Saturday, March 3, 2007

Foreign teachers feeling a lack of support but lots of freedom

Eve Ross - Beijing Institute of Machinery, China

A teacher asks: “Does anyone here teach somewhere where they've been give a syllabus for the classes they're assigned to teach? I've not yet met up with anyone who has.”

Not only was I not given a syllabus, but the administration doesn't care whether I create one or not, or what's on it if I do.

A funny incident yesterday just proved that once again. A fellow foreign teacher has been assigned to teach next semester's continuation of the Video English class I've taught this semester. She went to the English department and asked whether they had any movies in particular they wanted her to teach.

They suggested a set of cassette tapes (audio cassettes?? for a Video class??) that includes Bill Clinton's inaugural address and recorded sessions of Canadian and UK parliament (couldn't they have gotten a spoken transcript of the unabridged Australian tax code to go along with those?).

She said no, thanks. Then, the administrator asked her, "Well, what has Eve been teaching all semester?" She suppressed a laugh, and said, "I don't know. You'd have to ask her."

They haven't asked me, of course. Aren't they even curious? Some of my classes even "matter", whereas Oral English--including Video--supposedly doesn't. They haven't told me what to teach in the Reading, Writing, or Newspaper/Magazine classes, either.

Not that I mind the freedom.

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