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>By Ruth McAllister – Guangzhou, China

One teacher said on working in China: “…the best you can do is let go of assumptions and expectations and just go with the flow, even when it feels as though you should swim against the current!”

I think it is also important to not be taken advantage of in China or in any other job anywhere else. For example, if the school suddenly says you MUST teach 10 extra classes per week, it would not be a good idea to go with the flow. Then all subsequent teachers there would be expected to accept sudden huge changes in work load without complaining. Yes, sometimes the Chinese teachers labour under such loads. But there are also heads of dept who get by with a couple of classes a week.

I prefer to think of teaching in China in this way. Be a person with a backbone, not a jellyfish or a brick wall. Barbara Coloroso says this about parenting as well. Bend when need be but show strength when unfairness is evident. Contracts need to be respected by both sides.

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