Teaching English in China, you know, what everyone does once in their life
I taught English in China for altogether 5 years. By no means a long time but enough for some good experiences and experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching middle school students in the hinterlands (Henan Province), teaching university students in the hinterlands of Shanghai (Pudong), and teaching young professionals in downtown Shanghai. I was never blessed with an opportunity to teach children for money, although I did it for fun a number of times.
Since teaching English has been a big part of my time in China, MX helped with translating a number of my cartoons so that both sides can understand and enjoy the JOY it is in teaching Chinese people this crazy language that I call my own.
So, here are 5 Real Life Teaching-English-in-China Experiences:
1. While teaching young professionals in Downtown Shanghai I had a number of foreign colleagues. Some were from Australia, (loved to hear their stories and listen to their slang), some were British, (sounded highly respectable and educated with their first sentence), we had Canadians, South Africans and some fellow Americans. Some nights before class we would get rowdy and talk about this and that. This happened for real one night and I thought it was so funny!
Note on the cartoon: “POM” in the cartoon means “Prisoner of the Motherland” and according to my Aussie and British colleagues it is somewhat of an insult.
2. Some of the male students in China still have the idea that the woman’s place is in the kitchen. Amazing as that is, this experience came a number of times where the male in the class would say the most bizarre, to my ears, stuff and the women in the class wouldn’t do a thing about it. I could only imagine that if that comment was made in America the man would have been thrown out on a rail!
3. Since Chinese are mostly humble people when you give them a compliment they will deflect it. Whatever you think they are really doing isn’t important but for someone like me who just thinks they are fishing for more compliments I, on occasion, actually said this to my lower level students because I knew they couldn’t understand. So bad aren’t I??
4. This was another funny moment with a student on their way to Europe to study. He thought he was funny. MX told me that you can say this in Chinese and it makes sense but in English it made me laugh.
5. Since I am not the thinnest man in the world, but by no means the fattest, living in China has been a time for me to adjust my own view of myself. I’ve always been a bit conscious about my weight but when I went to China for the first time I learned that “fat” in Chinese is just different. I don’t know why it is different but it just is. I remember trying to teach students the proper word is “overweight” and even though they learned that they still continued to use “fat” because I couldn’t really explain that it wasn’t the best word to use.
If you have any good “Teaching English in China” experiences, come here and tell us. We’ll try to put it in a cartoon!
Also here’s a collection of all of our Teaching English in China comics! Click HERE.