Introducing: A Weekly Column About Teaching In China

Chinagog

Before we get started, let me say this:

If you’re one of those who reflexively shits on anyone and everyone in the education industry in China, let’s just get the hate all out of the way. Yes, there are those who deserve the world’s flung feces because they are your stereotypical loser-back-home/asshole-backpacker laowai who drinks to excess (often in class, because “it’s China”), whore around like end-times are come and space-cadet their way through lessons. There are those who show up in China without a degree or any ounce of marketable skills and sob to the heavens when the only place they can find work is a kindergarten in the middle of Henan farm country. And I know people who have arrived in class covered in vomit, spent a year having conversations with the classroom wall and been mostly unable to communicate in the language they teach.

But I am not one of those people. I hate those assholes.

I’m a proud member of the education industry. I love my job and I’m a damn good teacher. I approach my class every day with the explicit goals of teaching useful material and having fun while doing it. I’ve taught English to people from all over the world, ages six to seventy. My students have placed nationally in English competitions and matriculated into American universities. I’ve tutored executives in major corporations. Edutainment is my middle name.

If you’re still up there (metaphorically, natch) with your pants down, squatting and ready to release a shitstorm upon me and my ilk, I cordially invite you to get stuffed in a car fire or go suck on a vinegar-filled egg.

I’m not actually this hostile in life, real or digital. I’m just aggressive at defending the reputations of my hard-working, kickass comrades in classrooms — and if you can’t tell, we tend to bond over the mild disdain and outright hostility thrown at us almost every day, both on the Internet and in real life. This column will partly address those issues, and hopefully allow fellow teachers to commune with one another in this virtual space.

You should know upfront that I no longer live in China, but plan to come back. These columns will not be my horrified reactions to everyday China things like babies shitting in the street, the endemic smell of garbage during the summer, the lack of cold water in restaurants, the inability to queue (I played defensive line in high school, so it’s an excuse for me to dust off my once-formidable club and swim skills), spitting, smoking, or any of the mild annoyances that drive so many of our more sensitive foreign brethren to unnecessary insanity on a daily basis. China wouldn’t be China without its (her?) sizable rougher edges, and the weirdness stokes my sense of perverse amusement. And after living in Henan for two years it’s really hard to faze me.

“But Greg,” you’re undoubtedly mumbling to yourself at the moment, “you haven’t actually told us what you’ll write.”

Well, Releaser of Horses, here’s what I have so far: alcohol and language acquisition; classroom atmosphere; professional development; a love letter to erguotou; proper drunken adventures; Xinyang; using multimedia in the classroom (instead of just hitting play); setting (and accomplishing) language goals. If you want more details, you’ll have to come back around later. I’ll be here in the coming weeks, months, years, and possibly eons (science willing).

Greg is an ESL instructor who spent two productive years teaching in China. He currently lives in Colorado. His columns will run on Fridays.

(Image by Katie) |Chinagog Archives|

15 Responses to “Introducing: A Weekly Column About Teaching In China”

  1. SeaHorse

    Writing about actual important things expats can use to help them do their jobs better and adjust to life in a foreign country and find good booze rather than ranting about spitting on the streets and lack of decent wifi as if they thought they were in a first world country? Blasphemous.

    Reply
  2. Michael

    “You should know upfront that I no longer live in China, but plan to come back. These columns will not be my horrified reactions to everyday China things like babies shitting in the street, the endemic smell of garbage during the summer, the lack of cold water in restaurants, the inability to queue (I played defensive line in high school, so it’s an excuse for me to dust off my once-formidable club and swim skills), spitting, smoking, or any of the mild annoyances that drive so many of our more sensitive foreign brethren to unnecessary insanity on a daily basis.”

    Nice intro. Without these ‘rough edges’ China would be Hong Kong — Something China hopes (dreams) to be in about 30-40 years. The laowai in China are just trying to help the whole development thing along.

    Reply
  3. ActuallyInChina

    A teaching in China column written by someone who isn’t actually in China? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical alongside the rantings about wannabes above?

    Reply
  4. Really?

    You couldn’t find an English teacher actually located in China to write this column? Its the only requirement for this column. They’re literally falling from the trees.

    Reply
  5. Chackie Jan

    It was too hard to find a normal expat teaching English in China so you had to use someone who isn’t actually in China anymore. Instant classic.

    Reply
  6. Bananarama

    Hypothetical situation: a Chinese government official types “teaching in China” into Baidu so as to better keep an eye on you fools, and he comes across this article. He takes offense at your language – in particular, your command to “go suck on a vinegar-filled egg.” Those eggs are one of China’s proudest achievements, laowai, and don’t you for a minute believe they are a punishment (or not Chinese, despite the Korean’s claim to have invented them first.) Your barbarian palate may just not be evolved enough to appreciate it.

    So, this government official is sitting in his office and he’s like, “Hey – I thought all foreign English teachers were easily-controlled drunks, lechers, or Russian prostitutes. This guy means business. He probably wears a tie, and he might constitute a threat.” He immediately moves to eject all foreign language teachers from China. Rui Chenggang, being the asshole that he is, immediately takes up this battle-cry and relates that he has studied English teachers extensively and, yes – they wear ties sometimes in an obvious affront to the Chinese people, who can now afford their own ties. Fine ties, better ties than the American dogs wear. The ignorant, culturally insensitive Americans somehow think that their “Target” ties make them better than everyone else.

    So all foreign teachers, American or not (but especially the Americans) are summarily ejected from China due to your article. Our original government official is validated, and offered a thirteen-year-old 国产 at his next luncheon. Mr. Rui is invited to London to speak about some bullshit or other where he whines about locals not recognizing his (famous brand in China) (articles of clothing). How would you feel, then, Mr. Article-Writing-Man? Huh? Please consider your words carefully, and think about how they affect others.

    Reply
  7. Nonhumbl

    Oh great. Another foreign teacher who used to live in China with er guo tou stories. And proper drunken adventure stories too! I think I’ll pass.

    Reply
  8. Markoff

    thank you so much, you told us what you will write about (without actually writing anything useful/interesting), you told us what you are not compared to other English teachers (showing off FTW) and you told us you are not even in China (anothex expat expert on China who is not even residing here to at least pretend something) and you spent here enormous amount of time – 2 years, Beijing Cream common, seriously??

    Reply
  9. Tommy Breen

    You will never have another teacher like me. Someone who’s basically a chilled out entertainer…..

    Reply
  10. Robin

    I think your writing is snazzy and fun. I’ve been in Beijing now for 2 years and I’d have plenty of creditable tales to tell if I left the country now. Write on, my friend! Haters gonna hate.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


3 + = six