Hello, my name is Max and from April to December 2013, I worked as an English teacher in several schools in China. I’ll limit myself to a brief account of my first workplace in a city called 塘沽天津 Tánggū Tiānjīn /tʰaŋ˧ ku˥/ /tʰiɛn˥ tɕin˥/ on the northeastern coast. There were about 100 kids in total ranging from 5-12 years in age. The classes were divided by age group, and the oldest comprising a mere 5 children. I was supposed to teach 40 minute English lessons based on a particular course designed for children, otherwise I would spend the day in a particular class, talk with the kids and help them practice English. This sounds simple enough but, alas, nothing in China is a simple at it seems…
All but one ”teacher” were females in their late teens to mid-twenties. They were tasked with coordinating the classes’ daily activities. They were very nice on the surface but would change completely with the kids: They became super-authoritarian bullies who would act sternly even if the kids behaved; in China, the default state of one’s superior is anger which must be assuaged constantly, as a bare minimum; one is simply guilty of something; they make sure by setting one up to fail as an excuse to keep one on eternal report… These girls all employed emotional and physical reprimand to maintain order (which never lasted very long) and by far, most of the corporal punishment was inflicted on the boys. The job got wearisome as these class-coordinators wouldn’t allow me to talk to the kids when I spent the day with their class: they made me sit and basically do nothing the whole day. I complained to my boss but he wouldn’t do anything. As usual, the man in charge was basically a figure head. What I’ve noticed in human society is that women want the image of male authority but as far as the actual running of the system, they rule autocratically and appeal to male violence for enforcement. This can be seen in the family unit and explains why women vote overwhelmingly for men.
I will describe a few of these people:
One used the English name Anna. She was the contact between my boss and I. Once there she was incredibly nice: helping with everything, translating for our boss, taking me to the barber, buying me food and even coming to my apartment and cleaning the floor (I should have been suspicious…) At work she showed me what software to use and how to conduct a class. She started poisoning my mind against my boss: claiming that he treated them badly etc. so whenever I found it difficult to deal with him, it only added to the perception that she had crafted in my mind. I continually told her how appreciative I was of her help and how I truly felt she was on my side (*facepalm*, gentlemen) Meanwhile, she was telling our boss that I was rude and incompetent etc. And in the end, it became apparent that she had not trained me properly in the course material e.g. She never even told me that the course included workbooks the kids had to complete! (She once tore the pages out of a girl’s work book because of some wrong answers.) When I finally had to leave, and my boss turned out to be (seemingly) honorable, I realized she was lying about him all the time and as I was walking out, I crossed her path and told her that I now knew the truth but she just walked passed without even looking as I was now no longer a competitor for her job and all the niceties ceased: she was done using me and I was now disposed of. One time, at the end of a lesson, for a reason I can’t remember, I threw a plush animal doll at her out of anger which missed. She went crying to our boss who then made a big show lecturing me on how a man who hits a woman is not a “real” man and I laughed. I had to yell at her a lot because she constantly gave me inadequate or contrary information. She would also barge in and take over the lesson because I wasn’t doing it right. I got upset once and she was so offended that she stormed away and I felt so bad that I wrote a long message on Skype asking for forgiveness because she was such a good friend bla, bla, bla. Needless to say, I was simped.
One was called Lilly. She was clearly a bulldyke and played the role of the “Man” among the girls. She spoke incredibly fast and only screamed at the children. She projected an even more authoritarian than usual presence at the kids. It was clear that she knew how to emotionally manipulate them and make them cry at will. Any excuse to lash out at them, screaming and intimidating, grabbing their shoulders yelling. Slapping was common. She made sure to continue badgering a kid until they cried. The longer it took, the more upset she got and applied the technique of rapid fire questions immoderately followed by curt matrix prompting e.g. “Huh, huh?!” “Get it, get it?!/Understand?!” “Do you, do you?!” which invariably made them cry, then she would back off satisfied. Even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying, it was obvious.
Her favorite to pick on was this insecure seeming little boy. She was always harsher on him. Once, I saw her talking to another girl, pointing him out and then started yelling at the bewildered boy applying the above method until he cried and then took pleasure in consoling him with physical affection. I saw her do it to another boy; it seemed as if she made them cry in order to then console them as if that were the only way for her to exercise any matural/nurturing instinct. Many of them used the technique of lulling a kid into a false sense of security by being warm and nice, sitting them on their laps, coaxing them to reveal or say something in particular and immediately explode in a rage, yelling and slapping reproofing them for whatever it was they said which reminded me of how my mother would use the same tactic, even reassuring me that she wasn’t going to get mad and I could tell her what it was I supposedly did and then explode in a rage hitting and spanking me in a mistrust of her sudden shows of affection… Lilly would do little things like turn off a light I had just turned on or opening a door I closed etc. Small signs to convey her authority over me and one time when I stood up for the kids she ran to our boss crying and alleging that I used my tablet to record her. At the beginning of one class, she simply started screaming at me to get out which, of course, I couldn’t do in front of the kids for fear of losing credibility. They had to get our boss who then asked me to exit the room. Once there was a fire nearby and it caught the attention of a boy so Lilly manhandeled him to the window and made him look at it as if standing in a corner while class continued and when he turned around crying she would push him back yelling. If boys tipped back in their chairs, she would kick it out from under them.
Another one was the girl I told you about in the school yard. I don’t know her name but she was a bitch like the rest: just as unnecessarily authoritarian and constantly screaming and manhandling the children. She’d drag a chair across the room, letting it drop and sit backwards on it to intimidate the children while berating them. As I wasn’t allowed to talk to the kids (even though that was my goddamn job!) I would sit in a corner and read children books to improve my Mandarin. One day a boy sat down with me and we read together. So she got up, came over, yelled at him to get up and pushed him down to fall on his back; it killed me how stoic he was trying to be as he tried holding back the tears. To get even, I took a chair and imitated her routine. I sat right next to her indignantly drinking my can of coffee and tossing it over her desk into the garbage. Then, I can’t quite remember, she screamed at me, crumpled up some paper and threw it at me so I tore off the sign taped in front of her desk and tossed it to the floor. She went down to the boss’s office crying and complained that I was harassing her. Fortunately, this incident was captured on security camera and my boss said he would deal with it (which I doubted) As I mentioned on Skype, the kids were dress-rehearsing outside and one boy from her class was enjoying himself and I swear her face turned to stone and she walked over to rip off his hat and throw it at him and then just walked away leaving the boy in tears. I got her back though, when, instead of keeping order and translating for me during a lesson, she purposely left me to my own devises and worked on a collage laid on the floor which provided me with a great opportunity to direct the children at her with the bubbles I would blow at the end of the lesson right over her collage; the kids ran and jumped over it rendering her speechless with rage.
I bought a book of paper airplane cut-outs and assembled a few to add to the kids’ toys. The boys were thrilled and vied with each other to play with them. I left the book so they could figure out how to make the rest on their own. The teachers were happy. It wasn’t long before it disappeared.
I forget the name of the girl with glasses. I remember once how she walked around with some plastic stick under her arm like a British sergeant-major as she paced back and forth hitting chairs with it. It was clear by her swagger and the look in her face that her deportment was coming form a visceral place. She placed it behind a book case and I grabbed it during lunch sarcastically remarking that maintaining order is a simple matter of beating the kids which I mimicked. Almost solipsistically (which is a misnomer…), she was horrified at my action and notified my boss. I explained to him that I was imitating her. Once, as the kids were sitting in a circle, she had a boy on her lap and was being affectionate including kissing him. It got kinda weird as some of those were on his lips and were a bit long. The boy was then enthusiastically trying to kiss her on the lips which she let him do a few times. After, she laughed with another girl in an embarrassed kind of way drawing her attention to the boy. I don’t know what it was but it sickens me to think that it could have been an erection.
The receptionist also doubled as the dance teacher. She was normal enough until class time when she literally screamed everything she said; I don’t know why, she just screamed at them.
The only male teacher during my tenure was a homosexual with the English name Thomas. He was one of the two teachers for the level 2 kids which was the biggest class. He was just as authoritarian as the others but was particularly prone to administering corporal punishment to the boys: slapping, hitting, manhandling, roughing up etc. There was one particular boy in that class, who seemed to suffer from something like ADHD and he received the most abuse including non physical stuff like pretending Thomas was going to throw his jacket out the window, have his hat thrown down the stairwell, be left out in the hall etc. After lunch, the kids would take a nap and change into pajamas. He helped a boy change and playing with him he flicked the boys penis as if it were like jokingly pulling an ear or tickling him. Another time, I saw him do something which seemed like giving a boy a belly raspberry which I sincerely hope it was…
And then there was the Amazon: a large woman with a soulless face. She was in charge of a class of the 5 oldest kids about 9-12 years old. One of the boys (who had something resembling Tourette’s) was chewing on his pen-cap and she grabbed it out of his hands, pulled his head back by the chin and shoved it in his mouth trying to force fed it to him. During the daily recess, the other boy in the class needed to go to the washroom but he was forbidden by his “teacher”. So I told him he could go and after some apprehension, he went. The Amazon chased after him and I followed after her. She pulled him out before he could go and dragged him upstairs crying. I yelled at her about how she couldn’t decide such things: if he has to go, let’em go. After this episode that boy became more rebellious, more recalcitrant. I noticed these kids not talking to me anymore. During lunch, I surreptitiously asked them if they had been told not to talk to me and they silently nodded. I would hide chocolate in their school bags; it’s as if we were in on our own little secret. Once I was playing tea party with one of the girls and when the Amazon passed by, I could see the girl close down in fear. I asked her if she liked her teacher and it was difficult for her to shake her head. I asked if they were still forbidden to talk to me and she nodded. But the worst I saw at that school was another girls, older looking than her (reported) age named 鑫 xīn /ʃi:n/. The first time I saw her was when I walked by the washroom and heard crying. She was standing with her panties down facing the kneeling Amazon yelling at her. I don’t know what it was about but I told my boss who later claimed he had talked to the teacher. Xīn was her whipping boy so to speak; they all had one: a kid who, for what ever reason, is singled out. While waiting for the kids to come down for the English lesson, I noticed xīn was late. I checked upstairs and found her on the floor, wearing only panties, crying histerically and trying to cover up; I flipped out. Demanding to know what was going on, the teachers looked at me blithely claiming they didn’t know. I tried to talk to her but she was out of it. I ran downstairs to the ”Nurse” (a disagreeable old woman who couldn’t be bothered but I insisted) whose only help was to yell at xīn and humiliating her more. The teachers finally dressed her and I returned to start the lesson a short time after which, xīn joined us. I begged my boss to pull up the security recording but he clearly didn’t care so I wrote a letter in Chinese characters as best I could and gave it to the xīn’s mother whose demeanor didn’t change at all. The next day my boss asked if I what I had done were true which I confirmed and he yelled: ”Are you crazy!?” But nothing seemed to come of it. When it was clear that I was looking out for xīn, the Amazon moved on to a new target: a tiny little girl from one of the younger classes. During lunch. She would scream at her, kick her chair and force feed her when she was full.