Yup, 我 是 英文老师
It has been interesting since I started this because I have a nice time getting to know young Chinese students. Most of them are born in the late 80s, which mean that many of them are the product of China’s “One Child Policy”.
Interestingly, a few of them actually have brothers and sisters but now, they are quick to point out if they mean a “cousin sister” or a “cousin brother”.
Being a 老师 is not easy because there are quite a lot of restrictions in China!
1. No discussions of religion unless it is directly linked to the course content. I could actually be arrested by the Communist Party members if I am suspected of converting any young Chinese O_O
2. No inciting of revolutionistic activities. No worries. I am such an easy-going and peace-loving person, I run away from people with any radical or revolutionistic tendencies i.e. the crazy ang moh or 老外 (lǎo wài).
By the way, I’ve discovered that 老外 lǎo wài is not necessarily a nice way to call a foreigner. In fact, I hate it when some shops call me, “你好, 小 老外!”
3. No unconventional methods of teaching. I am lucky to not have experienced any disapproval / reprimands from the higher authorities yet but I have heard some foreign teachers complaining about having to teach English in a Chinese way (whatever that means!).
4. Spying by the school authorities or Communist Party members!!! Initially, I was puzzled by a weirdo quietly opening the classroom door and stood staring at the students. I asked if she wanted something but she simply smiled and looked apologetic (???) for interrupting the class. She went away but I’d catch her (or someone else) appearing at another time to observe the class or my teaching the class.
Later, I found out that Communist Party member “monitors” are elected in every educational constitution – they are to report back to the Party of any “suspicious” activities. Boy, did that freak me out a bit.
After a while, I got used to these “little ghosts” and just went on teaching. After all, I’m not doing anything wrong.
For now, the higher powers are happy with me because:
a) I come to class on time
b) I do not show up in class drugged, drunk or unshaven
c) I do not incite any anti-government sentiments and
d) The Chinese students are actually speaking in English!
I am quite happy with them because they are willing to try hard, especially the weaker ones who have NEVER uttered an English word in their lives.
After the students are convinced that I am not 神经病 (shén jīng bìng or crazy) when I shook them up during the first class, we are getting along nicely
More importantly, they If I can help it, I will do my best to ensure that my batch of students go around the campus capable of engaging with other English speakers in a decent conversation in English.
They have just finished a simple assignment and I want to prepare them for more challenging tasks ahead.加油! 加油!