Only a little wish

May 16, 2019


The Newd Ean

May 16, 2019


  The new dean is proving to be the same idiot he was 15 years ago when he took over the FAO role briefly. Literally the same. Last time, he found himself a work schedule and began assigning everything he could to anyone he could. It didn’t matter who wanted what or who had experience doing what. You just got whatever classroom assignments maxed out your hours and put a teacher in front of a class.

  Or to put it another way, every piece of expertise I’ve built over the last five years specifically and the last ten generally is for nought because dang it if someone isn’t required to do the Listening and Speaking class. Fucker even said he’d find a Chinese teacher to do the Intro to Economics class since I didn’t liek it. I had to tell him the Intro to Econ class was on the timetable exactly and only because I HAD ASKED FOR IT TO BE. And it was such a shitshow last semester it even made Business Studies III disappear. I was supposed to be teaching BSIII this semester, you see, but somehow, it just no longer exists.

  And the best part? All of this “discussion” took place on the school wechat group. And it wasn’t even me who made that happen. He started it by posting the schedule and asking literally everyone to nominate what they’d take.

  Fucking asshole got me all bent out of shape. I’m gonna have another night staring at the ceiling ffs wondering if I can’t just go back to Australia anyway

q(_ _*)

April 22, 2019

SkillELTS, the cash goat

April 22, 2019

  There’s scope for it, certainly. Maybe not as much as I thought. But it’s there, the option to teach the IELTS test in terms of academic discourse skills. I’ve been researching it.

  Actually, someone should research just how far distant from convention English teaching the discourse skills really are. Pretty far, is what I think. Certainly in China. And I think it can’t not be a factor in how limited younger Chinese tend to be in speaking. (And the writing, my goodness, the drivel that passes for writing here…..)

  But I don’t know how much or how far, is the point. Even though I teach these things. I mostly just have this interest in academic style discourse… and you know what, how alarming is it that I’m wondering what defense I have to put up for academic style discourse. What kind of discourse isn’t “academic” in some sense? You’ve made a decision and you want someone else to understand it; you got a point of view and you want to share it; someone’s evaluated something and you want to know what; etc. Any time you’re proving or discussing, boom, you’re being as toffee-nosed as the rest of us “academics”.

  It’s worth researching, is what I’m saying, how deep this form goes. Share received wisdom; contextualise an issue; analyse relevant aspects; determine a course of action or a place to stop. Is there something left over in communication that isn’t covered by some or all of those?

  So there’s scope there for basing something as goal-oriented as IELTS training on something as didactic as that framework.

  At least.

  In any case, teaching IELTS as if it were just another language test would be as boring as teaching English itself. Imma go ahead and say language is discourse all the way down, buddy, and so help me Ludwig…

  Anyway, mentioned today to the foreign affairs officer that I’d have a change of heart. For nie on twenty years I have refused all offers, requests, and admonishments to take on, take part in, perform, and/or to do private teaching. And yet, said I, a week or so ago I changed my mind. I’d like to set up as an IELTS trainer, I said.

  Send me your certification, she said.

  Say what, I said.

  Dean whatshename, I think you might know her, blah blah blah, she said.

  I have stumbled, it would seem, upon a plot to open an IELTS training center here in this very city. Or maybe a training project. The school authorities have yet to decide what form the thing can take here. Shall it be form profit and be offered only to those students and citizens who proffer fistfuls of cash, or shall it be funded by the school and made freely available for all and only our students…

  I gather this Dean has two other teachers attached already, and I’d make teacher four. Four modules, four teachers. Speaking, Reading, Writing, Listening.

  It was alarming and exciting for five minutes or so, but I know how it’ll play out: I’ll be the tethered goat attracting the cash monsters; everyone else’ll siphon it off.

  Pffft, I guess. All I said was I’m looking into setting up as a private trainer. And I still am.


April 14, 2019


April 14, 2019

  If I were to reinvent myself as anything, it probably should be as an IELTS trainer. The kind of talking and storytelling that has to go on in an IELTS test has some pretty close parallels to what I have my supposed business students do in normal class. The form proposed by the 4 skills model probably also would work as a teaching template, and if I added in an understanding of band scores then boom, hand over the million dollar prize thank you student X.

  So I’m planning on taking back how much I hate the teaching of English? I guess I am. It’s not because I’d make money if I did. It’s rather an emerging understanding of just how significant outside money has been. Every one of my colleagues appears a complacent fool. They have cars, houses, families, and pockets slimy with the fat of the land. But to call them corrupt or misguided is just wrong. There is so much outside money and it is so large compared to base salary that ignoring it is not like walking past a buffet to go eat dirt once, but rather day after day walking past the buffet. Month after month. Year after year.

  In short, development inside the school is and must be moribund. Not non-existent. But really not where the majority place their energies.

  So, if I am to continue developing this teaching program, where will it best work? If I can develop it as it is, it’ll be pristine and perfect and still pay a pittance. If I can develop it in the pig fat money pork rolls lucre pits everyone else sees, well shit, I’ll have a real program and money. It’ll even provide what might even be a more likeable work environment. It’d for instance be all about the small class sizes.

  I’ve laid hands on some IELTS training books and one or two how-to-teach English texts as well. All that fear and hatred I had for the teaching of English in the past? Well that was then. These days maybe I know better how to get started and even keep going.


April 8, 2019


April 8, 2019

  What I didn’t take into account in assessing my colleagues willingness to build up these new ideas I keep having is how much extra money they make. I fire off some screed about how the students are unable – and should be made able – to manage speech beyond a single turn of conversation despite having sizeable vocabularies and a hit and miss but functional grasp of all the basic grammar, and I get Wechat silence in return, or maybe something snide about how they have to scroll through so much stuff at the end of the day… (“Dude, this is China, have some student do the scrolling for you…”)

  But thing is, I’m really an absurd outlier here. It’s not that I keep thinking over what to do in the classroom, it’s that I don’t take extra work. And for years I haven’t thought about that at all because I really dislike “teaching English” and count myself lucky to not have outside work. But was talking to Other Guy and really, any guy working here who is not also pulling in outside gigs to at least double and more likely triple his salary…

  Making up to five times your stated salary is really not uncommon.

  Seems like I can see them thinking now. “Why would we do all this extra work that pays nothing when we have so much extra work that pays so much extra…?!”

  And that’s staff of all the stripes, both foreign and Chinese.

  I kind of knew. I just hadn’t taking it into account.


March 17, 2019

The Great Drawdown

March 17, 2019

  Rule is: ditch something every day.

  Come back from lunch, before I settle down for the afternoon watching #vanlife Youtube, search the apartment for something or some pile of things that tomorrow on the way to lunch I’ll hoop into the trash. Been working on the pointless cupboards. I’ll start soon on various drawers. Then the wardrobe. Eventually I’ll find stuff I might rather sell than toss.

  This might be healthy, it might not. Either way been doing this a week already and my residence permit expires July 11.

%d bloggers like this: