I’m still going to claim I’m Ningbo Foreign Teacher of the year…….

At work, I’m in a strange situation. I’m employed by an Australian company to teach Chinese kids an English curriculum so that they can go to university in America. To achieve this, they place the teachers in “specialised units” within Chinese High Schools. These units only teach the foreign curriculum, and sees the staff sign 2 contracts, an official Chinese contract to keep the authorities here happy, and another contract with the firm. This puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the kids and teachers to produce good grades (there’s no Plan B for the kids, they’ll struggle to get back into the Chinese system once they’ve been through what we teach them).

I’m of an age now where I should take my career seriously, and as a result, I’ve been pretty open with the school I’ve been working about being given extra responsibility with the firm. I’ve been here 4 years. I get really good results from the kids. There aren’t many major issues within my department that I can’t deal with, and we don’t bitch, much, about the obstacles the school put in our way because they’re from a different cultural background to us (it’s us foreigners who are the cultural oddities after all, given we’re from a different background).

Anyhow, I’ve been angling for this promotion within the firm for a while now. It took me 18 months, but I finally got word I got the promotion this week. At about the same time as I started talking openly about this promotion, I was nominated for “Ningbo Foreign Teacher of the Year”. This required me to write a 1500 word essay.and generally suck up to “Da Management” to keep them sweet. After I wrote the essay and had it edited by my bosses in the firm, I submitted it to the school, along with 4 other things the school were asking for.

The school came back to me 4 times to tell (not ask) me to change things. This narked me a little, I’ll admit, because the changed/additions were a pain (I’d not even asked to be nominated), but I went along to get along, hoping to get a few brownie points with them I could bank for later, when I asked for something. Anyhow 5 minutes after my line manager told the school I was being promoted out of the school, they wrote to someone else congratulating him on his nomination. They didn’t e-mail me to give me the heads up. They didn’t tell me at all. The first thing I knew was when the new nominee asked me what was going on.

Now quite frankly it’s not the de-nomination that irritates me. I’ve got the e-mails to prove they nominated me. It’s the fact they put me to all that trouble, and didn’t think I was worth the effort of a talking to beforehand. That’s what irritates me. I’m probably the Chinese’s school’s biggest cheerleader amongst their western teachers, and they still blow me off like I really don’t count.

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