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Monthly Archives: March 2014

It’s countdown time.  8 more weeks of classes, then exams, then shelve it in the history files.  Another wacko year that didn’t quite work out as planned.  The best thing about this year is going out once a month to play trivia and imbibe copious amounts of alcohol.

My schedule was changed….again.  As I wrote previously I was in the “doghouse” because I was sick for 3 days.  The jerk couldn’t fire me so he took away all my classes and put me in the “community program”.  The first thing is it’s bad to switch teachers mid-term.  The students have adjusted to you, and you’ve adjusted to them.  And now they are back at square one.  Is this something that should be avoided where possible?  Of course.

I now teach in the “community” course.  Those are adults who come after work to learn English.  They are motivated and interested.  It’s not a bad move (although all classes are in the afternoon which I hate), but it’s a good trade.  I just feel bad for my former students.  It worked out that no one showed up to teach them for a few days.  Organization is not a word they know here.

Another teacher who has been here 3 years told me that when he started there were 53 English teachers.  There are now 13 of those 53 left.  Why did they leave?  There has been no study on that but I’d say it was people just wanting to move on, not enjoying teaching in this segregated culture, and working for a piece of scum.  One of the teachers who has been here 3 years was sick for a week.  He got a threatening email saying if he didn’t come back he would lose classes.  If you’re sick, you’re sick.

It’s amazing the suck-ups they find.  The students are the bottom of the totem pole which is totally illogical because without students we are all unemployed.  The community program is a “clusterfuck” but who cares?  Some teachers do but the people here couldn’t organize a paper bag.  I know it always sounds as though I’m complaining but the sad fact is that no matter how much the students annoy me, I keep that outside of the class and try to give them my best.  So many teachers come here to die (the work is easy and they pay you).  I just don’t think a lot of people care.

The students here need some responsibility but they don’t get it.  You mark them and it goes to the Dean.  Then the dean does a little creative math and then it goes to the Ministry of Higher Education for some massaging and then the marks are improved.  So that student you gave a 40 to has a good chance of ending up with a 60.  What’ the point?  It’s a slap in the face to those students who make a serious effort, not for a piece of paper, but to learn.  There aren’t a lot of them but I believe if you give students responsibility and hold them to it, they will rise to the occasion, but no one here really cares.

Could I run a school?  Probably.  I couldn’t do worse.  I’d fire a lot of people and raise the standards.  You swim or you sink.  I know I can’t change the culture but if these clowns are interested in education, they should show it.

I have no idea where I will be next season.  It won’t be this school because I can’t work at a place where I disrespect the leaders.  Of course, if they were paying me 100K I could rethink that.  It’s funny I came overseas not caring about money.  My 1st year in China I made $1000 a month and I was happy.  Now I make 30,000+ a year and I think money.  Not good.  If I want to teach University it looks like it’s the Gulf States, which I don’t want because girls and boys are separate.  China is no good because it’s China.  What’ funny is I never thought there could be worse place than China.  I was wrong….again.  Working at a Chinese University is good.  They leave you alone to do your best.  You go home after class or between classes.  No office hours.  You live in a pleasant little community.  Shujue says we made a mistake.  I should have worked for Beijing University this year and she’s right.  We were blinded by the money, which was against my whole purpose.  I don’t have many years to do this as 60 is usually the cutoff age.

I look at the adds but it’s not April yet when things heat up and I might get lucky.  We wouldn’t mind going to Salalah which is in the south of Oman (about 1000 km. from here).  It’s the 2nd biggest city and it’s a port city so maybe there is a job for Shujie.  Not to mention I wouldn’t have to give up my car. I don’t want to work in a training academy because I don’t want work nights or split shifts.  I will be patient.

Summer doesn’t look promising,.  I adore my mother but I don’t’ want to live with her and her live-in.  It’s too small but we’ve been told we can stay there for a month.  Naturally I need some heart tests (weird stuff going on) so I might be bedridden for 1 to 3 months.  I’m sure it will all be okay but it will sure put a damper on some peoples plans, I really don’t want to be sick since this might be my last year of teaching before I become a Walmart greeter.  What a waste of brain.  I keep waiting for that great idea to strike me, but I’m still waiting.

I don’t regret doing this.  Leaving my Canadian jobs and the big buck for the little bucks of teaching was a good move.  I’m richer (although not financially).  I’ve learned a lot.  I miss people and I’d like to see some of them more often but that’s the only down side.

So it’s wait and see now.  I’ll put up with Oman if I can go to Salalah.  I’m not going to Saudi (as far as I’m concerned they can nuke it right after they nuke North Korea).  I’ve appreciated the chance to get to know some Arabs and get over my inbred dislike of them.  They are nice people here and I’m lucky to have chosen Oman.  So what if they pray 5 times a day, nobody’s perfect.