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Ur experience teaching english ?

Gompo (148 posts) • 0

I would like to discuss readers experience teaching english and what pedagogical lessons they might have drawn from them.

My first job was in a kindergarten, but my employer was another institution. I found the kids pretty hyperactive and excited,so at first i tried calm them down, talking to them one by one and starting with alphabet. I was bit surprised the teachers were kind of hard, beating (softly) the kids head,pushing them back to their seat. Then I received sms at end first week saying I was fired. i asked why, they said because I didn't play enough games.

In this there was no pedagogical dialogue with me, they didn't tell they wanted more games. So I had bad opinion how they considered pedagogy both with kids and teachers.

Second job, lasted a semester in Qujing minority high school. At first we were supposed teach TOEFL but we found it was too difficult for their levels. Indeed, how can qujing kids be familiar with English? Also classes were often cancelled last minutes, it was very difficult make a schedule a month ahead. Finally the cancelled the program for this semester.
Here, I found that pedagogical objectives were not clear and there was no clear scheduling.This could also bring a larger discussion of a pedagogical system based on grades and not on studies proper, disheartening student or preparing em to b anoter brick in kapitali sm system.

So I looked for another job. I was hired two times but at last minutes they cancelled the programs.

So I get bit tired this system. I should go on begging? Also it seems there is no concept of a contract, it seems the teacher is the only one has duties, but he can fired like capitalist dollanytime.

I guess I am bit negative here, so I d like hear ur positive and negative experiences. I used be philosophy teacher, but this is kind of hopeless to teach, though I proposed several English school to teach philosophies in English, a good way to study English and Pilosophies I thought. But this might bring me only to the streets.

mmkunmingteacher (561 posts) • 0

Honestly, there are many schools here in Kunming that want a foreign monkey who will jump about, scream delightedly in a shrill falsetto, and basically entertain the students, pedagogy be d*mned.

But this is changing. More and more schools are learning about modern pedagogical methods.

I find one good tactic is to speak (humbly and respectfully) to your leader at the school about this. Offer your thoughts on why modern pedagogy will end up helping the students more than a foreign clown show. Many times, they will listen and agree.

The Dudeson's (1106 posts) • 0

Most schools in China a run by business people and they like to hire like minded people. Academic leadership or management end when people have to confront their leaders or bosses.

Although not all schools are like that, and also there is a history of unreliable teachers as well. So there is distrust on both sides.

About the curriculum (if you could call it that, in most school) or syllabus it's usually super easy. So if they DoS puts a stupid book on your desk to teach just read through it (as I said, it's mostly ridiculous stuff), invest a few bucks in proper material, or produce your own. Thus you will teach the kids plenty of useful stuff and annual assessments will be easy-peasy.

@kunmingteacher
I dunno why highly energetic teachers are such a bad thing, as long as they go through the material they planned or required to teach. I rather send my kid to a class with a teacher that keeps the kids happy and interested while teaching.
(Especially young learners.)
Rather than most of the teachers I see, that can't get out of their chair or let alone use their intonations and voice for the simplest of rhetorical stimulation.

Let's face it most schools have problems with under motivated staff than over motivated staff.

Plus as a DoS of many years, one week of P2P observation and you know what to do. Coz techniques and pedagogy you can coach, in what? ...a few weeks? But motivation you can't teach, but only try to maintain.

mmkunmingteacher (561 posts) • 0

Dudeson's, I probably did not express myself well enough. Sorry! Sure, a great teacher can also be very enthusiastic. My point was only that some schools seems to want enthusiasm only, to the point of hiring teachers who are only enthusiastic, and have no pedagogical training.

The Dudeson's (1106 posts) • 0

I agree, that a lot of schools run out of options or just have to hire any foreign face available. Not exactly the best way to ensure teaching quality.

The problem is not the teachers but their supervisors. If they would do a better job, giving proper training and development training. But most of them are just drinking tea chatting with the staff on break.

Most teachers tend to do what they told. (If!!)

In my school right now I have a teacher that is constantly unhappy and complaining about everything, literally. although a good teacher, it drives everybody insane. So I can understand both sides. And I am caught in the middle. yeaiiiiy..lol

Mandrake (126 posts) • 0

Well Gompo I have to say I have heard many stories like yours from other foreigners around China.

I was fortunate enough to get a good job with one of the big corporates here in China when I first arrived and stayed with them for 2 years. Once or twice with them, they approached me and said I wasn't entertaining enough (the usual try to get the white face to act like a clown). I put them straight and said, "Do you want a clown to entertain your students, or do you want an educator who will actually teach your students something? If you want a clown, I can quit and go find a job where they appreciate someone who will actually teach their students something." Needless to say they never commented on it again.

But yeah I agree with Dudeson's, some schools will hire any white face, usually at the expense of teaching quality, which then reflects badly on the other white faces who actually give a damn about doing their job properly, and as we all know generalizations cannot be avoided.

However there are schools that actually do care whether their students learn something or not, and thankfully they hire the right people to get the job done.

I do think there is a problem though with the students, they come to expect the white faced clown to entertain them, having come from such a mundane education system, I think they misunderstand the western method of teaching to be all about entertainment, as depicted in foreign film and television. I could be wrong on this, and welcome any opposing opinions.

zhulaoye (83 posts) • 0

I have found teachers who go into college level classes and teach lame brain songs like "I had a dog and Bingo was his nameo... B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was his nameo!" (true story) are favored over teachers do do dreadful things like correct pronunciation, ask students to stand and actually speak English by reading or finishing a sentence on the board. Who has ever walked into a class ready to "teach" only to hear "sing us a song!", "let's watch a movie!", "speak to us in Chinese!"

I had problems at a private college for getting testy because I did not like a student making paper airplanes of my handouts, and told another continuously disruptive girl to shut up. Another teacher friend who complained students were sleeping in his class was told "maybe they are just tired, so let them rest." So there you go.

I did teach young kids and games or activities of some kind are a must at that level. But Seems they are at the college level too in China. And then I see the material their Chinese teachers are teaching and I am blown away. Super high level. Of course the students are not really learning it but they are just trying to prepare to pass some test for a certificate or something. I dumb down notes to students as much as I can to explain what I need in a class situation and they look at the note perplexed and start banging away on those damned pocket translators or dictionaries. How can they understand that other stuff from their Chinese teachers if they cannot understand my simple notes I give them.

Not that that is an real issue and that is why we are there in the classroom, or so I thought for way too long. At two different colleges over the last three or four years I have had low level non-English major students. Recently the class sizes have gone up to over 50 at times with no media for pictures, PPT or those sanity saving movies once a month or so. It is me and a black board, and sometimes no chalk or eraser.

And yet somehow I feel I am expected by the school to be serious when all is said and done to prepare, prepare, prepare and suit up and show up and teach those kids English. I walked by a class room the other day and heard the foreigner teacher in there playing some game and clapping his hands, and later there was hysterical laughter coming form the students. Not that he is doing anything wrong and he has it figured out how to keep his job secure I think, but I thought to myself "what a friggin' joke" that this is what we are reduced to in a college level teaching situation. The "best" class I ever taught it seems was the one a couple years ago where I brought my guitar to class and played while a friend sang. Oh, now they loved that and wanted more and other classes heard of it and wanted their turn. I taught not one word of English of course but we partied down and had a good ol' time.

But schools at the college level also love those dry acedemic types with an MA or Phd who make elaborate PPTs (Power Points but I call them PPTs now) who can jabber for a whole class about this or that. The students may never get a chance to speak and do writing exercises at the most but damn that looks so serious and makes for those wonderful photo ops. I was once told I had to do a lecture before 200 or so high school students, through the college I was at, and was given the topic and told it must be high level and serious. The topic was some crazy ass linguistic mumbo jumbo that I had no clue what to do with, especially since the teachers and leaders of the college or high school could barely talk about food themselves. I refused to do it. And I did not.

Well in the end when the school decided to trim a couple teachers guess who got the axe without not much as a "thanks for your work here at the school for these past several years".

My experience has been that at the kid level the work is more stressful and you are subject to more observation and critiques than at the college level. I have heard of parents making some complaint like they do not like the book the foreign teacher uses or the foreign (or Chinese) teacher spoke Chinese in class once or twice. A buddy bought a a bunch of Dr. Suess type books for kids who only knew how say hello or f**k you and a parent complained that he should be teaching them politics or science. And guess what, the school, even the foreign bosses, agreed with her since she threatened to take her little Einstein to another school. He was fired later for not constantly changing his game plan at the whims of the school and parents.

I have found if you can get into a college you are off the radar less. Teach some English in some way and try to have a sense of humor. I do not do games in college and hate them -unless I am teaching kids and then you must- but you can try to do activities of some kind, but good luck. Once the class gets over 25 students and low level it is really hard. But t the lower levels where they are preparing for tests the school is all in your business.

You might want to try some colleges but there are not that many in Kunming and the pay can suck. They tend you fire you in the middle of contracts less unless you really screw up or the students just don't like you at all and boycott your class or complain. One complaint can be it here man. I bet you are a decent teacher with a good heart and good attitude. There is probably a place you you here somewhere Gompo, but so far you have had bad luck. That kindergartan shold have told you what they wanted and even given you some sort of syllabus or outline (excuse me for a sec... hahahahahaha... I just said foreigrn teachers ought to get a syllabus or outline, cracked me up...) or said "play more games or your fired" first. Sounds like a good place to no longer be though losing a job and income is not a good thing.

Good luck.

Mandrake (126 posts) • 0

Zhulaoye, yes unfortunately what you said is true. It is maybe for reasons like this that many Chinese who have been studying English for more than 10 years can barely string a correct complete sentence together. Too many teachers are hired for their ability to entertain rather than their capacity to impart knowledge and actually make the student learn something and god forbid, use the language.

mmkunmingteacher (561 posts) • 0

What many schools and parents do not understand, is that learning a foreign language is a very, very difficult task and process. Sure, a teacher can be lively and entertaining, but when it comes down to it, the students actually have to work hard.

Many of us foreigners are learning Chinese, and we actually have to spend hours daily studying and practicing. A clown leaping around saying, "Apple! APPLE!" does nothing for actual learning.

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