Spoiled and Confused — China’s new urban generation – Part 4/4

A special (guest) report from the front lines of teaching English in China
By Chris “Foreign Monkey” Bewley

The English “industry” in China is what I call “C.O.O.C”: completely out of control!  There is literally a new, privately run children’s English “school” popping up on every other corner every other week. Nor is it an industry that has grown in a healthy, steady way from its infantile beginning; it is a product for infants in hyper-drive.

A perfect parallel to this is the car situation in China, which is also out of control.

I hate to say it because it has become an international cliché, but, truly, nobody in China knows how to drive or even park properly. Automobile ownership in China has, along with its economy, bloomed at an alarming rate in the past 5 years, resulting in massive congestion everywhere from the smallest towns to the largest cities.

It’s obvious that the people who own these cars use them primarily as status symbols rather than for necessity; it rarely rains in my city and there are no hills, yet every single day, 6 times a day, hundreds of parents dropping off/picking up their children in new, black Audis will cause an hour-long gridlock directly in front of my school rather than be seen walking or riding a bicycle.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not a “China-hater.”

Colorful street life, extremely friendly people, great food, affordable massage parlors, a handful of good friends both Chinese and foreign, and a decent income have been sufficient to keep me reasonably comfortable.

But in the end, I have to ask myself: what am I here for? Because it’s obvious that China doesn’t want me to actually teach anybody anything.

Return to Spoiled and Confused Part 3, start with Part 1 or discover China’s Sexual Revolution

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Chris Bewley has taught English as a foreign language for the past 10 years all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Mexico and Brazil.

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One Response to Spoiled and Confused — China’s new urban generation – Part 4/4

  1. Chris, since your classroom experiences in China matches what so many teachers experience in classrooms across American, the UK, Europe and Canada, I wonder if being a developed country and having a large prosperous middle class earning too much money is a bad thing.

    Maybe having more people struggling to earn enough to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table might lead to parents making sure their children work harder in school so they don’t starve and become homeless.

    A friend told me that after McDonalds opened several outlets in the Chinese city where he teaches English, his job got much harder. The kids got noisier, have trouble sitting still, paying attention and learning, which pretty much describes many American kids.

    Maybe we should ban fast food and liquid sugar, and force people back to a whole foods diet and drinking water only where they are never full of food because it costs too much to overeat.

    It seems the common person loses all common sense once he joins the prosperous consumer oriented American style, debt-ridden, car owning middle class.

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