Although my husband could speak English before we met, I have continued to help him to improve his grammar, pronunciation and increase is vocabulary. He usually never has any trouble speaking to foreigners from all over the world. He is very easy to understand and speaks very clearly. The job as a teacher is a very respected in China, however, Michael wasn’t able to attend a university high enough to obtain the teaching degree. The cost was much to expensive for his family. So, he settled for a simple business English degree.
However, he has always had a little bout with low self-confidence. This is common with most Chinese people. It is like they are programmed to not believe in themselves. Last week, while Michael was looking over the online classifieds; when he noticed someone was requesting to have an English teacher to teach them, one on one. The salary was considerably high and Michael thought it strange that this person would request a teacher on a Chinese website. In China you can’t trust everything you see.
I told him to call it …. what do you have to lose. So, with a lot more of my pushing he finally called the guy and set up a meeting. He wanted me to go with him so I could evaluate his English level.
At meeting the gentleman, I could clearly see that the man could only say “hallooooo” and “I’m fine, and you” …. very simple starter English. I quickly told Michael that he could teach this guy easily. The gentleman seemed very impressed with the fact that Michael could speak to me in English quit fluently.
After some detailed conversations about the best way to learn English with Michael translating for me the whole time, the gentleman just stood up and said… OK… I will hire you. (in chinese of course), then he looked at me and said… “after I learn English for a while with him.. can you teach me?” I will pay you a large salary to be my personal VIP foreign teacher. (his offer was more than my salary at the school I work in)… I looked at my husband… and he looked at me… then he answered for me…. YES, she will be happy too….(smile)
The gentleman then said… get him a contract for both of us with the amounts he offered, 5 days a week… one hour a day… in the late evening, for TWO YEARS!
We thought that this man obviously has more money than he knows what to do with. There are several very rich businessmen in China that spend money like water and I guess we found one. We all shook hands and drank tea to seal the deal.
When we got home, I quickly advised Michael about what books he should use and what direction he should go when he is teaching his student. We whipped up a contract stating everything that the man said to us, down to the part that when his English improves enough .. I can take over teaching him.
Two days later, we met with the gentleman again, with contract and textbook in hand. He seemed quite happy. He said that now he can do something constructive instead of just drinking beer, playing cards and mahjong. He signed the contract without a thought and start to look at the textbook excitedly.
Later that evening, when Michael and I were in our private talk time…(which usually happens in bed before we go to sleep.. kind of like the Brady Parents on the Brady Bunch Show) … I told him that I can’t believe that teaching one student can make us more money that the both of us are making together with our two jobs. He said… yeah.. and I can’t believe… I will really be a teacher.
Then .. I think the light went off in both of our heads at the same time…..we looked at each other and said…. We can do our own business.. then we both laughed… (sometimes we say things at the same time).
We figured that not every student will pay what this guy wants to pay.. but, we could make a decent living just with the two of us and live comfortably.
So goes our 2012 tentative plan…. As I write this blog.. I can see Michael talking to himself… “I’m a teacher… wow.. I can teach English“ …. sometimes one small thing.. can boost confidence wayyy up. I see the glow in his face.. to know that he has finally realized his worth… priceless.
until next time…..
- Teaching In China (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)
- my thoughts on teaching English… (via Anderson Adventures) (rameshnanda.wordpress.com)
- A Proud Teacher Moment…. (lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com)
- Teaching Adult ESL Learners through Music (neltachoutari.wordpress.com)
- What It Takes To Be A Teacher (stepsandstopsbytinkiewinkie.wordpress.com)