Reform School Financing To Spend Money On Low Income Children Teaching English in China – Debunking the Myths

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Teaching English in China – Debunking the Myths

Run a Google search on “teaching English in China” and what you’ll find is over 54 million results listed, primarily from China job recruiters, TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification schools, EFL forums, and “cultural exchange programs.” “That is, the glorified recruitment agencies, all of which stand to gain greatly from convincing Westerners that moving to China to teach spoken English is the opportunity and adventure of a lifetime. While it’s generally true that an EFL teaching position can be a good way to subsidize your travel expenses to foreign locations around the world, it’s completely disingenuous to suggest that doing so makes sense as a new and permanent mid-career. to walk

 

This article will debunk some of the common myths you’ll read about teaching English in China and in doing so will argue that only a very limited number of people who meet the criteria outlined below should be considered. It is written by an American psychoanalyst who has been working in China since 2003 as a mental health counselor and professor of psychology.

 

Myth #1: All Chinese want to learn English and use it in their daily lives

 

In 1979, China’s education system was completely overhauled to meet the goals adopted in the 1978 Reform Movement of the Chinese Communist Party, the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee, commonly known as the Four Modernizations. These four modernizations were in the fields of 1) agriculture, 2) industry, 3) technology, and 4) defense and were specifically intended to make China a great and independent economic power in the early 21st century (Wertz, 1998).

 

Nowhere in these four broad areas will you find English as a foreign language or any of the humanities. The truth is that English as a foreign language has very little as an academic discipline in China. Incoming freshmen who score very poorly on the National College Admission Test (Gao Cao) are assigned a mandatory course of study to obtain their requested major in a more attractive field.

Unless students have definite plans – as well as sufficient funds – to one day study abroad, hope to work in an international company or intend to marry a foreigner, they will not use a word of English for the rest of their lives. Life after graduation from college. In fact, in a country of 1.3 billion people, Chinese, not English, is the most widely spoken language in the world today. Many of us who have lived and worked in China for years have realized that what the Chinese really want is for the rest of the world to learn Chinese–and this desire may one day come true when the Middle Kingdom continues its work. Unbridled growth as an economic world power.

 

Foreign English teachers are recruited competitively as they meet the highly aggressive and highly competitive national requirement announced by the Ministry of Education which mandates a native speaker for all foreign language students. Besides public schools and universities, the proliferation of private language schools–where foreigners are most abused and exploited–has created an insatiable demand for white faces in the classroom to attract new students and command high tuition fees. Fees are charged only for classes with their Chinese English teachers.

 

What you need to keep in mind is that the teaching and learning of English in China has been devalued by China’s educational leaders and administrators, making the role of the foreign English teacher unprofessional: it is limited to facilitating students’ speaking and listening. skills, with very few exceptions. Whether a foreign teacher holds a PhD in linguistics with a specialization in second language acquisition methodology or is a recent college graduate with little or no relevant work experience, in most cases, each will be assigned to teach the same classes. A salary difference of more than 700 yuan ($102.00) per month.

 

Myth #2: A foreign teacher can live very comfortably on the salary provided and save money too

 

The average salary for a foreign English teacher in China outside of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou ranges from 4,000 to 6,000 yuan ($584 to $876, respectively) per month for 14 to 20 hours. face-to-face teaching per week (Mavrides, 2009). Although it is true that this salary represents up to 70 percent more than the current national per capita income of 1,800 yuan (Economy Watch, 2009), it does not mean that you are not willing to live like a Chinese.

 

Although it is possible to save a third of your typical salary of 5,000 yuan per month, you will have to live a very frugal life to do so, which means completely giving up all Western foods and amenities, and carefully restricting your use of utilities. Especially air conditioning. For example, a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup sells for $3.21 (22 yuan) at a local western grocery store in Guangzhou, and the comparative price ratio of 2 to 1 is fairly constant among all imported goods in China, if you are. Be lucky enough to find them (and you won’t be outside of the three aforementioned international cities in China). Additionally, Western brand name appliances and personal electronics will usually be as expensive in China as back home, sometimes a little more, and you’ll often be buying highly sophisticated clones, i.e., fake products that don’t last nearly as long. Real articles do.

 

The reality is that any Westerner living a middle-class life back home will barely subsist on the modest salary paid to most foreign oral English teachers in China. Even if you are self-deprived enough to save some money, those savings will quickly disappear if you decide to travel or you become seriously ill (actual health insurance is not provided, only accidental injury insurance). Most foreign English teachers in China are moonlighting and they don’t do it because they can’t get enough.

Apart from salary concerns, you also need to be aware that the “free” housing provided to foreign English teachers varies greatly in size and quality, and today it is quite common for the Chinese working poor to live in, ie, small (580 to 900 square feet), old, and rundown units in eight-story buildings with no elevators, and only hot water available for showers. Unless you decide to purchase water heating units for the bathroom and kitchen sink at your own expense, you’ll need to get used to washing hands and dishes in cold water, and you can plan to exercise especially a lot. If your apartment is on the eighth floor.

 

Myth #3: Teaching English in China is fun, easy, and personally rewarding

The reality is that teaching English in China is a very tiring and challenging job, and for the most part, it’s a thankless job. Students who believe they will one day use English have already acquired adequate speaking and listening skills, but most of your students will not understand you unless you speak very slowly and use simple vocabulary. Unfortunately, this will be the case not only with your students but also with your colleagues, administrators, and anyone else you have contact with in China when trying to communicate unless, that other person is also a foreigner. .

It is unlikely that anyone other than a career EFL/ESL teacher would find this work personally or professionally rewarding, nor would a teacher with a master’s degree and state teaching certification be able to make a real living at it–and then only in international schools, joint venture programs, or in China. By teaching at a branch western university.

Myth #4: Every native speaker can and should teach English in China

There are four groups of Westerners for whom teaching English in China might make sense: 1) recent college graduates who want to study Chinese or gain some travel experience before returning home to resume their real careers; 2) active seniors in very good health looking for a short-term adventure (four to six months); 3) retirees looking to extend their Western pension in an Asian country and, as mentioned earlier; 4) Career EFL teachers who will work either as school and program directors, or in positions available only to fully credentialed and licensed teachers.

For anyone else, especially middle-aged and mid-career people without sufficient means, moving to China to teach English will make you a financial prisoner of the Asian EFL system: you’ll be stuck teaching English for the rest of your life. Moving from position to position, possibly country, hoping to find a foreign language with no savings, green birds, and forever cursing the day you decided to teach English in China.

notes

Economy Watch (2009). China’s income, China’s national income. EconomyWatch.com. Retrieved July 3, 2009, from http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/china/income.html.

Mavrides, Gregory (2009). A Foreign Teacher’s Guide to Living and Teaching in China. Middle Kingdom Life. ISBN number 978-0-578-02423-3

Wertz, Richard R. (2009). Chinese history. China and the Four Modernizations, 1979-82. Retrieved July 3, 2009, from http://www.ibiblio.org/chinesehistory/contents/01his/c05s03.html.

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