and then you'll be paying a mortgage of 3000-5000RMB a month. Still think you can work hard for your uni and not worry about picking up more money through side work? Think again. Unless you want to live poor, retire poor (or more likely, not retire at all), and either not have a family or have their grow up in poverty, you need to get your ass down to the language centres in the evenings and get some kindergarten or high school classes in your free mornings or afternoons. And of course, we still want to enjoy life to some degree while we're doing this, not returning home to do mountains more work or being completely exhausted because we gave it 100% in the classroom. Something has to give...choose between teaching quality or your own financial future. I might no apologies for choosing the latter and IMO anyone who chooses the former just hasn't had the rug pulled out from under them yet.

I bank 20,000RMB a month in this country. I'm actually securing my financial future. Yes, it means sacrificing lesson quality, but you don't make an omelette without cracking some eggs.


I love these reality checks. people get so caught up with themselves and their cultures as foreigners abroad that they never see the big picture until it is too late
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jas5sk



Joined: 07 Aug 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:03 pm    Post subject: growth Reply with quote

Emp1 wrote:
buravirgil wrote:
Would Emp1 concede a teacher is a professional though they do not prioritize earning as much money as possible, but derive a satisfaction from delivering engaging and productive lessons?


IMO...professionals have higher level qualifications and teach syllabuses that are internationally accredited (rather than just teaching for an 'exam' the teacher themselves sets). That means teachers with MA TESOL teaching in joint venture western uni programs would be professionals, same with those with PGCE/teachers licence in an international school. I don't see ESL teaching in the Chinese state system as similar to either of those.

ESL teaching is more akin to working as a waiter in a restaurant, in that it requires no qualifications to do, they take anybody who has the correct 'look', and there's no upwards career path to it even if the money isn't actually too bad if you work plenty of hours. It's similar to picking fruit in Australia, or working on a ski resort for a season...it's transitional work that is used to fund a nice lifestyle while abroad, it's not a professional 'career'.

On a personal level I think such teachers who prioritise quality lessons over earning more money are stupid and need a wakeup call. If you're away from your native country, that means you're not paying into the social security system back home. You also likely aren't paying for a mortgage in your home country either, which after 20 or 25 years will have yielded an asset worth many times your annual salary. Both these deficiencies need to be compensated for by earning (and banking) serious money. In the west, not banking much money in your 20's and 30's isn't such a big deal, since you probably have a mortgage, tax contributions for a state pension, and your expectation is that with more experience in your chosen career, your salary will rise, so you can bank a lot in your 40's and 50's to make up the gap. ESL teachers enjoy the opportunity to bank more money in their early earning years than their peers in the west (outside of top end jobs like law and banking), but sacrifise the higher earning potential later in life. That means you need to be saving money right now - and lots of it.

There's also the problem that IMO, this ESL thing won't last forever. Japan used to be a place to rake in the cash. It's not anymore. Then it was Korea, but Korea has clamped down hard on private tutoring and salaries stagnated, so it's not the goldmine it used to be. China is huge, so it will likely take a while for the same thing to happen here, and given the current demand it might seem like lunacy to ever think this gravy train will dry up...but there's a good chance it will in the end. There might be another country to hop to after that, but it's not a guarantee. That's partly why I'm fanatical about earning as much as possible now, so I have some kind of cushion to fall back on if the unthinkable happens.

Just take a look at this: http://www.aviva-pensioncalculator.co.uk/ which gives a good indication of the type of money you need to be saving in order to have a good quality of life once it's time to retire (it's in GBP, but easy enough to convert to USD via google). Put in your age, current fund, and then have a play around to see what sort of monthly contributions you need to make to ensure you have a decent amount of money to live off (keep in mind that inflation, once you retire, will erode the value of your monthly sum, so you need to have X amount of income plus some extra to counter inflation). The sums are pretty frightening, especially if you're just coasting through your 20's, 30's and 40's on 6000rmb a month working 16 hours a week. Also keep in mind you'll no longer get a free apartment after you stop working, so you'll definitely need more than your current monthly income just to account for rental costs, unless you buy a property which will of course cost some additional cash on top.

Son of Bud Powell wrote:
So you show your thanks for the opportunity to live a better life in China by being a slacker?

I'm out of this one. This thread is becoming sickening. I truly hope that you are a troll.


It's a better life *now* but it won't be in the *future* unless I save, save, save.

This isn't some doom prophet telling you all you need to live off 2000rmb a month, work 7 days a week, never enjoy any holidays, and bank every yuan you ever make. But just run the maths...you'll see you need to be banking huge amounts of money, probably far more than you ever imagined. I see people over here who think banking $1,000 USD a month is damn great because it's more than they could do back home...it's not close to enough though because back home you have a social security system and you're paying into a mortgage, along with building a career.

The minimum anyone should be banking, assuming they're relatively young and have no savings right now, is $2,000 USD a month. If you're 40+ but still no savings, make that $3,000 USD a month. If you're 50 or above with no savings you're probably screwed, though I'd implore anyone in that situation to get their MA and go suffer in the gulf countries for 10 years to try and bridge the gap as much as humanly possible.


I wonder how this has panned out since 2015...some nice foreshadowing here
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