I ruffled some feathers this week after we got a new student, a young boy who I mistook for a grown man. His parents have dumped him on my school to keep him busy and out of trouble. His family is rich and they paid the school a little extra in order to keep an eye on him. But of course I don’t see any extra money for being inconvenienced by this oaf who has become my shadow. He constantly follows me and the other foreign teacher around where ever we go. Going to get food? He’s there. Going to the toilet? He’s right behind me.
He’s actually standing right over my shoulder watching me type this post and I could care less. I’ve been ignoring him and he’s starting to get the picture. His family’s money means less than nothing to me and he’ll have to earn respect just like everyone else. Showing off his styled hair, designer watch and brand new iPhone won’t get him any cool points here. This isn’t middle school. Oh, that’s right. He’s 14-years old but looks like he’s 27.
Last Saturday I was in a horrendous mood. The other foreign teacher had 2 VIP classes and one of the part-timers was visiting family in the US so I was overloaded with classes. Just when I get a free minute to check for messages from my wife on Weibo, the shadow appears and hovers behind me. I told him to go away in Cantonese and he refused. I told him again and he refused. My temper snapped and I shouted for him to “Get the f*ck outta here!” and pointed towards the door. My face was deadly serious and he seemed shocked that someone would have the gall to speak to him in such a manner. To him! A kid who had been given anything he wanted once his parents flashed their dirty money. He didn’t understand the words but knew the meaning. After a second of hesitation he skulked away and didn’t bother me for the rest of the day.
He isn’t the only school kid being dumped on us either. During the school breaks, the center is full of children and the tutors are trying to get them to do their homework in between classes just so they leave everyone else alone. I take no part in it. When asked by the mother of a infamously misbehaved student why I don’t do the same I told her straight up. I’m not a babysitter.
In fact, her son is a holy terror and it takes a firm hand to keep him in line. He always interrupts and distracts students and management has made it almost a rule to give him to me. They say I’m good at discipline. I’m not so sure. If that was true then he would have been straightened out by now. Typical punishment for him in class may include standing with his nose in the corner or standing in front of the class and letting the other students critique his bad behavior. Nothing like a little face loss to humble the troublemakers.
I’m not here to stroke egos and bend over backwards for the children of wealthy families. I’m not Chinese so if they expect that kind of money worship behavior from a foreigner then they need to wake up. I’m here to impart knowledge and it’s time they started to realize that.