Monthly Archives: January 2013

What an exciting week!  (That was sarcasm).  We did basically nothing.  I got new glass frames and that was exciting.  But there were no classes and nothing to do.  We leave for Vietnam on Tuesday and are looking forward to that.  Two weeks there and then back here for a few days and then the 29-hour train ride to Harbin to see the Ice Festival.  Four nights in Harbin (temperature is very cold) and then we fly to Beijing and go to Baoding for 10 days for the Lunar New Year and to spend some family time together.  Will I be bored?  Probably but who cares.  Shujie will get to spend time with her family and I like them too.  I’ll have books to read and oodles of movies on my computer.  I will survive.

Shujie’s attitude is good after last week’s debacle.  She felt much better after telling them what she thought.  Chinese underlings don’t speak to their bosses that way so she kind of blew them away.  I just hope she survives all this free time.  I asked out of my contract but they said no way.  For me to cancel my contract I would have to give 90-days notice and then pay a $1000 fine.  That’s the only way I can get a different job now and that’s not going to happen.  So we will rough out the year and then it’s on to better things.

I could actually just leave and go back to Canada and pretend this year never happened but there really aren’t any jobs for me in Canada.  I have no desire to do computer stuff, and the things I know are out of date.

Who knows what will happen.  Maybe something good will happen to Shujie come March.  She deserves it.  I just want this year to be over so I can go somewhere else.

The place here is pretty dead.  I think all the students are finally gone.  I read, I play on the computer, I watch movies, I have an exciting life.  It’s too cold to hang out outside so we live an indoors life.

I really don’t have much to say.  I’ll have more to say after Vietnam.  I thought the temperature would be about 18 degrees Celsius but that’s just Hanoi.  Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is in the 30’s (Celsius) so we will be going through quite a temperature change.  I’m glad I checked because I had no intention of bringing shorts.

I feel like I’m cheating by signing off so soon.  I have to go now and suffer through my holidays.  Peace out!


What a finish to the week.  Shujie never got her schedule in advance but yesterday (Friday) they asked her to come in to talk about it.  She had an “intuition” about this and I told her she was crazy.  She wasn’t crazy but I was.  Sometimes she knows more about China than I do, but sometimes I know more.  She has learned a lot this year and has seen some of things she thought weren’t true that I told her about last year, are actually true.

They fired her.  Their reason was they had a meeting with the students and the majority of the students said she was a “bad teacher”.  I don’t know how many of you out there know about the reputation of the honesty of Chinese people.  I don’t want to paint everyone with the same brush.  There are some excellent people here, but when you get a country of 1.3 billion people, that’s an awful lot of dishonest and scum-like people.

Now, the reality.  Was there a meeting with the students?  No, there wasn’t.  If there was such a meeting why wasn’t she invited?  Well you see, you can’t invite someone to an imaginary meeting.  Now Shujie spends a lot of time with these students and they tell her that they wanted her again for the 2nd semester and were disappointed to not have her.  So who’s telling the truth?  I tend to believe Shujie.

In order to cancel the contract, they must have reason so they make up a reason that the students aren’t pleased with her.  They don’t have to prove this because to do so we would have to sue and as Shujie tells me that would be pointless.  The school has power and in China the big thing is “rank and power”.  That’s everything.

So why did they get rid of her.  I think after a few minutes thought she nailed it.  They have hired more foreign teachers and foreign teachers sell.  It’s better for the school to say we have (for example) 20 foreign teachers here.  The Chinese teachers don’t count for much.  She was low girl on the totem pole., so no job for her now.  I just thought the whole idea of them firing her was impossible because they would only piss me off.

So they look us in the eye, and they lie.  Lies mean nothing here.  It’s a way of doing business.  I told them that I wanted out of my contract but they told me that my contract has nothing to do with hers, so I’m stuck.  Actually, I’m not stuck.  I can always leave whenever I want.  What are they going to do?  Call the police?

It is so disgusting that you can’t trust so many people and that lying is a way of life.  I spend my time not really teaching English, but trying to teach them about responsibility and life.  The students are lazy and irresponsible because that’s how they’ve been brought up.  I want to show them alternatives and different roads they may take.  A couple of them get it, but the rest think this is a big holiday.  They are in for a big surprise of lousy jobs when they finish.  If a student asks a lot of questions so they can understand, their classmates who know nothing, roll their eyes as if why would anyone want to understand.

Who cares about the students?  I feel confident in saying about 3 out of 20 foreign teachers care about the students.  When they were telling us yesterday that Shujie wasn’t “suitable” my comeback was that they have foreign teachers who show movies in class so they can play games on their phones.  I told them about a foreign teacher who loves to touch their girl students and this being China no student will report it because teachers are god.  I’m not god because I’m always telling my students that I’m not god.

The people who run this factory don’t really give a damn about the students.  The more foreign teachers they have  then the more students they feel they can attract.  The quality of the foreign teacher doesn’t count, only the colour of their face (white) counts.

I told them that if I come across some child molesters I’ll send them here because they could easily get a job here and no one would care.  Many Chinese are sheep and if they have no power, they won’t complain and stand up.  It’s sad.

I never liked this place.  I dislike the clowns in charge and there are some students I don’t like.  They are two-faced and they will stick a knife in your back.  They will tell you to your face, “oh teacher, you are so cute and we all love you” and then they’ll complain how bad a teacher you are.  I didn’t have any of this crap last year and these kids are supposed to be smarter.  There are lots of good people here but I don’t remember meeting any student last year who was similar to these two-faced ones.

I’ll be looking for another job.  I’m not sure if it’s possible since my visa has to do with this school.  I can finish this year but I feel bad for Shujie because what will she do.  The only reason we came here was because they promised her a job.  These people are beyond contempt.

Shujie has decided to tell the vice-dean what she thinks.  To paraphrase in words she will never use it goes like this, “Fuck off and die you gravy, sucking pigs.  You are liars who don’t give a damn about the students and you pollute everything you touch”.  I think she’s right to say these things.  There are no bridges to burn and someone should tell them that they are scum.

As we were leaving, Juliet (Foreign Affairs department here) said, “I hope this doesn’t ruin your holiday”.  She truly is a piece of shit.  I told her, “Yes, it does” and we left.

I hate having to worry about who I can trust and who I can’t trust.  I came here for a simple life.  Last year was simple so I guess I got spoiled.  I’m gullible.  If anyone “in power” says hello to me, my answer will be “don’t talk to me except if it’s about business.  Your hello is not business and full of lies”.  If they ask me to come to the office I can say no.  If you want to talk to me they can come here and we can talk in the hall.  These people are beyond contempt.

So that’s that.  Holidays are now.  I did my fake exam grades (I don’t do exams) so the ones I give are just for show.  I was told  by my students that there are 2 sets of marks here.  There are the marks Chinese teachers give (lower), and the marks foreign teachers give (higher).  I told the students to think of me as Chinese.  Why give marks in the 90’s if they mean nothing.  What a joke.  I have students who don’t want me because I don’t play games in class or don’t show movies in class.  Silly me, I thought this was a University and not a kindergarten.  HAH!  Foreign teachers are here to entertain.  Treat the students as immature babies and they stay that way.  I don’t do that and some of them can’t handle that.  The fact is I don’t care about the students who don’t care about themselves.  I have enough students I can “teach” who care about the future and where they are going.  I can’t shake them to get some sense into them.

It’s sad, I never felt this way last year.  I had students but they knew they were bad and no one pretended they were smarter than they were.  I get a lot of that here.  I ask myself why am I here.  I’m not really happy.  I like some of my classes and some of my students and I know it’s a crapshoot when you go to a new school.  So it will be a 1-1 tie after this year and next year will be the decider.  I have no idea what I can do in the west or I suppose I could look for a non-teaching job here in China.  I love teaching, it’s just the garbage that goes with it.  And I am so hurt and bothered about what they did to my beautiful wife who wouldn’t harm a fly.  If they had any feelings, they’d be ashamed.  But the point is, they have no feelings.

We leave for Vietnam in 10 days and I’m looking forward to getting out of here.  Then it’s Harbin (temperature of -35 or so) to see the ice festival.  Then it’s off to Baoding to spend 10 days with Shujie’s family which will be fine since they are good people.  Then we will return here and I think we’ll go overnight to Hohhot (about 2 hours by train) since one of my students invited us to her house to have dinner with her family.  We are rather fond of her as she is one of the truly good people here.

This whole thing is a pain in the butt, but we shall overcome.  We always have and we always will.  What I find so strange is that it’s just as easy to be honest and nice to people as it is to be dishonest and unpleasant to people.  Why choose the negative?  I guess that’s for the psychiatrists to figure out.  We just have to live with it.