joesax wrote:I nominate this one by Citizen K, on the topic of "Letting Go".
http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi ... 060#573060
Here is my opinion on the matter: I respect people who love to help people, act as mentors to their students, and create strong learning environments at their schools. However, I don't think foreigners doing this type of work at buxibans or even at schools here in Taiwan should be labelling themselves teachers -- they are not. They are entertainers. I don't teach anymore at all, but when I taught uni here or privates, I was under no illusions. I was a Zoo animal (albeit a smart one such a dolphin) that was being used by low-IQ zookeepers with their regional degrees (school admin) or by mindless ants (the great masses in Taiwan with their cultural relativism and love of rote learning) for their own benefit. Why allow myself to be used? Entertainment and the love of conflict.
Certification: My son or daughter may love adding and subtracting numbers. Are they accountants? No. They may have an aptitude in the aforementioned area, but they have to go through many years of rigorous training and pass tests by regulating bodies. A person may love helping sick people and may not be smart enough to be a doctor or a nurse. Can this person go into a hospital and start bathing people right away or change their shit-stained diapers? No. They have to go through a few years of traning to be a nurse's assistant. The simple fact is this -- most specialized professions require people to get the necessary paperwork and certification before being able to work within that field. Having a general degree does not make one a teacher. To imply as much, insults the many teachers and educators that have received certification and contributed to their respective fields through the proper and legitimate channels.
In Taiwan, do foreigners with extraordinary skills and proper educational certifications in professional areas (lawyers, computer people, engineers, teachers at international schools etc.) receive unfair treatment? Sure, but this happens everywhere in the world. I can make this statement though: outside of public service and for-profit education jobs in Taiwan, most employers here are more concerned with your skills, capabilties etc. than with your skin color. If you have a good work ethic and have valuable skills that differentiate you from your peers, you will rise quickly.
That brings us to education in Taiwan. Since governing bodies and the businesses themselves don't really want or have the capacities to "modernize" the industry or enforce rules and regulations, anyone with a certain passport and a degree can get a job in the industry. A good thing? Well, you probably thought so when you first arrived. However, the simple fact is this. Most of the people teaching in Taiwan are not teaching: they are entertaining. The educational industry here reflects this sad reality.
Let me ask you about this scenario: when a birthday party parent hires one clown over another clown to entertain the kids because that one clown has a certain funny appearance that parents think will make the kids laugh and not scare them, whereas the other clown is more scary than funny, are the preference selections of the birthday parents racist in nature? To many Taiwanese, black or dark skin is scary. That explains the whitening creams and umbrellas used by local women on hot days. While those of us with international perspectives find this logic to be "racist," large segments of the population think this way and this influences their consumer purchases (including English lessons for their kids).
In Taiwan, since the industry is based 100 percent on appearances and proper educational standards are not valued (if owners wanted to do so they would hire certified teachers or at least go through a much more rigorous selection process....if parents really wanted a quality product they would raise hell South Korean style on the streets heheheeheh Twisted ), are they racist to want one sort of clown over another or are they just following the market realities? Moreover, would you make generalizations about any country based on the clown industry? Face it -- education in Taiwan is full of "pirates" and "carnival characters." My own opinion: too many clowns teaching (black, white, yellow, purple, blue etc) in Taiwan take themselves far too seriously. There is nothing as sad as an unfunny clown. Most of us hope the local racist attitudes will change, but if they bother you too much, you should consider leaving or getting certified so you don't have to deal with clowns on a daily basis. If you choose to deal with clowns every day, be funny and don't complain--fit in with them and play the game!!!!!!!!!!
My advice for you: if you love teaching so much, go get your professional certification or go to a more developed country in the region such as Japan or Singapore. In Singapore, the government prides itself on being a multicultural country. You will have dark-skinned Indians, Yellow Chinese, White Caucasians, Mixed-color Eurasians etc. sitting down in the same classroom. A true rainbow where racist talk and promoting hatred by any one group will get the security agencies to take an interest in you.
Disclaimer: I am not an English teacher but I would like to try and look at this from the other viewpoint.
I personally know a few Taiwanese teachers. They work hard. REALLY hard. And you know how much they make? Top end of the scale is about NT$80,000 per month for a lady who's been at the same school for over ten years. These people live for teaching and one guy I know gives up more unpaid time for his kids than he actually gets to himself. Imagine how you would feel if you spent the best years of your life testing into this that and the other school, working towards your BEd/MA, going through all the teacher training and working your ass off for some foreign kid with a degree in Advanced Beers Of The World to waltz along and pick up NT$600/hr+ for speaking her native language with no training and limited desire to teach.
I worked for a year as SENCO in a UK primary school - stupid government-approved abbreviations aside, that means I taught the uncontrollable autistic children how to behave in a mainstream classroom. I grew really fond of the kids and had a lot of admiration for the teachers I worked with; the amount of work and dedication that your average primary school teacher puts in is nothing short of astonishing. Working with such troubled children was often emotionally draining but I felt lucky to know that when I clocked off at 3:30pm my job was done. What's my point? Well, I think teaching is a really special profession and deserves respect not just from students and parents but the teachers themselves. In England the pay isn't great and there's a lot of competition at primary level, so everyone I know chose their profession out of love. (I was making NT$300/hr. In England. That goes about as far as a dead tortoise up a mountain. My Aunt has been teaching for 20 years and makes less than NT$1200/hr). Of course you get the odd exception or bad egg but the majority are what you would call top-of-the-line people.
Now, I honestly do not believe that even 50% of Taiwan's foreign English teaching population are in it for anything other than some cash and a bit of fun. This is not really the fault of the teachers themselves and if it were any other profession I'd say, 'good on you!' However, we're not talking manual labour, editing, copywriting, programming.. we're talking about some very delicate and important years of children's lives. And I'm bracing for impact with this bit but here goes.. a very sizeable chunk of the "English teachers" (quoting to distinguish the real teachers here) I have met around Taiwan are proud of the fact that they booze it up every weekend, shag as many women as possible, stuff as many drugs down their gullets as they can practically manage and then turn up on Monday morning to address a group of impressionable seven-year-olds. I don't care what they are like in the classroom - as far as I'm concerned, this kind of behaviour does not put one in the right frame of mind to deal with young children. If you teach adults, go ahead, have fun and see what you can get away with. But children? It just seems very wrong to me.
I have sat in on several classes led by foreign teachers and I'm sorry to say that every one of them was dreadful. The kids all had a great time and most of the teachers were very entertaining, but they had no idea how to control a class and no idea how to actually teach. I'm sure if parents wanted their kids entertained they could get in A-Huang The Perpetually Perturbed Clown for half the price. I do, however, know some really upstanding foreigners who teach English. They take pride in their work, spend time preparing lessons and try to get as much training as possible. Unfortunately, they are not the majority and anyone here who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. The teachers I have met through Forumosa are, I'm pleased to say, all good'uns. I applaud those good'uns and feel sorry that they are brought down by not-so-good'uns. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese opinion of the English teaching foreign populace is not entirely without merit and you have an uphill struggle not against the Taiwanese but the fellow "teachers" who are dragging you back. Good luck!
Yellow Cartman wrote:Class post nomination here for smell the glove: http://www.forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi ... 572#613572
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