I’m a cash cow

I’ve been a lot of things in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been what could be considered a “cash cow”.  Well, those days are gone.  You are reading the ranting’s of a real live cash cow.

How do I know I’m a cash cow?  When I met with Julie yesterday for my tutoring session (it’s really just we sit and talk for an hour), I asked her how much it costs to go to school here.  She told me that it’s 4000RMB (about $645) a year.  That’s the normal price.  Now, if you want your child to have a real live foreign English teacher (that’s me), the cost is 10000RMB.  In dollars, that’s an additional $1,000.  So, I have 79 first year students.  That means the school pulls in an extra $79,000 for the year because of me.  I get paid about $1000 a month for 10 months (the school year) so that’s a profit of $69,000 for the school.  Okay, they pay my apartment and utilities but they are making a bundle off of me.  I thought the salary was because the schools made no money.  No sir.  It’s because they are cheap.  I could be a jerk and ask for a raise but that wouldn’t be nice.  But it is fascinating just how much revenue I bring in to the school.

What’s also amazing is that some of these students know nothing in English and will never know anything.  It’s almost like their parents believe I will lay hands on them and say, “you now know English”, and that’s it.  They are English experts.  I know the parents are trying to do for their children, but be real.  Why throw away $1000 even if you have $1000.  Give it to charity.  Give it to me.  Save it for your kid who will never get a job because they are a bit of a moron.

You can now call me Mr. Cow.  My friends can call me Cash.  This is a weird place.  I learn more and more all the time.  I’m learning the questions to ask.  I wasn’t sure I trusted what I heard from Julie (not that she would lie), but I wanted verification.  So I asked my other class today if their parents had to pay more to have a foreign English teacher.  Yes they do.  They pay an extra $1000 to have Mr. Cow as their teacher.

Generally speaking I like the kids.  I’m very fond of Wang Jing.  As far as the school as an institution of supposedly higher learning goes, I have no respect for it and feel that there are a bunch of inmates running this asylum.  Of course, I’m just a visitor here and I must realize there are cultural differences here, but something is out of whack.

Yesterday was the Exercise Match.  What it was exactly is that each class performs their morning exercises and a prize is given (some ping pong paddles and a certificate) if you win.  They all looked the same to me.  It was interesting to see what they did in the morning.  The students are amazed that they don’t do this in the West and some of them are ready to move right now.  They hate getting up and doing this.

It was very nice for me when they saw me since they were all excited to see someone come to watch them.  There were less than 100 spectators.  I felt like one of the people and not just some foreigner.  It was a very nice and warm feeling.  I explained it to Shujie (who they were also glad to see), but I didn’t try to explain it to the students.  I think you have to live the foreigner’s life to understand.  I just might be the only white guy in a city of 600,000 people.  That’s amazing.  No one looks like me.  If you give it serious thought it could blow your mind.  I had moments in Korea when I would just stop dead in my tracks and think, “I am truly alone here”.  I haven’t had any of those moments here.  Of course, having a wife helps and also having some students who I truly believe like me as a person helps too.

My suggested topic for the next round of evening speech making was rejected by the “boss teacher” as I knew it would be.  I told Eric that the topic should be “homosexuality” and the teacher didn’t think it was appropriate.  Is the teacher an idiot?  In this case, yes.  These aren’t kids (okay, they are partly kids) but don’t treat them as such.  So I am not to be asked for any topics anymore.  If this one got by the censors the next topic would have been, “Sexual Intercourse: Pre or Post Marriage”?

Here are 3 pictures, 2 of one of my classes and one of the other class.  Then there are two videos.  The first one has one of my classes and the whole presentation.  The other video has the other class and is an abridged version.  You might find it interesting.

And you will see that besides tiny army men crawling on the ground, students doing exercises will help China conquer the world.


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