29.11.2012 - 29.11.2012
Mrs Yu was very down today. She said, “You make me feel depressed. You teach so wonderfully, you are so excellent academically and I have flaws and Chinglish. I will even give up teaching writing and Mrs Liu can find another teacher.”
After talking to her it gradually became clear that Mrs Yu is depressed because Suzy has given her a severe dressing down for not being as perfect as I appear to be.
Suzy tried to call a meeting for this afternoon but Mrs Yu said a meeting achieves nothing and she is nothing in a meeting. Her opinion is worthless and Suzy only cares about what I have to say. And the other thing is, Mrs Yu does have immense pressures outside school. For example, she has to go to a parents meeting. If she doesn’t attend, her son will be criticized. Because the last meeting we had ran on so long, she got behind in her familial duties, something I was oblivious to.
Seeing that Mrs Yu was so distressed that Suzy had criticized her I asked if she criticizes anyone. “Only my son. And sometimes I beat him. It is the way in China.”
She couldn’t think about how she might have an impact on others, only how she felt.
I have to be honest and say that I have identified some weaknesses in their education of system of late, and that did include being tactlessly critical of Mrs Yu’s final exam paper. The way I see it, the Chinese live in such a dense fog of self-delusion re; the gulf between their dreams and their powers and I suppose their superiority complex somehow clashes with my own and I don’t take any prisoners. All of which is probably self-defeating, and that is the story of my life. I keep making messes but now I’m catching onto it quicker whilst I still have a chance to clear them up. It’s almost like I make people feel so bad that I have to then find a way to go to another extreme and do something special. Like with Haley and the ear muffs.
So anyway, I think it was slightly unfair of Suzy to then turn around and blame Mrs Yu behind my back is and it made me quite angry at first. I thought there can be only one reason why Suzy thinks Mrs Yu should have English as good as mine and that is she is encumbered with the presumption that the Chinese are superior to foreigners. They would need to be to achieve parity.
But in my experience, one Chinese teacher is as flawed as another. They are, for the most part, comparatively uncultured and unable to converse knowledgeably with Westerners. One would hardly expect otherwise, given the conditions in China. And of course they are not native speakers anyway.
All thing considered I think Mrs Yu can be pleased with her progress. She said before I came she was arrogant, i.e she thought she could teach better than other foreigners, but universities employ TEFL monkeys. And I don’t blame the TEFL monkey for monkeying around, because of the way we’re treated.
Later on, I had a meeting with Suzy at my apartment and that turned into an amicable chat that lasted 2 and a half hours. Suzy was very gracious and after 50 minutes admitted she had chided Mrs Yu for not being able to spot students’ mistakes. I made a very subtle suggestion that an apology would be treasured by Mrs Yu and she agreed.
I also checked her deserved pride in her own excellent English by giving her the test I mentioned before on this blog, which she also failed.
The correct answer is “I have come to live with you” but she guessed “I came to live with you” and “I will live with you.”
Suzy has agreed to come to my party and said she will invite Lawrence, his wife and another teacher.