There are many things I like about teaching in China. I like the majority of my students. I like my coworkers. I even like the area my school is in. But there are only two things that I absolutely LOVE about my job and they’re really quite simple.
The first thing I love to do is fail people. I’m aware that sounds bad but hear me out. There are people who work hard and then there are the lazy, uncooperative, moronic wastes of space who think they’ll pass by filling up a desk. Maybe in someone else’s class, but not mine. I always give them one warning. If you’re lazy then I’ll make you repeat the class, at their own expense of course. And I say it in front of the other students. A little face loss goes a long way to humbling up these Little Emperors/Empresses.
However, there is the occasional hard case who thinks I’m bluffing. They have the “I paid my money so you’re going to pass me no matter what” kind of attitude. I take a sadistic pleasure in bursting their bubbles. At the end of the class I hold up my list of students and loudly announce all the students who pass and declare to everyone who failed and why they failed. Usually there’s a flash of disbelief across their face as I mark their failure down. And sometimes, the shock soon turns into anger and I can guess that they’ll go moan about it to the boss of the school or to their Chinese tutor and it’s laughable because there’s nothing anyone can do to erase their failure. Then, there’s the small number of people who let the shame sink in. It eats away at them. So, they start to work harder. I’ve met a few of these people and once they get some proper motivation then they’re alright.
But, the slimy scumbags who go behind my back and complain about not being rewarded for their laziness are snakes and, indirectly of course, I tell them so to their faces. There was an older woman, dumb as a rock, who saw fit to complain about me in Cantonese to her tutor while I was sitting right there in the office. I understand a good bit of Cantonese and could make out what they were saying. I played it cool and waited for her to finish. Then I jumped in and told her that I understood Cantonese very well, that nobody likes a whiner, and that she better pray she doesn’t get put in my class again. Her face turned red with embarrassment and she scurried away like a filthy rat. She still acts like a moron and I still enjoy failing her.
The other thing I love to do is to reward good students. Naturally, I tend to gravitate towards the students with better English capability due to the ease of communication, but there are some who have made tremendous progress and that earns my respect. I had a girl who could barely speak any English six months ago but today she can hold an advanced conversation. Her success has stemmed from her hard-work and positive attitude and because of that, I take great pleasure in grading her presentations and work. I believe people who work hard in their studies deserve to have their efforts rewarded.
For example, this same girl was preparing to be upgraded to intermediate level. To be upgraded, the student has to make a presentation that will be done in front of the class, complete with a speech and a Powerpoint. Some students try to read the entire speech, and promptly feel the sting of failure, but this girl memorized a 15 minute speech and made very few mistakes. It was incredible and I’m pretty sure I gave her the highest grade I’ve ever given on a presentation. 99 or 100. When she saw her grade, her eyes lit up and she was genuinely ecstatic. Her hard work had paid off. And while some people dismiss the importance of an English training center, it was obvious to me that her English study was important to her and if it has value to the students then that’s all that really matters.