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Making it Work while Teaching on a University Salary
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Emp1



Joined: 25 Mar 2015
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mw182006 wrote:
Emp1 wrote:
Missed this gem. Tell me - why is the job you held before ESL relevant to me telling ESL teachers they need to be saving big money for their future? Obviously it doesn't apply if you already have money saved, but I thought that was sufficiently obvious it didn't need pointing out. Sorry - I fail to take into account some of the slower members of the internet sometimes.


Again, who are you to tell people what they should/shouldn't be doing? You don't think it's 'sufficiently obvious' that people should plan for retirement? As indicated at the start of the thread, some people value free time over money. I'm sorry this doesn't seem to compute with you. But please, continue to make snide comments about random people on the internet.


Such people will be enjoying their 'free time' in poverty after their time teaching in China comes to an end then, and it's not as if they'd live the life of Riley when teaching on 6000rmb a month either.
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Son of Bud Powell



Joined: 04 Mar 2015
Posts: 179
Location: Since 2003

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emp1 wrote:
Who really cares about helping people being the motivation? Most people do their job for the MONEY, and there's no shame in that.

I for one don't feel teaching is some great and noble thing to be doing, I'm here for the money. Hell, I'll sweep the car park if they agree to pay me 200rmb an hour for doing it, because it's about the money.


That's right. People DO their jobs for money. Some comments sound as if the job isn't being done. Just showing up and playing a movie or allowing students to do whatever they want isn't teaching.

Someone who doesn't thing that teaching isn't a great and noble thing to do shouldn't be in the class room. They deserve to to be parking cars. The problem is that if one is hired to park cars, he is expected to park the cars, not sit behind a service counter watching p**n instead.

Get my drift?
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Stomper



Joined: 15 Sep 2013
Posts: 33
Location: Left of nowhere in particular

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is quite a good read...thanks to all who contributed.

I can appreciate what EMP1 says. Some can't condone it, but that is just their opinion. He'll do what feels good for him and bear the risks and potential pitfalls.

He's right about the money angle 100%, the only person who will look after you is you. In the near future safety nets and state support in the west will be a thing of the past. So yes, plan....look out for #1.

I have come to the conclusion that in China if you play by the rules, a way of thinking that is very ingrained in western ppl, you won't get by.
In China it is dog eat dog (isn't the saying actually man eat man in China?), its stab your neighbour and do over your friends to look after you and yours.

Its zero sum hard ball, thats the way the whole society plays. The lack of empathy helps in this respect.
The strong and wiley make it or make it for a while, upset the wrong person or shine too brightly and WHAM....just ask Mr Bo.
The weak and feeble get left on the mountain in winter, they'll just slow you down.

So to succeed you need to semi play by their rules, even though as a waiguoren you aren't really allowed to and don't have the guanxi to do it properly. (GSK and bribes?...Neil Heywood?)

Perhaps EMP1 will get found out by his uni gig for slacking and yes, it gives other FTs a bad rep as we are tarred with the same brush.

But do the Chinese really give a fig about westerners?...my guess is no, not really.

Why should he care? Just move the caravan onto another city/province...rinse and repeat.

Could I do it?
No..and that is why I'm a poor no-hoper.
But I understand where he is coming from and good luck to him.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 663

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a fascinating old thread. I wonder how Emp1 and Deats are getting on now? While I disagree with their teaching 'principles' (Emp1 in particular) they did make some very valid points about the importance of saving up for retirement.
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ChrisHenry15



Joined: 03 Jan 2015
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always said China is a stepping stone.

Last year, I was able to complete my MA while holding a Uni job. I'll be applying for a Ph.D. program next fall. My Uni will allow me to fly home 4 times during the year to complete the residency requirement. So while the salary is low, the flexibility and support are worth more than the 20K+ job offers I've declined.


When all is said and done, I'll be 33-34 with a Ph.D. likely with 8+ years uni experience. While that is late to start saving, the potential annual salary increase should offset the lost of savings within 5 - 7 years.
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OhBudPowellWhereArtThou



Joined: 02 Jun 2015
Posts: 1168
Location: Since 2003

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya done good, chrishenry15! Good on ya!
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are still ways to place the responsibility of learning on students and not be such a lazy scum bag about it AND not have to work outside of the actual class. Simply putting on movies is the lazy way out and the students learn next to nothing. At least give them some digital platform to work on via the cell phone they have. With a lot of these platforms the scores are sent back to you, to a teacher dashboard (or you walk around and enter it in a digital gradebook as soon as you see it on the screen, no effort required beyond the class) and you can at least respond to questions during class about things the students need to know - grammar, reading comprehension, listening activities, etc. Khan Academy will literally do the teaching for you via youtube videos and all you need to do is enter the test grade at the bottom of the lesson into a digital gradebook. That is the bare minimum you should be doing and if you can not do that, look at a number, enter it in a (digital) gradebook, rinse and repeat and respond to an occasional question, well, you have no business in any class regardless of pay. The students at least deserve an active teacher, walking around and responding to questions based on the activity they are doing on whatever digital platform you send them to. On occasion do a kahoots with them to test them on that grammar, in a fun way. There are tons of already made kahoots. No effort required to find them and execute that.

Where do you set the limit for what is suddenly "professional pay" and what is not? Do you have some arbitrary number? What happens if the pay is just slightly below that line of what you deem professional pay? Another movie day? Rolling Eyes
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many of us are tasked with Oral English teaching.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course speech is part of any English class, doesn't that go without saying? I am talking about the other components of the class which are important too: Grammar, vocabulary, writing activities, etc. For writing, you can send the students to essay scorer, write the essay on that site and when they click "submit" they will be given a score. You can use that score but the score can be increased or decreased according to the teachers discretion (as well as it should be). They get tips on how to improve and different aspects of their writing are graded individually, each one with tips.

For speaking practice they can do presentations and role plays. It does not take much effort to print out a rubric and fill them out for each presentation as you sit there and watch, having a feedback session after each. I was merely providing SOME examples, like in the prior post of how to provide minimal effort and still be more helpful to the students. If you want one for oral English, well, there you go. British council also provides lots of audio for listening and is super easy to grade if you simply think about it.

My point, there are better ways to teach without much effort and still avoid basically wasting the students (and your) time (with just movies). In no way would I condone the style outlined above, but at least the students get more use out of it...
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 767
Location: Xi'an (XTU)

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 7:41 am    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.


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. It takes too long for a FT to get across the importance/usage of grammar in English, and TBH considering the cultural differences, many students will simply pretend to understand a foreigner rather than question them further.

I've taught grammar classes and invariably they're a mess. A Chinese teacher has the perspective of learning English themselves, and can understand the process in acquiring English. I, on the other hand, being a native speaker, find there are large gaps in my understanding of grammar, since it is instinctive. Sure, I've taken courses in teaching grammar, and I've studied many grammar books, but I don't see a FT teaching grammar (who hasn't specialised in the area) as being an efficient way to impart the knowledge.

FTs are far better in teaching the practical application of English, and the use of (western) logic.
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Non Sequitur



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 4724
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1.
I once had a long discussion with an English Major about the content of her course away from my Oral English. The language of instruction needs to be Chinese.
I recall one essay subject in her Lit section. It was 'The character and motivation of Shylock'.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3898
Location: Pittsburgh

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

llamapirate wrote:
Thanks for the advice Son of Bud and Simon. That was exactly the kind of advice I was looking for and if you happen to think of any more I'd definitely appreciate it.

Also, I've been finding schools to apply to directly via their English pages using lists of Chinese universities on Wikipedia. Is that basically the suggested method if I'd rather avoid using a recruiter and have no direct leads in China?


How did your search go? What kind of package did you find at a Chinese University?
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cormac



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 767
Location: Xi'an (XTU)

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how it is in other universities, but in my experience, I usually have each group of students once a week for two periods (each 45 minutes long) with a ten minute break between them. I generally have between 40-60 students in a classroom, and honestly, the students really require far more attention that they receive. While my lessons are prepared and structured for the time constraints, I do find it difficult to impart enough of the learning to the overall class.

There's also the aspect that while many universities attempt to split up classes based on English aptitude/ability, there is generally a varied mix of ability, since the Chinese administrators base everything on exam/test results which are written and the audio/verbal tests do little to establish any real practical ability to use the language. So, I generally have a wide range of students who can write well enough (although usually very naive or inflexible in their manner), but lack the skill to speak/listen to English in a practical way.
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cormac



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 767
Location: Xi'an (XTU)

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inevitably, some students fall behind either through mismanagement or their own lack of study. I'm not going to declare myself as being a great teacher. I can improve the ability of 50% of the class, but I find that the system that the Chinese use to be rather lackluster in actual performance. There's little integration between subjects, and no real attempt to review past topics to reinforce learning.

Chinese students need the Chinese teachers because of the time constraints with classes. Although, to be fair, I did have a university two years ago, who allowed me to take a single class, design their learning program, and have the class four times a week, with their English ability skyrocketing in comparison to other classes. I've since suggested doing similar in other universities, but the focus on Translation and written English generally stops such notions in their tracks. There's also the aspect that our lovely Maoist moral committee doesn't really want students exposed to a foreigner for that amount of time.

Which is a shame, since I've found that Chinese students have incredible potential.

[Keep wondering if I'm going beyond the long posts limit. Sorry mods, if I have. Hence the double post]
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