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Teaching English in China – Debunking the Myths
Do a Google search on “teaching English in China” and what you’ll find are more than 54 million listings from China-based employers, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification schools, EFL forums, and “cultural exchange programs,” for example. , reputable recruitment agencies, all of which have benefited greatly from convincing Europeans that going to China to teach oral English is a privilege and a lifetime opportunity. While it’s true that EFL courses can be a great way to finance travel to exotic locations around the world, it’s useless for anyone to tell you that doing this sounds like a new and permanent job. move.
This article will debunk some of the most common myths about teaching English in China and will argue that doing so should only be considered by the few people who meet the criteria outlined below. It was written by an American psychoanalyst who has been working in China since 2003 as a psychologist and professor of psychology.
Myth #1: All Chinese Want to Learn English and Use It in Their Daily Lives
Chinese education was completely reformed in 1979 to meet the goals of the Chinese Communist Party’s reform in 1978, which was adopted at the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee, which is called the Four Modernizations. These Four Modernizations were in the areas of 1) agriculture, 2) industry, 3) technology, and 4) defense and aimed to make China a great and self-sufficient economic power by the beginning of the 21st century (Wertz, 1998).
Nowhere between these four parts of this range will you find English as a foreign language or any of the people for that matter. The fact is that English as a foreign language has a very low level of education in China. The scholarship is offered as a compulsory scholarship to freshmen students who did not pass the national college entrance exam (Gao Kao) to receive the major they applied for in the most rewarding field.
Unless students have real intentions – and a lot of money – to study abroad one day, hope to work for an international company, or want to marry a foreigner, they won’t use a single word of English for the rest of their lives. they live after they graduate 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 worked in China for many years have realized that what the Chinese people really want is for the whole world to learn Chinese – and that desire will one day be fulfilled as the Middle Kingdom continues. uncontrolled rise as a world economic power.
Foreign English teachers are recruited competitively to meet the Ministry of Education’s mandate that they speak to all foreign language students. Apart from public schools and universities, the proliferation of private language schools – where greater abuse and exploitation takes place – has led to an incredible need for white faces in the classroom to attract new students and charge fees higher than possible. they will be paid for the classes by their Chinese English teachers only.
What you need to remember is that because the teaching and learning of English in China is frowned upon by Chinese education leaders and administrators, the role of the foreign English teacher is technically removed: It just makes the students speak and listen. skills, with very few exceptions. Whether a foreign teacher has a PhD in a language with special skills in second language learning or is a recent college graduate with little or no experience, most of the time, everyone is assigned to teach the same classes. the difference in salary not exceeding 700 yuan ($102.00) per month.
Myth #2: A Foreign Teacher Can Be Very Flexible About Paying and Can Save Money
The average salary of a foreign English teacher in China – outside of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou – is between 4,000 to 6,000 yuan per month ($584 to $876, respectively) for 14 to 20 hours of face-to-face teaching per week ( Mavrides, 2009). Although it is true that this salary represents 70 percent more than the national income of 1,800 yuan (Economy Watch, 2009), it does not mean much unless you are willing to pretend you are Chinese.
Although it is possible to save a third of your monthly salary of 5,000 yuan, you will have to live a simple life to do so, which means giving up all Western foods and products, and carefully restricting the use of essentials, especially air conditioning. For example, one can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup is sold for $3.21 (22 yuan) at a Western supermarket in Guangzhou and that 2 to 1 matching price is consistent with all Chinese imports, if you have them. chances are you’ll find them all (and you won’t go outside the three international Chinese cities mentioned). In addition, Western-style electronics and personal electronics often cost as much in China as they do at home, sometimes more, and you’ll often be buying high-quality equipment, i.e. fakes that don’t last as long as the real deal.
The reality is that any European who lived in the society of civilization at home would not be able to earn the salary that many foreign English teachers receive in China. Even if you’re making sacrifices to save money, that money will quickly run out if you decide to travel or if you get seriously ill (real health insurance isn’t covered, accidental injury insurance is). Many foreign English teachers in China moonlight and don’t because they can’t afford it.
Apart from salary concerns, you should also be aware that the “free” apartments provided to foreign English teachers vary in size and type, and are often similar to those of poor Chinese people, for example, small (580 to 580). 900 square meters), older units, and lower eight-story buildings without elevators, and hot water available for showers. You should get used to washing your hands, as well as the dishes, in cold water unless you choose to buy water heaters for the bathroom and kitchen sinks with your own money, and you can plan to do a lot of exercise especially. if your house 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 tedious, difficult, and, for the most part, thankless job. Although students who believe they will use English one day will already have mastered speaking and listening skills, most of your students will not be able to understand you at all unless you speak slowly and use simple words. Unfortunately, this is not only true for your students, but it will also be true when trying to communicate with your peers, supervisors, and almost anyone else you meet in China unless the other person is also a foreigner. .
It’s highly unlikely that anyone other than an EFL/ESL teacher would find the job personally or professionally rewarding, and no one other than a teacher with a master’s degree and a state teaching certificate would be able to make a real living out of it– and only by teaching in an international, interactive program. , or a Western university with a branch in China.
Myth #4: Any Native Speaker Can and Should Teach English in China
There are four groups of Europeans for whom teaching English in China would make sense: 1) college graduates who want to learn Chinese or gain travel experience before returning to their real jobs; 2) elderly people in very good health who are looking for a short trip (four to six months); 3) retirees who want to extend their western pensions to an Asian country and, as we said before; 4) EFL teachers who may be working as directors of schools and programs, or in places available to certified and certified teachers.
For anyone else, especially the middle-aged and middle-aged without many means, moving to China to teach English puts you in a financial prison in the Asian EFL system: You will spend the rest of your life teaching English as a foreign language without money, moving from place to place, maybe even country to country. , hoping to find greener pastures and forever cursing the day you decided to teach English in China.
Economy Watch (2009). China Income, China National Income. EconomyWatch.com. Retrieved July 3, 2009 from http://www.economywatch.com/world_economy/china/income.html.
Mavrides, Gregory (2009). Advice for Foreign Teachers Living and Teaching in China. Middle Kingdom Life. ISBN No. 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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