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"Lazy" English teachers?

bluppfisk (398 posts) • 0

And of course to get drunk on cocktails at expensive places like Salvador's, and eat Western food. Seriously, don't pretend as if all teachers are such poor creatures fighting the machine. Most of them are here on an adventure and if they bothered to do the effort (which most do, don't get me wrong), they can easily find the good deals too.

That said if you make the same salary here as in Europe, you are bloody well off. If they're not happy with the different life standard, if everything should be easy and fair, there's always Europe to work in. My god, such nagging.

Enough discussion now, we're obviously not going to agree.

AlexKMG (2385 posts) • 0

Kunming should be quite happy to have so many foreigners come to this tier 2 city in a tier 2.5 province. Likewise, the foreigners should be quite happy to have a plethora of teaching jobs available.

Kunming has no port/logistics and has no manufacturing to speak of. It's "high-tech" zone is more of a joke than even other cities. It should welcome any booming industry that adds to it's growth.

If they want to enforce all the laws on the books, fine by me. BUT THEN THEY NEED TO ENFORCE ALL THE LAWS. Foreign english teachers teaching on the wrong visa without the correct degree is the least of China's broken laws worries.

Hack job article, but served it's purpose to make for a lively forum thread.

TICexpats (207 posts) • 0

@ Bluppfisk, you say University Students are working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for 5000 ymb, so when are they actually in their monday to friday classes being a real student ?

@ goalie +1

@ tiger +2

@ yuanyangren, I agree 100% even though I'm not a English teacher either(though there is nothing wrong in being one), I get sick to death as being instantly labelled as one.
As to being lazy, it does not take long for laowia to copy the work ethics of the locals.

@ Alex, guess your not "fresh off the boat" either, LOL

Dazzer (2813 posts) • 0

I don't feel too sorry for local teachers.
There is an old joke.
'How do you know when you have been in China too long?'
'When you no longer ask how the guy earning $400 a month can afford a Mercedes'.

There are lots of ways local teachers can earn extra money. My Chinese daughter had an English teacher who told all her students that their English was bad and they all needed extra lessons. They were told they must go to 'this man' for 2 hour lessons on the weekend, at 100rmb per hour. 'That man' was her brother, he did not speak English, but he 'knew the test'. Other young teachers in the private schools steal clients and teach extra lessons at home. In many schools local teachers get free food, and in some they get free accommodation
The younger Chinese teachers who are not making money outside class, just have not worked out a way to do it yet. Or they are lazy (rare in Kunming, not) and still living off mom and pop. Living at home is normal for locals, even after marriage. A luxury most foreign teachers don't have.

crazy.laowai (242 posts) • 0

Am I the only English teacher here who is thrilled with his salary, benefits, job, and Kunming in general? I am having the greatest time of my life here, and I am very thankful to China and to Kunming for being kind enough to host me.

BillDan (268 posts) • 0

I work at a private college in KM and I did work for a time at one of the language schools here, working with kids. I know Ocean and he is certainly qualified to teach English here or in an English speaking country as well. I did a lot of volunteer ESL work in the US and worked in a hotel there to pay my rent. I have to be honest I have had mostly good experiences in China teaching. I have an art degree which with only a BA is all but useless in getting decent jobs in the US.

The only times I have had issues is when I go through that burn out phase and when it happens I just have to ride it out. I think the article about foreign teachers being lazy may not be fair even if the foreign teacher lack classroom experience.

I can speak a basic level of Chinese. Enough to say open books, read this or that, good job, there is a test next week, etc. But many teachers fresh to China cannot speak a word of Chinese and maybe like I was are thrown into an extreme situation that they are not expecting. I was told I would be working in a private college in Beijing when I came to China. The class sizes were to be about 15 and the students had good working English skills. At the last moment the company that hired he sent me to Jilin City and I was teaching primary and high school. The students for the most part were restless and hard to control. The class sizes were about 40 or more students. Students were throwing my handouts into the air and smoking in class. I was constantly micro-managing (or trying to) sections of the class while the rest went to hell until I got there. if I did board work there was zero interest.

I had been used to working with adults in Seattle and now I was in the belly of the beast. Needless to say one of the Chinese teachers at the HS took a dislike to me and went on tirades in his classes to the students about me (my student monitors told me this later) and called my boss (a Canadian man luckily, not a hard-boiled Chinese) complaining I was the worst teacher he had ever seen because after about 5 weeks of class, meeting with the student once for 90 minutes per class, their English had not improved. They were not speaking like Peter O'Toole or something. My boss told me to relax and he was happy with me and the company was delighted that I had not quit yet like the two teachers before me had.

It was a tense and unsettling situation. I was optimistic and full of ideas. But it all fell apart fast. I had no text book. No media. The school had a broken printer/copier and they decided to use something rice paper that clogged it up when it was working. It was in the winter in Jilin and the classrooms had no heating and sometimes broken windows. I deserved combat pay.

I in fact thought I was a total failure at the job. Later I got some part time work at a public school and at some businesses like Coke-a-Coal in Beijing as well as getting classes at the private college. While not without problems I found myself doing fine and preparing better lessons and structuring classes. I still notice I can be affected by the personality of a class. I am far from professional in this sense, but if the students want to do something I can get it going. If they want to monkey around and sleep and cut out then I get that dismal feeling again in my gut.

Some of these teachers may just be in hard situations. Classes are not universally the same. Some people are not great at controlling what is basically an unruly mob. I have some good students right now and and very happy with them. We do basically what would amount to English Corners as their gaokao days are behind them, but I do feel I impart usable information. One class has hardly any workable English and I will confess I rely on my Chinese a lot, keep them busy with handouts and watch movies than I should. But they just do much with English. I teach them nouns basically and short phrases but few seem to take any notes so I do not thin it is sticking. But they are decent kids. Well, they are 20 I think, but sort of still kids in ways.

If I were back in a HS like the one in Jilin I think I would be a zombie, "punching the clock" as it were. With some improvement in my Chinese has come some confidence with working with kids and low level speakers. I feel bad for many teachers thrown into a middle school and they cannot even say anything in Chinese. I do not think I could do MS or HS all the time. Maybe PT only.

I do not think most of them are lazy, I think they are overwhelmed.

The under-qualified deal is really rude too, a slap. There is a Phd. here at this school. Has worked teaching teachers in the US, and he is making basically $500 a month. He fought for the school to come through on a special raise for him of just 100 RMB and after a year they still have not done it. They want MAs and Phd.s to simply give their schools status but want to pay them less money than an actual cleaner in the US makes.

Yea, another bit of foreigner backlash. Ride it out.

tigertiger - moderator (5092 posts) • 0

It is possible to work your tail off and achieve little. Classroom management can be the main issue, and it can really only be learned on the job. Fresh teachers often struggle until they learn strategies that work for them. Unfortunately, in a high school, once an unhelpful classroom routine has been established it is almost impossible to break. But next years class is a fresh start.

Some teachers do become like zombies. Many reasons for this. It isn't laziness, it is fatigue. Stress from classroom management problems. Stress from bad management who cannot understand problems a teacher may be having. These problems can be technical frustrations, culture shock, or even just China fatigue.

I have met several fresh teachers who were really not as good as they thought they were. But with experience they got better, or sometimes gave up. I would think of most teachers first jobs as being tempered in the fire, and selective memories of our own limitations. I have taught many students, and occasionally still fail. My failures are less common after 8 years.

Yes I have had bad bosses, and worked with poor facilities, but I will admit to having been (at times) a less than perfect teacher. But I have learned a lot about my own limitations as a teacher and worked to improve skills, or avoid certain things.

BillDan (268 posts) • 0


No doubt many failings are of my own making. And one thing you said is so true: once you set up that bad pattern or method in the first couple weeks and do not modify it then and there it is all but impossible to get out of a month later. You, and the students, just have to make due, though of course it does not mean giving up.

One thing I would no doubt do differently (though I may still flop) is to not show my dismay or frustration. The students seeing a teacher freak out is like the crew of a submarine seeing the skipper lose it. okay, not that bad really. I "lost it" in a bad situation last year at the beginning in the class and it ruined the whole year for me. It was my worst year ever for teaching, and yet it was necessary.

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