China, Guangzhou, Yangji | 中国广州市杨箕
Taxi to Work
Now I am in a taxi making my way to Yangji (杨箕站).
My money situation has been going well. I still have a few thousand dollars in the bank and have not touched the money I have in Australia. It is next week where I should be paid my Australian pension again, which should bring my Australian savings to $2,000 AUD as 10,000 RMB. I then have to wait for a few more hundred dollars to come from Centrelink for the extra few days I was in Australia before I departed. I should get a few more days of allowance, and that should be enough for my airfare travel.
If I withdraw the $2,000 AUD and exchange that to $10,000 RMB, I will roughly have 13,000 RMB still to use in China, which if I spend 300 RMB per day then that translates to 40 days. That will take me to around November 20, 2017, which is good timing because I should be getting paid on November 10, 2017 for this job, and for any other work that I do. I will be getting paid weekly by BBT English.
Earnings in China
So far with this job, I have done 2-3 hours of teaching after today, which will be about 550 RMB. There are still 3 more weeks to go before the end of the month.
I should at least be able to get 4,000 RMB per month working as a teacher in Hampson. I can also be my own private tutor, and receive around 1,000 RMB. From BBT English I should be able to earn 2,000-3,000 RMB per month if I am lucky. I should earn 8,000 RMB altogether by the end of November.
Alternative Income Option
One option is to keep a few thousand dollars on my Chinese bank account after I get paid from Hampson English. The final option is to try to make as much money as possible here by finding an alternative source of income.
Multiple Teaching Roles Option
There is nothing stopping me from going to 4-5 English academies and being a casual teacher, and then taking the pick of those jobs when they come to me. I should be in the ascendancy rather than them. I will be able to make more money, and have a bit more stability because I can pick and choose which people give me jobs. That is what I will do in the next few days.
If I can get that money, then I will still be able to live in China until the middle of December, which is good because I have to go back to Australia by then due to the holiday visa expiration.
If I am unable to survive in China on earnings alone, the final option is to ask mom for $1,000 AUD. I can also ask Imad to loan me $500 AUD until I return to Australia. I have no other options really.
Visa Renewal Options
In terms of where to renew the travel visa for another 3 months, the best option would be to go back to Australia. If I go back to Hong Kong to renew my visa, there is too much risk there because I do not have a full-time job in China. This will prepare me for next time.
I can go to Australia and work really hard for 2 months, and save up 8,000 AUD to exchange as 40,000 RMB. I should just not touch my money, and keep saving, and come back to China.
This time when I came back to China, how much did I spend? I would have spent around 30,000 RMB. If I can come to China with that kind of money, that is enough for 3 months.
Business Visa Option
Next time I come to China I have to get a business visa so I don’t have to keep going back to Australia. On a business visa I can stay in China for 2 years. I have to explore that option before I come to China.
Now, today, I am looking at China with inevitability, as I am looking at the people here, I am already starting to miss it because I know I have to leave. It is inevitable because I don’t have a full-time job. On top of that, I don’t have enough money to waste to go to Hong Kong in order to come back to China and gamble on another visa.
The good news is BBT English (one of the office workers) just added me. She asked, “Can you do a formal class on Tuesday? It is for 1.5 hours at Haizhu District (海珠区)?” I said, “I can do that.” It will be some extra money.
Next week I have a couple of classes. I have the 18 year old kid, who is my Monday and Thursday class. Then I have the 10 year old kid I met at the robot machine match. His parents have also asked me to arrange a trial class for him. I told him I could do that next week. I am just waiting for a reply.
Lack of work hours
With BBT English, I have to speed up the jobs I receive. They called me while I was on holiday asking, “When will you come back to sign the contracts?” I have received no work from them so far, so there is a lot of deception happening in China.
Hampson vs BBT English contract
As I go back through the contract with Hampson, I realize that it is a very dodgy contract intended to make money for them. The first thing I saw in the contract is that I will be making 170 RMB per hour of teaching time. The contract with BBT English will net me 230 RMB per hour for teaching. That is an extra 60 RMB per hour. On top of that, the Hampson contract says, I am expected in my full-time contract to do 100 hours of teaching per month. If you times the 100 x 170 RMB, that is 17,000 RMB.
But my contract is only for 12,000 RMB per month. So, where is that extra 5,000 RMB that I should be getting? If you divide 12,000 RMB by 170 RMB, what you should come up with is 70 hours of teaching time per week. I am not sure how they are getting these numbers. They are all wrong. It is just really stupid.
BBT English will pay me 50% of my hourly rate for a demo class, whereas Hampson said they will not pay me at all for my demo classes because a demo counts towards my administrative duties. So, what a bad company Hampson is.
English Class One
When I came into the classroom, I said hello to the ladies there.
Jessica also looked a bit nervous. She had a black skirt dress on today, and looked really sexy. She was a bit jumpy when she was talking to me. She showed me today’s class.
“There is a seventeen year old student. You will be teaching her entry-level into university.”
The first class was from 5 pm until 7:20 pm.
It is actually a pretty good class.
Still in her blue school uniform, the female student came into the class room. She was a very quiet girl. She had a bit of a facial tick, where she would smile in a very, very introverted fashion.
I took her through a TEOFL book.
At first I was a bit hamstrung in regards to what section she was up to. She said she was up to “Class Exercise 2”.
“Okay, so do you have to do a review?”
“Yes. I have to review part 2, and then I can move to class exercise 3.”
We spent 40 minutes reviewing exercise 2.
There were some instances where we were talking about cosplay, and the difference between comics and cartoons. She said,
“My parents, when I was young, they never believed in comics and cartoons. They thought it was the same.”
I then taught her about context. I said,
“Context is very important in sentences.”
We were reading through one sentence, and it had no context there. The question was,
“What is the difference between a fitness instructor and a TV presenter? Which one earns more money?”
“It is hard to say which one earns more money, either a fitness instructor and a TV presenter, because there is no context here. You have to make it up for yourself.”
I then wrote the word “context” on the board. Then I wrote down two things. I said,
“Xi Jinping (习近平) is one context, and then, at your school being a public presenter is another one. In terms of your school, when we use that context, it is not very difficult to be a public speaker because there is only one hundred people there, but when you use the context of Xi Jinping for example, how many people does Xi Jinping talk to?”
“Everybody in the world.”
“Exactly. So, when the context is Xi Jinping and billions of people, public speaking is very difficult. But when the context is public speaking at your school, then the context is not as difficult.”
That is how I explained context to her. I said,
“Whenever you are questioning the dimension of something and comparing it to other things, you always have to apply context to that situation.”
Language Learning Habits
Because she is a 17 year old adult girl, I had to teach her in a very serious manner. In the time I was seated across from her, listening to her answer my questions, I thought,
“Wow man! You must have been learning for a long time. I can picture you being a 5 year old kid, not paying attention to me. I can picture you being an 8 year old and then a 10 year old kid progressing through English. Now you are a 15 year old kid. Now you want to do PPT.”
I could visualize the kid getting older from 5 years old to 15 years old, seeing the changes and improvements. Then I realized that girls like her are very dedicated to what they do. In Australia, you wouldn’t get the opportunity to grow up, and from 5 years old learn French until you are 20, or learn Chinese until you are 20. If people did do that, Australian people would be smart.
It does not take a long time to learn a language. I am the evidence of that.
People make their kids go to school all the time to keep learning, which is a good habit to have when in China.
Anyway, I had to hurry up and get to the third part of “Class Exercise 3” because it was 7:15 pm.
End of Class
She got a call from her dad, and her mom was sitting out there waiting for her. So, we went over time to 7:30 pm actually.
They actually did a lot more time with me, but that is normal, because I do not have a stopwatch, so I don’t know when we finish.
Jessica then came into the room and helped us finish up.
She asked me,
“Do you have any homework to give her?”
I was caught off guard. I said,
“Actually I do.”
I went through the book and looked up to the whiteboard where we wrote so many words.
“You can practice the difference between ‘a’ and ‘and’ and how to pronounce them. You can also go through and find the suffixes that come at the end of verbs that turn into job roles, such as ‘actor’, ‘performer’, ‘lawyer’, ‘teacher’.”
Then I went through the book. I said,
“Let your teacher know that you will start from lesson three part two.”
English Demo Class Two
Jessica, when she walked into the room, she says,
“Do you want to prepare straight away for the next class?”
When Jessica was explaining her, she gives away the personality traits of a person in a snide way. She said,
“This girl, she is a bit, um, childish.”
When she said it, she said it in a snide way, as if to say, “If she was my sister, I would ask her to behave.”
Jessica is a bit passive-aggressively judgmental. She does that to me sometimes too when she stands there in the doorway. She is looking at me trying to talk, but she has a grimace on her face, as if to say, “I don’t want to be talking to you right now.”
I then decided to go straight to the toilet. When I was coming back into the office, the girl was sitting down in the room waiting for me.
The second student I had for a demo class for 20 minutes (that turned out to be more time) was a cute little girl.
The second student was a cute, naughty girl with a cheeky grin. She was a very dangly, skinny Chinese girl with her hair just under her eyebrows. She is very cheeky (淘气). Instantly I thought I could get along with this girl.
I could see a lot of me in her when I came and sat down on the chair, and said,
“Hi, how are you? What is your name?”
She told me her name.
Then I sat down and said,
“Can I take this chair?”
This time I was much more professional. I even shook her hand. I said,
“Did you have a book that you are learning from?”
She brought out the PPT book. I asked,
“Which part of this book have you read, and which part do you still need to read and understand?”
“I am reading this part.”
She had underlined a lot of the book that she has read up to chapter 20.
I asked her,
“Is there any chapter that you haven’t read so far?”
Then we came to a chapter for animals. I thought, “This can’t be too hard.” I already did classes with kids.
Lesson on Animals
The 20-minute class with this girl went smoothly.
You have to be very active and energetic with kids.
We were talking about animals, using pictures of animals. I asked,
“What is this animal?”
I asked her to read a sentence. I asked,
“Do you have any problems reading, listening or writing?”
“Sometimes when I see an English word, I don’t know what it means.”
I told her,
“When you see an English word that you do not understand, or you can’t say it properly, circle it with your pen, or ask me, and I will tell you what it means.”
I saw that I had her immediate trust, and she was being a very nice girl.
Being Optimistic with Mistakes
I was actually very smitten with her.
She was a good girl, in my hands anyway. Other people would think she is naughty girl.
I knew with her I could act up and bring out a bit of my personality.
I am trying not to say anything negative by saying, “That is the wrong answer.” But, she was pointing to the animals, and said,
“Which one can sting you?”
“What is a sting?”
“When an animal puts any part of its teeth into you, or something from the animal that goes through your skin and it makes you hurt, and painful.”
I had to explain a lot of words to her, but after that, she understood them. I then wrote them on the board. We were having a lot of fun.
Grouping Animals Task
Then I asked her to group the animals into wild animals, farm animals, and pets.
I gave her a lovely definition of what is an animal? I was scratching around for the proper word, but then I said,
“A wild animal is something that will try to attack you and kill you to eat you. You can talk to a dog and say good dog, bad dog, but you can’t do that to a lion.”
She understood, wild animals are things that can never be tamed.
We went through all these exercises. We got through a page and a half.
She was sitting at the end of the table, and I was seated across from her. I eventually pulled my seat across from her, and we were facing the same direction with our seats. I was leaning across the book. Most of the times she was giving me these cheeky looks directly into my eyes. I am trying to figure out what that is about.
Perhaps she had some curious thoughts in her mind, but she did not express them because we were in the middle of a class.
Demo Class Finished
We were having a very exceptional class. I thought I did well with her. She did not look too bored at all because I kept it interesting and alive.
We finished our class after 25 minutes.
Jessica came in the room and said,
“Okay, your class is over.”
The little girl started to put her book back into her bag. I thought,
“That is a bit weird, because there is an anticlimax to the class, and there is no closure with this girl, and she feels a bit hard-done by, because Jessica was rude and stopped us.”
I guess there was some business-sense in that.
I said to the girl, “See you,” and waved to her.
I don’t know how to conduct myself with new clients, and what they expect of me. She ended up awkwardly walking out, so I had to do something to better demonstrate these demonstration classes to the kids.
in the Office
During the class also, my phone in my pocket made buzzing noises every half a second. I later discovered someone added me to a group, and all these group members were talking to each other. I was blitzed.
Once I turned my phone back on while in the classroom, I received a blitz of new people who added me. Every single teacher in BBT English has added me. All the hot girls that work in the office have added me. Some guy who looks like he wants to learn English has also added me. I did not get a chance to work out who they are. I sat there for 10 minutes replying to everybody.
Today has gotten well ahead of me in terms of social dynamics.
My network (关系网) has skyrocketed through the roof. 5 people added me from BBT English. I am having massive conversations with everybody.
Then I made my way over to the office, which is where one of the female office workers that can only speak Chinese was inside the room.
Jessica was seated down on a chair. She looks really pretty today. She has this black slip dress on with long tassels coming off her chubby, slightly hairy, but beautifully sexy legs. She is leaning back in her chair as she is talking to me, and it is really seductive because you can see up her legs sometimes.
One time she got up out of her chair and turned in her chair towards me with her legs. I was looking at my phone at the time, as she spreads her legs open as she gets up off the chair. I am thinking, “Oh my God! If I was looking in my peripheral vision, I would see she wore no underwear.”
SA Provides Demos
I had a feeling that Jessica is treating me like business now. She is trying to shut off the social communication. When I sat down with her, she said,
“Tomorrow I have a bunch of demonstration classes for you.”
I looked at her paperwork to see 3 kids and 1 class, and a second class around 11 am, as well as a class at 2:30 pm.
“One of the demos you will get paid for, but the other two demos you won’t.”
“What is the normal case with the demo classes? Don’t I get paid for them?”
I remember when they told me for a demonstration class, I will get paid for that time. Now they are telling me that I am not. Hampson is telling me bullshit. Because I also work for BBT English, I do not know what the contractual obligations are for these places.
Chemistry with SA
While Jessica was seated at her computer explaining her story, I knelt down beside her. She said,
“You don’t have to kneel down. I will give you a chair.”
She gave me a chair. Then I look behind us in my peripheral vision, and the girl on the far table was facing towards us, checking us out. I am thinking,
“Is she doing that because she likes me or is she doing that to check the body chemistry between me and Jessica?”
Sometimes Jessica is looking at me, but other times she is only focusing on her work. She has a habit now of walking away from me without saying anything. That is my cue to leave.
Attempts to Build Rapport
I am sitting there talking to her, trying to find new things to talk about. I started to talk about,
“Did you eat lunch today?”
“Yes. Kind of.”
I was looking at her sexy legs, and asked,
“Do you know any good restaurants here for vegetarians?”
“There is one downstairs. You can go there and have something to eat.”
By this time, we had been alone in the room for 10 minutes. The other girl just disappeared and we had the room to ourselves. I said a couple of lines. Then a guy came back to the room, followed by a girl. Jessica then says,
“Give me a minute. I have to write something down.”
She is writing my time schedule into her phone with WeChat. After she sends it to me, she disappears and leaves. I am sitting there on my chair playing on my WeChat. After 5 minutes I decided,
“That was her cue to leave me here, because I was asking her personal questions.”
I got up and said to the other girl,
“Goodbye, see you tomorrow.”
She gave me a smile and a wave.
As I left the office and made my way to the building toilets, she came out of the toilet. I asked,
“Did you need me here for anything else or are we finished?”
“We are finished her.”
Once our eyes finished gazing at each other, I saw once she took her eyes off me, she had a little, angry, clenched-teeth grimace on her face. She does that a lot with me. I am thinking, she must do that because I am cracking onto her.
Now I am starting to treat her like a normal, Australian business relationship. Once a girl says no to an invitation, anything after that is sexual harassment. I don’t want to keep inviting her out to dinners, so I quit it there.
“Alright, see you tomorrow.”
Then she went back inside.
I went into the toilet to change my clothes. I then made my way to the train station.
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.