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Universities with a sense of collegiality?

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Joined: 01 Mar 2003
Posts: 944
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:37 am    Post subject: Universities with a sense of collegiality? Reply with quote

Hi --

I teach in a university in China, and one of the reasons I've been unhappy here lately is that there's no sense of collegiality. The foreign teachers generally ignore each other, or are openly hostile to each other. There's no office for foreign teachers or even English teachers in general, so it's tough to meet on professional turf (which might explain some of the problems. I don't know.), and doubly tough to meet the Chinese English teachers. Making friends with Chinese teachers would help make everything more fun, and would be mutually beneficial, but it's impossible here.

Can anybody recommend a university in China with good staff relations, life monthly meetings, good relationships between Chinese and foreign staff, etc.?

Preferably this would be one with decent pay, delivered on time. Wink


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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2003 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuruchan, long time no hear.
Hate to say, I think this is a common problem. The main reason I am at the college I am now is because there is some friendship, play cards/tennis, a trip to Kaifeng. But even so, most of the Chinese teachers are so busy with their second jobs, try always to earn more money. Without a belief in Communism or God, it seems their faith is in getting as much money as possible. We do have an office, and talk sometimes. I am sure if they are resentful they we make more they hide it, but this might be part of the problem. The best way is to find some common interests...pingpong, art, stamp collecting, cards.
Foreign teachers are another matter. Some (like me sometimes, I'm sure) think that they are God's gift to humanity because the FAO says so. I gues it comes down to the same thing, finding what interests you have in common, either teachers at that the college, or in the city. I remener a thread a while ago about how some foreigners get upset if you even say hello to them, they want their illusion that this is their little country. They tend to have one or two Chinese friends, usually young, and they will often refer to their "friend" as if they own them.
Seems to me you're in Shenzhen???What are your interests?
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Joined: 01 Mar 2003
Posts: 944
Location: China

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 4:03 am    Post subject: Yep. I'm in SZ. Reply with quote

Yes -- I am in Shenzhen.

I like going to the movies, reading, and just pooping around and looking at stuff. I really like shopping too. I do have a passion for weird school supplies and t-shirts with misspelled slogans.

Actually, as I wrote this I had a good idea (so, thanks for inspiring it with your mail!). I don't like watching movies on VCD and would rather watch them in the cinema. The problem is that other foreign people don't like to go to the movies if the film is just in Putonghua with no English subtitles (not that it's easy for me to understand the film either, but I can get the basic meanings, and I don't get frustrated). I just need to find a Chinese friend to go to the movies with.

Another teacher I know suggested finding out what the Canadians in SZ do for fun. There's a new Sino-Canadian school near us, so we could ask around. Most Canadians are nice, down-to-earth, non-creepy people, so wherever they go relax is worth checking out, I think.

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Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, kurochan, Shenzhen, is it? Were you on holiday for the last few months?

Your last remark sounds familiar to me - it is always easier to befriend expats in OTHER schools than in your own one! Nationality may play a role too!

As for Chinese, I think Chris said it extremely well. I have had excellent friends among them. In Foshan, one guy would drive me around town on his motor cycle. Much later, I found out he was happier with me than with his wife - whom he divorced a year on!

Some Chinese are tendentially envious of us. I can understand it mentally - we don't have to take part in their regular teacher meetings!
Some of us get much better pay!
And, we are widely being perceived as underqualified (that applies in particular to schools that hire you as a conversation-only teacher). - and overpaid!

I had an extremely happy year at one school, and was proud when they hired me for another year.
Strangely, from day one on it has been different.
I seldom get wind of things happening.
Classes often are cancelled and rescheduled ad hoc!
The school asked yet another photographer to turn up and shoot me - in contravention of an oral agreement I had struck with them previously to oblige them to ask me beforehand. When this happened, I fled the classroom!
And, unlike last year, we have so far not made a single outing together in our spare time!
Personally, I think the worst so far has been the fact that my suggestions of badly-needed materials have not been entertained at all! In the end I had to buy things at my own expense. My colleagues probably are jealous of me as I use VCD's instead of drilling and rehearsing with my charges - they probably think it is child's play when in fact it is a more suitable medium for the kids.

Right in week 2, I told the girl that acts go-between to our headmistress that I was not as happy as before. She ignored it - at that time it was the visa question which was becoming pressing. Not for them - a visa might expire, it is my peril!

I have on several occasions wanted to quit, but have refrained up to now mostly because I would be missing the kids! And some colleagues too!
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