Just when I thought I’d heard it all from China, guest blogger Stuart Beaton tells me about his university’s crazy new plan to teach English. I won’t reveal what’s gone down in Tianjin, but it sounds irrational. For those of you who haven’t checked out Stuart’s fabulous podcasts, his author interviews can be found here: http://rastous.podomatic.com/. And for the latest from Tianjin:
Last week, a colleague of mine was keen to find out when she could sign a new contract with the Uni, so she could make plans for flying back to the U.S. for the Summer to visit her family.
Well, now she’s just flying back to the U.S. permanently.
The Uni, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that English here no longer needs to be taught by native speakers, and any old idiot who can open a badly written text book is now perfectly qualified to teach it.
But did they tell this to her face to face?
Don’t be bloody silly – this is China. Nothing can be that honest.
No, the Director Of Foreign Staff ducked her phone calls for two days, refused to meet with her, and then sent her a text message, asking her to check her email. And the email simply read “No contracts are being renewed.” That’s all, no greeting, no salutation, no signature, nothing to even humanize it.
Now this came as something of a shock to all of us, as on December 30th 2011, the Uni made us a promise that our jobs would be around for at least the next ten years, and made us pledge loyalty to it. They even put a report on their website to that effect, proudly announcing it to the entire World.
People have sold houses and horses, given away possession and generally cut themselves adrift from their lives outside of China, on the strength of that promise. Only to find that it has been broken.
No real reason has been given as to why we’re all to be flung out.
It can hardly be because the Uni’s short of cash (this place is a gold mine for the exploitation and extortion of students, with fees and charges that defy belief), and there have been no complaints about our work.
Over the last couple of days, my colleagues whose contracts will expire in the next few weeks have been using my apartment as a place to come and vent their frustrations over endless cups of coffee.
I’ve turned the roof of the building into an improvised firing range, and taken to putting thousands of 6mm airsoft pellets through playing cards, in an effort to try and shed some stress.
Basically, I have six months to find a new job, and all the essential things that go with it – an income, a place to live, and most importantly, a visa.
The idea of having to return to Australia is just an impossibility, as there are no jobs there, and my wife would be unable to work either. Moving to another city within China would mean cutting her off from her parents.
Oh, and the Director Of Foreign Staff won’t talk to any of us. It seems that it’s not his problem, and he doesn’t have to explain anything.
At least the students will be happy…
We’ve decided that if we’re not going to have a job, we don’t really need to do it properly anymore. They’re all going to start getting a free ride in our classes.
After all, we’re obviously not there for their benefit.