Just found out that one of the big English teaching programs out here (run primarily by Taiwanese) openly discussed rejecting all east Asian American applicants at one point, since they don’t look “American” (i.e. white) enough. The program in question was already predominantly white, but the second biggest group was composed of said applicants.
It just goes to show you how pervasive and damaging white supremacy is, even out here.
Response to "The Great Pretenders"
If you have a moment, please read this following article. A friend of mine who was in Beijing with me posted this to our group forum saying, “This gets me so upset. Please beat the living shit outta anyone you meet in China like this:”
Now, I have met people in China like this, and I’ll tell you, I am not going to beat the living shit out of anyone. But, I understand her point, and much more, I understand why that puts me as an actual bonafide American on trial to prove my worth. I’m a 22 year old American White girl, who is often confused as a Russian, or as a Xinjiang resident here in Xiangfan. When I first arrived here and started teaching no one trained me. No one required I pass a TOEFL exam, though I had. My two other foreign teachers at my school both have two MAs each. I earn a premium salary for a first year English teacher because I competitively priced myself when looking for a job on the internet. I know how to advocate for myself, I know how to public speak, I know how to speak passing Chinese, and I know how to entertain students in a classroom. I am well liked.
The behavior of these teachers in that article is typical in big cities especially. In my opinion you see a little less of that here in Xiangfan just because you can’t go out and party until the early morning hours, bars close, there are only so many to begin with, and after that you can only eat mounds of barbeque for so long. So its not much of an excuse. But of course we still go out- the schedule also keeps us honest, working from the afternoon to the evening means you have time to get yourself together.
Ultimately though, it comes down to your personal work ethic. I am not ever going to teach my students swear words- they know enough of those already without my help! My students are all ages, and I show them all respect in a classroom the way that I want them to show me respect. There are students of all ages who give me a lot of lip and want to push back when I ask more from them, but the only thing that really irritates me is when they refuse to speak when I ask them to speak. Even that can usually be remedied by calling on their classmates to help them or by manipulating a situation so that they have to do what I say or be embarrassed in front of their class. I do not want to make them uncomfortable but i really DO want them to learn and improve, so yes I do push even if they don’t want to be pushed.
I honestly don’t criticize China in class very much, because I think it alienates students, just the same way as I really don’t love it if they want to talk smack on the US. In my class we keep it honest- i don’t censor myself by any means- but not offensive or aggressive. I take vocabulary, pronunciation, and oral grammar seriously, I know what I am here to do, and I try to speak clearly and correctly at all times. My knowledge of chinese works for me when I teach grammar because I know why they all make the consistently same grammar mistakes. It is hard for me to understand how someone teaches english here without knowing ANY chinese.
Honestly, there are native english speakers here that I have a more difficult time understanding than Tayyaba, my Pakistani coworker. I think accent is relative, and whether you are “native” or not hardly matters. What matters is your education level, how seriously you take your job, and your flexibility as a teacher to ease the process of learning english for your students. Fluent, of course you must be, but the better question might be are you dedicated? honest? open minded? that is the best you or your students can hope for.
While I was teaching today one of my students just yelled out "Peter Pan!" without warning...Instead of just moving on we spent the rest of the hour discussing Neverland and I introduced them to Killian Jones. 5 of the girls decided to use him as a character for their writing homework. We may not have finished the lesson but those kids GOT SCHOOLED.
Five TEFL Resources
- Designer Lessons: innovative and interesting lesson plans for pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced students. Sample: an intermediate/advanced lesson that reviews country names by exploring (and refuting) cultural stereotypes
- Multimedia English: excellent lectures, movie/TV clips, and music to teach conversational English to beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. A good site to visit if you need ideas for lesson plans, particularly if you’re looking for easy idioms and slang expressions to teach lower-level students.
- TEFLtunes: offers song-based lesson plans for every level. Provides both grammar- and topic-focused lessons.
- Lessonstream: fantastic multimedia lessons for pre-intermediate to advanced students. Warning: many of these lessons require an Internet connection in class, which as most ESL teachers in China know, isn’t always feasible. Sample: an intermediate lesson about Google Street View which explores street art and privacy issues
- Everyday English in Conversation: as its title suggests, this website provides real-world dialogues. An excellent resource, if you want to teach idioms and/or colloquialisms. Divided by topic.
If you have any websites you’d like to share, feel free to send me a message.
Surprise! FBI Background Check is Back!
After a very long day at work I checked the mail, and found my returned FBI Background Check! Now remember you only get the paper and you will not receive your fingerprint card back. Surprisingly they actually did return my background check inside the prepaid envelope that I had originally included. I had received responses from people on Tumblr telling me they wouldn’t but I guess I lucked out! Inside I found the glorious document that declares me as having no criminal record.
Now, if only I had arrived home a little earlier I could have just rushed down to the post office to send it off today, but I didn’t have time. Instead I just took my time going over the required information to send my FBI Background Check to the Office of Authentications in Washington, D.C. If you are planning to apply to EPIK from the United States do not forget that South Korea only accepts the apostille from the Office of Authentications in Washington, D.C. They will not accept the apostille from your own home state like they do for your college diploma. Of course there is the pain of it taking possibly 1-3 weeks to get this back in the mail, but by no means will it take the extent it did when you sent in your original FBI Background Check application. If you happen to live within a close distance of D.C. then just do a walk in appointment. It’ll save you the postage.
When mailing in your documents you need to include the DS-4184 form found (here).
The instructions are pretty clear just click instructions in the upper left hand corner if you get lost on parts of the form. This form generates a unique bar code that will be found on your form. When it comes to a method of payment I sent in a check made out to the US Department of State for $8.00 (THE COST IS $8.00 FOR EACH DOCUMENT REQUESTED if you happen to need more than one for some odd reason). Tomorrow I will go the post office after work and purchase two prepaid and addressed envelopes with tracking and I will include one with my documents inside. This will hopefully cut the time it would take for them to send it back to me as opposed to if I would do it without the prepaid envelopes. Make sure you double check the required documents on the Office of Authentications website too. Then I will have to mail it all off to the following address:
U.S. Department of State
518 23rd Street, NW SA-1
Washington, DC 20520
Another thing is that when I examined my background check more closely I saw that the date processed was 2/21/2013. Now if I take 2/21/2013 + 6 months = August 21, 2013. This is perfect for me! They recommend that the record check be good for around mid-August for all the visa fun. Don’t forget that your FBI Background Check is only valid for six months from the time they actually process it.
If you would like to be lazy and calculate your dates like I did lol you can do it here (I don’t feel like thinking after working all day) haha.
Overall, I am very excited that things are falling into place. Although with February coming to a close I find myself getting a little nervous. I was told that my application would be processed the first week of March and then if I am invited for an interview I will find out somewhat soon. Here’s to hoping for the best!
today i told my adviser i wanted to teach abroad after i graduate. she said that was a good idea, but i’d have to go “somewhere crazy, like Korea.” It is so crazy that is where she said i should go because that is where i want to go. I just want to graduate already. I know i keep saying that, but it’s true. It’s what’s on my mind basically 24/7.
It’s time to move on from this place.
His momma raised him right!
I’m chowing down on some bbq chicken in the school cafeteria when I drop my cell phone; it went flying into three pieces-body, battery, and back. Before I could even bend over to pick up my phone one of the fifth grade boys had stopped to gather up the busted pieces. What makes this story so special is that he had placed his tray of food down on the floor to pickup my cell phone. He could have easily been kicked or another student could have possibly stepped on his food tray. I was shocked and impressed. Thank you Lil’ Gent!
#his momma raised him right!
So a couple of days ago, I was sitting at my desk with maybe 20 minutes of work to go when I thought to mention to my co-teacher, “Oh, right, one of the first grade teachers kept saying something about a class theme… she wants me to add it to my lessons and said you’d know about it.” My co-teacher didn’t know what I was on about, so she made a few calls, talked for a good bit, and then hung up the phone. Sat down. Looked at me. Kind of smiled in a slightly forced way.
“So… they need you to follow this curriculum they set up for the first graders. I guess they forgot to tell me about it. The theme is globalization.”
Honestly, I wasn’t even all that shocked, cause while she was on the phone I heard her say “globalization. And even as the rational part of my brain dismissed it like, “Nah, that must be like a digression or something,” the cleverer part of it thought, “That’s exactly the sort of thing they’d pull, telling me to teach globalization to first graders who don’t even know what I’m saying 90% of the time.”
So we talked it out a bit, (mostly my co-teacher just taught me how to say “What am I supposed to do with this??” in Korean) and I left a bit after 4:30, just laughing to myself, only to run into a few of my 5th graders holding a baby chick. Just standing in a group holding it.
I tried to figure out what was going on for a minute before giving up and walking out into what a moment ago had been sunny, 50 degree weather… but was now falling snow.
I present to you, dear friends: Korea!