Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Reform School X

Who would have thought I'd grow up and begin to understand the perspective of this guy?

Well at age 48, here at the international school in somewhat-outside-of-Beijing China, I finally do.

I finally get it.

The school here has begun to decide on its direction. Unlike last year, when it was basically a warehouse for rich kids, it is now leaning into its role as a genuine reform school.

Lunch time detentions. Monitored evening study. Uniform inspections. Phones only available one hour a day. They stand up and sit down at the beginning and end of class while we inspect them and take away their water bottles, toys, head phones, stuffed animals, etc.

As mentioned, we're dealing with all the lost souls who got kicked out of the Chinese state schools -- and that includes not just generally bad students, but autistics, people with special learning needs, and general eccentrics and weirdos.

I came to this job thinking it would be a good springboard into international curriculum schools, but now I'm kind of wondering exactly why I thought that would be a good idea.

Do I really want to spend the last decade of my working career trying to teach spoiled rich kids not to throw tissue on the floor or put their feet on the desks?

I mean of course the only other real option to make a decent salary is Saudi, and while they're equally careless and indifferent, I don't think I got quite so much hostility there. Nobody ever told me to fuck off or flipped me off there, but they do here quite often.

So I begin to understand the evil teachers and principals from the comedies of the 80s. I really do.

How long until I'm doing ,,, this?

(He mentions his salary of $31,000 a year, which in 2017 dollars would equal about $72,000 -- which is about 20,000 a year more than I'm clearing here.)

But then again ... I'm in detention too ... for my many sins ... and I'm just getting paid for it.


Anonymous said...

You wont make the same money but I would recommend, if you have to do your time in Asia, a public institution. Normal Chinese kids and young adults like the ones I teach at a 3rd tier public university are the best students in the world.

I'm not an international socialist but when you teach the children of the farmers and workers of China who are great kids (the ones I teach are around 20 years old) and then read about what you deal with it makes one think.

Anonymous said...

So many better international schools in the world....do your homework, network, and get your CV looking sharp. You will be laughing at this post in years to come as it seems you just landed at a shitty school. I taught in the states for years...talk about a shit show....luckily I got out....and I am not to many years younger than you. Now I am cruising making solid money, stress free for the most part at my work, very polite kids...On a good financial plan and hopefully if things go well should have a solid retirement by the time I turn 60. My advice...do your 2 years and get out sign up with Search associates and recruit ....loads more better schools out there!

Anonymous said...

Chinese reform school teacher doesn't really sound like the hot ticket...Any chance of say, teaching business English to upwardly mobile young ladies in Shanghai who will dress to impress the mysterious Mr. X? Or is my imagination running away with me?

As always, an interesting chapter in the ongoing saga.

Salary wise, it is nice to see you are reaping the rewards for making the transition from "Party X" to "Money X". $50K net is not a bad haul, especially if you can chip in a bit more from your various e-publishing ventures.

Are you seriously considering retiring at 60? Or will you just ease up a bit at that point?

English Teacher X said...

There seems to be an inverse relationship between jobs you like and jobs you get paid well for.

60 is the maximum age for getting a work visa in Saudi and China and I suppose some other countries? Anybody really know that? They're talking about lowering it in China, I hear.

English Teacher X said...

I figure, by the way, I will sign a contract for a third year here, because my CV has two one-year jobs previous to this one, both of which were bracketed by gap years, so I need to finish my master's and not present the CV of a gadfly.

Anonymous said...

Three years at a Chinese International School will definitely look good on the resume. No one will ever know the details. Throw a Master's on top of that and it could equal some nice opportunities.

I guess you could always teach online after 60 from your beach front property in Southeast Asia.

Not a bad way to fade out.

Anonymous said...

You can teach until 65 in China if you are a foreigner.

English Teacher X said...

There is a rule that has affected at least one person I am acquainted with, that you now can't work for more than 5 consecutive years in Beijing? I don't know all the details but i know a Canadian girl who just left China because of it.

English Teacher X said...

At least 2 people who were here had issues about renewing work permits because they were 60; both of them left voluntarily, rather than try to work though it, so i don't know if there might be some way around it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@ X
Three people at my school were 64. But that was the last year they could work. I'm not int Beijing though. One guy, even though married to a Chinese had to leave after 5 years but then could come back.

Maybe the school just didn't want the ones over 60 or maybe it is a Beijing thing.

Anyway,not a good idea to plan on staying here that long.

Anonymous said...

Retirement for foreigner teachers in China varies from province to province - in some it's 60 and others 65. Even then, some schools can get around it.

The "5 year rule" seems to crop up now and again but it seems to be randomly applied and most people have never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

How do you deal with the loneliness?